Summer Photo Fun: Enjoying History in Tennessee


As we enjoy Summer Photo Fun here on the blog, I’d love for you to enjoy some of the Tennessee history we enjoyed while on vacation in July. I love a little history mixed in with the family love and the beauty of God’s world we experienced while getting away from normal life for awhile.

Since I hadn’t researched the Smoky Mountain National Park area in order to decide where to vacation (we decided the travel destination for purposes of a family reunion), imagine my surprise and delight when we encountered old homesteads and mills and the like while driving and hiking through the Park. The photo above is the corn crib at the old Ephraim Bales Place found along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Ephraim and his family lived there from around 1890 to 1930.

Don and I also got to experience a different kind of history as we stopped in Nashville for a couple of days on our way home. We took in the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum as a belated birthday present for my country music-loving husband. I’m not a huge country music fan, but I know enough to appreciate some of the basics—and we got all that and more while there.

Enjoy these glimpses into the past with me, won’t you?


Here’s my nephew Cody standing in front of the historic Old Mill Restaurant in Pigeon Forge. Gotta love history when it tastes this good. I had corn fritters for the very first time in my life. Yum!


This old homestead, also just off the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, was tucked away in a pocket of natural beauty. Absolutely gorgeous.


Beyond the cabin in the picture above sat this step-back-in-time stable/barn. The surrounding woodlands made me think of the Garden of Eden. Truly the feel of another time, another place.


We even got the chance to go inside the cabins in the area, including this one on the Ephraim Bales place.


First time ever for any of us to hike along a portion of the historic Appalachian Trail.


So much fun during our time in Nashville to see the historic Ryman Auditorium, built in 1892 and home to the Grand Ole Opry for thirty-one years.


Gene Autry’s 1926 Martin 00-42 guitar displayed at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.


Dolly Parton’s original handwritten lyrics to Jolene, a #1 hit in 1973-74.

Hope you enjoyed sharing in some of the history we found in Tennessee!

“Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past.” Deuteronomy 32:7a

*What slices of history have you enjoyed while on vacation?

*My photos, except for the one our son-in-law Shawn took along the Appalachian Trail.

*The new issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, came out last week. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign-up is free and to the right!

Summer Photo Fun: Tennessee Vacation Beauty


 How about continuing Summer Photo Fun with some more photos from our vacation? This time I’ll showcase the beauty of our destination—Tennessee—rather than the people I enjoyed it with.

Take a tip from me—if you’re going to plan a family reunion vacation, you might as well plan to meet in a beautiful place. That’s exactly what we did when we set our reunion destination for the Gatlinburg, TN and Great Smoky Mountains National Park area. Let me just say we were not disappointed.

If you know me, you know I love the majesty and beauty of the Rocky Mountains  and the Grand Teton and Yellowstone areas . Their beauty is hard to beat as far as I’m concerned. I found, though, that the Smoky Mountains have a beauty all their own—almost like a wonderland.

The woodland areas we hiked and drove through were lush and green and enchanting, and we discovered they call these smaller mountains the Smoky Mountains for a reason. Clouds and fog hovered over the peaks daily and added to the dream-like feel of the area (as you can see in the photo above).

These photos don’t do the beauty justice (they never do), but here’s a peek into God’s handiwork found in the Gatlinburg, TN and Great Smoky Mountains National Park area. Enjoy!


The early morning view from the front door of our cabin.


Our first morning there, a bear came strolling by our cabin drive. I was the only one awake and was so excited I ran up the drive to try to get his picture after he walked out of sight. I was in the midst of my insane escapade before it dawned on me how dangerous it was. Very thankful for the Lord’s mercy in keeping me safe. Good grief! :)


Wildflowers near our cabin. A little safer than a bear, huh? Does anyone know which wildflower this is?


One view from our cabin deck but zoomed in a little. We weren’t as close to those buildings as it appears.


One of the beautiful sights we saw along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


Saw wild turkeys a couple of times in the national park.


Loved spotting the Bee Balm wildflowers in the area.


Believe it or not, I hardly saw any birds while there so was happy to get this little guy’s photo. I think this may be a type of flycatcher called an Eastern Phoebe but am not sure.


One beautiful scene like this after another greets you in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you’ve never visited there before, add it to your must-travel-to list. In my next post, I’ll show you some of the historical touches in the area. I think you’ll enjoy those, too!

“Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy;” Psalm 98:8

*What displays of God’s handiwork do you most enjoy?

*Photos by me

*The newest issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out today. It’s not too late to receive it. Sign up is free and to the right!

Summer Photo Fun: Family Reunion Vacation!

Family photo by Aaron

(I am blessed to currently be guest posting for Nancy Douglas on her Olive Leaf Ministries website. You’re invited to come over and find out how a “Sacred Minute” can change your day!)

I always love sharing Summer Photo Fun posts from our vacations, but an extra measure of joy accompanies my first vacation post this year. You see, vacation wasn’t simply vacation. It was a family reunion as well. Yay!!!

My parents, sisters, and all of our families met in Gatlinburg, TN for some overdue family fun together. We hadn’t all been together since Kelli and Jake’s wedding weekend in July 2010 so we were all super excited to be reunited this July.

The Gatlinburg/Great Smoky Mountains National Park area provided a beautiful setting for our time together—and I’ll share more of that beauty in another post—but today I’m sharing the beauty and fun of family. Hope you enjoy!

The original Hoy family by Aaron

The original Hoy family – my parents, sisters, and me.

Great Grandma and Benjamin by Aaron

My mom getting reacquainted with her great-grandson Benjamin, son of Aaron and Monica.


Our whole clan preparing to invade the mini-golf place in Pigeon Forge.


My wannabe banjo-playing daughters Kristin and Kelli. They’re so much fun!

Lyndsey and Monica by Aaron

Two other very special girls – Lyndsey and Monica, my nieces by marriage.

Claire by Aaron

What a little doll. My great-niece Claire, daughter of Adam and Lyndsey.

Doing my Preschool SS thing - by Aaron

Doing my preschool-Sunday School-teacher thing during our Sun. morning family worship.

Silly family photo by Aaron

And here we all are showing our true silly colors :)

Hope you enjoyed a peek into our family reunion. Why not plan one of your own?!

“. . . out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you.” 1 Thessalonians 2:17b

*Where did you enjoy your last family reunion?

*Photos by my nephew Aaron Henry, except #4 and #5  are by me (counting from the big family photo at the top).

 *The next issue of Life Notes, my quarterly inspirational newsletter, comes out the first of August. Sign up is free and to the right!