Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Awesome Anniversary

A wee bit o' background for ya - October 21/22, 2006: The Hubs and I had been dating for less than 4 months and decided to take an impromptu day trip to Bowling Green, Kentucky to tour the Corvette manufacturing plant.
Ah, six years younger and 50 pounds skinnier...
Since we were already half-way to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, we decided on a whim to just head down for the night and come back the next evening. We had very little money, no hotel reservations, and the time of our lives. 

Smoky Mountain Pit Stop
Fast forward two years, and you're at October 20th, 2008 - two days after our wedding and the first day of our week-long honeymoon in...Gatlinburg, Tennessee. 

(Pretend you see pictures here of us, just two years older and a few pounds heavier.) 

Fast forward four more years, and you're at October 20th, 2012 - the third time The Hubs and I have been to Gatlinburg together, and also, somewhat coincidentally, the third time we have been to Gatlinburg on that EXACT SAME weekend in October. I now consider it our lucky weekend. The weather is always fantastic, and things just kind of seem to fall in place for us there and then. 
Yep, it's hanging off the mountain.
We arrived at our chalet around 3:30 pm on Saturday. See that gorgeous 2013 Chevy Equinox? It's not ours, but we wish it was. The Hubs and I have had our hearts set on one for a while now, and he jumped through a thousand hoops to find one for us to rent for the trip as a surprise for me. One Thousand Awesome Husband Points for him! 

We settled into the chalet and changed clothes for dinner/sightseeing around town. Remember how I had said I had been waiting for a steak from The Park Grill for months? It TOTALLY didn't disappoint. I had a combo 5 oz. filet mignon and pineapple moonshine grilled chicken - mouth orgasms all around.

After dinner we did a little sightseeing around Gatlinburg. Bought some fudge, which is a requirement down there, and also visited a moonshine distillery. They were offering free tastings of their 12 flavors of moonshine, so The Hubs and I gathered all the courage we could muster and saddled up to the bar.

They started - STARTED - with 100 proof White Lightning moonshine...
Seriously, The Hubs and I thought we were gonna die, y'all. After a too short recovery period, the next sample was White Lightning marinated cherries. Yum, cherries! This can't be bad!  

Um, not so much. We are total losers! I couldn't get my 1/2 cherry down, and The Hubs suffered through his. From there, we decided that we are not cool enough to be moonshine junkies, and gave up on the tasting. But, I have to say, I am dorkily proud of the fact that we both even TRIED the White Lightning. I bought us a magnet and Christmas ornament to commemorate our bravery. LOL

Sunday, we had a train excursion from Bryson City, North Carolina, which is near Cherokee. To get to Cherokee, you have to drive through (up, down, around, into, etc.) the Smoky Mountains. Great views, hell on the inner ears.
How do you like his $3 sunglasses we bought during an emergency WalMart run the night before? LOL
The train excursion was through the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, and was a 4.5 hour trip through the mountains. The Conductor walked our engine to the front of our train and we boarded our swanky first class car.
I think I can, I think I can.
First Class, y'all. It's how we roll. 
Our first class ticket came with lunch and desert aboard the train, a free souvenir tumbler with free pop/tea/coffee for each of us (which you can see in the above picture), and a free embroidered tote bag each. We rode about 1.5 hours out and had a layover at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, where we watched amazing kayakers make the river their bitch. 
No kayakers here, but you'll just have to trust me. They. Were. Awesome.

Then we took the train back to Bryson City and did a little shopping there. I got The BFF some Pumpkin Butter and we got ourselves some Sweet Potato Butter. So delish! 

After leaving Bryson City, we went back to Cherokee to the Harrah's Casino on the Reservation. No pictures of this, but I totally won $70 on a 30 cent bet on penny slots. Boo-yah! I ended the night up $40, Jack ended down $15. Not too shabby for us novice gamblers! Then we drove back through the mountains (much more scary in the pitch black night) and ended the night with wine (me), beer (him), and cigars (both) in the hot tub on the chalet deck. 

Monday, we partook in a Gatlinburg tradition - the Sky Lift. 
One cable and one tiny little yellow bar protecting you from sure death.
We did some shopping and looking around, and then we hit up another Gatlinburg tradition for us - going to the Thomas Kinkade Gallery. Ever since that very first trip to Gatlinburg, we make it a point to go into the Gallery and drool over the expensive beautiful-ness. Back in 2006, we literally fought over two paintings that we couldn't have afforded in a million years - Evening Majesty (which is now sold out unless you want a gigantic one for $2200, btw), and Mountain Paradise

The Hubs pulled me aside in one of the gallery rooms and told me, very sweetly, that he knows how badly we've both wanted a Kinkade, and that he doesn't do enough nice things for me (not true!), and that he wanted to surprise me and purchase which ever one I wanted as an anniversary gift. 

I was floored. My husband is frugal. My husband handles the finances and gets upset when I eat out for lunch. My husband wears underwear until you cant figure out which hole the legs go into because he doesn't "need" to spend the money on new ones. (TMI? Sorry 'bout that.) But the point is - here was my sweet, sweet man, telling me that he doesn't do enough for me, and offering to buy me any incredibly expensive painting I wanted (within our pre-determined budget, of course.) Seriously? Tears. At the art gallery. In public. But I don't care. 

We had an awesome dealer working with us, who was able to help us figure out a way to stay within our budget and accomplish two things: (1) Get the Mountain Paradise Kinkade that we have been wanting for so long (24x36, and framed), and (2) Get another painting that we had seen in the gallery this trip and fallen madly in love with. This one is by an 18-year-old, self-taught artist named Abraham J. Hunter, and it's GORGEOUS. And all mine in an 18x27, also framed. 

The Hunter piece will be arriving this week, but we have to wait until December to get our Kinkade. The piece has to come from the warehouse, which takes 3-4 weeks, but our gallery is hosting a highlighting event with a Kinkade Master Highlighter (a painter who was taught by Thomas Kinkade himself, who highlights certain areas of the paintings with an additional layer of paint, adding value to the piece) in early December, so they are going to keep our painting there so that it can get highlighted, then ship it to us. I can't wait!  

After dropping a redonkulous amount of money on artwork (how "adult" of us! LOL), we went to a few more places and then headed out of Dodge. We finally arrived home a little after midnight this morning and promptly passed out. All in all, my trip was fabulous. I love my husband, I love that city, and I love my life. :)


jennxaz said...

great post...love the pics!!!

Lyndsey said...

What a totally fabulous weekend!!! Also, your husband could teach a class in husband-ing. Mine does pretty well but I think Jack took it to a new level this weekend. I'd sign B up for a refresher course ;)

adorkbl said...

Looks like a great weekend!! Enjoy your art when it comes. You will have to post a picture of it hanging. :)

I miss fall and all your pictures are making me nostalgic.

RockBand Barbie said...

Been to Gatlinburg many times...so beautiful there. Sounds like you had a great time!