ben and jerry's, bubba gump's shrimp company, Clif bars, gatlinburg, gatlinburg ink, jack huff's, mama's country kitchen, no way jose's cantina, shrimp tacos, tattoo, the best italian, the donut friar
I spent the weekend in Gatlinburg, Tennessee with my mom, my two cousins, and their mom; in short, a total girl’s weekend. I’m not quite sure how to describe Gatlinburg other than just a small town in the mountains of Tennessee. The official website describes it much more eloquently than I can:
Amid the splendor of the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg embodies the simple goodness of small town life. Gatlinburg is where we gather together and stand in awe of nature’s glory. Here, we fill our spirits, seek inspiration, and continue the journey toward what we know is right. In Gatlinburg, Tennessee, we Reach Higher Ground.
It is really a gorgeous area.
Well actually, the entire drive TO Gatlinburg amid mountains is gorgeous. Honestly, the 3 1/2 hours it took to get there flew by.
We stopped at this little place called Mama’s Country Kitchen that was on a back road for lunch on Friday.
The menu was very simple, it was basically a meat and veggies kind of place, definitely embodied southern cooking. These were the specials for the day:
They served drinks in Mason jars, which was cool.
I had a bowl of pinto beans
And a grilled chicken breast, green beans, and cornbread.
And a bite of my mom’s fried green tomatoes. I swear, you haven’t LIVED until you have tried a friend green tomato. If you aren’t from the South, I’m sure it sounds weird but it’s SO GOOD. I don’t eat them that often but every once in a while in the summer, nothings better.
We finally arrived about 4:00 in the afternoon and after some grocery shopping, we checked into our hotel.
We stayed at a local place in Gatlinburg called Jack Huff’s. I forgot to take a picture of the actual hotel and the room prior to our messiness but here are some pictures of the view from our balcony and the room.
It wasn’t exactly “fancy” by any standards but it was clean and right on the edge of downtown.
The agenda for the afternoon and evening? Tattoos and dinner.
Tattoos? Oh yes. I have wanted a tattoo for a LONG time but I could never quite decide on anything that I would want on my body for the rest of my life. Until this whole stress fracture happened. It made me realize how precious life is and how much I took for granted pre-injury. I can’t even remember what it feels like to walk around or just cook dinner without pain. I never even knew how lucky I was and how much I was blessed. Until now. I’ve gone on and on about it before so I’ll spare you but in short, I decided to get the word “live” tattooed on my left wrist to remind me to never take life for granted again and to just go out there and LIVE! Seize the moment and all that.
So my cousin who is a year younger than me has already gotten 2 tattoos but she was wanting a third one. So when I announced that I wanted to get one while in Gatlinburg, she readily agreed that she’d like another one too and we would do it together. Having her doing it with me helped me immensely. Because while I really wanted one, I was terrified…not gonna lie. I don’t do needles. But I actually had a great experience! We got our tattoos a place called Gatlinburg Ink and it was AWESOME. The place was super clean (which was really important, obviously) and the staff very friendly. The man who did my tattoo was extremely nice and funny. He knew I was really nervous and scared and so he distracted me with jokes, which really helped. Did it hurt? It did. But not as much as I thought it would. And the tattoo was really small so it only took about 5 minutes. Ok enough of my rambling, the final product (excuse the slight puffiness and redness, it’s still healing):
After getting our tattoos, we were more than ready for dinner. We went to an Italian place called The Best Italian.
And it really is, the BEST Italian food I’ve probably ever had. I swear.
You start with these rolls that are from Heaven itself. They are yeast rolls that are covered in garlic, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Oh. My. GOODNESS. The picture does NOT even do it justice. They are SO FREAKING GOOD. And they are pretty small so I had 2. Believe me, it took a LOT of restraint to not eat the entire basket.
I also had a salad that was awesome. It had lettuce, the best most red tomatoes, green olives, and some other veggies I can’t remember. I was so hungry that I pretty much inhaled it, hence the no photograph.
I ordered the veggie lasagna for my main meal.
Yumm… it looks like a blob of cheese but under that cheese were layers of noodles, fresh ricotta, and veggies. And lots of tomato sauce, which is my favorite. Deeelicious!
I also had to take a picture of this calzone that my cousin ordered. The picture does NOT even do it justice. Guys, this thing was the size of my head! No, BIGGER. Literally, they basically took a large pizza dough, stuffed it with cheese, and folded it. This thing could’ve fed, I swear, 6 people. I know there had to be like 3 pounds of cheese in that thing. We all could not stop laughing when they brought it to the table… one of those things where you just had to be there I guess.
And then we had a slice of homemade cheesecake to go. It looks kinda bad because it was falling apart but it was a chocolate crust, vanilla cheesecake, topped with strawberries and whipped cream. Can you say amazing?!
