I’m trying to do a better job at keeping up with blog posts so here’s an update on the last couple weeks. After we left our RV park in Smyrna, TN we headed for the Great Smoky Mountains. We used the Smokemont campground as our basecamp for some nearby exploring.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
We knew this wasn’t the best time of the year to see the Smoky’s but we were there so it had to be done! We actually arrived after dark, which we try to never do, because traffic going though Pigeon Forge took over an hour. This took us through the park through the mountain pass and down the other side in the rain with Big Berta and the jeep. Not a fun drive. That aside the campground was really pretty and there were multiple trail heads leaving from it. We got to take advantage of one since there was one day it didn’t rain. That day we also took advantage of the opportunity to walk on a bit of the Appalachian Trail! It was quite muddy so we only went a mile or so but it was cool to be on this famous trail. There seem to be tons of hiking opportunities and we’d love to do some more exploring. It would be amazing to see the park with all it’s foliage, especially in the fall. The park gets it’s name from the fog and haze which we saw a lot of with the weather the way it was.
One of our destinations while camping in the Smoky’s was back to Pigeon Forge to visit Dollywood, an amusement park with a Dolly Parton and Tennessee feel. Their claim to fame is roller coasters, of which I rode only one and decided I’d like to keep my head attached to my body! Megann and our friend Spencer rode a lot more of them though! The park does have some shows, a steam train and restaurants sort of like Disney. The thing is that it cost $70 each to get in, the lines were LONG, you have to pay for their version of a “fast pass”, and it’s a much smaller park than Disney. We all agreed that a place like Silverwood is a better deal. But, we crossed it of our list!
The other side trip we did from the Smoky’s was a trip to Asheville, NC. It’s a college town with a fun downtown area to explore. We did some walking around, got some new earrings, met our friends for coffee and went to an awesome pizza place. It was a cool town, one to visit again if we’re in the area.
We stayed at a truck stop one night on the way to Savannah GA where we stayed two nights in the visitor center parking lot. We didn’t know what to expect exactly but had heard Savannah was a cool place to see so we went! It is the oldest city in the state of Georgia, established 1733, so there is a ton of history to learn about. It is also a very beautiful city with some cobblestone streets, interesting architecture and 22 park like squares throughout. Nearby is Tybee island which you can drive to which offers the beaches that Savannah doesn’t. It was raining when we went out there but it was still beautiful. Another thing we did was visit a very old spooky cemetery called Bonaventure. Call us weird but it was one of our favorite things. It has all the elaborate statues and headstones and all the trees were covered in Spanish moss – the perfect setting for a scary movie.
Gamble Rogers SP, FL
After leaving Savannah we traveled to Gamble Rogers state park at Flagler Beach for a couple nights. It was a really clean park with nice bathrooms/showers, beach access and a nature trail. We would definitely stay there again if we were in the area.
St. Augustine, FL
Gamble Rogers State Park was close to St. Augustine, Florida so we made a quick drive up the coast to check it out. This is another historical city being the oldest continuously occupied European settlement in the United States, first established by the Spanish. One of the coolest places to visit is Castillo De San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the United States. We’ve visited forts before but only on the West coast so those were much newer and you were not allowed inside. This fort, being a national monument is open to visitors and includes demonstrations and a lot of historical display inside. One of the coolest parts of the fort is that it had a dry moat and draw bridges! We didn’t get to do an official tour but we walked around the city some and the age of some of the buildings is amazing! We actually would like to visit again when we have more time to spend.
From there we drove to Apopka, just North of Orlando for the next stage of the adventure.