Inspire Travel Part VI

I am not too envious of other people's professions. I'm happy to be a working writer and editor. It's my passion and I wouldn't change it for the world. But there is one job I'm jealous of--a job I wish I had: a full-time travel writer. I would love to travel around the world, explore new places, and document about the experiences for readers. If this were possible, I would be very content with my life. But I'm not a travel writer [I accept that fact], so I have to settle for only going on one or two trips per year.

I love the way I feel when I'm on vacation. I'm away from work and I don't have to fulfill any responsibilities involved with my job--for one week, that is. I travel to an exciting place, explore new areas, and I don't have to be on a set schedule. I unplug from reality and I simply relax. 

That's what happened last week when I was on vacation to one of my favorite places in the world: the Great Smoky Mountains. It was a week filled with many adventures, surrounded by beautiful nature. As a nature lover, it doesn't get any better than that.

My family has loved vacationing in the Smoky Mountains since my early teenage years. So, it broke our hearts when we heard the news about the devastating wildfires in 2016. Homes and businesses were destroyed and precious lives were lost. The Smoky Mountains have been a symbol of peace, comfort, and family--right in the heart of Tennessee. Since those wildfires, people have worked hard to restore homes and businesses. The mountains are healing and are still so beautiful, even if the tops of the trees are burnt and dead.

They're still beautiful and they will always be beautiful, no matter what. A wildfire can't take away their beauty. It may try, and it definitely did in 2016, but it can't destroy generations of peace, comfort, and natural beauty. It can't.

Pictures of the Great Smoky Mountains.

Apart from sightseeing, I enjoyed staying at our hotel--The Inn at Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge, TN. At this inn, it's Christmas all year long. I'm not complaining because I love Christmas and this inn does a good job of getting you into the holiday spirit, even in August. From the decorated Christmas trees and wreaths to the visiting characters and constant Christmas music, family and holiday fun is the focus of this hotel. So, even though I loved exploring Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, I was just as content staying at our hotel, swimming in the pool [with a slide!], and humming along to my favorite Christmas tunes.

The Inn at Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge, TN.

I ate a lot of delicious food on this trip. Calories don't count on vacation, right? Yeah, that's what I kept telling myself last week. One of our favorite restaurants in Pigeon Forge is The Old Mill Restaurant, a country restaurant that serves some of the best food I have ever had the pleasure of eating. At the restaurant, you take a step back in time to the "good old days," and the menu offers your favorite comfort food.

The Old Mill Restaurant in Pigeon Forge, TN.

My mouth was watering at the restaurant's specialty corn fritters and corn chowder. I could eat an entire basket of the corn fritters if I had the option. The fritters are warm and melt in your mouth, satisfying every taste bud. And the corn chowder? Yummy! It's creamy, sweet, and it's the best compliment to the corn fritters. The two go hand-in-hand--offering the best appetizer possible.

Corn chowder and corn fritters at The Old Mill Restaurant.

For the main course, I ordered fried chicken tenders--because when you're in the South and eating at a country restaurant, you have to order fried chicken. The restaurant operates as a "family-style dinner," which means your table is served one bowl of creamy mashed potatoes, green beans, and dinner rolls to share as a family. There is so much to enjoy at the restaurant. If you leave and you're still hungry, you're not eating right. For one price, you can enjoy corn fritters, corn chowder, salad, biscuits, your main course, mashed potatoes, green beans, and a dessert of your choice. It doesn't get any better than that.

Fried chicken tenders, mashed potatoes and green beans at The Old Mill Restaurant.

We also enjoyed eating at another family favorite restaurant: The Peddler Steakhouse in Gatlinburg. If you love steak, this is your restaurant. One unique feature of the restaurant is that a meat carver stops by your table after you browse the delicious salad bar, and he takes your dinner orders. If you order a steak, he carves the meat right in front of you. This is what I imagine happens at elite, expensive New York City restaurants. But, I'm from the Midwest and I'm not accustomed to the "fancy" life, so The Peddler Steakhouse is always a treat.

Let's talk about the food for a second. One word: Delicious. I ordered a grilled chicken breast with a baked potato. The chicken was juicy and tender with a roasted pineapple on top. The juices from the pineapple mixed with the natural juices from the chicken, providing a sweet sensation I wasn't expecting.

Grilled chicken breast with a baked potato at The Peddler Steakhouse in Gatlinburg, TN.

To top it all off, my sister and I shared a blonde brownie with ice cream and chopped pecans. Oh, my gosh...This dessert. I'm still thinking about this dessert. The brownie was "melt-in-your-mouth" delicious. It was warm, moist, rich, and everything you want in a good dessert. I usually don't order desserts at restaurants, but this is one exception. I can't refuse this blonde brownie. Once it's in my life, it's in my life for good.

The blonde brownie dessert at The Peddler Steakhouse. Delicious!

I loved my vacation last week in the Smoky Mountains. From sightseeing and exploring the beautiful mountains to celebrating Christmas a few months early and eating delicious food, it was a week I'll never forget. It's during these times when I have the best memories. We laugh the most. We share the best stories. We create memories that will last a lifetime. It's truly the best and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Take time out of your busy schedules to travel. Go to new places and unplug for a week. Visit with friends and family members. Explore, relax and simply have fun. We only have one life to live. Let's make the most of it.

I'm already planning my next vacation.



  1. Beautiful!!! I love your writing style!! And you've totally inspired me to visit the Smoky Mountains, I've never been before, but it sounds absolutely gorgeous!

    1. Thank you! I hope you get to visit the Smoky Mountains someday. It's so gorgeous!


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