And then also at the italian place was where I saw the most gorgeous guy I’ve ever seen. I swear. Anywho, I was just standing there minding my own business when I saw him and he saw me and he smiled at me and I smiled at him and it was just one of those moments, you know? The kind you read about where you meet someone and you just have this insane nonverbal connection. It was like… wow. So bizarre. But this happened as I was walking by on our way to look in some shops as we waited on our name to be called. So then once we sit down, lo and behold, he is sitting at the table beside me. Lots of glancing and smiling and whatnot ensued. And then he left and I thought well that was fun (yes, that was fun to me, can you tell I haven’t been out in a while?!), but I’m never going to see him again. But then, THEN, I saw him again on Sunday right before we left. We were coming out of a shop and I saw him walking ahead of us. I couldn’t believe it, yeah it’s a small town but it’s not THAT small, what were the chances I’d see him again? Slim to none. But there he was. Unfortunately, he didn’t see me and kept walking. What’s a girl to do? It’s not like I could run after him or anything… *sigh* Dangit. Something this crazy finally happens to me and it’s while I’m on vacation, which means I will probably never see said guy again because who knows where he’s from… meh.
So Day 2 started with a breakfast of a Clif bar and a banana.
I think this flavor is my new favorite. It ROCKED!!!!
And then, we spent the day shopping at an Outlet Mall. The entire day. Ok, so 4 hours. But it was FUN! Gotta love some good deals… I got a couple shirts, some shorts, shoes, and the cutest dress ever!!!
We stopped for lunch at a place in the mall and I was HANGRY. I ordered a chef salad that had lettuce, turkey, cheese, cucumbers, and banana peppers with honey mustard.
Totally inhaled it. And I snagged some of my mom’s fries.
And then, the clouds unleashed their fury. If you are in the South, I’m sure you experienced the fun tornados, thunderstorms, and rain this weekend. It hit our area Saturday afternoon but it wasn’t as bad as they were calling for. We went back to our hotel after shopping to relax a bit before dinner. We were all very tired after walking all day, especially me. Considering that was the most activity I’ve had in oh… 4 weeks, I was POOPED. The next morning, my entire body was hurting; it felt like I had ran a marathon! But anywho, where was I? Right. We relaxed (i.e. they took naps, I read blogs and iced).
After our relaxing, we hit up a local seafood place called Bubba Gump Shrimp Company (named after the movie Forrest Gump) for dinner. Amazingly, we were seated right away! I have nothing but good things to say about this place, the food was awesome and the service was AMAZING!
I started with a salad that was just your ordinary house salad but it was delicious.
And then had stuffed trout…YUM! It was stuffed with a crab and shrimp mixture. I barely managed to remember to take a picture after eating half. The picture doesn’t do it justice either, it was SO GOOD! Everyone raved about their food!
After dinner, we braved the rain and hit up some local shops and Ben and Jerry’s! I forgot to bring my camera with me but I had a small cup of Cookies and Milk ice cream that was TO DIE FOR! Oh how I love some good ice cream… After that, we called it a night and hit the hay a bit early.
On Sunday we had to check out but we decided to spend the morning and some of the day in Gatlinburg and have lunch and shop a bit more (because let’s face it, is there a thing as too much shopping? I think not). I had a banana for breakfast part 1. And then, oh then, we went to a local donut shop called the Donut Friar. This place is amazing. Now, I don’t eat many donuts but they make them themselves, fresh every day. And you just can’t turn down a fresh homemade donut, now can you?
So I had a hazelnut cappuccino…
And then, more shopping ensued.
I snapped some pictures of the quaint downtown… love it.
We went in this cute little shop where I saw this funny poster! If you can read it…
And this shirt that is SO TRUE. Ha.
I actually spent a good bit of time sitting out on a bench soaking up the sun while my family shopped. T’was glorious.
Expect with a random guy spoke of his undying love for me while I was just sitting minding my own business. And it was not a nice kind of declaration, oh no. More of a creepy hitting on me kinda thing… Move along random creepo guy, move along.
And then we had lunch at a Mexican restaurant, No Way Jose’s Cantina.
It was really the best Mexican meal i’ve had!
And the inside of the place was really cool!
We started with the obligatory basket of chips. Once you start, you just can’t stop!
Along with some fresh, and I mean FRESH, salsa that was the bomb. It had tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and other salsa type ingredients. So delish. I had my fair share of chips and salsa, let me tell you.
I ordered the shrimp tacos for my main meal.
I can’t even tell you how good they were… The shrimp came in this creamy sauce. I don’t normally eat creamy sauces buuuuut this was delicious!!! I ate one whole taco and ate the shrimp out of the other.
It also came with rice, fresh veggies, and black beans.
And then we finished up our shopping and made our way back to the car for the long drive home. And this was also when I saw the guy from the Italian restaurant and restrained the urge to run after him… he. Totally joking… or not. 😉
Why is it that the drive home always feels SO much longer than the drive TO?
I really had an amazing weekend though!!! Not only was it just nice to be OUT period, but Gatlinburg is a great town and a wonderful place to vacation. Now, there is a LOT more to do than shop, I promise, but priorities, you know… And with my current situation, I can’t exactly go hiking or whatnot. The only bad part about the trip was that it had to end. Oh well. I’m already looking forward to my next vacation in June!
I’ll be back tomorrow with a re-cap of today in addition to tomorrow!