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Our last vacation was Japan 2015. We literally began dating the day I arrived and spent two incredible weeks exploring Japan where Vicente was stationed during his time in the Air Force. We were young, carefree, adventurous.

Flash forward 6 YEARS later and after leaving the military, moving halfway across the country back home, getting a house and making it a home, a dog, two kids, full time jobs and school, and building a business… you could say we were READY for a vacation.

We decided due to the pandemic to stay fairly close to home so we could drive and we packed up the kids and drove out to a cute cabin with a beautiful view of the mountains (and a harrowing drive up the mountain) where we stayed for a week in Pigeon Forge, TN.

It was our first vacation as a family and Luca & Emy’s first vacation ever.

The mountains were incredible and we enjoyed Pigeon Forge almost as much as the National Park. Mountains and beauty that really took your breath away and the giant ferris wheel at The Island that made Luca jump for joy.

I can’t say it was relaxing because toddlers but we had an amazing time and we’re already thinking of our next vacation in Pigeon Forge!

Here’s what we did and saw while in Tennessee!

Sunday: we hit the road! 7 hours that we stretched into 9 with plenty of stops for potty breaks, food and stretching our legs. We arrived at our cabin in the afternoon, unloaded, hit the grocery store for essentials and food then went back home to rest.

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday: Vicente’s birthday! We made a cake, sang happy birthday, went out to dinner and enjoyed the day.

Thursday:

Friday: Back to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park! This time we were prepared and hit the trail up to Clingman’s Dome. What a hike. What a VIEW. Finished the day with one last trip to The Island to get an ice cream cone and watch the water show.

Saturday: Back home we go. Vicente, being a dad to his core, woke us all up at 2am to hit the road by 3. Made it back to home by lunchtime and started getting back to the real life again.

And of course, the incredible sights from our time on vacation.

We cannot wait for our next adventure and for our next trip to Tennessee.

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Adventuring: The Great Smoky Mountains 2021

© MJ MENDOZA PHOTOGRAPHY 2022

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