Belated Tennessee Trip

For part of our anniversary celebration, though belated, we ended up reserving a last-minute cabin in Tennessee and driving down for a short weekend trip. We had decided fairly early on that getting a cabin in the mountains would be a fun way to celebrate, but for one reason or another, we kept talking ourselves out of it. All the procrastination and the discouraging price tag led to it being over a month since we wished each other a happy anniversary, but dammit, I still wanted to make this happen.

It was looking to be over $400 for a cabin for the weekend with a required two-night minimum. I was hesitant to jump at that because I knew we wouldn't be getting there till the late side of Friday with our work schedules, and that just seemed like too high of a price tag to pay for the time we would actually have there. So, I finally decided to just check on last minute availability, and we called to see about an exception to reserve it for just one night. I figured, as a business operator, it was probably better to bring in some income and relax the two-night rule if the cabins were just going to sit empty for the weekend anyway. So, it still came to over $200 for the one-night stay, which is much higher than my usual lodging costs, but this was supposed to be a special occasion!

We were up early Saturday morning and headed on down through Kentucky and into Tennessee. We stopped at Reality Tuesday Cafe in Kentucky, which also happened to be our first stop on our Carolinas trip last fall. This coffeehouse has some of the best pastries, and I suppose they've become my breakfast of choice when we're headed south for a trip. We ate more than we were supposed to since we were planning to stop at Wallace Station Deli & Bakery in Versailles, KY along the way.

After this stop, we continued on to Tennessee and headed straight to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We drove around Cades Cove after stopping at a river. There were a lot of cars in the park, so traffic was slow-moving and we had definitely built up an appetite after spending some time taking in the scenery.

And I was really excited for this next stop because...we were getting french fries. Hahaha, no seriously! (Although previous experience - and this trip confirmed - that good vegetarian food is hard to come by in these parts, so I do tend to eat a lot of french fries at fast food stops in the south. :P) But this place had some awesome sounding fries! And their concept completely reminded me of a place we had stopped at in Melbourne, Australia called Lord of the Fries.  Similarly, Poynor's Pommes Frites offers thick, hand cut fries with a ton of in-house dipping sauces to choose from.  I've never been a big fan of dipping fries in just ketchup. I usually get a side of mayonnaise and mix that with my ketchup. Poynor's does offer ketchup as a dipping option, but they've totally embraced the idea that dipping sauces can be way more exciting. We tried Bohemian Kase, Black Forrest, and Parmesan Ranch.
Poynor's Pommes Frites
Poynor's also offers Spaghetti Ice Cream, which looks like spaghetti, marinara sauce, parmesan cheese, and meatballs, but is actually Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with pureed strawberry or raspberry topping, grated premium white chocolate, and a Ferrero Rocher chocolate ball.  Very unique presentation!
Poynor's Pommes Frites Spaghetti Ice
After grabbing a Lemon Shake-Up at one of the vendors in the shopping plaza that housed Poynor's, we headed out to find our cabin in the mountains. We had been warned not to rely on GPS in the mountains, so we had a set of print-out directions to help us navigate, but we still got lost a bit. :-P Finally we spotted the sign at the end of the drive-way for "Just You and Me Baby." We pulled up the incredibly steep driveway and immediately were pleased with our choice.
Just You and Me Baby
There were maybe a couple dozen steps up to the cabin, but we were fairly isolated from the surrounding area. The interior was really cute with large windows that filled the cabin with light.  We had come equipped with provisions, so we started mixing up some drinks and went to play a game of pool.
Just You and Me Baby
I won! Which is amazing because I am notoriously bad at pool. But I won the first two games, Francisco won the second, and then I was ready to move on to the next activity so I could be declared the victor. We tried out the hot tub and just spent some time relaxing to wrap up the evening.

In the morning, we headed into Galinburg for donuts and coffee at Donut Friar.
Donut Friar
We walked down the Parkway to visit the Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Distillery, but they weren't admitting visitors for tastings until after noon.  Maybe not everyone appreciates their morning whiskey shots? :-P That left us with a couple of hours to kill, so we decided to revisit Ripley's Believe it Or Not Odditorium, one of the first attractions we'd visited in Tennessee years and years ago. This place has some fun interactive exhibits. I was so amused by the tongue-curling exhibit the first time we went through. I highly encourage you to practice your best tongue-curling in the mirror at this station! We did some dancing, jumped around and made some fun shadow shapes, and marveled at some of the featured oddities.

Then we were definitely ready to sample some moonshine. Ole Smoky sets out to provide a true moonshine experience, featuring corn whiskey made from corn grown by local farmers in East Tennessee.  There were a dozen samples in total, and I, of course, wanted to sample them all. But after a few shots, I was already starting to feel the burn. Especially after those darn cherries, which look so sweet and innocent, but each cherry has a full shot of whiskey in it! To make sure we got through them all, Francisco and I started sharing shots. All in all, we sampled the Original, Apple Pie, Blackberry, Cherries, Lemon Drop, White Lightnin', Peach, Strawberry, Pineapple, and Charred. I think there were two more, but I'm not sure what they were called.  We even bought a jar to take home with us. Francisco actually enjoyed the moonshine samples, and he wasn't looking forward to sampling these at all.
Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine Distillery
It should have only been maybe a 4.5 hour ride home, but traffic was literally crawling along the interstate, basically doubling our time to get home. The worst part was all the hold-up appeared to be due to maybe a half-mile stretch of construction. Somehow this was holding up hundreds of people for hours! Grr, a frustrating end to an otherwise fun weekend, but I guess it is construction season in the midwest!


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