Tag Archives: Pigeon Forge Tennessee

50th Anniversary Trip-Last Day

17 Jun

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

April 14, 2021 Leaving Pigeon Forge

Our final morning in Pigeon Forge,Tennessee. The days had flown by and I wondered if I should have booked 7 nights instead of 5. Maybe it was good to leave with future adventures to anticipate rather than a “been there done that feeling.”

Our check-out time was 10 am and we had a lot of stuff to load into the car. We made it with minutes to spare and waved a fond good-bye to our unit.

As you may have noticed from previous posts, my husband loves Krispy Kreme doughnuts. For him, a trip to Pigeon Forge always includes a visit to the doughnut shop. Every day of our stay he would ask if that day was KK day. Every day I said not yet, until this day, our final day. After all, our route from the time-share to highway 441 to begin our journey home would take us past Krispy Kreme.

Photo Credit Pinterest

In past times we would always purchase a dozen glazed doughnuts, preferably hot from the fryer. Now we limit our order to one each or two each for special occasions. Fifty years of marriage definitely qualified as special.

Photo Credit Trip Advisor


Our daughter and I were salivating over the featured doughnut flavor, Oreo. We decided to split one. It was good but not nearly as tasty as it appeared.

After 5 days of doughnut deprivation my husband was too intent on wolfing them down for me to get a good picture. I had to settle for this one.

Hyped up with sugar and caffeine we began our return journey through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Newfound Gap is where the states of North Carolina and Tennessee meet. Several hiking trails including the famous Appalachian Trail can be accessed at the gap. I was impressed with this group of older hikers and wondered what sort of trail they were attempting.

When we began our anniversary trip we were thrilled to view an elk herd wading in the Oconoluftee river. We weren’t so lucky on this day, but we did take the time to enjoy a walk by the river. I was fascinated by the tree roots growing on top of the ground.

I think I may enjoy the spring colors of the mountains more than fall. There is something about the tender green of the leaves and the delicate blossoms that speaks life to me.

50 years of marriage. So many memories we have made together. Life hasn’t been perfect, but wouldn’t perfect be boring? We have always enjoyed road trips and the memories that stand out are the ones that began with a wrong turn or a particularly unpleasant situation that turned into a funny memory. We are looking forward to whatever time God has ordained for our future together. We are blessed.

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue touse my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

50th Anniversary-Part 3

13 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

April 11, 2021 Day 3 Pigeon Forge, NC

We woke up this morning to sunshine and cool temperatures. A perfect day for the short hike we had planned, the Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail located in the Chimney Tops Picnic area, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Here is a description. You can read more HERE

Short but very sweet, the Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail is a self-guided interpretive footpath that serves as the perfect introduction to one of North America’s richest ecosystems: the Southern Appalachian cove hardwood forest. In spring, the woods here serve up a truly spectacular wildflower display: one of the most lavish and accessible in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

There were two signs at the start, one describing the wildflowers we would see, the other a warning. The man(teen) caused 2016 fires were devastating to the forest as well as humans.The fires ripped through mountain homes forcing fleeing residents to endure harrowing drives through the fires. We drove through one of the affected neighborhoods and were horrified at what the people must have experienced. In broad daylight the steep narrow road set my nerves on edge.

The loop trail was.9 of a mile with some up and downs, but overall was a fine trail.

It was good to see families on the walk. Watching the young ones scamper up the path brought to mind hikes with our children. So much energy! I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything. We did see flowers too.

After our walk we ventured into the picnic area. We were surprised to discover the Park service had closed a whole section. We were even more surprised to discover they had also closed ALL of the restrooms. There was only a two door portable toilet! But when one is desperate, you do what you have to do. Fortunately the line was not too long and thanks to Covid, I had plenty of hand sanitizer. After lunch we decided to try another nearby short hike, The Sugarlands Valley Trail.

This trail is more of a stroll than a hike and the cool thing is that it is 100% handicap assesible. This is the description from Alltrails.com

Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is a 0.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking, running, and nature trips and is accessible year-round.

I am a history fan and my imagination kicked into high gear as we walked past river stone chimneys and old foundations. The settlers were forced to leave their land to make way for the National Park. I can imagine their sorrow leaving the beautiful community.

There was a couple power walking and I wondered if they were “locals” who walked there frequently, They passed by us several times as we strolled, but we were content and thankful to be able to enjoy it at our own pace.

