The Perfect Winter Vacation

   There’s no denying it winter is approaching faster than you can say and the holidays are just around the corner. The desire to hibernate can be appealing; staying inside with a cup of hot cocoa usually wins over chilly outdoor adventures. Yet, when you have the winter blues, the best medicine is to pack up your family and take a trip.  There are few places in the world where time seems reluctant to move forward.  Montana is a true winter destination. Adventure and relaxation are found in abundance! A world-famous for mountain scenery, skiing and other winter sports designed to bring families together.

  Looking for winter vacation rentals for a family vacation or a private romantic escape? How about a winter ranch? The Ranch at Rock Creek is a Luxury Guest Ranch that brings together upscale amenities and wide open space like never before The property features a number of glamping options including Family Canvas Cabins, their secluded “Trapper” meant for those who want maximum privacy, the Sweet Grass Tent located right on the banks of Rock Creek (the waters of the creek provide a gentle sound to fall asleep to at night) and the Classic Canvas Cabins (unique tent/cabin hybrid) for either couples or families. And for those who would like a traditional stay, there are a number of luxury cabins and private homes to choose from. This remote ranch is a sophisticated yet family friendly ranch that appeals to the world's most discerning, active travelers seeking freedom, authentic adventure, and life-enriching experiences.

   Offering an abundance of activities for all ages, there is never a dull moment at the Rock Creek Ranch.  Whether you’re seeking to explore the mountains, relax and reconnect with yourself, satisfy a creative craving, or burn up some energy with challenging activities.  Choose from skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, snow cat adventures, sleigh rides, ice skating, archery, mountain hiking, biking tours, nature walks and wildlife viewing.  Montana is a year-round, outdoor lover’s paradise.   The unique and adventurous nature of   the Rock Creek Ranch allows guests of all ages to connect with the land and enjoy an authentic guest ranch experience, all within the pristine surroundings of Montana’s Rocky Mountains. And if you want to take a break from outdoor activities, check out the pioneer-style spa features relaxation massage, amenities that represent both the organic purity and freshness of flowers, as well as high-tech, results-oriented skincare.  

   At mealtimes, you'll be delighted with fine cuisine. The ranch offers organically grown produce prime beef, elk, bison, free-range chicken, organic eggs, fresh fish, seasonal local fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs, all enhanced by an inspired wine list. The Ranch at Rock Creek promises you the vacation of your dreams.  The Ranch at Rock Creek is a bit expensive, but most definitely worth it if you enjoy connecting with nature. And at the end of day, knowing you are paying for the entire expense on the front end only rewards your experience while on property in priceless ways! Quite frankly, I can’t imagine a more wonderful place to spend Thanksgiving or a long winter weekend than here.

Granite Lodge

Blue Canteen

Grayling Canvas Cabin
Hiking in Montana

Winter wonderland


- This story is sponsored by The Ranch at Rock Creek. -

Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show

   It’s all part of the panorama of good ol’ Southern fun at the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show in Pigeon Forge. The show is loosely based on an epic feud between two West Virginia and Kentucky-area families that spanned several decades in the 1800s. Feudin' Feastin' Family Fun - that’s the theme of the best show in town - The Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show! Become part of the longest running feud in history and help them Hatfields and McCoys try to settle their differences mountain-style. Whether you’re city-folk or country cuzins, you’ll love the singing and dancing, jaw dropping stunts and side-splitting comedy. There’s something here for everybody! And you’ll enjoy a delicious southern cooked meal.

Show times are 5p.m. and 8 p.m. daily.
Adult tickets cost $49.95, and children’s $19.95 each.
Address: 119 Music Road
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Local: 865-908-7469
Toll Free: 1-800-985-5494 
www.hatfieldmccoydinnerfeud.com

The front of the Barn

The ambiance of a fun, hillbilly experience starts before you ever enter.
The laundry hanging and outdoor shower.

Albino Rabbit at the front barn

The Elk of Cataloochee Valley

   We’ve been to Great Smoky Mountains National Park several times and recently we decided to join the Smoky Mountain Jeep Club. We’d take a day and see something we hadn’t experienced before. 61 Jeeps hit the dusty trail into North Carolina's Cataloochee Trails to view the majestic Elk herds. The trail ride last for 2 hours, we were not disappointed. The weather was superb, the Elk were active in rut season. It was amazing to see them up close and hear the Big males making noise. And there was a hint of fall color in the beautiful mountain range.

