Friday, January 15, 2010

Christmas in the Smokies

From In the Garden
Christmas in the Smokies, ahh, just the very words evoke visions of beautiful pristine streams, snow covered evergreens, and warm fires in a log cabin. Snow?? Do you see any snow? This was our view outside of our cabin in the Smokies during the Christmas break. Not a speck of snow in sight despite us wanting a white Christmas.

From In the Garden
Ah, here is the snow! During the week we spent in the Smokies (including Christmas Day) we did not see one single flake of snow falling from the sky, but! We did find some snow at Ober Gatlinburg. Lots of snow too.

From In the Garden
We also saw some evergreens, though these ones were not covered with snow-they were covered with loads of jewel colored lights. It was a magical Christmas tree forest at Dollywood. I am very partial to the brightly colored Christmas lights and was delighted to see all the color here instead of plain old white (can you see I am biased?:)

From In the Garden
The Jimster and Mr. Fix-it had a great time snow tubing at Ober Gatlinburg. Ober Gatlinburg also offers ice skating (the Jimster participated in this too), skiing, and snow boarding. Who knew we could find this in Tennessee? I had no idea. We might need to dust off our skis hanging in the garage.

As a person who has spent many vacations in the Alps at resorts like Garmisch and Berchtesgadens in Germany I was pleasantly surprised to feel almost transported back to the wonderful Alps while staying right here in Tennessee. The effect was complete right down to the hour long wait in line for a ticket to snow tube, and hearing foreign languages here in the United States surely made me feel like I was overseas. I struck up a conversation with a few of the families around me also waiting in line and asked where they were from. The families both in front of us and behind us replied they were from Miami. Florida that is. Ha! That was not expected at all. A little girl about 9 years old told me she came from Miami and said, "You know that place where it never snows? We had to come here to see the snow." Ha again! It seems the majority of the many vacationers (nearly 100,000) in the Smokies were from Florida and other southern states. So for all of you northerners getting sick of the snow and freezing in it, I think you can appreciate our fellow citizens in the deep south coming up north (Tennessee is north to someone in Florida for sure, but to me it is the south!) to vacation-just to see the snow. I got a kick out of it. This same little girl asked me if the summer was full of snow too and thought that would be lovely if it were. No thanks, snow in the mountains and occasionally in Middle Tennessee is nice, but not in the summer!

From In the Garden

And finally, I would like to send good wishes from our family to yours for the year 2010. May it be your best ever....

in the garden....


  1. Gorgeous! That brightly displayed tree line is beautiful...

  2. Tina, glad you enjoyed your trip to the Smokies. We have spent many Christmas holiday's there and hope to spend more! I can remember vacationing in the Smokies when it wasn't so crowded.

  3. Well, we have plenty of snow but it makes all the other seasons just as good. Can you believe we also have a snow tubing park? Ha! When I was a kid that meant a big hill.
    I love the trees that must of been awesome in person.
    Nice pic of you all.

  4. Looks like you had a great time, I love the cabin's setting, and snow-in-summer should only be a plant's name.

  5. What a terrific trip you had. That line of jewel-lit Christmas trees is simply breathtaking. Onward into the new year and maybe even spring...

  6. Thanks for the good wishes Tina! Those pictures are really pretty. Loved the first one of the stream (river?) Just my type of place!

  7. Thanks Darla!

    Nina, Our first Christmas in the Smokies and ever so relaxing and pleasurable. It's a special place indeed but crowded, though it wasn't like going in the summer when it's 'bumper to bumper'. It was nice.

    Dawn, Did you try tubing? I opted out due to our childhood of sliding. Feel bad about it too because I like to try everything once. This time I spent most of the session in the 'lodge' with a good book. Thanks on the picture. I do not like my picture taken but it came out nicely I guess.

    Les, Snow in summer-the plant-is one of my favorites so I totally agree. No cold here.

    Jodi, It was sure a lot of color.

    Linda, A small stream in our little resort. It was picture perfect.

  8. The picture of the cabin would be a perfect one for a post card. Did you by any chance go to the Gatlinburg Christmas parade? It looks like you three had fun!

  9. Hi Dave, No, we didn't spend much time in Gatlinburg except for Obergatlinburg. We had done the Ripleys, Aquarium and such the last time we went so we wanted to do something different. We had a good time, nice and relaxing.

