A Grace Full Life: What I Did On My Christmas Vacation


What I Did On My Christmas Vacation

Remember me?
I spent Christmas in Tennessee this year at my parents home near Chattanooga and it was so lovely there.

Let me take you away for just a little bit.
To a place where people ask you how you are and really want to know.
Not just to be nice.
Where the views are so amazing that you want to cry.
And make you become a believer if you never were.
And to where my mama and dad live.
Welcome to Tennessee.

Geraniums on my mama's screened porch.
Still in full bloom.
In January.
Did I mention this is outside??

Lunch at a favorite Smoky Mountain restaurant.

Looking down on Gatlinburg from the Smokies.

In the mountains!
This was amazing, because just a half mile down the road there was no snow to be found.
The higher up you went, the colder it got and the snow began to appear.
Every one of us in the car (6 of us) all ooohed and ahhed.
And we all grew up with snow.
Can you imagine what it was like for those who had never seen snow or rarely get it?

Beep beep!!

We drove around a curve and came upon this view.
It really felt like what Heaven would look like.
And everyone was stopping to look at it, take pictures.
I felt honored to get to see this view.

Thank you God for this.
Thank you.

Ice and snow.
And people getting so excited about it.
I love this.


See the snowman someone made and left?

Speaking of snowmen, we saw tons of these snowmen on cars coming down from the mountain. Made us laugh...everyone was having fun.

The Chattanooga area was hit by a rare tornado last year and this was one of the roads affected.
Look at all the trees knocked down.
My youngest was really worried for the trees.
I called it a tree cemetery.
The entire 2 mile road was covered in dead trees.

A cool pizza restaurant in downtown Chattanooga.
See the coke bottle caps as awnings?

Having a burger and fries at Cheeburger Cheeburger.
The burger was pretty good but the service and the shakes were amazing.

Downtown Chattanooga is magical.
It has such a cool vibe, like a mini Chicago.
I loved this city and could totally see us living here.

The coolest Starbucks I have ever seen.
On top of a mountain.
Lookout Mountain to be exact.

This outdoor fireplace was outside of the Starbucks.
It was so cool.
I felt like I was in a ski town.

Rock City.
This is a huge tourist attraction for Chattanooga, as is Ruby Falls.
Check out Rock City here and Ruby Falls here.
We went to their Christmas light show for a date night.
You walk around outside, through the rocks and on the edge of Lookout Mountain all while looking at the lights.

This was the gift shop.
Doesn't it look so cozy?

So pretty.
I should say, the week we were there was the coldest they had seen in a long time.
So the great Tennessee/Georgia people we saw there were walking around all bundled in their cute hats, mittens, scarves, even North Face jackets and the like.
The two Chicago people who were there?
I was wearing an Old Navy fall coat.
No scarf, no mittens, no hat.
The hubs was wearing a spring golf jacket.
We were freeeeezing.
I thought it was gonna be warmer in the South????
Of course, it got warmer after we left.
Of course it did.

Sorry for the bad picture but wanted you to get a feel of the place.
Squeezing through the rocks.
And don't worry if you are a little claustrophobic, the hubs is a little and he was fine.
Although I did hear him whimper softly at times.

Nativity in the rocks.

Looking down to the walkway we just came in on.

Underground tunnel.

The lights of Chattanooga below.

The lights of Chattanooga from the top of Lookout Mountain.
Took our breath away.
Finally know how the above expression got its name.

The steps everywhere were lighted.
You know.
So you don't fall off the mountain.

At the top of the mountain, they had these bonfires set up so we sat around warming our hands and talking to some amazing Southern people.
And again, we were the only ones without mittens.
Yes. I know we live where its cold.
Don't think the irony wasn't lost on us.
Also at the top of the mountain was a barn where you could make your own caramel apples with a fireplace inside.

A cave filled with gnomes.
Cuter than it sounds although some of them were a little creepy.

The ceiling in the caverns.
Soooo cool.

Glow in the dark.

This was the view from the car on the way down the mountain.
Goodbye pretty views.

Flying over the Midwest, we could only gather could be Indiana.
It was fun to see the landscape below change after descending from the clouds.
Of course by the time we got to Chicago, brown not white waited for us.
We got missed by the snow storm.
This time.

Welcome home.
Lake Michigan.

I have lived here 20+ years and the skyline is still so amazing.
Everyone in the plane stared out the window and most of us were from Chicago area.
Its no mountain but its pretty cool.

So we had a great week in Southern Tennessee.
If you ever get a chance to visit, please do.
I know a lot of people drive down 75 en route to Florida, but make Chattanooga a stop.
Totally worth it.
Oh and honk your horn when you get near the scenic pull over just north of the first Chattanooga exit.


  1. I've always wanted to visit the Smokey Mountains. Chattanooga is definitely on my radar now for future trips.

    I love me some mountains. Those pictures really are gorgeous and for some reason, I just never pictured the scenery looking quite that majestic. Makes me really, really eager to jump in the car for a nice, long road trip.

    Thanks for sharing. Loooovely.

  2. What a lovely tour. I used to visit there several times a year on business and would always schedule an extra day or two to explore. You reminded me how much I miss those places. Thanks for sharing and pleased that you had such fun in a place of warmth and wonderment. ~ TLJ

  3. Stopped there for bbq on the way to Florida last year! MARVELOUS pics!

  4. Squee!! I LOVE THE OLD MILL.

    My everyday dishes are from the Pigeon Forge Pottery right across the little street in the Old Mill complex.

    And yes, gosh, the Smoky Mountains are SOOOOO pretty. I love them.

  5. Gorgeous pics! It looks like you had a great visit! I've been to TN before and it is lovely :)

  6. So pretty! I love the snowy mountains! Looks like a Christmas card :)

  7. These pictures are so beautiful and make Chattanooga look like a fairy tale. Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. Hi, Kari

    This is a great vacation and I been to all these lovely places you visited too. It's so much prettier during the holiday's. We went during the summer and we just loved it. Have a great week.



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