Member Monday: The Wonders of White Oak Lodge

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The White Oak Lodge and Resort in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a fan favorite among Global Discovery Vacation members and it was no exception for Danna W. See what Great Smoky Mountain adventures Danna and her husband had in this week’s Member Monday feature.

Where would you recommend a fellow member to go:

To Eat:
If you’re going to splurge on fudge, don’t assume that they’re all made equal. Skip the masses of fudge shops and got straight to Kilwins. I don’t know how they do it but their fudge is amazing and trumps all the others (and there are lots of others).

We also ate at The Little House of Pancakes. My husband ordered the all-you-can-eat pancakes and it came out on a pizza pan. It was hilarious. The Alamo Steakhouse was fantastic for dinner; the Porterhouse was melt-in-your-mouth good.

To Shop:
We didn’t do too much shopping on our trip but we did enjoy the local artisans and bought a hand-carved Christmas ornament. They have everything from candle makers and woodcarvers to pottery and glass blowing. If artisan isn’t your thing, they have an enormous outlet mall right down the main road.

To have fun/attractions:
Gatlinburg has something for everyone: Nature, restaurants, shopping, artisans, entertainment, etc. Whether you’re on a family vacation or a romantic getaway, Gatlinburg is a great place to go.

We went hiking for our entertainment but we do plan to go back as a family. There are so many things to do, it would take at least a month to do them all. We plan to do the Space Needle, aquarium, sky lift, and take in a show on the next trip.

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What was your favorite:

Resort/Condominium Amenity or Room:
We stayed in one of White Oak’s newest cabins (as of December 2013) and it was gorgeous. We slept better than we have in years. The bed is comfortable and the bedroom is nice and dark, and quiet.

Place to go in the destination:
The hiking was amazing. We hiked the Indian Flats Falls trail. The trail followed the river and we got to see several waterfalls. We even got to watch a mama bear help her cubs cross the river. Of course our phones had both run out of juice prior to this, so no pictures.

Why did you choose this destination?
We chose Gatlinburg because it wasn’t too far of a drive from home and we’ve heard it’s a fun destination. We almost didn’t go. My work schedule changed after we made the reservation and we couldn’t stay the whole week as originally planned. We got there a day late and had to leave two days early but it was well worth the trip.

Who did you travel with?
This was a getaway for just my husband and me.

Were you traveling for a special occasion? If yes, what?
No special occasion, just a chance to get away. With Global, we tend to take trips throughout the year just to be able to spend a week in a condo for the same price as one night in many hotels. It’s too good not to go.

What was your favorite memory of your vacation?
Watching the bears cross the river was just something you don’t get to see every day. That has to be my favorite memory.

Any tips for a traveler to this resort or destination? Anything you think they should bring?
If you arrive on a Friday or Saturday night and your GPS is telling you to take exit 402, you’re going to spend a lot of time in traffic. Call White Oak and they’ll tell you how to get around it.

If you’re not in a hurry, follow the GPS. It’s a nice tour of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Take a pen and paper so you can write down where you want to go. Staying in a condo is different than a hotel, so we have a small cooler packed with some essentials that we just bring with us. Dish soap, laundry soap, coffee filters, Pam spray, and some basic toiletries.

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About you

How long have you been a Global Discovery Vacations member?
Three years.

Why did you join the club?
We got a great deal on a six-star package and it sounded like a great vacation option.

What is your profession?
My husband and I are both in the military.

How many trips have you taken using your membership?
We’ve taken three trips: Two weeks in Hawaii, a week in Destin, Florida, and this trip to Gatlinburg. We’ve also given four trips to family members as gifts. We figured out the Hawaii trip alone made up for the cost of the membership to Global.

It’s sometimes difficult to plan vacations, but both my husband and I will be retiring from the military in a few years and then we’re off to see the world (in a relaxing kind of way).

Photos courtesy of member Danna W. 

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.

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