Gatlinburg, Tennessee!

I probably say this a lot – but my husband and I have unbelievable friends. My husband Andrew and his too best friends Dylan and Mark (also Mark’s now wife) have been friends since they were kids. So the six of us Andrew, me, Dylan, Dylan’s wife Elizabeth, Mark, Mark’s wife Rachel are exceedingly close. Also this guy named Frank (Elizabeth’s best friend since middle school) which is now basically family. Oh and Frank’s brother Mikey and his wife Rebecca!

(That was a lot of information – sorry it’s complicated – here’s a pretty photo)

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Elizabeth being the most endearing wife that I have ever had the pleasure to know was throwing Dylan a Dirty 30 Birthday celebration last November. Liz rented us a HUGE cabin in the middle of the woods about five minutes from Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This was a six bedroom JUMBO cabin, with a fire place and a hot tub out on the porch – there were many mimosas to be had.

Frank, Andrew and I drove up from Orlando to Tennessee in about 11 hours. Of course we stopped by High Falls State Park and The In-Out Burger joint in down town Atlanta. Frank was nice enough to drive the entire way to Tennessee.

(while I so gratefully napped in his back seat).

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Thursday night, we finally made it to the cabin to join up with our group of friends. Mark and Rachel drove down from Chicago, Kelli and Adam from Vermont, Mikey and Rebecca from D.C. We ordered pizza and played with sparklers out in the street; as well all caught up from not seeing each other for the past year. Stretching from Florida to Chicago; we normally do not all get to spend time together at the same time so this was a special treat.

Our first morning of our journey Elizabeth, Kelli, Andrew and I hiked Grotto Falls, Tennessee. This was a very short 4 mile hike up to see the falls (sarcasm). In late November, the trees were already changing and it was a breath taking view of the Smoky Mountains.

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After having breakfast at the cabin, the girls decided to split up from the boys. The boys ended up drinking, playing boards games and eating cold pizza at the cabin all afternoon. While we hit up the “craft drive.” The Craft Drive is a 10 mile backwoods, paved drive through small vintage shops. Shops included handmade fudge, leather shops and stenciled wood décor. After driving for a bit, we stopped at the cutest outdoor shopping area to grab a bite to eat. We sat down in a vintage white café with deep green trim and were served up delectable southern food with a heaping side of southern hospitality. After lunch, we continued on wandering through small trinket shops. Of course we stopped for homemade maple fudge! Surrounded by fall trees and small cafes we were captivated by all of the sights and smells.

Making it back to the cabin to freshen up, grab the boys and head out to dinner. Elizabeth had planned for us to go out to a Moonshine Tasting (yes this is a thing!) and for us to have dinner in downtown Gatlinburg. We quickly made reservations for a Mexican Food joint and while we waited we went to a Moonshine Tasting the next block over.

Even if you are hesitant – you need to do the Moonshine tasting! For a total of $10 per person you get to try 12 different moonshine flavors ranging from root beer, pumpkin spice and dark cherry. Most flavors tasted like Capri Suns!

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(OK well. It might not be the most attractive photo. But Moonshine does what moonshine does)

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Saturday morning we all packed up in our cars and headed to DOLLYWOOD! What else is there to do in Tennessee besides Moonshine and Dollywood? (Nothing) Dollywood is OK? Working in theme park industry myself; I wasn’t entirely impressed with the park. BUT it was beautiful. Wooden coasters, fall trees, hot chocolate and good friends.

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After spending most of the day at Dollywood, our group headed back to our cabin. To top off this incredible weekend? Elizabeth planned a 80’s Prom Murder Mystery Dinner. We all came prepared – memorizing our characters and picking out the perfect 80’S outfits. (I am sure we had toxic lung from amount of hairspray in that cabin).

I’m literally so grateful to know these women.

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Never been to a Murder Mystery Party before? Let me break this down –

  • Each person is selected a character by the host (Elizabeth) and sent their character card secretly
  • Each guest is to read over their character and pick out an outfit to match
  • During the event you are given questions to ask to other characters trying to find the murderer!
  • At the end we vote on best dressed, best character and find out who the murderer was!

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I envy how good Elizabeth is at planning! She planned a three day weekend adventure with 9 people flawlessly. How does she do this? I will never know.

There is more than a decade of friendship here and I am so thankful to know them. Here’s to hoping we plan another weekend soon!

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