   Indeed the best kept secret in the Smokies! Cataloochee Valley is one of those special places that is not easy to get to, but hard to forget. 

   How to get there: The most direct route into the valley is to take Cove Creek Road. To get to the valley from interstate I-40, exit at North Carolina exit #20 and travel 0.2 miles on route 276. Turn right onto Cove Creek Road and follow the signs 11 miles into the Cataloochee Valley. To get there from Oconaluftee or Cherokee, take the Blue Ridge Parkway to Highway 19. Follow 19 (toward Asheville) through Maggie Valley. Turn left onto Highway 276 N. Just before the entrance ramp to I-40 (but past gas station), turn left and follow the signs 11 more miles to Cataloochee. Using the Cove Creek Road route, motorists will be traveling on a gravel road for approximately 15 minutes.

The Jeep Convoy

We get to see the elk in their own habitat displaying their natural behaviors.

The elk or wapiti is one of the largest species of the Cervidae or deer family in the world, and one of the largest land mammals in North America and Eastern Asia.

Elk Mating Season
A Male Elk


Titanic Museum Pigeon Forge

   The Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge was absolutely amazing. The museum is very easy to find and is right on the Parkway strip. It is pretty hard to miss a 22,000 square foot ship! Parking is free and the experience starts right away from the moment you step out of your car. Flying from the light poles are flags representing the many countries that the Titanic passengers were from. And there is beautiful Irish music playing.

   As you walked up to the museum entrance you were greeted by two very friendly employees costumed as a maid and captain. As you entered the museum you will receive tickets, boarding passes and audio tour devices. The boarding passes are really neat. It show departure dates and times, the name, age and country of residence of an actual passenger, the passengers class and brief information about their lives and voyage on-board the Titanic. In the first exhibit there was an employee all dressed up of course that explained how and where the Titanic was built, the route it traveled and where it hit the iceberg. There was a really large map on the wall which had the route marked out.

   After walking through several awesome exhibits, one of which even had a replica 3rd class cabin and a flooding staircase ended up at the beautiful full scale 1 million dollar Grand Staircase. On the starry night deck we got a first hand feel of just how cold the night air was the night the Titanic sank. We got to touch an iceberg, brrrr. And dip our hands in 29 degree salt water. Feeling the coldness of the air and the water really made us all empathize with the passengers that were on board the Titanic as she was sinking. Can you imagine plunging into icy cold water, in the dark?

   It was great experience. Lots of new info about titanic. Felt like i was at the titanic. Sad part is NO PHOTOGRAPHY is allowed in the museum and cellphones must be turned off before entering. Be sure to take time to walk around the outside of the Titanic you can  take lots of pictures outside.  

Museum Info:
2134 Parkway
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Open all week from 9am - 10pm
Tel #(800) 381-7670
Ticket Price: Adult $25 , Child (age 5-12) $12
http://www.titanicpigeonforge.com

Titanic Ship and Iceberg from outside exterior

Side view from the Parking lot
The replica of the Titanic ship

Entrance


Visiting Canyon De Chelly

   In my life, I have a few places on this planet which will trigger daydreams from me for the rest of my days. Canyon de Chelly is now on this list. This is a really beautiful canyon, a powerful and spiritual place. It seems Arizona has them all. Canyon de Chelly is a true learning experience. You can practically feel the spirits of the Native Americans drifting around you. It is great to imagine what live was like in these ancient quarters. A great place to visit. 

   Canyon de Chelly,(pronounced 'shay') from Tseyi (which is Navajo for "from where the water comes") to Chinle (which is Navajo for "to where the water goes") is a beautiful example of the lands that make the Southwest high desert so amazing. 

Indn Rte 7
Chinle, AZ 86503
Phone number (928) 674-5500  
http://www.nps.gov/cach/index.htm 

Beautiful Canyon lots of History
Nearly 5,000 years, people have lived in these canyons - longer than anyone has lived uninterrupted anywhere on the Colorado Plateau.  Their homes and images tell us their stories.
Often overlooked but a true Arizona gem
 
 

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