This winter was a hard one, with weather, business and personal life. It had been awhile since Bob and I took a mini-vacation, discovering new and fun places by air. It was time to fly away, to celebrate our love of flight, my last year with Women Of Aviation Week and to get some desperately needed R&R. My mother's cousin rents out two beautiful cabins in the Smokey's, so it was time to take advantage of that!
I left work early this past Friday and met Bob and Turbo at the airport to depart to KGTK, Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Airport in Tennessee. I was excited to fly, but not excited enough apparently as I kept nodding off the whole way. It was just further evidence of how much I needed that cabin getaway. So, for safety's sake, Bob flew. Turbo wasn't so excited either. For the first time in his 40+ hours logged flying, he did not appreciate take off and wanted to get in the smallest corner of the airplane that he could find-but he couldn't find one. So he was on my lap until we were at altitude and he calmed enough to go back to his doggie shelf.
With the headwind, we arrive two hours and forty-five minutes later on the smooth runways of Gatlinburg, TN. High mountains surrounded us in flight and created a beautiful backdrop for the airport as well. Then we picked up our rental from Rent-a-Ride which was suggested on Air Nav over the Enterprise based at the airport and were on our way.
If you ever are in the area, you definitely need to look into renting one of my cousin Kevin's cabins: Ambleside of the Smokys (where we stayed) and Windermere at Douglas Lake Resort. Ambleside has a hot tub on the deck (as does Windermere) and two lovely soak tubs in the two bedroom cabin. It was clean, cozy and just what we needed! We spent our weekend relaxing in the hot tub, reading by the fire and exploring the area.
The area definitely has a lot to offer, much more than we had time for, and is very family friendly. Pigeon Forge offers plenty of dinner shows, some carnival rides and buildings full of activities to include laser tag, bumper cars and rock climbing. My favorite place that we stopped at was Goats on the Roof. Yes. It is exactly what it sounds like. There were real live goats on the roof and that place could not have made me any happier. Gatlinburg offers a large shopping strip, a crafters shopping loop, and Dollywood nearby. As you head towards the Smoky's there are a lot of cute little stores to stop at and I made sure I enjoyed some shopping time. It was interesting packing up all our purchases into our small plane when it was time to head home!
Ah, heading home. The worst part of a trip. I always say to Bob, "I wish we just had one more day!" on these short little jaunts. We delayed our departure until late afternoon due to rain and freezing levels. So, we found ourselves spending some time at the Tennessee Aviation Museum before leaving. I'll save that post for another day.
Our flight home was pretty smooth, we started at 7,500 then found ourselves climbing to 9,500 then eventually to 11,000 for cloud clearance. Two hours later, we neared Frederick, the broken to overcast layers became scattered and we descended into a bumpy and windy Frederick. We had left 70 degree weather in Tennessee and were welcomed by freezing temperatures in Maryland. I was not amused.
I look forward to renting a cabin again and seeing more of what the area has to offer. It made for a great getaway weekend and I think hiking and nature lovers, or those with families and young kids could easily spend a week there. Future blog posts to look out for: 1. The Tennessee Aviation Museum 2. How I made my QT Halo Headset fit better. Talk to you then!