Friday, January 6 was the gathering at No--, so I hung out by myself for the day while Fernando attended the get-together. Late afternoon, I met him at his work and I met lots of people whose names I'll never remember (!!), who were super friendly and encouraging to both of us.
From there in Knoxville, we drove to our hotel in Pigeon Forge, just on the outskirts of the Great Smoky Mountains. Oh, to see those mountains!! The photos do not do it justice.
The view from our hotel suite.
We used money from mileage plus Fernando's hotel points for this beautiful suite, free of charge!
After a yummy "down-home" meal at The Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, we retired to our suite where it began to snow yet again. Though we didn't want to see it having come south in the winter, it was beautiful.
The next morning, we drove into Gatlinburg. We decided to stop along the way at one of the little parking areas dotting the mountain road to tromp through the snow in order to see the river, and the view. Just amazing!
In Gatlinburg, which was still intact despite so many recent fires near and around, we went to Calhoun's for some Tennessee barbecue--yum.
We wandered around Gatlinburg...
Paula Deen's store!
There was a distillery (one of two), and it called our names...
What a festive atmosphere--until our server got political (why do people do that?). But the "fare" was delicious, and they gave Fernando a generous military discount!
Down every side street, we saw the mountains in the distance!
We stopped at a local brewery to get some beer for Matt and Jeff, and this little scene greeted us in the parking lot.
We had a wonderful day, spent together, just enjoying a new place and each other's company.
Sunday morning view from our suite before heading home.
On the way home, we played music, sang, and I took this photo with Rocky Top, Tennessee in the background! I had to play the song for Fernando; he had never heard it before (poor guy!).
We stopped at a Cracker Barrel for dinner, got stuffed yet again, and even ordered dessert. Fernando took this goofy picture of me attacking dessert...
I hope this great start to a new year continues for us. I hope this becomes a year for new beginnings together, a new life of looking ahead with hope and joy.
Back to life,
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