  10. Tina those pictures were priceless and you will always remember that trip and how wonderful it was : )
    Every time I smell anise I think of our times in the German/Dutch?Belgium Christmas markets .. especially Aachen Germany though .. the smell of the different foods and so many beautiful Christmas crafts .. it was heavenly : )
    PS .. son was very lucky to have skiing trips to Switzerland and Germany .. one benefit of being an army brat ? LOL

  11. Hi Tina, had to laugh at your discussion of what's considered south/north. Coming from Minnesota, anything south of Iowa is Deep South to me! I'm going to write my Midwestern snowbird friends, now in Florida, that the owners of the apartment they've rented are probably up in Tennessee looking for snow. Fun post! Barbara P.S. The name "Obergatlinburg" is intriguing. The "Ober" part of course sounds German, but Gatlinburg does not.

  12. Joy, Oh yes I miss Europe so much and am sad I'll never live there again. Such good memories as you know. All of my kids have been lucky to have visited the 'world', yet I think they'd say they would rather not have had the experience because they maybe wanted one school-no moves? Perhaps one day they'll remember the memories with fondness.

    Barbara, Too funny huh? Floridians considering Tennessee north? Cracked me up. Even more so to hear foreign languages. Obergatlinburg is on the peak of the mountains just above Gatlinburg. Perhaps a play on the German Alps? It was similar in a very small way because we know the Applachian mountains are a much shorter range then the Alps. Nice all the same.

  13. That looks like so much fun, Tina! Hope you had a lovely vacation....well, I know you did! The pointy rolling hills around here remind me of the black forest as well.

  14. Tina,

    It looks like you and your family had a great time in the snow! What a wonderland! It's so funny about the folk from Florida coming "up north" to Tennessee to see snow!


  15. Looks like a fun time. I could go down a hill on a tube, I think -- as I have an aversion to falling down, downhill skis and I don't mix well. Love the lights on the trees!

  16. Ah, such a wonderful Christmas getaway you had with your family! I forget about the mountains of Tennessee being full of snow in the winter but it is there. And once while going over the mountain in April to attend a wedding, we got stuck in a snow storm! We almost customized our new truck by adding a camper to it! Silly people do not know how to drive in snow on a mountain and a RV about T-Boned us! Argggg, get me off that mountain my Saint. Saint is a good driver in it as he is from the DC area where they had lots of snow when he was learning to drive so he got us safely to the other side.....

    Ah, Bechtesgaden and Garmisch, I do miss those beautiful snow falls with the alpine trees full of white fluff! We never did get the hang of skiing but tubing was fun as were snow mobiles. The last time I tried my hand at Skating was the last Christmas in Opryland before they closed. I took my niece and it was fun to see her go on her first skating experience. She left me in the wind lol, weak ankles make for a slow skater with me….

    Your pictures are wonderful and the stream, wowser I wish my creek bed looked like that! I can see people going to TN for a white Christmas from Florida. I so wanted a White Christmas while in Clarksville, TN. Oh, we did have flurries on Christmas Day and that was nice….

    Everyone have a good Weekend. The Saint is off from work for the next 4 days and today is sunny with expected 64 degrees so off into the outdoors we go.....

  17. Hi Tina, I never think of the Smokies as a winter resort destination. In fact, I thought I-75 was a one way going south:) The Smokey Mountains are beautiful tho, any time of year.

    We have plenty of snow here but no hills. Most people don't care for cross country skiing so Illinois will never be on anyone's winter vacation planner. Not on any summer vacation lists either.

  18. Hi Tina, thanks for the comment on my blog, Gardening for Nature. It looks like you had a great Christmas, even without snow where you thought it should be. I love your first photo - it looks so serene there. Kathy

  19. Wonderful pics of a great break. I've never skied or snow boarded. I miss the snow at Christmas. Not really Christmas without snow to me.

  20. When these pics makes me feel happy, I can imagine, how would it have been for you to be there...& to do all.... I'm sure u have enjoyed to the core......


  21. I'm with you, was wishing for snow, but no luck. It seems the majority of the country got cold weather, and just a few tiny spots escaped it. Oh well, maybe next year. Looks like you had a fun holiday, best to you in 2010.

  22. Tina,
    It looks like you had such a fun Christmas! I am actually shocked and feeling a bit naive, I did not know there was snow around the smokies. My bad. :)

  23. I'm envious, what a wonderful Christmas vacation!

  24. I love the line of bright trees. Back in my day we just about only had multi colored lights and I never changed my love of them but that line of trees with each one a different color is just stunning.

    The ober part really does make one think of Germany. My favorite spot over there was Linderhoff (not sure of the spelling).

    Great photos!!!

  25. Well, I do love the beautiful green landscape, but I am glad you were able to find snow and have fun. I love brightly colored Christmas trees too ;-)

  26. Lzyjo, Hi there and a Happy New Year to you! I do hope you are doing well and miss your posts.

    Cameron, Hello and welcome back!

