Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to APRIL!!!! Spring is AWESOME. Enjoy some beautiful TULIPS from Biltmore!!

Monday, January 8, 2018

A Smoky Mountain Christmas --Part I

Kelly (George's daughter),  George and me --on a bitterly cold Christmas Day morning  (22 degrees)   in the Elkmont area of the Smokies   (12/25/17)
Happy 2018 my Friends... Hope you had a great holiday season...    We did something VERY different on Christmas this year....  Since George's daughter (who lost her husband in November) was spending Christmas with us this year,   we wanted to do something to help her find some JOY during this hard time for her....

SO---we spent several days in Gatlinburg  and the Smoky Mountains... Kelly had never been to this area ---so George and I  enjoyed showing off some of our favorite areas of the Smokies...   She is a photographer (like her Dad) ---so we of course took her to places where we love to take photos... She  seemed to enjoy herself --and I hope she was able to find some PEACE and JOY in 'our' mountains.

Today and next Monday,  I will share two posts from our little Christmas Vacation... Hope you enjoy the pictures....

Downtown  Gatlinburg,  Tennessee on 12/24/17  (People-people-people-Traffic-traffic-traffic);  But the  Christmas lights were pretty and festive!!!!

We visited Patriot Park (12/26/17).  It was great seeing all of the patriotic light displays....  Recognize this one?   I'll bet you do!!!!!

SNOW on Christmas Day in the mountains  (12/25/17);    We didn't get much snow at all where we were --but the road (441) across the mountain was closed for 2 days while we were there due to ice and snow...

Guess who joined us on  Christmas Day?????    Our good Indiana Friends,  Neal and Patti,   were in the area on a short vacation ---so of course,  we just 'had' to make plans to spend the day with them...Our original plans were to go across the mountain to Newfound Gap and Cherokee ---but since the road was closed,  we had to go to "Plan B"....   Instead,  we did quite a bit of hiking in the Elkmont area of the Smokies...  Other than the frigid weather,   we had a great time...  Then--after about a 3 mile hike and lots of pictures,  we all went to dinner together in late afternoon.  Had a great day with special friends!!!   (12/25/17)

Along Little River Road (between Gatlinburg and Cades Cove),  we stopped at the SINKS....   Since we had had a lot of rain recently,  the water in all of the creeks and rivers was really flowing... SO pretty.  (12/24/17)

I love this picture of my Sweetheart,  taken in the Elkmont area  on 12/25/17.

On 12/26/17,   we took Kelly to CADES COVE ....  Here is a great picture of one of the amazing cabins there...  This is the John  Oliver Cabin,  the oldest log home in Cades Cove.  John Oliver arrived in the cove prior to 1820....  IF you get to Cades Cove when visiting the Smokies,  be sure to take the short walk and check out this cabin...

One of my favorite places in the Smokies is the Greenbriar area.   We visited there on 12/27/17.   This is a picture taken in the Greenbriar area.  I love the big rocks and boulders in this area.  The flowing water was beautiful.

Besides taking pictures of the flowing water,   all of us enjoyed taking pictures of the ICE.  This was taken in the Greenbriar area on 12/27/17.....

Taken in the Greenbriar area,   George took this picture of some silly  'tree-hugger'.....  12/27/17

THEN---after each long day out in the cold  (did I say  COLD???) weather   (Brrrrrrrr),  it felt good coming back to our motel room and enjoy a roaring wood-fire in the fireplace.
I have one more set of pictures to share from this little trip,  but that will be next week.... Hope you enjoyed this first set...  We hope that this little Christmas trip gave Kelly a distraction from the heartache she feels after losing her husband of 20 years....   Keep her in your prayers.