First Year Anniversary Trip to Gatlinburg, TN

February 17th, Adam and I celebrated making it through the first 12 months of marriage! We had a great deal (listen to a timeshare sales pitch and get a free room) with the Holiday Inn Resort after staying one night in a Holiday Inn for a wedding last summer. We knew this would be a great get-a-way and perfect time of the year.

February 14th, we drove from Conyers, GA and checked into the hotel a little before dinner time! We had no plans…which for me is a hard thing to do but ended up being exactly what we needed. Once we unpacked, we were just a few blocks from the Gatlinburg strip. As we were looking for a place to enjoy a good Valentines dinner, we walked up on a restaurant named Howard’s Steak House. This was a no-brainer dinner location! After dinner we decided just to take a stroll down the strip to see what was all offered. We came up on an epic escape room. As crazy as it sounds, we decided to take on the challenge of doing an escape room with just the two of us! It was the most well decorated and put together escape room we have ever done. We barely made it out, but we solved the puzzle with just a three-ish minutes left to spare.


February 15th, we woke up and beat the breakfast rush to the Log Cabin Pancake House. This was the fastest service we have ever experienced. The food was phenomenal! We headed over to our time share presentation and saw the great things that Holiday Inn offers but quickly turned them down. The weather was so beautiful outside that we headed straight to a local disc golf course for Adam to get some playing time in! After a round and some really incredible course holes we had worked up an appetite and headed to grab food at a place called Blaine’s Grill & Bar.

We heard the aquarium was the best of the best, so we went right ahead and got close with some pretty cool sea creatures. Adam was able to touch a jelly fish for the first time! Since we did a good bit of walking around the aquarium, it only made sense to take a ride up the sky lift. There had recently been some pretty bad wild fires so the sky lift was brand new and the views looked like a lot of burnt mother nature. Next, we made our way to the famous Ripley’s Believe It or Not! This was such a good reminder that God makes everyone with their own uniqueness!  By the end of four floors of entertainment we were pretty tired and ready for dinner. We decided to just take a night to chill and order pizza. Before the trip Adam surprised me with ordering a few bath bombs from Lush! He knows that bath bombs are something I would never buy for myself but wanted to surprise me. The first and best one I tried was called Intergalactic and I highly recommend.

February 16th was a very foggy day with a high chance of rain. I was so sad because this day was planned for hiking. Adam told me to pull it together and just hike the trail any way. He knew I was looking forward to a good hike and pretty views! I am so glad I listened to him because it was amazing. The hike was very moderate and started out cold and foggy turned into hot with clear skies. We made it 1.4 miles and found a beautiful nature masterpiece called Arch Rock. Then hiked a little further up to Alum Cave Bluffs where we caught our breath and soaked in the views before heading back down. Oh, it was beautiful. We didn’t make it to the summit but will for sure next time!

For dinner our last night in Gatlinburg, we thought it would be cool to do a progressive dinner. Where we get drinks at one place, then grab an appetizer at another and so on until dessert. This idea was fine for appetizers and drinks! We stopped at a cool Mexican place and then headed to play a round of putt-putt! We both ended up getting a hole-in-one but Adam won by a good bit. After the game we were ready to pick up our progressive dinner, but we quickly found out that this one weekend was a very busy night in Gatlinburg, TN. We then spent about 45 minutes looking for a restaurant that didn’t have a 30+ minute wait time. We luckily made it to a steak house that had two seats open at the bar! I got a great steak and sweet potato and Adam ordered a salad. Drink, desert and service was good, but the progressive dinner did not go as planned! On the way back to the hotel we couldn’t pass up the Arcadia Space Needle. I am not a huge fan of arcade games but after losing at putt-putt my competitive spirit was ready for some more fun! We loaded up some game cards and had a blast before bed.

February 17th came too quick and it was time to pack up and leave. This was the official day of our first-year anniversary, so we followed the tradition of eating the top tier of our wedding cake. Not recommended at all! We tossed it out and headed to get in line for our last meal at the Log Cabin Pancake House. After our meal we grabbed two mugs and a magnet to remember this trip then got on the road.


We had such a good time! It was great to be in an area where everything was pretty much walking distance from our hotel (everything besides disc golf and hiking). The hotel and staff were great and everything besides the escape room was a pretty good price. There was so much to do for people of all ages. We for sure want to go back with friends or family one day. While planning the trip we had money set aside so that we paid cash for everything and didn’t load anything up on a credit card. This made the whole trip feel guilt free because we already worked hard and saved money to have fun. We also talked about how we wanted to focus on our time together and keep our phone use to a minimum. Most of the trip my cell phone was off, and we just took Adams for pictures and safety reasons. It was so great to be able to focus on each other and reminisce over our first year of marriage.


Keep your head up high and your words filled with love!

Your friend, Colleen Howard



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