Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Strickland Family Vacaction - PCB

This summer was full of vacations! Belize in June for Nick & I, in July we went to the Smoky Mountains for our Hoosier family vacation & for our last vacation this summer we went to Panama City Beach with the Stricklands in August.

We stayed at the Grand Panama Beach Resort.

As soon as we made it to the condo, we literally dropped our bags in the room, changed into our swimsuits & hit the beach!

And Addy couldn't have been happier to be there!

We spent the next 4 days laying out in the sun, 

playing in the water


building sandcastles

walking along the beach

and burying each other in the sand!

The whole time we were there the weather was overcast & iffy.

But on the last day, the water really started to get rough

and the red flag was put out.

It really was too rough, so we made the kids get out of the water & we continued to play in the sand for a bit.

Not long after we got out, the beach patrol came by

and switched it to double red flags, which means the beach is CLOSED!

I wondered if it was just a warning & that they wouldn't come rescue you if something happened, but nope, it's not just a warning. They are serious. They were driving & flying up & down the beach making people get out of the water!

So we went headed up to the rooftop pool. Until the rain started!

And rain it did! A LOT!
It was our last night in PCB & we were planning to go to dinner at some restaurant along the beach. I don't remember the name of the place we tried to go to, but the parking lot was completely flooded! So instead we ended up at Pineapple Willy's.

Which was delicious!

Alex still claims it as one of his favorite restaurants!

After the rain stopped, Nick, Maryse & I ended the night with 
a little souvenir shopping!

The next morning, we got up, packed our bags & headed home. 

Here are a few more pictures from our vacation...

Alex made this stamped penny for me at a gas staton along the way. (The gas station we stopped at after he got car sick & vomited in the car!)

The view from our condo.

The view from Trina's condo.

Alex checking out the view!

This was the first time in about 9 years that we had taken a vacation with Nick's parents & the first time ever we had taken one with Trina & her family. We really should do it more often!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hoosier Family Vacation Day 5 - White Water Rafting

The next day was Thursday.

We started the day with a late breakfast at the Old Mill Restaurant.

Addy was ready to eat!

The banana nut muffins were delicious.

But unfortunately, I wasn't that impressed with the rest of the food. (Which seems to be a reoccurrence on all our vacations. Nick says it's because we live in Texas & Texas has the yummiest foods! I think he's probably right!!)

After breakfast, we all split up again. Some people went back to the cabin, some went shopping & Nick, the kids & I went to do something that I had been wanting to do, ride the Alpine Coaster.

The coaster runs on about a track that is about a mile long & is built into the side of a mountain.

Alex didn't want to ride it so Nick offered to stay in the truck with him while my little speed junkie rode it with me!

Here we are on the way up. I didn't get any pictures on the way down since we were flying at around 30mph & I didn't want to lose my phone!

The coaster was a lot of fun & a must if you find yourself in Pigeon Forge!

After that, we headed back to the cabin to get ready to go white water rafting on the Big Pigeon River!

This was my first time to ever go rafting & OMG it was so much fun! Since we had the littler cousins with us, we just did the lower part of the river with the level 1 & 2 rapids. My kiddos loved it so much that next time we'll definitely have to do level 3s & 4s!

We were supposed to stay Thursday night & check out of the cabin on Friday morning. But Nick decided to skip rafting & instead take a nap so that we could leave Thursday night & drive overnight. Which means this was our last day in Tennessee & a what a fun last day it was! 

Like I previously stated, before going on this trip, I really didn't think there would be much to do there. But boy was I wrong. We did so much & there was still more I wanted to do. (Make that... is still more I want to do. Because I plan to go back to Tennessee one day & hike part of the Appalachian Trail, drive up to Clingmans Dome, hike to some of the waterfalls, go shopping in Gatlinburg, ride a horse through the park, ride the Alpine Slide at Ober Gatlinburg, raft on the bigger rapids on the upper part of the river & maybe go to Dollywood if it's not 100 degrees outside!) 

So.. if you've never been to the Smokies Mountains & you get the chance to go, DO IT! You won't be disappointed!

And if you haven't read about the rest of our trip, 
here's Day 1 & 2, Day 3 & Day 4

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Hoosier Family Vacation Day 4 - Smoky Mountain National Park Take II

On Wednesday, we went back to Smoky Mountain National Park.

On this visit, we came in at the Sugarlands Visitor Center & kept driving into the mountains for about another 20 miles until we came to this awesome swimming hole with freezing COLD water, called the Townsend Y.

This place was so much fun!

There were large rocks for jumping off of

And a fun little current in one spot that you could float in. If we would have known before hand, we would have brought tubes with us! 
(So if you go here, bring tubes!!!)

Addy loved it here! So much that when we told her it was time to go, she started to swim off & I had to chase her down! And then she kept asking to go back there for the rest of the day!

When we left the Y, we got back on the main road & drove for about another 10 miles to Cades Cove. We stopped at a few of the historic sites along the loop, including...

The John Oliver Cabin 

and the Primitive Baptist Church.

Here are a few more pictures from our drive around Cades Cove.

Cades Cove is supposed to be THE PLACE to see animals in the Smokies. 

But unfortunately for us, we saw hardly any wildlife. Just a few birds & a few deer...

Do you see the deer in this photo???

And this bear at the Campground Store! Lol

We also bought a few souvenirs & some ice cream at the Campground Store & then went over to the river to eat it & walk around in the water.

After that, we headed back to the cabin for the night, where we ate dinner & I whipped everyone at cards!

And yes, I did hang the scores on the fridge! Lol

This was such a great day! The swimming hole was definitely one of the highlights of our whole trip to Tennessee! We could have spent all day there! And even though we didn't get to see bears while at Cades Cove, we still had a lot of fun driving the loop & coming up with ideas for TV shows & their theme songs... I would tell you more about that, but that would take a whole 'nother post to explain the craziness that comes out of my mouth!

Click here to see what we did on our last day in the Smokies!