We knew we wanted Brandon's parents to be in town for Annie's dance recital this year. As we chatted about possibilities for the rest of the trip, grandpa Dale suggested a visit to the Smoky Mountains. Remembering how much we had enjoyed going there a few years ago, I quickly said, "Count us in!"
We found a wonderful little cabin just outside of Bryson City, NC and found our way there on Memorial Day, by way of Gorges Stake Park, where we took a hike to a waterfall.
Ann Marie loved these beautiful mountain laurel blossoms; she thought they first looked like unopened umbrellas, then bloomed fully into bending-over-backwards ones. I was happy to take pictures of them in multiples stages of growth, because hello, swoon.
Upon arrival in Bryson City, we hit up the ice cream joint. Ice cream became a daily theme for our trip, in fact.
We then drove just 10 minutes or so outside of town, up up UP to our cabin, aptly named "Above the Ridge." This was the view from the front porch.
And another from the inside, upstairs:
Sigh. So glorious.
The next day, we hiked Clingman's Dome. Here we are at the bottom:
And again at the top!
And here are a bunch of shots from in between:
Zane and Soren both found Salamanders, and I'm so nice, I let one of them bring theirs home!
We pulled over at one of the incredible lookouts on our way home:
Later, back at the cabin everyone enjoyed the view from the hot tub. Seriously, not sure life gets better than that.
More to come!