Thanks to my WONDERFUL parents (and Amber and Chris and Katrina and everyone else at church that helped out), John and I were able to have some time away from the boys for the first time in about 2 years. We had decided to celebrate our birthdays together and take a mini-vacation in the Smokies. Having a chance to drop the boys off for a few days was a dream come true, but the saying is true "Be careful what you wish for - you just might get it". I bawled on my way home back to meet John for our vacation. My excitement was overridden by "guilt" for "abandoning" my baby Matthew. But he was in the best hands possible, so I did my best to suck it up and look forward to my alone time with John.
I had booked us a suite at the Mountain Harbor Inn, a bed and breakfast in Dandridge, TN. I had never been to a B&B before, but this one sat on a lake and had a diamond rating, AND was 50% off! It sounded cozy and romantic. We were a bit surprised to pull up to a weathered building that resembled a motel. We checked in and were shown around the dining room, where we were told they served an "AWESOME breakfast". I should surely hope so, since this IS a B&B. We were told about a romantic sunset cruise at 5:30pm and candlelight dessert at 6:30pm. We reserved a spot for a romantic sunset cruise and were then shown to our room - the Rose Suite!
There were nice touches:
And not so nice touches:
Yes..that's a dead bug. No matter...it may have crawled out and died after housekeeping had come. We checked in about 3pm and decided to go ahead and go to dinner so we could make the romantic cruise at 5:30pm. We knew we wanted to go out after the cruise, so we decided to have our romantic dessert delivered to the room while we were out. I got ready for dinner while John checked out the amenities.
Yes. This is my husband watching the Eagles game. I didn't think we'd ever get out for dinner! But I wrangled him away from the television and we walked out the door to the best view ever! We saw it when we were taken to our room, but it always made me smile to walk out to this:
We chose to eat at Angelo's, a restaurant on the Lake. It was a very classy place with indoor and outdoor seating and live music. We chose to eat outside and enjoyed a fabulous dinner!!! It was then and there I decided I wanted to live on a lake - THIS lake for the rest of my life. Surrounded by laid-back, casually dressed lake-dwellers and eating a dinner while enjoying a fabulous view was my cup of tea. I'm ready for retirement now!
We headed back to get ready to head out for our cruise. On the drive back, I felt John swerve, a crunch, and then heard him exclaim, "YES!" I looked up to ask what had happened. He proudly exclaimed that he had hit a squirrel. When I showed a great deal of dismay and exclaimed, "You SWERVED to HIT it?!?" he insisted that he swerved to miss it, but the squirrel just got in the way. I told him our weekend was doomed since he was swerving to hit squirrels. He laughed and stood by his statement that he swerved to miss it. R.I.P little fellow.
We joined the other couples waiting for the cruise and were led down to the lake where the captain was waiting for us. We boarded a pontoon boat, of which was capable of holding 6 couples and the captain. There were only 5 couples, so John and I got an entire bench seating to ourselves. We sat towards the bow of the boat (mostly because we thought someone else would come and sit with us and I wanted a front view) The captain pulled the boat off of dock and we started to take off. Sorta. John and I were asked to move because "our weight was affecting the motor" and he couldn't get the boat to go. So we slinked back away from the bow of the boat. Say what?! What would he have done if there had been one more couple? Our combined weight was equal or less than every couple on that boat! What a great way for a couple of fatties to start their romantic cruise! It was fairly apparent from the beginning that this would not be romantic. With bench seating facing each other, we spent the majority of the ride looking at 2 other couples, or rather trying NOT to look at the other two couples. The ride ended up being rather long and....boring. Even for me. And I could be on a boat all day. If I don't get to live on that lake, I'm totally buying a houseboat up in Oregon. Our "romantic cruise" included a tour of the "star's homes"! Nothing says lovin' like a tour of the lifestyles of the rich and famous! The house of an Indian heart surgeon was pointed out. He built his house to look like a clinic so it was interesting, in an eccentric kind of way/ And then we were shown where Dolly Parton's MANAGER'S house was. Really? And lastly we got to see one of Kenny Chesney's homes. And then we headed back to the dock. It was an interesting tour, but not what we had in mind when we signed up for this boating adventure. We - and by we, I mean I - decided to document the cruise with a couple picture, but I'm terrible at holding the camera out and taking pictures and John wasn't cooperating, but I like the picture anyway. Note the other couples in the reflection of John's glasses!
