independence day vacay!

casey and i recently went on a vacation with his parents (bill and rita) and his sister and her husband (abby and jon).

we went to townsend, tennessee, a little town in the smoky mountains (casey and i have been there once before – on our first year anniversary).  bill and rita rented a 3 bedroom cabin for everyone to stay in.  it was nice, roomy, and had lots of bear decor.  here’s a recap of how our vacation went down:


  • casey and i drove up to TN.  it was a nice drive.  casey listened to some podcasts and i read a book.
  • we DID get stuck in traffic for about an hour.  there was a chemical spill on the highway and we had to be detoured to this little two lane country road.
  • we got to TN, relaxed with the fam for a bit, then went out to dinner.  we ate at a local place called the back porch.  the food was OK.  my chicken sandwich was actually pretty good.  i don’t think anyone else was too impressed with their food though.
  • after that we stopped by the only grocery store in town.  it was WAY over priced.  it was crazy.
  • that night we started watching a movie, the kings speech.  i think rita was the only one who made it to the end.


  • we went to tuckaleechee caverns to tour the underground caves.  even though i’ve been to several underground caves in my day, and they usually all look the same, i always enjoy touring them.  it’s such a different and fascinating change of scenery.
  • after that we drove to cades cove drive an 11 mile scenic loop through the mountains.  we saw some wild turkeys, a black bear, and lots of old cabins and churches.  it was a beautiful drive.
  • after that we just relaxed back at our cabin.


  • happy fourth of july!
  • i got up early to run, which proved to be very difficult.  our cabin was on a mountain.  so if i ran to the right, i’d be running uphill.  if i ran to the left i’d be running downhill, which meant i’d eventually have to run back uphill.  also, no one wanted to run with me so i was scared to venture too far from the cabin.  i was determined to get my run in though – i only had to do 2 miles.  so i basically resorted to the most boring option i could come up with.  i ran downhill a 10th of a mile from our cabin and then back uphill a 10th of a mile to our cabin.  i did that 10 times.  so essentially i ran downhill for 1 mile and uphill for 1 mile.  it took me about 30 minutes because the uphill portion was a lot more uphill than i thought it would be.  i had to take about a minute break every time i got to the top so my run was more like hill drills than a run, which probably ended up being a better workout in the long run.
  • after breakfast we all ventured out to do some shopping.  we only hit up a few shops because most of them were closed for the holiday.  lame!
  • after shopping we all went to a swimming hole.  i didn’t swim, but i enjoyed watching everyone else swim.  the water was freezing!  i dug around for some cool looking rocks.  i found a few and smuggled them back with me.
  • that night we went to the firework show.  it was as good as could be expected for a small town’s firework show.  i’ve never been one to get excited about fireworks.  oh well.


  • we got up and headed to galtinburg.  casey’s aunt, uncle, and two cousins met up with us for the day.  we ate lunch and then walked around for a long, long time.  i made it a point to go into as many candy shops as possible.  we also played indoor putt putt.  casey and i just watched.  which was probably more enjoyable than playing would have been.  i was just glad to be in the AC.
  • i only got 2 things while we were there:  some really cool earrings and a magical himalayan salt lamp.
  • after walking as much as our legs could take we headed to the apple barn in pigeon forge to eat at the applewood restaurant.  it was good!  instead of the standard before dinner rolls we got apple fritters and apple juleps!  the apple fritters were amaze balls.  in addition to the apple fritters and apple juleps, every entrée included salad, soup, entrée, and dessert! it was way more food than anyone should eat at once…but of course we all did.  i passed on the soup because it was like 100 degrees outside (because i passed on soup our waitress brought me extra dessert…perfect).  after we ate casey said that it was his favorite restaurant in the world.  i think he was just on a food high.


  • we woke up early because we had to be packed and out of the cabin by 10.
  • we headed home, but stopped in Chattanooga with bill and rita to do some shopping and eat some lunch.
  • we went into a lot of cute shops.  i bought a ring at an art gallery and some gemstones at another art gallery.
  • it started raining, which forced us to eat at the closest restaurant, the river street deli.  it was a hole in the wall new york style deli. when we realized the owner was a legit northerner (my educated guess would be that he was from brooklyn), we knew these sandwiches were going to be awesome.  and awesome they were!!  so awesome that i left a note in the tip jar saying that my sandwich was perfect.  i would even go as far as saying it was the best sandwich i’ve had in years. YEARS.  here’s what it was: Veggie on Foccacia Bread – roasted eggplant, lettuce, tomato, onion, sprouts, roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomato, and olive tapanade, and red pepper hummus.  
  • after eating the sandwich of a life time, we headed home.  it seemed to take much longer to get home even without the hour traffic delay that we had on the way up.
  • we just relaxed at home the rest of the night.
it was a great overall trip!  thanks to bill and rita for coordinating it all!!


  1. caseypatton · July 11, 2011

    amaze balls!

  2. Rita · July 11, 2011

    We sooo enjoyed being with all our children!!! Love you!

  3. beth · July 11, 2011

    your blog is amaze balls… What a great vacation! We definitley want to go back to the Smokies soon. If you go back and are in the Pigeon Forge area you HAVE to go to the Log Cabin and have their french toast royale it has a cream cheese sauce that is A-MAZING (you will not want to ruin this with syrup.) It was the best breakfast i ever had. We asked if they sold the cream cheese sauce becasue they has a little gift shop the hostess told us they can’t becasue they have to keep up with the demand so they never have extra. I hope you found some great fudge while you were there!

    Thanks for the update!

    (p.s. I would have run the hills with you) 😉

  4. beth · July 11, 2011

    wow that had a lot of typos – sorry.

  5. sheena · July 11, 2011

    beth, i know you would! it probably would have been easy for you too! i didn’t get any fudge, although i did take some free samples! me and casey love the taffy, so we got a big box of that! that french toast sounds awesome! i’ll definitely remember that for next time!

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