OK here we go on Part 2 of our girls weekend in Knoxville. Gals flew in from Chicago and Portland on a Thursday night. The Chicago girls got the party started at O’Hare. You go girls.
Our weekend group all met freshman year in college at Northern Illinois University, where we were almost all floor mates on Stevenson South Floor 5. It’s amazing that a random group of girls could be put on a floor together and become lifelong friends. We’ve played “bunko” over the years, gathering at each other homes to eat, drink, and share the ups and downs of life. When I announced I was moving to Knoxville, this sweet group not only gave me a wonderful going away party and a beautiful Brighton friendship bracelet, but suggested we have a Knoxville party in the fall. What are the chances all nine girls could break from their schedules and getaway? Several were missing final fall sports competitions, awards or banquets for their kids, but still made it to Knoxville. The weekend DID NOT DISAPPOINT!
We chipped in for a 15-person passenger van for the weekend, and after pickup at the airport headed to my home. There had been a lot of planning going into the weekend. We shared ideas about what we wanted to do for the weekend (laugh and visit was at the top of everyone’s list.) We signed up for “jobs” : seated left to right we had Mary (Pickup Artist, garbage recycling), Navigator (Sherry), Barmaid (Vicky), Timekeeper (Julie), Driver/Hostess (Carol), Robin (Kitty money collector), Denise (Meal Planning, Pickup Artist), Laura (Photographer), and on the floor Lisa (Meal Planner, Head Chef.)
We are all holding a gift sweet Denise brought for everyone (I have no idea what the 50th reference relates to.) And I’ll share a picture of the contents when I wrap up the story of our weekend.
We did a house tour before we pulled straws for room assignments. I pointed out the various rooms for accommodations, everything from two boys rooms sharing a bath, the guest room with twin beds and it’s own bath (Julie whispered to me, what’s this room called? hoping to get it, ha ha), a bonus room with futon and air mattress, and my room with king bed and air mattress. We pulled popsicle sticks with one side saying what night you wanted to cook dinner (Fri or Sat) and the other end said the room and bed you had. Well, what do you know, Julie pulled the guest room after all!
In the morning there was a little exploring outside, and Julie started the adventures with a climb up the backyard tree house.
After coffee, bagels and muffins, we loaded up the van to head to downtown Knoxville.
First stop was the Eastern Tennessee Veterans Memorial Museum, an outdoor memorial. Happy Veteran’s Day to all those who have served our country!
Next stop Sunsphere at World’s Fair Park. Knoxville held a World’s Fair here in the 1980’s, and created this entire park area. You can find out more about this interesting area at:
It was a lovely day and we went to the top of the dome and saw some nice views of the area. Including University of Tennessee, Smoky Mountains and the Tennessee River.
After this we headed to Market Square in the center of downtown. Great area blocked off to traffic, lined with shops and restaurants, fountains, statues and a place with good vibes.
We walked around and looked for a place with outdoor seating for 9, and settled at Bella Luna for a round of drinks and lunch. Very good, most of us split a salad and the Chicken Pesto Panini.
After lunch, we had to hustle so I grabbed the car while the girls took some pictures near the Tennessee Women Suffrage Memorial. This group had a hard time taking a good picture all weekend, since someone usually had their head thrown back laughing. I sorted through everyone’s photos that Laura so wonderfully collected on Walgreens.com and loved that so many photos had laughing ladies.
They seemed to be making fun of a van driver at the time of the above photo (yours truly.)
This was such a great day. We had manicure, pedicure or massage appointments in Turkey Creek, the large shopping area near my home. We split up for our appointments, then split up once again to either hit the liquor store or the grocery store. At the grocery store, we stopped to see if we could help a woman in a pickup truck with a flat tire. I grabbed Julie who I knew is super handy with tools and cars, though we didn’t think there was too much we could do, we gave her some moral support while she waited for her friend to come help with the repair. Gotta share the love, and someone in the van captured a pic for posterity.
Back home it was time for cocktails and heavy appetizers for dinner. The kitchen squad was a talented and hard working bunch, led by Lisa, chef extrordinaire and Laura was chopping vegetables for quite awhile, thank you very much!
Backyard nighttime photos are a little rough, it looks like there was a nearby bonfire but it was simply candlelight, plenty of food and beverages. The night began to get cool so I handed out blankets and the group started to get just a little quiet.
It may have been the hostess that said, let’s get this party started, and soon the music was turned up a tad and a bit of dancing began, and before long ladies were up out of their chairs. I think the picture below was captured right after I asked the group “can you believe I don’t have more friends out here?” YET!
All good things must come to an end and as Friday night ended, all were reminded the Great Smoky Mountains required an EARLY Saturday morning departure. And that, my friends, will be another post for another day. Thank you for reading!!