I looked over my notes one more time. My vote would be the tie-breaker. This girls’ weekend in the Smoky Mountains was full of promise—three nights with good friends AND three nights without wife/mom responsibilities. This decision is BIG: resort stay or luxury cabin for our home base? One of my friends argues that easy access to a spa should tip the scale, while another vouches for having our own place to blast music. Good thing we all agree that because none of us typically take trips away from our families, we want to enjoy a well-planned getaway to maximize this sweet, friend-time to recalibrate. Glancing over the list of things we want to do—hiking, shopping, eating, playing tourists—I knew that location would have to win out. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort it is!
While a girlfriend getaway isn’t a novel idea, in my circle of friends, we’re all working moms. We’re in that stage where it seems like we’re sleepwalking through life—is that because of sleep deprivation or because life with toddlers is surreal? It’s probably a tossup. We don’t get out much and we decided to change that at least for one weekend. The five of us talked with our husbands and committed ourselves to three days away. We penciled in the February dates on our calendars.
As we wait for the glorious getaway, I took it upon myself to create an agenda from our list of “must-do’s.” Having a schedule on paper may seem to defeat the purpose of getting away, but we’ll have to be strategic to fit it all in; there’s so much we could do, I think it’s wise to prioritize in advance. Here’s my list:
Thursday, Feb. 25
7 p.m. – Check-in at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort
8 p.m. – Sit by the outdoor gas fire pit at The Barn
We can swing by The Lounge and order drinks on the way out. They have everything from pink lemonade to wine. Let’s start the weekend off with good conversation and laughter.
Friday, Feb. 26
9 a.m. – Eat breakfast together at Song & Hearth
11 a.m. – Hike Alum Cave Trail
On a Friday morning in February, it should take about 35 minutes to get to the trailhead from the resort; I estimate the hike itself will take us about three hours.
Alum Cave Trail is just shy of a 4.5 mile round trip hike. The first mile or so is a gentle grade. As you get to Arch Rock, you climb up rock stairs to go under the arch before beginning the ascension to Alum Cave—which isn’t actually a cave, but a concaved bluff with gorgeous views.
4 p.m. – Grab something to eat—we’ll definitely be hungry after the hike.
My recommendation is J.T. Hannah’s in Pigeon Forge. They have great salads to choose from. I’ll probably get the Blackened Chicken Salad—but the locally sourced Smoky Mountain Trout is tempting!
5:30 p.m. – Appointments at The Spa at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort! Operation: Time to REALLY relax. I’m thinking a deep tissue massage, but they also have a great deal on their Winter Bliss Mani/Pedi while we’re there…
7:30 p.m. – Dinner- will we be hungry again?
We could dress up and try something fun like Blackberry Farm’s The Barn. It’s in Walland, but it’s one of the area’s best-kept secrets! We’d need reservations. Check out the website.
Saturday, Feb. 27
9 a.m. – Low-key breakfast at DM Pantry
11 a.m. – Shopping day!
Start at Tanger Outlets
It’s about 10 minutes from the resort; Pottery House Café and Grille isn’t far away when we’re ready for lunch. They also have beautiful housewares and pottery that make great gifts.
3 p.m. – Stages West
We all need to buy a pair of cowboy boots before the weekend ends!
Sunday, Feb. 28
11 a.m. – Check-out
Go home and kiss our husbands and babies!
Escaping to the mountains is good for the soul. Mama isn’t as efficient/loving/fill in the blank when running on empty. I so look forward to this weekend. And, I’m thinking this may have to become an annual line item in our family budget.