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Seasons, ‘Shrooms, and ‘Shine


Have I mentioned that I love the fall season? I’ve never seen the fall leaves so vivid as I’ve seen on the ride to east Tennessee. This year, the changing from summer to fall is revealed in brilliant reds, oranges, and yellows. The wind changes from a muggy southern wind to a crisp North. Leaves swirling, corn stalks swaying, and more apples and pumpkins at every corner. I can’t get enough of October!

After driving for what seemed like forever, we met up with family in Pigeon Forge. Sitting in chairs in the light wind and watching the flaming red maples was exactly what I needed to recharge the batteries. After a long drive with the last part in bumper-to-chrome traffic, we felt like sailors lost at sea. Sassy was all decked out in Alabama gear, so we had the occasional obscene gesture or rant screamed at us by bitter Tennessee fans promising all sorts of retribution in tomorrow’s game. After fighting them for the past 30 minutes, I was ready to shank some people. Just in time, we turned into a familiar QUIET place—and it felt like home.  It was like we haven’t gone many weeks and months without seeing each other. The stories and laughs started right up where we left off. 🙂 There is a large spread of years between the 4 siblings so you can imagine the range of childhood antics some were not allowed to get away with and the last kid (ahem…Stephen) who had a slightly longer leash 😉

We finally met up with the rest of the family and went to downtown Gatlinburg for dinner. Mellow Mushroom! I had heard they had a legitimate gluten free pizza that is made in a separate area, separate pans, gloves, GF crust and ingredients, and that all means less chance I’m wasting a Saturday morning in the girl’s room. This is “Very Veg” and I added ground beef. The crust was fabulous! It was thin but crispy and held the ingredients well. I could have added a few layers of toppings and I’ll do that next time. Stephen suggested a little more red sauce because it was a little dry for his taste.


While waiting for the pizza to arrive, I saw my mother-in-law standing outside on a long balcony. She was listening to a blue-grass band that was playing down below. She had no idea they were playing for the Moonshine festival, but that’s okay. She was enjoying the music and the beautiful weather. After she returned, I had to sneak away to get some pictures and do a little listening of my own.

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The band was great! Lots of pickin’ and grinnin’. I love the sound of the banjo. What made an impression on me was that they seemed to really enjoy what they were doing. Their interactions, expressions, and animations convinced me that they loved sharing their talent with the audience.

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After the music, we enjoyed our dinner. It was a little loud with the huge crowd growing inside, but our table of 7 didn’t hold back on the food or conversation. After we were stuffed silly, we walked around a little bit to see what kind of trouble we could find.

We didn’t have to look far. moonshine3

He described each one before he filled the tiny tasting cups. If you didn’t want to sample, put your hand over the cup. I only wanted 1 taste of 1 specific flavor. Flavors like Pink Lemonade, grape, White Lightening, Original, Hunch Punch, Lemon Drop, Peach, and Apple Pie lined many shelves. I wonder who dusts these each day? The lines of jars were perfect!

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The best ever. One sip warmed my bones but I knew enough to get only 1 taste. moonshine7

But these cherries called my name, too. 1 cherry and I was done!

(phone pic)



What a packed Friday! It’s dark and we still have not seen the cabin yet. Almost time for the most important Saturday of October!