My five-year-old son could hardly contain his excitement as he heard the train whistle blow. In just a few minutes we would be boarding that train and headed to the “North Pole” to see Santa. That was 13 years ago but the memory of that cold evening remains in my heart and mind. 

We are celebrating my son’s 18th birthday this weekend. I don’t remember all of the gifts he received from Santa and me but I do remember riding the trains at the Tennessee Valley Railroad with him. We went to the “North Pole” a couple of times, rode Thomas the Tank and just took a leisurely ride through Chattanooga

I don’t remember many of the Christmas gifts from my late parents, either. I do remember going to the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina and laughing our behinds off at the Comedy Barn. I remember feeding the fish, riding the rides and having picnics at Lake Winnie in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. I remember riding the Wacky Worm roller coaster at Lake Winnie with my son dozens of times. Thankfully, my best friend came with us once and we took turns. Years later, he convinced me to ride one of the larger coasters with him until I was sick to my stomach. 

My mom, my sister and me. I couldn’t stop looking at the Smoky Mountain views. 
My son when he was much younger

Gifts are great but I am not one for “things.” I want to make memories. And I don’t have to go to Disney World or New York City to create a memory that lasts a lifetime. I can see the lights at Christmas at the Falls in Gadsden, Ala.  or ride that roller coaster once again at Lake Winnie. I can stroll down the parkway in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Or I could take a short drive from my home to Lake Allatoona and sit near the water’s edge. 

My mission for our blog and travels is driven by my own memories with my son and my late parents. We never had a lot of money but we sure had fun and my husband and son are continuing to have fun today. 

My dad, my sister and me in the Smokies

Make a memory wherever you go. We will. And we will continue to give you information on where you can find awesome places to make those memories.

Oh, and happy birthday Lee!

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