Saturday, October 25, 2014


As I said, we were quite shocked to go from the serene loveliness of the Blue Ridge Parkway directly into the honky-tonk of Gatlinburg

Our visit to Gatlinburg started out rather roughly - but ended in our second miracle of the trip.   We were supposed to stay at the Best Western Crossroads.......a free night with my Best Western points.   We were having trouble finding the hotel.  Finally we found "Crossroads" and it was the right address so we figured that had to be it.

 When we went in though, the young lady at the counter said they didn't have our reservation.   It turns out that two weeks earlier they had changed hands and were no longer a Best Western property, so naturally they couldn't let us stay there using Best Western points. Thankfully the older gentleman who was also at the counter knew about the situation and said we'd been moved to the Best Western right across the street.  Phew!!

The hotel and most of one side of the street is built on a river.  We had a little waterfall right outside our room.

We went out that night when we got there to check out the nightlife - sadly without the camera.   We had a great time walking up and down the main drag.  There were tons of restaurants, stores, arcades, Ripley's places and liquor places!  The most popular brand of liquor there is Moonshine and there was more than one place that had a "tasting" area.  You could try four different flavors.....two shots of each flavor!  The biggest Moonshine store had a stage in front of it with rocking chairs for the audience.  The band on the stage played live country music.  We had dinner at Calhoun's and it was delicious!

The next morning we checked out. left our car at the hotel, and walked over to the Aquarium which was the main reason I wanted to stay in Gatlinburg.

We got there a bit early so took some pictures downtown.

The Aquarium was very cool.  We saw some really interesting fish:

Their claim to fame is a tube you go through on a conveyor belt and the fish are swimming all around you

I also got to touch the jellyfish

The penguin exhibit was very small - not like the one in Boston.  But you could crawl through a tunnel and stick your head up in a bubble right inside the penguin tank.

I am amazed and laughing and pointing out a particular penguin for Tag

Check out the name tag on his arm....Frank...Tag's real name.  He was standing right in front of me and you can't see it from this angle but he has a soul patch!

I tried really hard to pat the Manta Ray's but they teased me by swimming just out of reach

Our next stop....Nashville!

But first, our second miracle of the trip.   We had left our car parked in front of our room at the hotel.  We had checked out but walked to the Aquarium.  When we went back to get our car, the maid was cleaning our hotel room.  When she saw us getting into the car right in front of the room, she came out and asked us if we were the people who'd been in that room.  We said "yes", and she said, "there's a coat left in the closet".  Tag went in and retrieved his coat..........which had his wallet in the pocket.

Next:  our arrival in Nashville

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