School breaks are precious, so we do our best to make the most of them! Naturally, if it is gorgeous we HAVE to get outta town at least one day. Our favorite spot is the Cades Cove picnic area (truth be told, it’s the only spot we’ve ever been, but there are other wonderful day trips out there). We love it. We make an afternoon of it. We go as often as we can. And here’s why you should, too:
Trees. Rocks. Water. Mud. Acorns. Fresh air. Wildlife. Ya’ll, my kids need these things. It’s good for their soul to get outside and live someplace besides their backyard. Watching a deer eat five feet away? Yeah… you can’t get that on Disney Plus.
4. Friendly Strangers.
Cades Cove is a busy place. I’ll admit to that. There are probably much more secluded places to spend an afternoon, but that’s not always necessary. I like that my kids make new friends, observe new ways to play, and sometimes are the recipient of delicious gifts from nostalgic grandparents admiring my little ones.
3. Sensory Therapy.
I could just eat this one up. I LOVE watching my kids play in nature. We just have no idea how amazing it is for their little brains and bodies to get out and get moving. My girl can walk across logs like balance beams. My boy can throw rocks in the water and watch them plop over and over and over again. They can wade in freezing water and maneuver through rocks and sticks. They can make mud pies. They can use their imagination and explore and create.
And the best part? I can let them. They know that when we go to the river their boundaries are wider than ever — barring throwing rocks at humans and climbing on something that might kill them — they can pretty much do whatever they want (even wear a swimming suit when its COLD).
2. Location. Location. Location.
I’m sure there are a lot of places around here where we could get these same things. But for us, living in Blount county, this place is perfect. It’s far enough away that it feels like we’re going on an adventure ‘in the mountains’ (and they both nap all the way home), but it’s close enough that it doesn’t have to take up a whole day to visit. It’s easy to get to — no complicated back roads or shortcuts. Just one road. And, it’s a place where I am forced to get completely and utterly…