Sorry for delay in fresh content on smokymountainviews. My advertisers have been starting to complain (kidding) so lets see if I can get back on the blogging track. Last time we were all together I was talking about the Biltmore Estate and Downton Abbey. Since then, we’ve enjoyed both snow days and some nice weather in Knoxville, hiked Laurel Falls on Valentines Day, hosted mother in law Jan, Uncle Bruce and Aunt Lynn for a visit, Kevin got his braces off and started playing with a competitive AAU basketball team, Tom and I did a mini-25th anniversary getaway to Nashville, I started playing in a USTA tennis league, Brian is home for spring break and I’m in the early stages of college basketball overload with a Noakes family NCAA bracket and a $100 prize at stake. And I made a spring wreath for my front door. How’s that for an update!?
Late February and early March we had visits from Tom’s family and had fun sight-seeing in Knoxville and the Smoky Mountains. One of my new favorite things to do is hit the daily Blue Plate Special at the downtown Knoxville Visitor Center.
There is a daily live performance from two bands at noon at the WDVX radio station. You can get a two-hour parking pass and enjoy live music then grab a bite to eat or shop a bit on Gay Street. We enjoyed some music then hit Mast General Store across the street and indulged in some popcorn and a bag of candy from their old-fashioned section of candy in a barrel (must have–bag of Good and Plenty, very fresh.)
Uncle Bruce got me fired up in the kitchen and shared a couple of traditional family favorites, crepes and fudge! We went from this…..
to this in 30 minutes! Delicious fudge.
We had to visit the Smokies while they were in town. It was a sunny day but cold and as usual, the scenery was breathtaking.
We left for the park about 10am and did the usual…entered park at Metcalf Bottoms between Townsend and Gatlinburg, drove along gorgeous Little River Road (never disappoints, beautiful rushing water over huge boulders, lovely in every season especially when there is no traffic,) video at Sugarland Visitor Center (partially under construction now, small museum inside is closed but still nice video, gift shop and rest rooms,) then we drove up to the Rockefeller Memorial at the Newfound Gap Overlook, the gorgeous location where Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the park in September, 1940, saying:
“...It is good and right that we should conserve these mountain heights of the old frontier for the benefit of the American people. But in this hour we have to safeguard a greater thing: the right of the people of this country to live as free men. Our vital task of conservation is to preserve the freedom that our forefathers won in this land, and the liberties that were proclaimed in our Declaration of Independence and embodied in our Constitution…”
The Appalachian Trail weaves through the park and now Lynn and Jan can say they’ve hiked the Appalachian Trail.
We saw a couple of hikers warming up along the base of the Memorial and I joked we should give them some fudge. Leave it to Bruce to hop out of the car and offer these guys a bit of our homemade sunshine. They eagerly accepted and told him they’d been in 80 mile per hour wind and frigid cold the night before trying to keep their tents from blowing over. Nothing a couple of pieces of Bruce’s fudge couldn’t cure!
We stopped for some pictures on the way up and down the road, including a frozen runoff waterfall
We also stopped at the 0.5 mile loop walk at Sugarlands Valley Self-Guiding Nature Trail and saw plenty of downed tree limbs and the impact of the recent heavy winds. It’s a pretty walk and gives you a nice chance for a photo opportunity along the rushing river.
What wonderful guests that we hope come back again and again. We’re thrilled that their daughter (cousin Kim) and family will be here for a few days on Monday. I need to pull out the crepe pan.
After Bruce and Lynn left, Jan stayed on through the weekend so Tom and I could getaway to Nashville. I’ll be back with more pictures and stories of that fun soon. Until then, enjoy this morning’s sunrise, the rest of your weekend and may your favorite teams make it to the Sweet 16!