This is the back of the Bed and Breakfast as seen from the boat:
Take special note of the floating chapel. They were very proud of that. Supposedly, it's the only one in the world.
Grateful to be back on land, we headed to the car to head into Pigeon Forge. After driving the main strip, we settled on playing putt-putt. I don't know how we managed it, but we picked the worst place EVER. $20 down the drain. Though I was tempted to stop the game and go ask for our money back. We begrudgingly finished the game and then took off to find something else to do. We had originally looked into going to MAGIQUEST, but John feared it was a place meant for children and that he would feel out of place without our own children there. Nevermind that he totally ignored me reading off the attractions there. I convinced him to stop by so we could at least check it out. We were met at the door and given a full explanation of the game and other attractions in the building, which included blacklight putt-putt, mirror maze, and a laser room. We found out that for $30 a piece, we got 90 minutes of game play time, a free wand (a $14.99 value) and access to the other 3 attractions. An AMAZING deal after the money we just wasted. We decided not to play that night as they were getting ready to close down (thought the would have let us in). We decided to come back the next day. Even though it was only 9pm, we headed back to our room since neither of us had gotten much sleep.
I was excited to get back to the triple chocolate chunk cake awaiting me in the room! Although we weren't able to attend the romantic, candlelit dessert, I looked forward to the set-up they would have for us in the room. John found our "romantic" dessert in the refrigerator.
We really couldn't do anything but laugh. they are 0-2 at this point in the romance department. On the plus side, it was VERY good and we enjoyed dessert very much.
John who hadn't gotten much sleep on account of work, dropped out like a rock. I was very tired too but I didn't sleep well. In our welcome book, I had read a line that offered headphones with nature sounds for light sleepers. That line seriously needed to be changed to "We have free headphones at the front desk for those who don't want to hear the couple next door to you". So... the couple in the suite that I had tried to book (the suite with the jacuzzi tub) enjoyed the tub very much. At 1am. Until 2am. Ugh. When I would fall to sleep, I would be awoken by something in my face.
The comforter was on backwards. How hard is it to put a comforter on correctly? Of course, I was too exhausted to get up and turn it around myself and no matter how hard I tried to pull the comforter so I wouldn't have a tag in my face, it always found its way back.
The next morning, I still woke up before John. He had slept well which was good. We took our time getting ready and headed up to breakfast. I think we had fairly high expectations of breakfast since it WAS a bed and breakfast, but we went in to find less selection than you get at a Comfort Suites. Cold eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and biscuits and gravy. White bread for toast. Apples and bananas. Milk and OJ. Coffee and tea. Several small boxes of cereal to choose from. ...... Like I said, maybe our expectations were too high. I personally was hoping for bagels, french toast, muffins, fruit salad with berries, croissants AS WELL as everything that was provided (except hot)! We choked down breakfast and hurried to go reserve a couple of jet-skiis and a pontoon boat to go out on the lake for the morning. The pontoon boat ended up being more than we expected, so we only reserved the jet-skiis. Our bellies were turning from breakfast, so we went back to "recover" for an hour before hitting the lake.
Jet-skiing was definitely the highlight of the weekend. I had only been once before..and not for long so it took me a little while to get warmed up. John announced that I was "boring" to jet-ski with since I only drove in a straight line. I just wanted to explore the lake! The last 15 minutes of the hour we reserved though, I spent doing mad circles to make waves for John to jump. He "caught air" so he was very happy. I wish that we could have spent several hours out there, but we certainly had a lot of fun for that one hour!
When we got back to the room, it had still not been cleaned. I assumed housekeeping would not be coming that day. Oh well. We changed clothes yet again to head into Pigeon Forge for the day. We stopped by the lake to take a few pictures first.
