We arrived in the evening and were immediately handed beers. (Warren and I, that is.)
The kids were given Sunny D and exercise balls to play with.
She even gave them ice cream!
It was awesome. The monkeys got their ya-yas out while we chatted and drank beer. After an hour or so we ventured into town for some pizza at the Cellar. The monkeys declared it the best pizza ever, even better than the Trolley Stop (blasphemy!). I think they were just starved, although it was good.
Back at the house we all gathered in our jammies and watched Stand By Me. I tried to explain to the kids how I was supposed to marry River Phoenix, but they didn't get it.
In the morning, Hope got us all going with some music, coffee, chocolate milk, and Greek yogurt. She had a full day of activities planned for us, so we wasted no time. First up, picking blueberries!
Next we went to nearby Mountain Lake, where they filmed Dirty Dancing! I carried a watermelon!
Hope and Warren didn't believe me, but I did actually join the Peace Corps because of Baby. It's true. I saw Dirty Dancing five times in the theater!
Mountain Lake has definitely passed it's prime, mostly due to the fact that the lake on the property dried up. It was pretty dead except for a few European visitors. There are still cabins and hotel rooms for rent, but you can pay $5 and enjoy the grounds and the restaurant. We had lunch right where the Housemans had lunch, which was exciting. Unfortunately the food was awful. No matter, the grounds were spectacular.
The kids loved the life sized chess and checkers sets.
I loved the Dirty Dancing tour, which now includes a Patrick Swayze memorial rock.
Somehow we peeled ourselves away and headed off to the nearby Cascades for a hike up to an awesome waterfall. Warren and I were really impressed with the trails. They were very well planned and maintained.
The two mile hike totally paid off. Look at that waterfall! The water was freezing, but we all swam and soaked up as much of the awesome as we could.
A short cloudburst sent most everyone else packing and we had it all to ourselves for about half an hour which pretty much ruled. After awhile, we headed back down the mountain on the less challenging trail since the kids were just about zonked.
We went to the house to put on dry clothes and have a beer, then headed out to dinner at Gillie's. (I asked Hope to take us to a hippie restaurant.) On the way we noticed that the Cave of Forgotten Dreams was playing at the Lyric, a one screen theater next door, and made a split second decision to go see it after dinner. It was really, really good. And then really, really bad. It was both awe inspiring and guffaw inducing.
The movie did us all in and we went home to crash. Hope woke us up with the smell of bacon and soon Warren was making everyone blueberry pancakes. We ate out in the yard in shifts between showers.
Before leaving town, we went to visit one of Hope's friends and see her amazing garden. (Hope is a plant nerd at Virginia Tech who gardens on the side.) It was huge and had several different "rooms." Satchel said it was "epic" and way better than the Dixon!
Then we had to go check out the nearby skatepark, which was completely empty. Thankfully our pad & helmetless driver did not injure himself.
Shockingly neither did the padless & helmetless monkeys.
(They are so excited about having a skatepark in Memphis. They'll be [padded] regulars, I'm sure.)
By now it was approaching noon and we had a six hour drive ahead of us to Fall Creek Falls, so we had to say another round of goodbyes. It was SO nice to have Hope all to ourselves for 40 hours! Bachelorettes rule!