That time we went to Pigeon Forge…

Tommy’s work was sending him to Singapore for several days in August. We decided to use his business trip halfway around the world as a jumping off point for a trip of our own. He would fly to Singapore for work, and then fly to Paris. The same day, I would also fly to Paris, meet him at the airport, and then we’d fly together to Florence and spend five days in Italy.

We bounced around ideas for awhile (Someplace tropical where we’d do nothing but lie on the beach all day? Or some place with lots of food and wine?) and decided on Italy. We figured since this was our first chance in a long time for just the two of us to get away, that we wanted to go somewhere and do what we love – which is eating and drinking!

The only problem that we had was that, while we’ve left #ToddlerGoodwin with babysitters to go out to dinner, concerts, and other date nights… we’d never left him alone for an overnight trip, let alone for several days and nights at a time!

We decided to do a trial run. Since Tommy’s parents were going to be watching Jacob at their house while we were gone, we took a road trip to Bristol, Virginia, to spend a few days with them. While we were there, Tommy and I planned to spend the night somewhere else to give the grandparents a chance to “practice” having Jacob to themselves for a day and night.

Whenever we travel, Tommy is always the one who handles all the logistics. He finds the airfares, he books the hotel and rental car, he makes reservations. I just look up the fun stuff to do online. Since Father’s Day was coming up and Tommy is the hardest person to shop for, I asked him if it was okay for ME to come up with the plans for our overnight trip. He gave me a budget and handed all of the planning over to me.

I decided that we would go from Bristol to Pigeon Forge. I’d been once before, so I was thinking maybe we could visit a winery or two and head down to Gatlinburg. While I was looking for ideas, I discovered something called the Smoky Mountain Wine Trail. That was my plan, in a nutshell. We’d drive down to Pigeon Forge and hit the wineries marked on the Wine Trail.

They definitely weren’t the greatest wines, but we had fun popping in and out of different places and tasting everything. We went to the Apple Barn and sampled their wines before buying donuts, pastries, a caramel apple, chocolates, and some gifts for friends. We also brought home a bottle of wine for Tommy’s parents as a thank-you for watching #ToddlerGoodwin.

But once we were done with the wineries and checked into our hotel, there wasn’t a whole lot of daytime left. It was a little too early in the day for dinner, but I figured it was too late to drive through the National Park. We talked about heading down to Gatlinburg, but we weren’t 100% sure what we wanted to do with the limited amount of time that we had.

But we needed something to keep our minds off of missing #ToddlerGoodwin, so we looked online for things to do, and found the Trapped Escape Game. We made a reservation and headed right up the road to Trapped. We were the only people in the room, which was awesome. I guess sometimes, if other people show up and want to do the same room, you’ll be stuck with strangers.

The guy there explained that we’d have 45 minutes to solve the puzzles and work our way out of the room. He said there was a camera so that he could watch us, and speakers and a microphone so that we could talk to him and ask for hints if we needed them. And then he basically locked us in the room.

The room was set up to look like something from the days of Al Capone. There was a whole storyline to go with it, but the guy didn’t really get into that. It was just up to us to start finding clues and figuring out what to do with all of these locked chests, boxes, and briefcases strewn around the room.

About halfway through, we opened a secret passageway in the room’s fireplace… I thought we were done! Hooray! We did it! Nope. We just went into ANOTHER room and had to keep going, looking for more clues and solving more puzzles.

We were on the right track, but time eventually ran out, and we weren’t able to escape the escape room. The guy let us out and was nice enough to walk us through the rest of the riddles and puzzles that would eventually give us the secret code to unlock the door.

Even though we didn’t escape, it was a ton of fun. Escape room games are gaining popularity all over, so if one pops  up in your area, give it a try!

We went out to dinner afterwards to Harpoon Harry’s, which was just a quick walk from our hotel room. I really wanted some crab legs, so this place hit the spot. It was so nice to get to take our time at dinner without rushing to eat our food, feed #ToddlerGoodwin, and then get him cleaned up and ready for bed.

I think Tommy checked in with his parents once or twice, but that was about it. #ToddlerGoodwin did just fine, and so did Grandma and Grandpa.

And, even though it was strange not having the little guy around, we did okay, too.

Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg
STAY: Inn on the River
EAT: Harpoon Harry’s
DO: Trapped Escape Game

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