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Extended Drive through the Smokies

by Meghann on October 21, 2011

I’m not sure who was more surprised this morning – the homeless man I found sleeping in the hotel’s fitness center or me. Yikes.

That probably should have been my first sign that the hotel’s ‘fitness center’ was going to be a no-go. After the very nice man vacated the area, I discovered that out of the three pieces of equipment in the tiny room, none of them worked. Oh well.

On to plan B.

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Nothing like a little old school boot camp cardio to get your blood flowing in the morning. :)

  • 2 min Jumping Jacks
  • 2 min High Knees
  • 2 min Butt Kicks
  • 2 min Jump Ropes
  • 10 push ups
  • Walking lunges across rom
  • 1 min squat
  • 1 min Punches
  • Repeat x2

When there’s will, there’s a way and I found a way with jumping jacks, high knees, lunges, and push ups in the hotel room. I didn’t get any running in, but I did work up a little sweat before it was time to high-tail it out of there.

I’m hoping to run once we make it to Tennessee, but we’ll see how it goes.

Our first destination this morning was a road trip stop classic – Dillard House.

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We’ve been stopping at The Dillard House for almost as long as I can remember. (Flashback to a visit in 2009 ) They specialize in old fashion southern style food that’s served family style and always leaves you with the feeling of wanting to unbutton your pants when you leave. It’s very heavy, loaded with grease and fat, and probably some of the best food you’ve ever had. It’s not something you want to eat everyday, but worth a visit every couple of years or so.

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We were seated immediately when we arrived and instructed to help ourselves to the continental bar before our hot food was served.

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I could have easily made my entire meal out of this breakfast bar and have been perfectly happy. There were amazing pastries, oatmeal, grits, tons of fresh fruit, and cereals galore.

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However, I was there for the greasy main event and didn’t want to fill up on bread. Instead, I took advantage of the gorgeous fresh berries and loaded my bowl up with a side of donut.

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The donut was a last minute grab and I’m so glad I did. It was warm and freshly fried with just the right amount of powdered-sugar sweetness. :)

Usually Dillard House is pretty quick with the food, but there was an error with our food ticket, so it took a little longer than we expected. When the food did arrive, the lost ticket sadly added a sour note to our whole experience and, instead of enjoying the food, we focused on what was wrong with it. Isn’t it sad how one little hiccup can change a whole group’s mood in a matter of minutes?

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The food was a little on the cold side and didn’t seem to be as bountiful as in visits past. The flavor and the grease was still there, but it was all missing the usual over-the-top-leaves-me-wanting-more flair.

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However, the cinnamon rolls – oh, yes, the cinnamon rolls – were served warm and easily the highlight of the entire meal. I grabbed one thinking I would only eat half, but I polished off the entire roll and almost went back for more.

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Delicious. :)

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We left Dillard House with full (but not stuffed) bellies and explored the grounds a bit to take in a little of the gorgeous weather and beautiful scenery.

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We left Dillard House with a two hour drive ahead of us before we reached our final destination. With such a short drive (and a whole day to explore) we decided to take our time soaking in the sights and just enjoying our time away.

We stopped at a local farmer’s market

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Did a little gambling.

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(turns out $5 does NOT go very far; even at the penny slots)

Entered the beautiful Smoky Mountains.

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And climbed to the top of Clingman’s Dome.

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We even made a friend. ;)

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Luckily we didn’t get to meet the mama.

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Somehow our 2 hour drive turned into 6, but I think we liked it better that way. ;)

We just arrived at the cabin and are about to make a fall feast.

Happy Friday everyone!

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather October 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Oh my gosh what beautiful views! That cinnamon roll’s not bad looking either ;)
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2 Hillary October 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Now THAT is a fall weekend!
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3 Christine @ Oatmeal in my Bowl October 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Love the pics! I heard that was one of the most visited parks. I can see why. Hope to venture there myself one day. Thank you for sharing.

