Thursday, April 16, 2015

Easter in Knoxville, TN

Easter was extra special this year as we had a chance to take a vacation to East Tennessee to visit Grandpa Bob (GB). GB is Tommy Thompson's grandfather and he had never met the Little One so it was great timing that Easter and Spring Break coincided.

We spent the first morning dyeing Easter eggs after the biggest breakfast I have ever eaten thanks to Auntie Dawn while Tommy Thompson was able to help GB around the house with a few projects. GB is very particular about his Easter eggs - everyone needs an egg with their name on it... we found out why the next day. That afternoon the three of us toured downtown Nashville and World Fair Park. Downtown reminded us a lot of Boulder, kinda hippie, kinda hipster with lots of great people watching and shops to peruse. GB's house smelled incredible when we got home thanks to his famous super secret shack sauce slow cooking. We relaxed and threw the football (the Little One's favorite birthday gift) before our shack sauce dinner. This shack sauce is no joke, and after several failed attempts to get the recipe from him I found one online that seems close, although I never did get to see the recipe at GB's. He did admit though that the key is black pepper and slow cooking. When the table was set GB gave us all a tutorial on how to make a proper BBQ sandwich - it is not to be messed with.

1. Take a plain bun and add smoked pulled pork
2. Add coleslaw (and by coleslaw I mean just the cabbage, no sauce)
3. Drench in shack sauce

It. was. awesome. Not to mention we were eating a dinner prepared by Tommy Thompson's 87 year old grandpa but to see his face light up when he taught us how to assemble the proper sandwich - that may have been better than the sandwich itself. (maybe). After dinner GB took his very first selfie  - I'm glad we could teach him something too. We even taught him a new use for shack sauce the next morning when I fried eggs and topped them with pulled pork and shack sauce - excellent.

Sunday was Easter and the Little One woke to an Easter basket and no hidden eggs - parent fail. 15 minutes of him walking the property looking for eggs to no avail - I was heartbroken. I promise every Easter from this year forward regardless your age or where we are I will have Easter eggs hidden.

After a fabulous Easter service at GB's church we headed to the hills. Tommy Thompson has fond memories of the Smokey Mountains as a kid so I was anxious to see them. The drive was gorgeous, spring time in Tennessee is so much greener and lush than Colorado. We got to the top and I was surprised to see there were no mountains around us... you can take the girl out of Colorado but you can't take Colorado out of the girl. We stopped for lunch at Dick's Last Resort in Pigeon Forge - the Little One was shocked when the waiter threw silverware on the table and said 'Kid set the table'. When we told him that he was joking and even let him play back with the waiter he had a blast. (If you're not familiar with this restaurant, wait staff are rude and makes fun of you). It was one of his favorite parts of the trip. Oh to be 11...

We got home late in the afternoon and Auntie Dawn was hard at work on Easter dinner and wouldn't let us lift a finger. We enjoyed our daily 5:00 Old Fashioned and cigar on the porch with GB and his lady friend before the big meal. The Little One and I set the table - enter the personalized eggs. A man after my own heart, GB likes an Easter table set with Easter egg name cards.

Monday we woke early to make our way to Dollywood in Gatlinburg. Known as ' The Disney of the South' this place was amazing. The rides were fabulous, the shows were incredible and the park was perfect. We lucked out with the weather AND crowds, in fact we were able to ride some roller coasters back to back without waiting in line. This months' theme for the park is Festival of Nations, so the shows we saw were from all over the world. Our favorite by far was a Canadian act with lumberjacks that perform cirque du soleil acrobatics with live music and ax throwing. Sounds like a crazy combo but it was fabulous.

Tuesday morning came too soon - we woke up super early and checked the Little One in for his very first solo flight before heading to Nashville for work. I had the most incredible time meeting GB and Auntie Dawn and cannot wait to visit again!


This kid can find a candy store anywhere. 1 pound jawbreaker - endless entertainment. 


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