Day 271 – 5/19/21 Gatlinburg and Anakeesta

We had a nice day checking out Gatlinburg and AnaKeesta.

I had a really rough night and didn’t sleep very well.  I woke up around 1am, feeling bloated and just could not sleep again.  I dozed off here and there, but just could not sleep.  I ate way too much last night, and before we had dinner, I had some beers at the brewery and then some shots of moonshine in the tasting room, then ate all that comfort food… yikes.  My system was just not happy at all.  By time I decided to get out of bed, I was still feeling pretty tired, and it was hard to get going.  I got my coffee and did the dishes that were there from yesterday, Bella didn’t even have a bowl for her cereal.  The girls were up and using their phones.  I finished the dishes and after I had it all put away, I started working on my computer.  Carol was on her phone talking to people.  At 8:30 I had the girls put away their phones and start school, finish eating, etc.  I was able to finish my writing, and then got a bit of work done before my work call at 10.  After my call I went out for a run. 

I ran at a slightly different spot today, basically two streets up from the path I was running the other days.  It was on the sidewalk, but there were only two spots I had to cross traffic lights and I didn’t have to stop at all.  It was a tough run, with me still feeling a bit bloated and tired, but I pushed through and went slow and did my 4 miles.  It got better from there. :). After I got back, I showered and then grilled some steaks for lunch.

The girls were doing good with school, Bella was done with her work around noon, and had done a bit of tomorrow’s work as well, ahead of time.  Bia still had her later call, and was done right after that last call.  Carol was on the phone most of the morning, talking to people, buying some stuff for when we get home, researching a pergola for our patio, etc.  We wanted to get a second paddleboard so we can go together when we get back home, so she ordered one.  When everyone was done, we got ready to leave and went to Gatlinburg.  We wanted to check out the area and go to Anakeesta, which is a place up the mountain, right downtown.

It took us like 20 minutes to get to downtown Gatlinburg and I had put a parking lot in the GPS, so we went right there.  There are two garages in front of each other, one that charges $8 per day and another $15.  The $8 per day had a height limit under 7 feet, so I could not make it in there and had to go to the other, which was not covered so there was no limit.  We found a spot right away though, and were on our way.  We were just a block away from the entrance to the chair lift to Anakeesta.  I bought the general admission ticket for the 4 of us, and it was $100 total.  I felt it was a bit pricey but depending on what’s up there it could be worth it. 

There were no lines, so we went right to the front and got on a chair to go up.  It is quite a ways up, and it is basically a ski lift chair, so Bella immediately said she was a bit scared.  While there is nothing to worry about, it is a bit scary to be hanging up there, so I told Bella it was ok and normal to be a bit scared, but it was very safe.  It took quite a while to make it all the way up, it is actually a long way up, and the system would come to a complete stop here and there so they could load and unload the cabin cars they had every so many positions.  And, as we were lifted up and got closer and closer, the views of downtown and the mountains got nicer and nicer. 

It was very cool to be way up there and have a clear view of the mountains.  It was also pretty easy to get out of the lift, and as soon as we did there was a restaurant and bar right there and we decided to get a cold drink first, and enjoy the views from their balcony.  I got two beers and two sodas, the girls wanted cherries in their sodas and the bartender was nice and put 4 in each, and they loved it.  When I got the check…. $30, yikes.  I knew right there I’d not leave that place without spending another $100. hahahahah.  We sat by the balcony and enjoyed our drinks, the view and a nice conversation.  It was very nice to be enjoying it right there, with that awesome backdrop. 

One of the things we did while on our first stop was to look over the map, and see what they had to do, and what was where.  They definitely had a lot of places to buy food and drinks, all over.  They had a few stores spread out as well, and then some attractions.  The attractions were a few tree houses, a tower at the highest point of the park, so you could go even higher and have nice 360 views of the mountain range.  They also had some park on the trees, and a walking path in the middle of the trees, way up there.  We finished our drinks and started walking towards the attractions, and went to the Tower first. 

They had lots of cool little things to see on the way, painted rocks, flowers, sculptures, etc. not to mention the amazing views.  We checked out everything that was on the way, go onto a tree house sculpture thing, and then went up to the tower. 

The views from there were pretty awesome.  They also had two spots where the floor was clear plastic or something clear, so it was see through, and it was pretty cool.  The view below was their gardens, but it was high enough to give people a funny feeling.  I was there with Bella and we took a picture with the glass bottom under us. 

As we left the tower, we headed towards a tree house playground type of thing.  They built a path in the middle of the trees, with a few different ways to move around, like logs tied to ropes, or bars, etc that would lead to towers and even a slide.  Carol and the girls went there and spent some time there.  I took a few pictures of the area around, they also had a garden next to it, with some swinging benches with super nice views.  I got a beer and watched them walk around the tree play area. 

I ended up sitting right in front of the “vine guy” hahaha forgot what they called it.  It’s a statue of a creature that is basically made up of tree vine.  Bella later called me to go in with her as she wanted to show me something, so I went in and she showed me a bird’s nest with the birds right there, and had me go up the tower for nice views and picture spots.

From there we kept walking the route and got to another smaller playground, which was also setup as a tree house type of deal, which was on top of the trees.  This one was more for smaller kids, so the girls went and played for a bit.  Carol checked it out too.  Right next to where we were they had another quick snacks stand, so we got another beer and got ice cream for the girls, they love Dippin Dots, and that’s what they had there. 

We sat there while we finished, and then moved on to the last activity, which was the long walk on the path on the trees.  This one was long, and was way high on the tree lines.  Some bridges that connected one tree to the next were long and would swing as you walked on it.  This was very cool and we all enjoyed walking along this path, from tree to tree.  Bella was not afraid on this one.  This was definitely a nice experience.  The views from some spots were pretty awesome, and it was a nice feeling to be up there in the tree line.  We got lots of pictures from that area. 

I asked everyone if they liked the place and everyone did, so I guess it was worth it to come up.  I still feel it was a a bit pricey, especially knowing I spent another $100 in drinks and ice cream, but ok, fine, it was a different experience for us.  As we finished the tree walk, Bia wanted to go zip lining, but they were sold out for the day, so we were all done.  We made a quick stop at the restrooms and hopped back on the lift to go down.  The way down reminded us of how far up we were, wow… it is quite a ways and takes over 5 minutes for sure to go up or down.  It is a lot easier to enjoy the views on the way down as well, but each time the thing stopped, it felt like our chair would swing more than on the way up.

From there, we decided to just go get dinner and head back.  We just picked a Mexican restaurant that was nearby, called No Way Jose. hahahaha… the food was pretty good, service was just ok.  We ate and left. 

I filled up the truck on the way and once we arrived, the girls went to shower while I started putting things away in the truck.  I also got the truck tires inflated, and checked the trailer tires.  I got a bit ahead and torqued the lug nuts right away, put away the table, grill, chairs, etc, so all we need to do tomorrow to leave is drain the tanks, disconnect, hitch and go.  After the girls showered, they were on their phones for a bit, then I had them read until they went to bed.  I called it a night a bit earlier as I was tired from not sleeping well last night, so that was it for today.

We had a nice day checking out Anakeesta and a bit of downtown Gatlinburg.

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