Sunday, July 19, 2015

Planning (and Enjoying) A Girls' Trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee

The Mushy Stuff

In 2005 I was introduced to 13 women who will always hold a special place in my heart. I am thankful for all of the laughter and love we have shared over the years as well as the difficult moments when we’ve endured hurt, pain and even loss. I remember the broke moments in college and how my 13 taught me how to hustle and make things happen. I remember fighting with my number 12 because we were both so damn ambitious and now I am thankful for her challenging me and for the special bond we share. As I began planning our 10 year anniversary trip, I was truly overwhelmed by how much all of my line sisters have supported me throughout my 20’s because as we all know, we learn so much in that decade. We’ve prayed together, we’ve celebrated together and although we left our trip feeling sleepy and emotionally drained, this trip changed us as individuals and as a unit.

We left time for a mini photoshoot :-)

Why Gatlinburg?

I started the planning by sending out a Google Form to get an idea of what everyone wanted. The result: a cabin/ski trip in May. LOL! Well since we can’t ski in May, I did some research some to learn about all of the fun summer things to do in the mountains. After seeing pictures of ziplining and white water rafting, I was sold. Next it was time to decide where to go. The consensus, according to the poll, was that they wanted the trip to be between $400-$700 so I looked up areas near Denver and Tennessee. I realized that flying into Denver would mean airline ticket prices would be high for everyone so I settled on Gatlinburg, Tennessee and gave everyone options to fly into Nashville, Charlotte and Atlanta. Each city had a “captain” and people could coordinate their flights with that person so that the pick-up and drop off times from the airport would be convenient. Crazy organized, but I LOVE doing this stuff. My trip planning services are for hire by the way (Wink! Wink!).

Welcome bags for my loves

Where to Stay

Gatlinburg is a little mountain town that has a busy strip, similar to what you would see in a beach town. I thought a cabin would be fun and I figured it would allow us to maximize our time together. Homeaway was an easy and convenient way to find a place. I read through the reviews and settled on a beautiful cabin that housed all of us comfortably. Yes, some of us were immature and did the whole run into the house and scream and claim beds thing…and yes I was one of them. 

One car of people went grocery shopping when we arrived and I told everyone to BYOB so that everyone could drink what they really wanted and we wouldn’t waste alcohol. I was turnt on my Pellegrino as usual!  The pros of the cabin outweighed the cons since we got to stay up in our pajamas all night and hang out as a group. The only downside was making sure everything was perfect and somewhat clean before we left.

Sleepover Time!

What to Do

We did a vote for activities so that everyone could do what they wanted, but we made sure we did at least one activity together. We all went ziplining and then half of the group left to go horseback riding while the other half went whitewater rafting. My personal highlight was rafting although I wish we could have taken a camera. If I had it to do over again, I would have taken a waterproof one. On the ziplining part, tell someone in your group to take one of those armbands to hold their camera so you can get fun action shots. We booked the ziplining and whitewater rafting through the same company, Rafting in the Smokies. It was awesome because they took care of everything and they have a great system for large groups.
Ready for Ziplining

There are TONS of restaurants but my favorite was Cherokee Grill. We actually went there twice and the second time we got a private room and we thought we were exclusive. Maybe it was because we were so loud the first time…LOL!

The scenery is GORGEOUS as you drive into Gatlinburg. The roads wrap around the mountains so the drive is slow, but there are a ton of lookout points with breathtaking views. We stopped a few times on our way to town for photoshoots J

I can’t wait until our next trip! We’ve decided to do one every two years from now on J

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