Cheers to Gatlinburg

Like I always say I learn so much from my friends and readers. One of the comments on my post in Facebook was from a friend of mine who currently lives in Atlanta , Ga. He’s been a wonderful host when I visited that city and has a wealth of knowledge about many of the southern states.

Here’s his comment : Love the the mtns in spring. Gatlin now has moonshine and whisky tasting stores too

I saw the listing for the moonshine and whiskey distilleries.  Let’s start with the Moonshine Distillery . They aren’t backwoods hillbillies anymore. They have a web page.

OLE SMOKY DISTILLERY

The Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery, “The Holler”, is America’s most visited distillery and  produces all of our signature flavors. 

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A visit to Ole Smoky Distillery is the true moonshine experience. As you approach the 
 entrance, the distinct smell of cooking and fermenting grains takes over your senses. Here, you’ll see authentic-working moonshine stills and take in the entire process – from beginning to end. Our distillers like to visit with folks. They’ll be glad to answer your   questions about the history and lore of moonshining in East Tennessee.

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After you see, smell and hear about the process, treat yourself to a free taste of our   homegrown shine!

Choose from samples of our Original Unaged Corn Whiskey, White Lightnin’, Moonshine Cherries,   Blackberry, Our World famous “Apple Pie”, Strawberry, Peach and Lemon drop.   We also offer seasonal and special flavors that aren’t available in package stores. You’ll be able   to buy plenty of moonshine and Ole Smoky merchandise to take home with you.

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I remember my dad making home brew when I was a kid. After the beer he always made some root beer for us underage drinkers. I loved the smell of all that fermenting. I bet I’ll like the smell of the distillery too and I doubt a small taste will hurt me.

Inn Season Resorts, Ogunquit ME

It’s not everyday that something in the news isn’t just interesting but actually crosses my path. But that’s exactly what happened on Monday when the news stations were reporting recent cases of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The incidents were tragic. They reported 3 deaths in a house in Plaistow, NH. , a death in a Legal Seafood restaurant on Long Island and 20+ guests sickened while at a resort in Maine. Thankfully there were no deaths there although they reported that 3 guests were hospitalized.

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In the Plaistow home the carbon monoxide detector had been disabled. In the restaurant the leak was in a pipe and I don’t think there were any detectors.  The incident that really caught my attention was the incident at the resort in Maine. Not that the other 2 incidents weren’t tragic. They were and in many ways more so than the resort incident because there were no deaths reported in Maine but I thought the name of the resort was familiar. Then they showed photos of the resort with the fire trucks and rescue vehicles in front and I thought, I know this place.

And I do know it.  I was there a few years ago, maybe as long ago as 10 years when they were first building the resort. This is a timeshare property. It was one of the ones I considered before I settled on my unit on Cape Cod.

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The property looks like it’s been well maintained but according to the fire chief they have had trouble getting access to the individual units for inspections because each one is separately owned. That raised an eyebrow because although that’s true the maintenance is the responsibility of the property manager, not the unit owner. At least that’s how it is at my resort. In a time share you don’t own the unit outright, you own a week or  1/52 unless you buy multiple weeks.

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I’m not sure why Inn Season wouldn’t have installed the detectors and passed the cost along as operating expense but thank goodness there were no serious injuries. I hope now the carbon monoxide detectors will be installed and I hope the source of the gas is also found before any further exposure can occur.

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To think that could have been my timeshare!

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What’s In Gatlinburg?

A similar question came up when we went to South Dakota and that turned out to be a great vacation. So I am hopeful that this will be the same. Sandy has been to the Great Smokey Mountains and the first thing she said when I told her I’d decided on Tennessee was to be sure to visit Dollywood.

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I admit, Dollywood wasn’t on the top of my “to do” list and I reluctantly said ok, if it’s close enough. Well it sure is close enough. Located in Pigeon Forge it’s less than 10 miles from Gatlinburg.

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Dollywood isn’t open year round so I was still thinking I might get a reprieve if it wasn’t open for the season but that didn’t work out either. According to the website it’s opening on March 22 so even if they were to delay the opening for some reason it’s still sure to be up and running by May.

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But here’s where it gets interesting. I was dragging my feet because I don’t like amusement parks. 6 Flags is a waste of money for me and I only go to Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire on occasion to take pictures. But Dolly stresses that her park is a “family adventure” (don’t call it an amusement park”).

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My sister says this is the cleanest park she has even seen! Although there are more than 30 rides there are also musical shows, restaurants and arts and crafts shops where  wood carving, glassblowing and quilting are demonstrated.

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Although Dollywood had to bear the brunt of a number of jokes when it first opened it now hosts 2.5 million guests in a typical season. No longer a laughing matter, Dollywood is a major employer for the region. As of 2010, the park was the biggest “ticketed” tourist attraction in Tennessee each year for more than a decade.

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So I have had a change of heart and moved Dollywood from a reluctant location on my itinerary to one of the “must see” stops. They say the Ferris wheel is  60 ft. high. Imagine the pictures I can get from up there!

Time is Running Out

I was taking a leisurely stroll through my timeshare options until I got to Maryland.  As you can tell, I fell in love with that option. I was so enamored that I attempted to book a week, any week only to find that it was completely sold out. A big  NO VACANCY sign.

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That was a “wake up ” call for me. I may not have a decision to make if I continue to drag my feet. The last time I ended up having to take the “left overs” it worked out great. I ended up in Sedona  for my first visit. I liked it so much that I went back to the same resort a few years later. Still I’d rather make a decision than have it made for me. With that in mind I ran through the remaining exchanges to see if they were even available. Most weren’t.

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Of my 17 unvisited states with timeshares exchanges only 6 still have vacancies! One of them is just too expensive (The points are too high).

I think I’m going to go with Tennessee. Colorado has weeks available but not my first choices. Missouri just didn’t send my heart pitter patting although located in Branson Southwest should be able to find it now.

Michigan was way too many points! Shockingly high.

New Mexico ~ Located in Santa Fe , New Mexico..I’ve thought  about New Mexico a lot. There’the Balloon Festival in Albuquerque and the massive Carlsbad Caverns. There are several nature preserves too but the only times available as well as the long distances between the places I want to see, is summer. It would be very hot. It’s desert after all.

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Tennessee has 5 choices , most in Gatlinburg. With 5 resorts to pick from there’s bound to be some open reservations.

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I chose to enter a time range and not select a resort. Sure enough I had lots to chose from and since I’m traveling alone I only need about 3500 points for a week. I grabbed a week in May. Spring time in the Great Smokey Mountains is supposed to be nice.

Now I just have to see if work approved the vacation time! May is considered part of our busy season.