Saturday, September 21, 2013

Tennessee Girl's Trip: Day 3

Saturday was a rainy, rainy day. When we woke up that morning the mountains outside has disappeared in the thick clouds and the rains began early. Shannon, Jennifer and myself had tattoo appointments at 1 pm in Pigeon Forge. Shannon and I had come up with a design for our group and I had early on joked about us all getting a tattoo while we were together, and once we made a design up which we got on t-shirts and hoodies, a few of us decided that we really wanted to cement the deal and I began searching for a tattoo studio. We ended up at Southern Draw. I had spoken via email several times with Rhonda, who owns the studio, and she loved out design and it's meaning so she was super excited that we decided to share this day with them.

We arrived a little before our appointment time and did all the appropriate paperwork needed. I couldn't get over how beautiful and clean the studio was, so I was very glad we chose the place we did. Rhonda showed up not long after we got there. Her daughter was to do Jennifer's tattoo, an artist named Bush was to do Shannon's because she was adding some sunset colors behind hers, and Rhonda was doing mine.
 I was nervous, of course. I mean, it hurts! It had been several years since I sat for one but you don't forget that pain. It's a pretty intense stinging and burning sensation for me. Some people describe it differently for them, and of course it varies for each person. This wasn't mine or Shannon's first time, but Jen was a "tattoo virgin" so I was anxious to see how she handled it. Turns out, she's a pain pro and sat there like she was getting a painful pedicure. The rest of the group stopped by for a little while to watch and have some laughs before they all headed out to do different things since we were going to be stuck there for a little while.
 When it was all said and done, I was relieved and so excited! Our design includes one word: loved, and there are 13 birds (there are 13 girls in our group). Each of us carries a slightly different meaning to our tattoo, but for me the birds on the wire signifies the people who are constant in my life...always there and will always be there. The birds in flight signify people who have come and gone in my life, who were there for a short while and then the relationship ran its course.
 When our time at the tattoo shop was done, we were starving as it was well after lunch by then. Since everyone else had eaten, we headed to Longhorn Steakhouse and filled our bellies. Turns out everyone else was in two groups - one group was shopping at the outlet malls, and the other group was at Apple Barn Winery where they have a Christmas store, creamery, cider mill and more. We opted for the winery and met up with Audrey and Shakira there. It was so quaint and very picturesque. They make their own wine, ice cream, and cider there...the ice cream was yummy! I had some apple cinnamon and pumpkin pie ice cream. We were lucky to have a break in the rain as well.
After leaving the Apple Barn we made our way back to Gatlinburg. By then everyone else was back on the main strip there, so we found a place to park and happened to be next to the sky lift. The girls wanted to take a ride up, and I was game for anything, so off we went up the mountain on a ski lift.
 When we got back down we had wanted to walk around Gatlinburg some more, but the rain decided to return so we called it a day and headed back up the mountain instead. I love a full day when you're on vacation. I feel like you have to seize the opportunity when you are in a new place and really get your experiences in before you have to head home to the regular and mundane. Plus sharing those experiences with friends makes them that much sweeter.

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