Maiden Voyage in the Pop-Up

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This past weekend, we set off for our first family trip in the pop-up to Oconee State Park.  We wanted to stay fairly close to home in case anything went awry and Oconee has so much to offer in terms of beauty.  The campground was really nice.  We booked late, so didn’t get the best spot, but it was still not bad at all.  There are some great spots overlooking the lake that we want to try for next time though.  The park has a great little swimming lake that the kids really enjoyed.  There are also lots of hiking trails accessed from the park including the Foothills Trail.  We did a hike around the lake that was very easy and really nice for the kids.  They love to hike, but still can’t go too far without getting tired.  Those legs are little!

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As luck would have it, the 50th annual Hillbilly Day was also taking place in Mountain Rest.  What a trip!  I’ll just let the pictures tell that story.

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We also visited Isaqueena Falls and Stumphouse Tunnel which are really close by.  Isaqueena is absolutely beautiful and the kids loved that hike.  Graham felt like a mountain climber.  Stumphouse scared Surae pretty badly.  She’s not a huge fan of dark tunnels I guess.  Plus, everyone in the tunnel was making ghost noises, so that didn’t help.

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This was definitely a great first outing in the pop-up.  I forgot to take pictures of the actual pop-up, but I will next time.  It is surely a step up from tent camping and I am loving it!

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Great Smoky Mountains Camping Trip

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The end of my vacation break was near, so for a last little getaway the kids and I took a camping trip with my dad.  I hadn’t tried out his new camper yet and was excited to see it in action.  We headed up to Jellystone Campground about 20 minutes outside of Gatlinburg.  Jellystone is a chain of kid friendly, Yogi Bear lovin campgrounds.

http://www.greatsmokeyjellystone.com/

The people who run this place were awesome- a retired cop from LA making a very big life change.  The kids loved the campground.  There was a pool, gameroom, access to a hiking trail, and nightly entertainment.   Each night they play movies in a little theatre and also have a stage for karaoke and bands.  There are also nightly hay rides around the campground where the camp staff enthusiastically leads the kids in Yogi Bear themed sing alongs.  It may all sound cheesy and it is, but the kids loved it, and we had fun too.  Both Graham and Surae really enjoyed the pool.  They didn’t want to get out.

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We also took several little trips into Gatlinburg- to eat, walk around, take the sky lift, and  to check out the Ripley’s Aquarium.  We had been to the aquarium before, once in Gatlinburg and once at the beach and it is always impressive.  Of course, anywhere I can get my fill of leafy sea dragons is a huge bonus in my book.  Those little creatures are amazing!  All in all, it was a great trip.  Thanks dad for the camping trip!!

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