    Helen, I'm with you, one good fall and that's enough of snow for me anyday. I let the guys handle it. Boys will be boys I guess.

    Skeeter, How I miss those European days, they were great huh? Your stream looks pretty good. You and the Saint have fun. I'm busy putting my trim back on. Yuck! Then maybe I can get to the garden.

    Marnie, One thing I think of with Illinois is Chicago. It's got that going for it for sure! One day I hope I have a good reason to travel there again as I kind of liked the area.

    Kathy, Hello and welcome! I loved your post on perspective of gardening with nature. It was most beautiful so my pleasure to comment:)

    Lola, Snow at Christmas is most fun-especially since you usually don't have to drive;)

    Hi AshKuku, We had a great time-just relaxing:)

    Megan, And a Happy New Year to you too!

    Now that's funny Rosey! Actually the week prior to us going on vacation east Tennessee has a snow storm, but just in case they did not, this resort has a couple of snow machines. Not something you would need in Colorado. Have you visited Kathy from Gardening With Nature? She is in Colorado too-that makes three that I know of! That's good!

    Sweetbay, It was lovely!

    Mom, I so wish we had gone with you to Linderhof that day you and David went. Sigh. Regrets. I am so glad you got to come and experience it! Remember the sheep in my backyard? Wasn't that the funnest?

    Noelle, Snow in limited periods of time is a nice break-like 5 days a year is enough for me:)

  27. Glad you're back Tina, I missed ya. The stream is gorgeous. Love pictures like that. And those trees all lit up sure are great colors. Sounds and looks like you had a glorious time on your winter vacation. Great picture of you and your guys.

  28. Snow, snow, no more snow,
    let it go, let it go,
    I'm tired, so tired of snow.
    It can't be held,
    or used in pots,
    it won't grow plants,
    it can't play dots.
    It's oh so bright!
    It's oh so white!
    Take this snow,

    "He Who Lives With Yankees."
    (Me, TC)

  29. Tina you asked about the Viburnum -- here is a shot of the Viburum on our farm that I think is Blackhaw: If you scroll about halfway down you'll see it, between the pictures of Rose Old blush and the azaleas. Unfortunately I don't have a large scale shot, either of the one at the farm or at the Botanical Garden -- they turned out blurry -- but both are beautiful. Mine looks like a large shrub and the Blackhaw at the Garden really does look like a tree. It reminds me a lot of a Hawthorn in habit.

  30. Linda, Thanks! Yup, back and busy as always.

    TC, Now what would the winter season be without a carol from you? Always bringing a smile to my face and it's okay to leave with Yankees. Hey, you know after you've lived in the north for one year you are no longer considered southern. Ha! Just made that up! That being said, once you live in the south for one year can you be considered southern. Nah, not southern until you get a gun, drive a truck, and serve and drink iced tea:)

    Sweetbay, I checked it out and it gave me a good idea of the blooms. I hope mine blooms this spring-love those viburnums.

  31. This actually looks like a lot of fun. I'd like to take a trip there one day. Great pics :)

  32. Looks like a wonderful time was had by all. I miss Garmisch. Taught my husband to iceskate on the rink in and Susie's husband. (it was funny)
    snow tubing sounds like fun.

  33. Sounds like a wonderful winter vacation Tina. How nice it must have been getting away for the holidays.

    Happy New Year to you and your beautiful family.

  34. Tina, looks like a wonderful vacation for your family--that first photo is so peaceful and inviting. I don't think I'll be going to Tennessee to see snow, though:) That's pretty funny that Floridians would come up to Tenn. for it. Now if they want to see the REAL deal, they need to drive a little further north!

  35. What a nice family photo at the end Tina. I hope you have the best year ever in 2010 too.
    As far as snow, that first photo, showing some green instead of white would be perfect for me. Funny how you want what you don't have, huh? It seems like you found a nice mixture. I like colored lights too but for some reason don't have any?? I'm going to have to think about that and maybe fix it next year? Most of my trees are the pre-lit variety ~ with white lights ~ so maybe that explains it but I still have one to string lights on.... Hmmm

  36. It looks like you had a great vacation! My husband and I drove through Smokey National Park, and took the Blue Ridge Parkway from there to Asheville, where we got off due to heavy fog around supper time. I may have mentioned this to you before, because I think you've been to the area before, if I'm remembering correctly. Oh, and we drove through rush hour traffic in the town where Dollywood is. It was stop and go.

  37. Hi Tina! Looks lovely, glad you all had a wonderful time.

  38. Tina,
    That first photo is just beautiful. And, what a lovely parade of lights. So glad you had a wonderful time!