I love to walk.
If it’s within a mile or so, I’m so hoofing it. Unless I’m pressed for time. Or it’s all highway with no sidewalks. Or it’s too cold. Or too hot. Also, only if I have one of my miles-walking pairs of shoes on like I wear to Target.
Last fall, Camdyn had a tournament in beautiful Gatlinburg, Tenn.
I love that place. The forecast was for snow and a low of zero. But it would get up near freezing during the day. Other parents moaned. I secretly wanted to see how Camdyn would play as a block of Camdyn ice.
Luckily, we didn’t have to find out.
It was sunny and in the 70s and beautiful. We ate ribs and stole beer glasses. Just one. We won a tournament and the girls got beanies instead of medals and got to play with majestic mountains as their backdrop.
Here’s the story of the early Sunday morning I had to go pay for donuts in a shop that let us have them on loan the day before because I’d forgotten my wallet.
Right outside our hotel, there was a gringo taco joint. We didn’t go there. We don’t say things like “No way, Jose” because “way” would be pronounced “weh” to rhyme with “Hoh-seh.” Still, tacos. And I liked this sign.
Also right outside the hotel (I swear, I walked more than a block), there was this nice clear stream. Its flowing waters were perfect for a good night’s sleep. I didn’t have time to linger, because donuts had to be paid for and coffee procured.
It’s prettier at night, but this lighted bridge was so serene on Sunday morning. The night before, people in soccer jackets and camo (who was local and who was the tourist?) ambled back and forth between the hotels and chocolate shops.
This dude is so Tennessee. A hunter, for sure. Vols fan, for life. Coming around to the Titans. Not much of a Grizzlies fan, although … drives a truck, loves America. Remembers when Gatlinburg had a burger stand and a post office.
Gatlinburg has a bit of a Bavarian feel, and although I’ve never been to Bavaria I kinda like the donuts. It looked all village-y here, so I knew I was getting close to the donut shop. Also probably the Force and aroma of fresh donuts helped.
I am a foodie, but even I can stop and smell the flowers, even blocks away from the donut shop. Well, I didn’t smell this one. I don’t even know what it’s called. But it had a pretty purple color that reminded me of my Rockies.
I’m also easily distracted. Doesn’t this chicken look cool? I mean, it could be a logo on a football team’s helmet, if there were any Chickens in the game. Maybe it’s close enough for Virginia Tech.
These little dudes are everywhere in Gatlinburg. Kind of like those sea turtles in Charleston. Gives it that hometown feels. We found only about 37 of them. There might be 237.
Not gonna lie. It would have been stellar to find Leslie Mann or at least Laura Thornburgh in here. I had a quarter, too! But that’s the donut shop right behind this sign, so my attention didn’t get diverted too long.
There’s a quirky side to Gatlinburg, too. I could have gone with either of these hats. Which would you vote for? I think one critter made a sacrifice for one hat; the other, just a contribution.
Finally – the Donut Friar. Delicious stuff. But when I tried to pay for my Saturday donuts on a Sunday morning, the manager wasn’t too happy. I probably got the dude who extended me credit in trouble.
One more chill character, out on the street. I missed Gatlinburg almost immediately. We had a blast, ate great food, and the girls even went on one of those ski lifts to nowhere. Luckily, they came back.
I’d go back, too.