Back at the time share, we began to think about supper. Fresh air does that! My plan was to dine at family owned restaurants but the ones we saw,for the most part, only served breakfast and lunch. The main road, known as The Parkway was lined with restaurants but we weren’t excited about endless traffic lights and bumper to bumper vehicles. When my daughter and I had been shopping previously we discovered a road parallel to the parkway with less traffic. Surely there would be restaurants there too. And there was! We chose Texas Roadhouse. The meal was delicious and no cooking and washing up for me! When we returned to the time share, the temperature had dropped. We turned on the gas logs fireplace and settled in to watch a television program before turning in for the night. Tomorrow we would be visiting one of our favorite places, Cades Cove.

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue touse my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

Oh April-50th Anniversary Part 2

6 May

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

April 10, 2021-Day 2

We began our first full day in Pigeon Forge with coffee on the porch, followed by a breakfast of peanut butter waffles and precooked bacon. I prepared the waffles before leaving home, so it was a simple matter of popping them in the toaster. Over breakfast we discussed our plan for the day. Afternoon rain was forecast so we decided to venture out to a short nature trail behind the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

The trail was an easy 1.1 mile walk, more like a stroll through the woods leading to Cataract Falls. Perfect! Shortly after we began walking, we felt a few sprinkles of rain, but nothing more. We came across multiple signs like this one, It was interesting to know not only the name of the plants, trees and bushes, but how they were used.

Of course, no self respecting mountain trail would be complete without a cheerful stream running alongside.

Just before the bridge was this odd tree stump. What stories it could tell!

When we arrived at the falls, a light rain began, but it didn’t last long enough to wet us. An interesting interaction happened where people were having their pictures taken in front of the falls. A bystander saw a group posing and called out a man’s name. Surprised laughter followed. To the best of my eavesdropping ability, it seemed they were acquaintances from the same town and I think they were involved in a sport. You just never know who you will see. We did the picture thing too.

Husband and daughter

After leaving the falls we discovered a shortcut back to our car. Not nearly as picturesque, but with rain threatening, it seemed like the best choice. We followed a couple who were walking confidently and seemed to know where they were going. I’m glad we chose that route as it brought us out in front of the stone ranger station. We admired the stone work. There’s just something about it that says strong and enduring.

Back at the timeshare we had lunch then banished my husband to take a nap. My daughter and I decided to brave the impending rain and do some shopping in Sevierville. I got a kick out of the ducks in front of the Dollar Tree store. Just before I snapped the picture their faces were pressed close to the windows.

Taco soup that I made ahead at home was a perfect rainy night supper, followed by streaming one of our favorite TV shows ended day 2 of our anniversary celebration.

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue touse my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

Oh April-50th Anniversary Part 1

29 Apr

On the porch

Onisha Ellis

April 9, 2021-Day One

Our daughter arrived the previous night. She drove up from Florida. We made the decision over supper to not rush around in the morning to get an early start. We would be spending 5 nights at a time share in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee that our friend generously gifted us and check in was after 4 pm. The drive would take two to two and one half hours, depending on how often we stopped while driving through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

After coffee on the porch, a leisurely breakfast and some last minute packing, we loaded our daughter’s Toyota Rav 4 and set out. (Remember from last week, our car’s check engine light was triggered on our trip from Florida.) Over the years we have spent many happy hours in the GSMNP, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. In our younger days we would day trip with my husband driving late a night, back to our rented cabin in Franklin, NC. Often the fog was swirling thick, but my husband handled the driving well. Many nights I held a sleeping, exhausted child in my arms. Sweet memories. Since we are well past our younger days we haven’t been able to explore our favorite places on the Tennessee side. We would have 5 days to visit favorite places and maybe find some news ones.

We were almost to the Oconoluftee Visitor Center when we saw cars parked alongside the road. This usually indicates elk in the fields but we didn’t see any. Our daughter spotted the elk in a river partially hidden by trees. We had seen pictures of the elk in the river but never witnessed it. My daughter and I grabbed our cameras and strode across the fields. They were beautiful.

The ducks enjoyed the water as well. There were more elk on the opposite shore but we didn’t get them in the pictures or the video.

This website

Where to view elk in the Great Smoky National Park has helpful information should you be planning a visit.

When we arrived in Pigeon Forge, we easily found our holiday retreat. We weren’t sure what to expect, as the property had several room options.

At check in we learned that we were assigned a Pedestal townhouse. I was thrilled.

The stairs were a bit of a trial, hauling our suitcases, coolers and the assorted things we felt we just had to have. After settling in, we were ready for some supper. In Pigeon Forge the main highway is called The Parkway. It is lined on both sides with every kind of business and restaurants. We decided our first holiday meal would be at Cheddars. It’s a chain restaurant but one we don’t have in our small town.

Our meal was excellent. A good choice for our first night. We returned to our rental and discovered the wi-fi surpassed our expectations. We brough out our Roku and settled in for television streaming.

Next week, day two and the hunt for wildflowers.

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue touse my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

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