So if you live in Durham, you live two hours from everything. It sounds like a selling point initially, like wow, I can get to the beach or the mountains in just two hours! Okay but it's not. Because EVERYTHING IS AT LEAST TWO HOURS AWAY.
The Great Smokies, destination Gatlinburg, TN, are about five (plus) hours away. And while the Belle is practically the best traveler ever, she just about loses her wits at roughly four hours, when the light up, singing, spinning attach to the carrier toy no longer holds any interest. Even more so, her mother completely spazzes out, but more like at hour three. Pregnancy and the sickness that accompanied being seated in a moving vehicle has caused me to have this automatic aversion to road trips.
My point: The Belle and I got in the car and drove FIVE HOURS each way to the Great Smokies. Twice. That's TWENTY HOURS in the car. And we volunteered. Well, the Belle pretty much doesn't have a say, but I placed myself and all of my stuff plus a load of the Belle's junk in the car and drove to the Great Smokies. Twice.
Why? Because I heart Gatlinburg.
So does the Belle.
Growing up, my parents took us on a yearly summer vacation. We did the regular California trips - Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, etc. - but soon realized that resort towns suited us perfectly. Beautiful scenery and small tourist trap towns stuffed with shops that were bursting at the seams with souvenirs and sweatshirts that we needed to buy. Plus, these places always have fudge. And in our family, chocolate is a part of our daily diet.
I grew to love these towns. I loved the beautiful weather, taking super artistic photos (I once thought I'd be a photographer, then I experienced the dark room and a lack of vision), eating delicious food, riding the ski lift/tram (every town has one), wandering around aimlessly. So when we rolled into Gatlinburg, I knew things were going to be perfect. Jess had his photo ops (he was up at sunrise every day, seriously).
And I had my fudge.