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Forging a fun vacation in Tennessee

For the past couple of years, Dennis and I have been dreaming ofa vacation. And every year something has prevented us fromgoing.

This year, we weren’t taking ‘no’ for an answer and even though wedidn’t have a firm plan on where or what we were going to be doing,we took off on our adventure anyway.

We started out making reservations in downtown New Orleans andgoing south to tour the Laura Plantation, which was once owned byCreole women, and ended up in the swamp on an airboat.

We saw lots of alligators, even though our guide said the reallybig ones wouldn’t be out until the water warmed up. Alligators arecarnivorous animals, but apparently they have an affinity formarshmallows and have become quite accustomed to the airboats. Someof the gators got so close we could almost reach out and touch themfrom our seats on the boat, although I wouldn’t recommendthat.

Dennis and I even took a walk down Bourbon Street, which didn’thold much appeal for either of us. I couldn’t walk fast enough orfar enough from there. I hope I’m not being prudish, but I didn’tlose anything down there and probably won’t be going back toBourbon Street anytime soon.

About a day before we left on vacation we decided to go to theSmoky Mountains. I spent the night before we left scouring theInternet to look for accommodations. I finally settled on a cabincalled “Cupid’s Hideaway” in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. It was a smallcabin tucked away in the hills above Pigeon Forge.

We knew when we left New Orleans that it was about a 10-hour driveso we guessed we’d end up at our destination by 6 or 7 p.m. EST.What we didn’t take into account was the Hot Rod Show that wascurrently going on at the strip in Pigeon Forge. We sat in trafficfor three hours as hot rods, motorcycles and classic vehiclesrevved their engines and squealed their tires.

At first we thought there had been a wreck up ahead. But afterabout two hours of sitting a nearly a standstill, we asked aneighboring car, whose driver gave us the news. We went a grandtotal of 1.5 miles in three hours.

We thought we’d get to the rental place with plenty of daylightleft to find our cabin. It wasn’t going to happen.

We had to travel through Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg to the rentalagency. Thankfully, they left our key code, information anddirections to the cabin in an envelope taped to the door. Someonethere was even thoughtful enough to give us directions for the backway to our cabin so we wouldn’t have to travel back through theconfusion we had just gone through since the cabin was back inPigeon Forge.

Around 11 p.m. EST, we found our cabin on a narrow hillside amidsta maze of little paths just big enough for one vehicle. It’s a goodthing it was dark and we didn’t see the huge drop-offs on the sidesof the path. I might have been a little scared.

For the next couple of days we wandered in and around Pigeon Forgeand had a blast.

I jokingly told Dennis we started our vacation in hell and ended upin heaven. He agreed. We’ll be visiting heaven again in the nearfuture.

And how was your week?

Lifestyles Editor Tammie Brewer can be reached at The DAILY LEADERat 601-833-6961, ext. 134, by e-mail at tbrewer@dailyleader.com oryou can write to her at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602.