Wednesday, September 12, 2018

NQC Traditions

~NQC Traditions~

Hey, y'all!  Who's excited for the National Quartet Show in just under two weeks?  We definitely are, and have been discussing all of the things we're looking forward to.  You see, we have these sort of “traditions” that we do every year when in the PF/Gatlinburg area for NQC.... some of them make absolutely no sense to others, but to us they mean "it's NQC!".

At least one morning we get up early, stop in Gatlinburg for the Donut Friar and coffee (generally Starbucks or a quaint little coffee shop they found called Burg Coffee), and then head up into the mountains to watch the sunrise.  Generally everyone is already running on little sleep, so it can be quite hilarious.. if one thing is for certain, it’s that we always amuse the hikers.  And oh, I promise you.. you’ve never seen a sunrise until you’ve seen a Smoky Mountain sunrise.  It’s exhilarating to sit there watching the sun slowly rise over the magnificent view.  The heavens truly do declare the glory of God.  

Although we didn’t last year, we usually do the Ripley’s mini golf.  The one year we had passes to play whenever we wanted, and we’re crazy enough we went late at night just because no one was ready to hit the hay yet.  There are a couple different locations, and each location has three different “levels” of courses available.  We’ve also really enjoyed the Ripley’s Aquarium and Mirror Maze in Gatlinburg.  We're so excited to visit all the Ripley attractions again this year!  Smoky Mountain Knifeworks is another must-visit if you enjoy that sort of thing.  Even if you don’t, you should visit once just to get a look at how large it is!  We generally spend a few hours browsing through the merchandise, and never fail to walk out with a purchase.  Gatlinburg can be fun to wander if you have the time, and find all those neat little shops that are tucked away.  We don’t make it out every year, but the Roaring Forks Motor Nature Trail is absolutely gorgeous to drive through!  Lovely falls, scenery, and we even saw some of the local wildlife (mama bear and two cubs).

We have a couple of go-to restaurants that we always hit.  We try and stay in the cheaper range of things, but we do have a couple “splurge” meals too.  Flapjack’s Pancake House.. all sorts of specialty pancakes and such, as well as the usual eggs, omelettes, etc.  We do this every year!  Mama’s Farmhouse and Paula Deen’s Family Restaurant are both delicious.. a little more on the higher end of the price range for us, but totally worth it!  The Old Mill is quite good, but we have only been once just because of how packed it is and having to wait for seats.  The Pottery House Cafe right across the street has become a favorite.. food is just as good (although it’s more of like sandwiches, soups, salads), but a little cheaper and with less of a wait-time.  Another option for those trying to eat reasonably cheap- we make a run to Publix for a deli sub and a container of the deli Mac & cheese… it’s cheap, feeds all three of us, and since there are no Publix stores near us it’s always a treat.  We discovered this a couple years ago, and it’s been "tradition" ever since.  Z-Mex Grille is another favorite of the family’s.. they make these huge custom burritos, and they have amazing chips and queso for .99¢.  Often we’ll pick up some extra of those and bring them back to the hotel for snacking later on.  Another tradition is that one of the days we’re at the LeConte all day, we’ll walk or take the trolley to the Island and chill at Auntie Anne’s for a while.  The family loves their pepperoni pretzels, and we always do this at least once (often more).  And make sure you visit Sweet Frog Frozen Yogurt for a sweet treat!

So there's a few of ours.  Do you and your family/friends have any "traditions"?  Leave a comment with your favorites!

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