Gray family vacations always possess a spirit of adventure. For my wife and I (and now our kids), the notion of taking time off to go lounge by a pool is sacrilege. When we leave our daily lives behind, we like to explore new places, meet new people, try new things, and generally spend as little time as possible sitting still. Simply, our time off is time on. For this year’s excursion, we set our sites on the inimitable Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Early on, we decided that this would be a road trip, which would save us a bit of money on transportation costs and give us wheels once we got there. The drive from St. Louis to the Park is about 8-8.5 hours, give or take. On the way there, we decided to stop for a bite to eat in Louisville; a city where none of us has ever been. It was certainly well worth the detour (most direct route is through Nashville)!
inside Please and Thank You Cafe in the NuLu neighborhood
Off to a great start, we fell a bit behind schedule, and so checked into our AirBnB at Camp GRITS in Cosby, Tennessee a little later than expected. This cost us our first planned hike, but the area around our accommodations, in the 1959 Shasta camper, was so evocative that we hardly felt like we missed out.
We picked up some firewood, and had an incredible first night in.
(visualization of a 3.5 year old’s movement after a s’mores sugar rush)