This is my 5 trip to the Smoky Mountains. You would think I would have learned a few things about choosing a cabin after 4 times, wouldn't you? Well, now I'm smart...unless...I still haven't learned a thing and decide to come back here for another shot at having the bejeebies scared right outta me.
Let me begin by saying I am a planner. A CAREFUL one at that. Before I go anywhere that's going to take my life savings, I kinda want to know what's in store for me. I googled the hell out of cabins in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee, this time. Like I said, I've done this too many times so I know what I want in a cabin and that is:
- View - an all-important feature as you want something to stare at in the morning when you're saying to yourself, "Why did I do this when I could have gone to Disney World?" Hopefully you will be saying "Oh, isn't this the most beautiful thing..." and I did the first 2 times I was here, but for some odd reason, I must be losing my knack for making the best decisions as I couldn't stop counting the minutes until I was back on in my condo on the island 10 hours away.
- Hot tub - You'll absolutely need this because anything can happen to you in the Smokies, like finding out your cabin is on a 40 degree slope an eighth of a mile away from the place where you had to park your van because it wouldn't get up the road (more on the story when I get back home).
- Pool table - Yes, you absolutely need this because it's basic cabin entertainment but make sure the pool table isn't dark wood, nor the furniture around it or you stand the chance of the room being haunted (more on the story when I get back home).
- Theater Room - This isn't an absolute necessity but I thought I'd throw this in for those who don't know you can get a cabin with one of these in them, and you can also get an ingrown pool, which you need to book way ahead of time as there were no more available by the time we hiked down the 1/8 mile sloped road leading us back to the van at the bottom of the hill to go back to the rental office to get us another cabin after I told the lady I would give her my life savings, just get me the hell out of here (more on the story when I get home).
- You'll also need plenty of bedrooms as any number of them could be haunted no matter how new your cabin is (is there an Indian burial ground underneath the Smokies, for shit's sake?) and you'll either a) not sleep, b) sleep in the living room with all the lights on and it still doesn't do any good or c) you'll wake up your grouchy daughter who hates you sleeping with her (she got separate rooms on our way down if that tells you anything). I chose c but more on the story later.
- Oh, one more thing. If the daughter who is sick says she doesn't want to go, no matter how much you want her to go, LEAVE HER HOME. Not only will she develop the worse head cold from hell because of the attitude, you'll have to sit through the endless sobs of having to leave her dog at home (more story when I get home).
- Oops, one more thing, DON'T FORGET COFFEE. There's NO STORE ANYWHERE.
Now, those tips on finding the right cabin in the Smokies are as follows:
- If you're googling cabins, no matter what you read, the cabin is only showing you its best features. If it shows you a picture of a fake bear in the middle of the living room, you can count on that being the best feature of the room (I was smart enough not to choose the cabin with the fake bear).
- Look the pictures over carefully...do not choose a cabin with dark furniture as there's a good chance you have chosen one of the fifty million cabins here that is haunted (more story when I get home).
- If you have an aversion of being eaten by a bear, you should stay home as they ARE out there (more story when I get home).
- When you make reservations, do it by phone and ask if the road to get to your cabin is gravel or paved. There's a very good reason why. If they say it is gravel, those are roads that aren't done and you'll run into potholes, one way roads (god forbid another vehicle come from the opposite direction and you both have to share space with no guard rails on either side and a drop on each side to boot).
- If they say free long distance phone calls, they're lying.
- If they say secluded, they mean it.