Thursday, June 29, 2017

Summer Vacation with Connor

We have taken Connor to the beach the last three summers, so we decided it was time to do something different this year. While Adam and I have been to Gatlinburg together quite a few times, we've never taken him - so it was time!

We surprised Connor first thing Monday morning and told him we had taken the week off work to go on vacation! We loaded up the car, grabbed a biscuit at Chick-fil-A, and hit the road!

As we pulled into Pigeon Forge, he finally figured out where we were going and was excited. Our first stop of the trip was at WonderWorks. He'd been there before with his other family, but it was several years ago. Since Adam and I had never been, we knew it'd be fun to do with him.

There were a lot of interactive things to do, and there was a huge indoor ropes course. We explored it all before heading out!

We stopped at the Christmas store and the Apple Barn winery, and we had dinner at Mellow Mushroom. We got checked into our hotel, and we ended the evening exploring The Island since it was within walking distance.

We were up bright and early on Tuesday to spend the day at Dollywood!!

I have always loved theme parks, and I'm so glad my boys do, too! We were there open to close, and we rode everything (and some things twice!). Connor had never been there before, and it was so fun to watch him get so excited about all the rides. He exclaimed how awesome they were each time we got off of a new one!

It was a super fun day, and Connor loved all of the roller coasters! It was really neat when we were on one at the end of the night while the fireworks were going off.

On Wednesday, we made our way into Gatlinburg and started the day with breakfast at The Donut Friar, another place he'd never been. He was pleased with his raspberry donut.

We wandered around some shops for a bit before taking him up to Ober Gatlinburg on the tram, another spot he'd never been. We spent several hours up there riding the Alpine Slide, taking the chairlift to the mountain top, riding the swings, playing putt putt, and going through a maze.

When we got back to the strip, we had dinner before meeting up with my cousin who was also in town to grab a drink with him and his crew.

Then, we took Connor to his very first real haunted house - The Mysterious Mansion. He loves all things creepy and Halloween, and he's enjoyed some of the smaller "haunted things" we've done geared toward kids. So we decided it was time for a real one. Here's the thing about kids - you truly have to teach them how to have fun. We went into it telling him how it was just going to be silly and that people would jump out and startle you, but you just have to laugh. He held on to me for dear life the whole time, but he did so great and was laughing and saying how awesome it was the whole time. I think he did better than some of the other adults in our group.

On Thursday, we checked out of our hotel and grabbed a biscuit at Hardee's before making the drive into the national park. It was a little rainy, but that wasn't going to stop us from having fun.

We drove all the way to Clingman's Dome so we could take him to another spot he'd never been - the tallest point in the Smokies!

He thought it was really neat that you could be in TN and NC up there!

We drove back to Pigeon Forge and had lunch before exploring a few more favorite spots around town. It was fun taking him into all the neat little shops and letting him explore areas of town that we have grown up going to!

We left later that afternoon to make the drive back home. It was nice that we were able to enjoy more of the Smokies before heading home since we didn't have to get back in any hurry. We got home just in time to go to bed.

We took it easy at home on Friday, especially since we were worn out and it was a rainy day. Tucker was glad we were home and enjoyed an afternoon nap on the couch with us.

We had a really great time, and it was so fun to take Connor to a place we have always loved. He had a blast and told us it was better than the beach! We'll definitely be taking him back again!

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