We spent last weekend at the Oak Haven Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee, visiting our friends that my husband met in college, their wives and little ones. It was so great to spend quality time with everyone who we don’t get to see often enough and even more fun to watch our kids play and have fun getting to know each other better! It was such a great, relaxing weekend in the mountains and beautiful fall leaves were the perfect backdrop.
Featured in Southern Living magazine, Oak Haven Resort has gorgeous grounds and is full of amenities – fully equipped cabins, an on-site spa, hiking trails, playground, pool, fitness center, arcade/game room and the Sevierville Golf Club is just a few minutes away. Our 3 bedroom cabin had a loft area, bar and game room complete with pop-a-shot, ping pong and cornhole boards, three porches, a hot tub and plenty of big windows for panoramic views of the mountains.
There’s much to do and see for adults and kids, both at the resort and in Sevierville; we took our little ones to the RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo, an indoor/outdoor zoo where they got to feed goats, sheep and a pig, see monkeys, lizards, snakes, spiders (eeee!) and other wild creatures. We did some hiking around the resort grounds, hit up the playground, ate/drank and had a wonderful visit.
At the RainForest Adventures Discovery Zoo – be sure to buy a bag of food for the animals when entering the zoo. It’s only $3 and is so much fun for little ones!
To prep for travel, we keep a static list of toiletries and gear needed for ourselves and C, then create a daily matrix with planned activities and forecasted weather – this is where I’ll plot outfits for myself and C, then print and pack the lists for reference. I try to stick with the options + an extra change or two of clothes for C in order to avoid overpacking…but it happens despite our best efforts.
It takes approximately 4 hours from Charlotte to Sevierville; longer car trips are no joke with a two year old. It requires All The Snacks, patience, juice, an iPad, stickers, coloring books and markers, and whatever else you can throw at the expanse of time to keep the peace. For snacks, I packed organic lollipops, raisins, fruit leather, RXBARS, Larabars, some Halloween candy for treats, YumEarth organic gummies, applesauce and fruit/veggie pouches, a couple of cereal bars, crackers/pretzels/dried fruit packed in our favorite Munchkin snack cups with lids to keep food fresh.
We try to stop at a restaurant with a play place (try the PlayPlaces app) in order to give C some exercise while on the road. If one isn’t available and/or we just need to use the restroom and not grab food, we’ll stop at a rest area (there’s an app for that, too!) to stretch our legs and get the wiggles out. While we pack as many healthy food options as we can, we typically buy a few extra food items while stopped at a restaurant to have on hand for snacks or a quick meal on the go, such as a yogurt parfait, chicken strips, apple slices, a banana, container of milk, etc. These often come through in a pinch, when plans change or for an impromptu picnic; with a toddler, you don’t want to be caught without. Ever.
Never underestimate the power of a lollipop, friends. It buys goodwill as well as peace and quiet. Pack many; this is not the time to be stringent.
On C: top and leggings, Tea Collection (similar top and leggings) | High-tops: See Kai Run (similar)
What’s your favorite place to check out gorgeous fall scenery? Any favorite tips and tricks for traveling with a toddler (so much alliteration), favorite apps, gear or other means for keeping the peace?