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on top of old smoky / travel journal

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While mom was here, we took a girl’s getaway over to the Smoky Mountains. My family has made that our kind of annual family vacation, and we really enjoy spending time exploring all together. This time it was just the two of us, and we stayed closer to the touristy spots (and moonshine distilleries :)) than we typically do.

It should come as little surprise that I love wine, so one of the first things we do as soon as we get off the exit, we make a stop at the first winery, Eagle Springs. This is my favorite winery in the smokies (and also the sweetest, if you’re into sweet wines) and they’re known for their honey and fruit wines.


We continued along the wine trail hitting Hillside Winery (another favorite – I’ve raved about their Cantina Bianca before), Apple Barn Winery (if you go, you have to try the apple fritters!), then finishing the first night at Mountain Valley where we picked up some cheese and crackers to nibble on in the hotel room.

The next morning we woke up to load up on Starbucks since the hotel coffee left MUCH to be desired, and did a little shopping at the Sevierville outlet malls before heading into Gatlinburg to finish the wine trail at Sugarland Cellars and get started on the distilleries.


There were three new distilleries from the last time I was in town, and the first new one we went to was Doc Collier. I really enjoyed this one, and our pourer was great. We didn’t make it back here, but I wish I would have grabbed a bottle of their watermelon moonshine. After Doc Collier’s, we also hit Ole Smoky Distillery, Davy Crockett’s (another new-to-me place) and Sugarland Shine.


East Tennessee is such a beautiful and relaxing place and if you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend checking it out for a night or two. There’s a lot to do (beyond just sampling the local flavors) and it’s a great place to unwind!

Have you ever gone on a wine trail or moonshine tour? What’s your favorite flavor?

May 12, 2015

What’s Been Going On

Posted in Living by

I feel like I didn’t write very much about my summer other than this: it has been crazy. While preparing a travel photo blog post for The Hudsucker, I thought I’d share a little more over here about what’s been going on since I said so long, astoria!

The last update saw me going back to Charlottesville from Michigan. I spent most of that time packing and preparing for a trip to Nashville, where I filled Sixx’s room with bags and boxes of my stuff, ate a lot of sub-par burgers, and went to the Summer NAMM trade show. We also enjoyed an alumni networking event thrown by my college, and followed that up with a more “unofficial” afterparty.


After that I headed back to Charlottesville for one last week of work, my favorite restaurants, and a last chance to do some of the things I’d always meant to get around to.


Finally, I “moved” over to Nashville. I slept on my friend’s couch, cuddled with her cat while she went to work, and in one weekend, went to more shows than I did in my entire tenure as a Charlottesvillian.


Then after that, I wasn’t even settled in to my apartment, I packed up my dirty clothes and headed to the family condo for vacation in Sevierville County, Tennessee. I was grateful for free laundry, of course for family time, and doing fun favorite activities and new experiences. The Rocky Top Wine Trail has some of the best wine I’ve ever tasted, and we tend to do this trail at least twice every trip. (We really like wine.) This time, we also found a great deal on a zipline/horesback riding package. To be honest, the horeseback riding was scarier than the zipline because it had been raining and the horses were sliding all over the trail. We also got a vacation pass for one of the go-kart tracks, and the girls loved that. Heck, I did too – but every time I turn on to the gravel parking lot at work, I’m tempted to spin my car around the way we did on those tracks! I’m glad we had some fun new experiences – and at the end of the week, I inherited all the leftovers. There are currently 10 pounds of ground beef, 5 pounds of pulled pork, and a full pan of homemade lasagna in my freezer. I’m not complaining of course – but do you know how much food that is?!


I’ve had a great, crazy, busy summer. But I’m ready to get back into a routine. Start working out again. Unpack, organize, and maybe get some furniture in my house (that’s another post all in itself….)

workI just finished (and loved) If I Stay and Paper Towns – what other suggestions do you have for treehouse reading?

August 16, 2014