Every year, Phil and I celebrate our anniversary in Gatlinburg, TN. We aren’t really big fans of the tacky little shops, but we do enjoy being close to great hiking trails and good food. Since we had gone there on our honeymoon years earlier, we like the nostalgia of going every year.
We got to Gatlinburg early enough on Friday to get a short little hike in. We hiked on the Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap to Indian Gap and back. There was snow on the ground and it was beginning to soften and melt a little as the temperatures had warmed above freezing for the first time in a few weeks. The trail was an easy walk on the ridge top with nice views of the LeConte Ridge.
On Saturday, we drove out to Elkmont and pieced together a 5 1/2 mile loop. Snow still covered the ground and the creeks were still mostly frozen over making them a bit difficult to cross. The last section of the trail was busy with novice hikers. It was a nice sunny day and a great way to spend my birthday.
On April 1, 1978 we arrived at the Gatlinburg Inn where we spent our honeymoon. We were young and poor and we considered this to be a really big trip for us. The Maple sisters welcomed us and put us in their best corner room.
During our yearly trip there, the Inn was always closed for the winter. So, Saturday night, before dinner, we walked down the strip and to our surprise the Inn was open! We decided to go in and get a brochure and see if they were going to be open next winter thinking that we may like to stay there again.
The lobby looked the same … old lady floral wallpaper and antiques. The desk clerk told us that the last of the sisters died recently and the heirs had hired a management company. Phil mentioned that we had stayed there on our honeymoon years ago and the clerk found the old hand written ledger and our registration. Dejavu!
Then, the clerk got the room key and said we could go visit the room where we had stayed since it wasn’t occupied. On the way we noticed that the carpets were reproductions of the ones there those many years ago. The wallpaper was identical. It was a walk down memory lane. When we got to the room, it had not changed a bit. Same sweet, quaint charm. Although, it felt smaller somehow than when we had first stayed there.
There were a few ladies in the parlor just off the lobby where the same old piano still sat. In a world where we all want bigger, newer, faster lives, it was a breath of fresh air to discover that none of it had changed. Next year, we hope to check into that same room where we began our lives together so many years ago.