Member Monday: Doing it All in the Smoky Mountains

Having never been to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, what better time for Global Discovery Vacations member Minerva D. to visit than for her husband’s birthday and their wedding anniversary? In doing so, the couple found a whole new appreciation for the outdoors while staying at the Wyndham Smoky Mountains. Read about their amazing trip in this week’s Member Monday.

Where would you recommend a fellow member to go to…
Eat
I found a Groupon for Bistro 109, a perfect place for our 40th anniversary celebration. It was only about a five-minute drive from the resort on a side street. We weren’t too sure about it until we went in. There was a baby grand piano at the entrance with a man playing very romantic beautiful music. Small chandeliers hung above the tables. The meal was very good. We met a very nice couple from the area who bought a bottle of wine to share with us, so we celebrated our anniversary with them.

Have fun/attractions
We went horseback riding at Douglas Lakeview Stables that I found on Groupon. Very fun.

A couple that we were with told us about the Bush’s bean factory very near there, so we went. Interesting! We ate at the restaurant and had the best catfish dinner ever!

On the way home we saw a sign that said Forbidden Caverns. We said, “Why not!” Another interesting day!

Biltmore Estate.

Biltmore Estate.

The next day we drove to North Carolina. It took us about one and a half hours to get to the Biltmore Estates. Unbelievable! Took us five hours to get through the mansion and the grounds. A must see if you are in the area.

We also went to Gatlinburg and rode the Ober Gatlinburg gondola then listened to the bluegrass bands. Our resort was about one mile from Dollywood, but we didn’t have time. All in all, it was one of the best vacations we have taken.

What was your favorite…
Resort/Condo Amenity:
I called the resort about a week before our arrival to request three things: A view of the mountains, top floor and to be near the pool. They fulfilled every request! We had an awesome deluxe one-bedroom room.

The resort was absolutely beautiful. We enjoyed the gas fireplace at night and grilled our meals at the grill.

Why did you choose this destination? Were you traveling for a special occasion?
We chose this destination because we had never been to Tennessee to see the Smoky Mountains and thought, what a better time to go there over two celebrations: my husband’s 62nd birthday and our 40th anniversary!

What was your favorite memory of your vacation?
We had never hiked before in our life, but found out we love it! We went to Cade’s Cove the first day. A must-see if you go there. We loved all the homes and churches with cemeteries behind them built in the early 1800s. We hiked seven miles that day and saw many beautiful falls.

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The next day, we hiked six miles and saw Laurel Falls (where we saw a bear in the distance) and Grotto Falls (another must-see), where you can walk behind the falls. The terrain was challenging at times but so fun.

Any tips for a traveler to this resort or destination? Anything you think they should bring?
We bought some good tennis shoes for the hikes instead of hiking boots and they were just fine. Make sure you take a backpack for water and snacks.

About you

How long have you been a Global Discovery Vacations member?
Since 2011.

How many trips have you taken using your membership?
We started with three stars but upgraded to six stars. We have taken nine trips with our membership and have enjoyed every one.

Why did you join the club?
Global Discovery Vacations has given us the opportunity to afford to take all of our kids and grand kids for our Christmas vacation twice to Florida with two condos. We would never have traveled as much as we have if we did not have the membership. Quality time with the spouse and our family is so important and Global has made that possible.

Photos courtesy of Minerva D.

Corey is a writer from Overland Park, KS, and has been with Global Discovery Vacations since September 2013. Once a sportswriter, he traveled the country and became proficient in airport security line etiquette and leaving items in hotel rooms.