2. You MUST stay at the Brookside Resort.
Returning to the Smokies as an adult, I think the Brookside had to have been one of the nicest places you could possibly stay in Gatlinburg. It’s right by the stream. Downtown, but not in the center of town.
But as I looked at the rooms on the Internet, they look like they might not have changed much in 30 years.
We decided to stay in a beautiful two-story log cabin perched on the side of a mountain. It has its own hot tub, two indoor whirlpools, two decks, a full kitchen, washer and dryer and pool table.
And yet, every time we drive by the Brookside with the waterfall pool and the big statue of a brown bear out front, I look at it with longing. They’ve added a large red, curving slide for the kids, too. Maybe next time.
3. You must go to Clingman’s Dome.
The ONLY hiking I actually remember doing in the Smokies was to Clingman’s Dome. To miss driving to the highest point in the park and then walking up to the dome is basically a sin.
But… well… we’re not going. We’ve hiked several other trails and we’re going to spend our last day relaxing.
4. You must buy homemade candy.
There’s nothing quite as nostalgic as watching the guy with the white hat push the taffy through the candy-making machine. You can buy a bag with 10 pieces of taffy for 98 cents. A big box is only $3.
The kids have a new love. Taffy.
5. You must eat your lunch on the back gate of the station wagon.
I couldn’t actually remember ever eating a meal in the Smokies. Did we go to a particular restaurant? Did my mom cook in the room.
Then, we were out hiking and it was time to eat lunch. We saw some other people spread a table cloth in the back of their pick-up. Then, I remembered. We would pack a lunch and sit on the tailgate of the station wagon.
The kids thought it was a blast to sit scrunched up in the back of the mini-van eating their turkey sandwiches.