Wanderlust: Meet Me in the Mountains

I don’t know if it’s the pandemic or just the usual blah-ness of March, but I’m getting anxious for travel. So I thought I’d share some travel memories with these kind of mini-reviews of vacation spots.

One of my family’s go-to vacation spots is Gatlinburg, TN. I’ve been there… probably enough that it would balance out to about once per every year of my life. (For every year that we skipped, there’s a year when we went twice.) Looking back over these pictures has me longing for the mountains. It might be a “tourist trap,” yes… but at least it’s a beautiful one steeped in nature.

And honestly, I’ve never bought into the negativity that comes with the idea of a “tourist trap.” So I’m a tourist. Why is that so bad? I’m on vacation! If something has been put there to profit off of me, but it’s still a lot of fun… then why not do it? (You never have to ask me twice to play mini golf.) I’m not going to be rude– there’s a difference, I think, between a tourist and an obnoxious tourist. But we all spent most of our time in our “real lives” worrying about what others are thinking and trying to better ourselves and so on and so forth… so why not, when you’re on vacation, give in to a little bit of “fun just ‘cuz?”

Gatlinburg certainly has plenty of that–restaurants and attractions and more fudge shops than anyone can count. But the nice thing about Gatlinburg is that there’s much, much more than what’s advertised in all the pamphlets. You can go for a hike. You can visit historical sites. You can stop by local artisans’ shops. There’s something very “grounding” about being in the middle of Appalachia, even as you’re walking down a busy street with a Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum on one side and a flashing, cacophonous arcade on the other.

So be a tourist. But maybe check out the other stuff, too. Chances are you’ll find there’s a lot more to discover… and a lot more fun to be had.

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