Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn't cooperate with our plans to enjoy the multiple fireplaces in our lovely log cabin atop the hill since all we got was mild temps. I was afraid to go hiking for fear of running across a venomous snake or bear that had postponed hibernation to enjoy the warmer than usual weather. We had all of these fireplaces to enjoy in the lodge, but seldom got to crank them up. It was so warm that two of the girls and the brother-in-law were wearing shorts one evening. As native Texans, we've spent many a Christmas with the AC running instead of the heat. But still... disappointing.
After the tour, we hightailed it over the mountains (and through a few via tunnel) to our lodge in Gatlinburg.
In the pic above with my husband's parents, you can see Gatlinburg in the background. It was a STEEP climb up a switchback trail to get to our lodge at the top for this fantastic view. The one lane cow trail was covered in asphalt, which was its saving grace. Otherwise, I'd have had to park the rental minivan at the first turnout and hoof it the rest of the way. This was the one instance when I was grateful I didn't have to deal with snow and/or ice on the roads. The white stuff would have been really festive and pretty, but not practical for getting around without snow tires or four wheel drive.
Our first full day in Gatlinburg, we drove over to nearby Pigeon Forget to enjoy a day at Dollywood. The Christmas decorations were lovely, especially at night when we could enjoy all of the lights. Roller coasters and funnel cakes - what's not to love.