So what do parents do when they find themselves kidless and they have a little extra money? They run away for the weekend!
It was late before we got to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, after dropping McKayla off and the long ass drive there, but it was thankfully an uneventful trip.
John had already booked us a hotel right on the strip in Pigeon Forge and it was nice having a place to relax after driving for so long and not having to search for a place first.
It was a cute little hotel, right on the river and with the added bonus of snow on the ground, it was quite picturesque.
Once we made it to the hotel and got our stuff in the room, we headed to Gatlinburg to meet John's sister, her husband and a friend who happened to have the same idea as us (they had actually called us to watch their kids so THEY could go but we were already heading up LOL).
We met up with them for some wine tasting but sadly, I hadn't brought my ID and was feeling a little sick to my stomach anyway, so I didn't get to do any tasting but John and the rest did, while I hung out and people watched.
After the wine tasting, we were all hungry and headed over to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. I'm IN LOVE with this restaurant. The food is always good (and I actually order different things each time, which is unusual for me haha), the servers are all always fun to talk to and its just a lively, fun place to be. We hung out there, stuffing our faces with shrimp, lobster and crab yummies, until past closing. (I had sent John to get my ID out of the car by this time and ordered a drink in a souvenir glass. John got one too.)
After dinner, we hit up one of the cheesy haunted "houses" and had a blast laughing and getting the crap scared out of us. Most of the trip was in the dark and we were instructed to have a hold of the person in front of us so we could all keep up. John's sister had been first, but flipped out at being the "engine" and made John go in front. Probably wasn't the best idea b/c he was the tallest of our group and we spent a majority of the time telling him he needed to slow down b/c he was dragging us through. LOL John's brother-in-law was behind me and because of the stragglers behind him, he kept choking me by holding onto my hoodie or almost squishing me when they would try to get away from something.
The ending was the funniest: as we're heading out to the end, we hear a chainsaw and screaming. The other family that was with us had ended up at the back of our group and so they were targeted by the chainsaw man. As he's chasing them, they came tearing past us, screaming and yelling and almost running us over.
After the haunted house, we parted company as they had to get some sleep for the long drive home the next day, so John and I rode around for awhile.
The next morning, we were greeted by a beautiful sunrise:
and entertained by a family of ducks who called the river bank home.
We spent the day window shopping and checking out new stores we hadn't made it to before b/c of certain someones who usually accompany us and don't want to go into "boring" aka 'no toy' stores LOL
Sunday came too quickly and it was time to head home.
We hit a couple stores outside of Pigeon Forge; a flea market (blegh. pretty pathetic) and an As Seen On TV store where we picked up a few goodies for the kids.
Near the As Seen On TV store was one of those scenic helicopter "rides" and I jokingly told John I wanted to go fly in the helicopter. I figured he'd say no as he's a little nervous about flying but he surprisingly turned up the drive and we headed inside!
Now most of you are probably laughing at me but I have NEVER flown before. The closest I've ever been to planes or helicopters has been at air shows, so this was a HUGE deal for me!
I had an absolute BLAST! The view was amazing and we had the added bonus of seeing snow covered fields. After the ride, they always take a pic of you and you know I HAD to buy the photo. :-D
The kids were mad at us that we'd snuck away to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge for the weekend and McKayla was especially upset that we had taken a helicopter ride without her (LOL) but we reminded them how much fun they'd had themselves with Grandpa and they forgave us (although McKayla made us promise that the next time we went, SHE got to take a helicopter ride ROFL).
Hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day, whether you celebrate with a loved one or it's just another day for you. :-)