My husband, and I just returned from a trip to the Smokey Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Many of our friends visit this area, as well as adjacent Pigeon Forge for shopping, shows and great food. Our trip is very different from this. We have a few stores we visit in the area one day of our trip. Smokey Mountain Knifeworks is always a must. It’s not just a knife store, it’s like a mega store that has something for everyone, including a full kitchen area of gadgets, decor, jellies, sauces, mixes and my favorite, Squirewood Hall coffees. I love Christmas, so we always visit The Christmas Place and Santa’s Clauset. Aside from that, we may visit a few of the local artisans and pretty much stay away from the commercial tourist attractions and downtown. The majority of our trip is going into the mountains. Instead of eating out, with the exception of the last day of our trip, we eat breakfast in our cabin, so we can make it into the park by daybreak as the wildlife are coming out. There is something so euphoric about completely detaching from technology and text messages to be fully immersed in the moment. Whether hiking, driving the loop of Cade’s Cove, horseback riding, or just stopping to listen to the water rushing over the rocks in the many streams and waterfalls, it’s a total detox that is indescribable. You just have to experience it.

Everyone should have the special place to go where one can completely disconnect from everything for a time. Whether it’s the mountains, the lake, the ocean, or simply your back yard, take time for yourself to do an annual detox.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady and social justice activist

“You can take all the pictures you want, but you can never relive the moment the same way.” ― Audrey Regan, editor of Business Statistics