Monday, October 19, 2015

Fall Break, Cumberland Gap

This year for Fall Break we started on a long journey from Nashville to Washington DC. We stopped all along the way and our first stop was Cumberland Gap, TN.  I'll make several posts about each destination...
First let me talk a little about traveling with kids.  I'm on a mission to visit all 50 states with Molly by the time she's 18 years old.  There are several Pinterest pins and blog posts about this and you can research for hours and hours.  I've only visited a small portion of states, mostly in the south.  So many of our journeys are new to me as well.  In order to make this possible I have to be very intentional about where we go on Spring and Fall Breaks every year.  Although I'd love to just pack up and head to Disney or the Beach, I want Molly to experience many different things while she's young enough to soak it in.  Also, I'll say that I LOVE traveling with Molly alone, just her and I.  This is a special time for us to connect as parent/child and also for me to teach her, talk about our faith, tell her about stories from my childhood,etc.  

I do not have a tv/dvd player in our car and so far I've not needed it.  Our time traveling in the car is for us to talk, sing loudly, and she naps a lot, and while she naps I catch up on my saved podcasts...usually on parenting.  While we travel alone, we are able to make stops as we need to.  Travel is expensive and because it is a real sacrifice for me as a single mom, it makes it so much easier to not worry about pleasing others in our adventures.  That may sound selfish, but it's what works best for us now.  We have about 10 more years of trips to I have to make it work for us.  

Because we live in Nashville, TN, we are within driving distance to about 1/2 the states on our journey.  Maybe more depending on how adventurous I become.  I bought a brand new car a few months ago and so I am pretty confident I won't have car problems on the journey.  If I do, I have an emergency service plan (for flat tires and such) that could help me pretty quickly.  Hopefully I won't need it.  With smart phones, gps devices, and the internet, traveling has become so much easier!  I plan our trips out many months in advance, using trip advisor, pinterest, and other googling to make sure we see the most interesting things in the cities we visit.  I also use Food Network shows, like Diners, Drive ins and Dives to plan out places we might eat.  

Usually I do not travel during the summer.  I use the summer to do lots of interesting things in and around Middle Tennesee.  There is so much to do here!  We also do not travel at Christmas Break.  It's just too busy and hectic.  
Now on to our adventure... 
 Me and my travel buddy!
 Molly and her travel buddies!  Another bonus to being an only child is your can travel with your "pets".  This helps Molly feel at home when we are staying in different hotels along the way.  
 Our first destination was to the Olde Mill Inn Bed & Breakfast in the Cumberland Gap.  This is the first B & B I have ever stayed in and I really loved it!  This weekend in October, the weather turned so cold and it was wet and rainy.  This B & B, (especially our room) was so warm and cozy!  Of course, I chose this room b/c it was pretty and pink!
 The TV was mounted on an electric fireplace and we kept that fire going when we were in the room. 
 Our private bathroom

 What is it about hotels or B & B's that make you giddy with excitement?
 The den area
 The working Mill actually grind corn for corn meal and grits that the inn keepers use!  
 Dining Room
 They made a delicious breakfast each morning!  

 The Inn is at the foot of the Mountain in the small town of Cumberland Gap.  We stayed here for 2 nights and took in all the town had to offer!  

 The mountain was foggy b/c of the weather.
 The town is so tiny and quaint!  Just like you stepped back in time about 70 years!

 I took some pics of area houses b/c they were so cute!

 The town hall
 A wedding chapel

One night we went to Middlesboro, KY and which is right across the border and ate at Shades Cafe. The tiny town was having a fall festival, but it was cold and rainy and so we didn't want to partake in that.  However our meal was delicious!  There is a one mile tunnel you drive through to get from TN to KY and Molly declared that as the best part of the trip! ha!  
 There is so much history here in this area.  Basically the Cumberland Gap was the gateway to Tennessee and Kentucky for the first pioneers.  It was literally a gap in the mountain that made it easier to travel west.  

 The Cumberland Mountain National Park has lots of great things to take in.  Many trails, a museum, short video of the history, great kids area, and an original pioneer village that we didn't get to see b/c of the recent flooding.  

 Here we are taking in the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail!

 This is the visitor center inside the park.

 The pinnacle overlook takes you to a point in the mountain where you can see Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky.

 It was too foggy for us, but we went back the next morning.

 There is a small university, Lincoln Memorial University, that has a small museum about the 16th president.  Molly has claimed him as her "favorite president", so we took it in.  It was the perfect size for her age.  

The last night we ate at Godolier Pizza in Cumberland Gap and it was so good!  I ordered the strawberry shortcake dessert and had to take most of it back to the B & B with us for later.  We curled up in bed with the fire going and watched the TN football game.  

And here we are the following morning when it had cleared off looking at the same view...

 And we were off to Virginia for the next part of the trip...

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