Posted by: lylescott89 | June 20, 2013

The Great Smoky Mountains Journey Day Two: We Arrive in Wears Valley

Hey kids,

I have had my fair share of breakfasts at hotels.  Some are good, some are horrible and some are simply delicious.  I still contend that the breakfast buffet I had at my one and only stay at a La Quinta was the worst and that the buffet at the Residence Inn in Cleveland was the best.  I have to say that the breakfast at this particular Fairfield Inn would fall into the “very good” category, but still short of the Cleveland experience.

The Varsity Since we were not in a hurry I slept in as long as possible and went downstairs for a leisurely breakfast.  There I found eggs, sausage, bagels, English muffins, donuts, waffles and the item I love the most, biscuits and gravy.  I went right for the biscuits, opened the lid and…empty.  Dang it!  It sucks to be me.  I asked the hostess if she would be bringing out more and she said they were already in the oven and should be done in about five minutes.  Phew!  So while I was waiting I fixed myself eggs and sausage with a bagel and a healthy schmear.  Just as I was finishing the nice lady came out with the biscuits.  I split a couple open, smothered them in gravy and then added some scrambled eggs on top.  After that I spiced it up with a little Tabasco and I was all set.  The biscuits were perfect and the gravy was surprisingly delicious.

A short while later we loaded up the car and hit the road for day two of our journey.  (Oddly enough Journey was playing when we turned on the car) Donna took the first driving shift so I could digest my breakfast.  As we drove through Georgia Adam wanted to watch Netflix on my phone.  I told him that was fine as long as he plugged it in.  He agreed and did so, but there was a problem. For some reason the car charger that worked all day yesterday was not working today.  Donna immediately said that it must be a problem with the phone, but I disagreed.  I said that when we stopped for lunch in Atlanta we’d see if there was a Verizon store nearby and we would get a new one.  We had already planned on stopping at The Varsity (an Atlanta institution) but instead of stopping at the original downtown we chose to drive to the one in Kennesaw because it was right next to a Verizon store.  How convenient.

We stopped at Verizon before lunch and there were two guys there.  We walked up to the first guy and he just pointed toFireplace that we never needed the other guy and said “Steve will help you”.  Wow!  What a guy!  I told Steve the story and he checked both the phone and the charger and said it was definitely not a phone issue and that the charger just went bad.  Steve said they have a tendency to do that so I purchased a new one and off to lunch we went.  When we told Steve where we were going he wanted to join us for lunch.  However, he had to work.  Poor Steve.

We arrived at The Varsity and it was bright and huge with a lot of people behind the counter welcoming me with the traditional Varsity welcome, “What’ll ya have?”  Adam went for the bacon cheeseburger, onion rings and a frosted orange while I went for the two chili dogs, onion rings and a cherry coke.  Donna had a salad and some of the aforementioned O-rings.  I had suspected that Adam would not be a huge fan of the frosted orange and he ended up drinking some of it and then shared my Cherry Coke.  Donna and I split the frosted orange.  Everything was superbly delicious.  As I went back for a refill of the Cherry Coke I decided that I wanted a fried pie for dessert.  I went with apple.  Adam ate about half of it.  After one more refill we were on our way.

Nice ViewA few hours later and after countless questions from Adam about how close we were getting we arrived in the Smoky Mountains.  Donna and I both noted that it was raining as we arrived, just like it was two years ago when we were there.  Coincidence?  I think not.  We went to the Cove Mountain office, picked up our packet of goodies and directions to the cabin and headed there immediately.  The cabin was called Aleska and when she told us it was secluded she really meant it.  It was up in the mountains and down a fairly steep driveway.  Now the bad thing about the driveway is that you could not really turn the car around very well.  The first time I tried it took me a good 15 minutes, but then again I’ve never been particularly good at the “back-in”.  Donna, of course, had no issues while it took me almost the whole week to figure out how to do it efficiently.

A quick side note: the cabin was advertised as being a leisurely stroll from the pool and fishing pond.  Apparently leisurely strolls are a lot different in Tennessee than they are in Florida.  It took four plus minutes in a car up winding roads to get to the cabin from the pool.

We unpacked the car and marveled at the beauty of the cabin.  It was to be our home for the next week and I could not have been happier.  It had three levels, a hot tub and a glorious mountain view.  There were bunk beds downstairs for Adam along with a big TV, a foosball table and video games.  The main level had the living area and kitchen as well as a lovely bathroom while upstairs was the master bed and bath.  My only complaint was that there was no bathroom on the lowest level.  Other than that it was perfect.  The owners had decorated it with a lot of bears and it was all very rustic, albeit with central heat and air.  The back porch had rocking chairs, a lot of peace and quiet and more bears.

Miss Lily's CafeI figured that it would be wise to go and get groceries for the week and suggested I cook dinner for everyone, but Adam and Donna were starving so we went to dinner first followed by a trip to the 19th century IGA with 21st century prices.  There was a book on the dining room table and it had one of those little scan codes on the cover.  It said to scan for menus and coupons.  I scanned and up popped menus and coupons.  I found a place that looked very quaint called Miss Lily’s Café and it also had a 10% off coupon.  Donna perused the menu and she said it looked good so off we went.  Of course, it was still raining.

It was a small café, but not busy.  They had a beautiful dessert case up front with these big ass cookies that looked wonderful.  (They looked better than they were, but I am getting ahead of myself)  We were quickly seated and met by our waitress who we will call Sylvia.  I showed Sylvia my 10% coupon and she said that it had to be printed or she could not accept it.  I explained how it worked and that it had a code on it for her to use, but she insisted that the coupon had to be stapled to the check for it to be valid.  I showed her where it said “show this to your server” but she would not budge.  Donna told me to drop it and I did lest it ruin the first night in the Smokies.

Adam ordered the trout while Donna went with the blackened tilapia.  I ordered something called “Steve’s Pulled Pork”Steve's Pulled Pork which was of no relation to Steve at Verizon.  I made a joke with Sylvia to make sure that it was okay with Steve that I ordered his pulled pork.  Sylvia had no sense of humor and just asked me what sides I wanted.  I went with coleslaw and macaroni & cheese.  Sylvia learned the hard way that one must laugh at my jokes in order to get a good tip.

All of the food was very good and very filling so we ordered our cookies to go and figured we’d enjoy them at the cabin with some cold milk.  Adam went with chocolate chip, Donna chose peanut butter and I went with white chocolate espresso.  Adam’s cookie was soft, gooey and most excellent.  Donna’s cookie was soft and very tasty.  My cookie was flavorful, but hard as a rock.  It sucks to be me.

I’ll spare you the details of the trip to the IGA as it was quite ordinary with the exception of Adam grabbing anything and everything off the shelves and asking “can we get this?”  Trust me when I say that gets old very quickly.

Back at the cabin we put the groceries away and had our cookies and milk.  We sat outside in the rockers and enjoyed the cool mountain air and saw lots and lots of fireflies.  All I could think of was how wonderful it would be not to ever Lots of Bearshave to work and to be able to do this every day.  I was pretty darn happy.  Well, I was until Adam went to bed and then decided he was too scared to sleep all alone in the bunk bed.  So like a good daddy I told him I would sleep in the bottom bunk the first night until he got used to the cabin.  I was met with a big hug and was told I was the best daddy ever.  That made me happy too.

As you can guess there is much more to this story, but as usual you will have to wait patiently for the next installment.



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