BTW, I could easily devour into that continental bar, too. ;)
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4 Army Amy* October 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm

The little bear cub looks so cute!*
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5 Laura October 21, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Looks like such an awesome trip? Where is your final destination?
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6 Meghann October 21, 2011 at 8:07 pm

We’ll be in the Pigeon Forge area

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7 Melissa @ TryingToHeal October 21, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Bear! Lucky the little guy didn’t have his momma around. The hike looks nice though!
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8 RunningOnCoffee October 21, 2011 at 7:16 pm

I’ve actually eaten at the Dillard House before! And I stayed in a cabin at the top of a nearby mountain – Black Rock Mountain? It was 4th of July weekend 3 years ago.
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9 Kiran October 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm

Have fun with the parents and lets meet up soon for some homemade pumpkin chai latte :)
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10 Meghann October 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Yes! Soon!!

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11 Kristen October 21, 2011 at 7:30 pm

I love, love love the Dillard House…just went for the first time last year! The mountains are so pretty this time of year ! Was that SNOW on the trail in the mountains?? Crazy! Have fun!

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12 Meghann October 21, 2011 at 8:06 pm

Yes! There was snow at the top. :)

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13 Mary @ Bites and Bliss October 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm

That looks like a PERFECT fall outing! Very pretty. :) Kind of sketchy about the homeless man, though. While I don’t blame him for finding a warm place to spend the night…the hotel kind of gets points taken off for that AND having bad equipment. Oh well!
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14 MJ October 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

classes – Dillard Hose.

You probably meant “classic” and “Dillard House.”

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15 wymberley October 21, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I find that Cracker Barrel is hard to beat when it comes to greasy southern food. I would have stolen all those blueberries!!
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16 Alaina October 21, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Oh, these pictures make me realize how much I love the fall!

Hope you have a wonderful vacation!! :-)
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17 Ali @ Ali Runs October 21, 2011 at 9:13 pm

Looks like a great trip so far! Enjoy the rest of your time!
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18 Jackie @ MomJovi October 21, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Ugh, these pictures are making me want to go back to N.C. NOW! So beautiful. At least our Florida weather finally feels fall-like. I’m very jealous of your farmer’s market stop. That’s one regret from Asheville — not having time to squeeze one in.

And the bear? OMG, the baby bear. So stinkin cute.

Enjoy your weekend in the mountains!
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19 sara October 21, 2011 at 10:41 pm

i took a hiking roadtrip with a friend this summer and we started in the smokies in tennessee. on the morning we headed up to clingman’s dome, it was SO foggy and misty. (seriously, we couldn’t even see the top of the observation tower as we were walking up to it – http://www.flickr.com/photos/scorpiosphynx/6015675462/) it looks like you had a gorgeous day for it and hit it at the perfect time!
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20 Brittany October 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm

Gorgeous views!! Have a wonderful trip!

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21 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats October 21, 2011 at 11:07 pm

that sounds like such a great trip, and you’ve only gotten started! and that breakfast really makes me miss southern food… why did I leave SC again? Not sure.
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22 Regina October 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm

Hey, I’m in the smokies too. Getting married in Gatlinburg at our cabin tomorrow afternoon. We can see the snow on top of the mountain from our balcony. What a beautiful place to be. Enjoy your vacation, I know we will!!!

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23 Elisabeth October 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm

What beautiful views for your drive (and you look super cute in the pictures – especially love you & your mom together :) )!

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24 Sara@RunningInPinkProject October 22, 2011 at 12:05 am

I havent been to the Smokies in ages. Glad Mama Bear wasnt around!!!
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25 Brittney October 22, 2011 at 7:52 am

I just did a trip up there a couple weeks ago with my husband! We ate lunch near Clingman’s Dome and also saw a bear! Love it up there :)
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26 Sophie October 22, 2011 at 12:38 pm

All the views are amazing! Enjoy your break :)
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27 Theresa @ActiveEggplant.com October 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm

I love the Dillard House! My family vacations in that area of GA every year for 4th of July (and then either Thanksgiving or Christmas) – my brother lives close by so it’s a great destination every year. I definitely love the home-style atmosphere of DH!
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28 Susan October 23, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Those apple fritters with apple butter and cider look like they came from the Apple Barn in Sevierville?

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29 amyt @ Chicken Nugget Momma October 24, 2011 at 11:28 am

My mom and her friends take a trip to the mountains every year – they always have to stop at the Dillard House – one year they met Burt Reynolds…he flew in on a helicopter
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