On our way into town we passed by this store on Dam road. John got a real big kick out of it, so we took a picture:
We took our time going into town. We stopped at an As Seen On TV store and laughed at all the merchandise and finished our Christmas shopping for all of you! Just kidding.... :) Then we headed over to a doughnut shop where he grabbed a coffee and I got my croissant!
We went back to MagiQuest to play for the afternoon. It took me a while to understand the game and get what exactly it was I was supposed to be doing with my wand, but once John found me wandering aimlessly around and showed me what to do, it became fun! Fortunately we had 90 minutes of play time, so I still had plenty of time to play. I thought the whole set-up was just brilliant. You really get your exercise running back and forth between the different environments. It also works as great brain exercise, as you have to remember where you last saw the item you are needing to finish each quest. The pre-teen boys that were playing were just too cute. On 2 separate occasions with 2 different boys, I was asked if I was looking for anything in particular, and then they quickly took me to the item. I highly recommend this place to anyone that has one nearby.
After our 90 minute game play was up, we headed downstairs to play at the other attractions. John beat me pretty badly at putt-putt, but we enjoyed the game much more than we had at the other place. Then we headed over to the Vector, where you try to work your way from one end of the room to the other by avoiding the laser beams. I really did give it an honest effort at first, but then gave up and ran through the room to the stop button. My time was terrible. John did fairly well though!
Then we did the mirror maze. I've never done one before. It was a lot of fun. I'm sure it would have taken me a lot longer to get through it without John there. He moved through pretty quickly with his hands out in front of him. It was much easier following him and letting him run into mirrors! He tried to lose me at one point though and laughed as I ran into the mirrors! I would love to take Eric through it. We had been told that once we got to the end, we could turn around and try to make our way back through if we wanted, though it was much harder. We made it through the maze in fairly good time, so we decided to turn around and try again. It WAS much harder. And John DID manage to lose me. I wanted to make it back to the beginning on my own anyway. Didn't take me long to realize I was going in circles though, so I just decided to go out through the exit and wait to see how long it would take John to come out. It took a little while for him to come out, but he also could not find his way back through and gave up and came out through the exit.
It was about 4pm and we were ready for dinner, so we drove around looking for somewhere to eat. I really wanted to go to the Murder Mystery Dinner theater. I knew the food probably wouldn't be all that great, but it would give us a night time activity and I've always wanted to go to one. After finding out the price, we decided to pass and headed over to Tony Roma's. Neither of us had eaten there but we were interested in trying it. I LOVED the decor and decided that when we buy a house, I will style my dining room after Tony Roma's. It was all I could do to keep from asking what color paint was on the walls. Our food arrived quickly and to our surprise, we found ourselves not nearly as hungry as expected. I ordered a salad and potato soup which was totally yummy and filling. He ordered a burger. I am not a fan of hamburgers, but he offered me a bite which I accepted. BEST burger I've ever tasted. With our 10% coupon, we ate for less then $20. It was great!
It had been a long day so we headed back to the bed and breakfast. Our room HAD been cleaned! Yay! Almost...
And the comforter was still on backwards. *sigh* Last night there anyways. We decided that we would attend the candlelit dessert tonight instead of having it delivered in styrofoam. We were still a bit early and full from dinner so we sat out on the "back porch"
This doesn't scream "romantic" in my OCD/clutter-phobia ears, but we enjoyed sitting on the swing and looking out over the lake, once again reinforcing my belief that I should own a lake home.
We went on up for dessert. John stuck with his cheesecake choice. Smart man. I chose a different type cake and was not as happy with the new choice. Aside from the raspberry sauce heart on my plate (and I forgot to bring my camera with me), we didn't find it much more romantic than the styrofoam. We went back to the room and changed to get in the hot tub (again..I failed to get a picture of their idea of a romantic hot tub getaway) We stayed until we were toasty and then went back to the room for the night. Fortunately, I got quite a bit of sleep since I was exhausted from the night before. John, who was well-rested, did NOT sleep and got to hear the same things I did the night before! :) We slept in, skipped breakfast and got back on the road.
Despite all the mishaps, we left with some great memories, good stories, and the desire to drag other couples back this place with us. :)
There!!!! It's written!! Ii hope it was worth the wait!