…and then it flooded .. just a little ..

We were very blessed to be spared the worst of yesterday’s weather, but there was plenty of rain over the mountains.  Leaving work Wednesday night, I drove as close as I dared to the raging rapids behind the store.  It was dusk, and still raining, so I must apologize for the quality of these images, but I think you’ll get a feel for what was happening.  On a normal day, the water would not even be visible from this vantage point – did you even know we have a river running behind the store?

It’s amazing to see the water surging around our picnic tables and into the lot!  By the way, I did not use a special lens or any computer manipulation – the special effects here are just raindrops on the camera lens – kind of interesting, I’ve decided.

Just to compare, here are pictures I took Thursday – the day after the flood.  If you are familiar with the area, you can see that the water that surged into our lot left a bit of a mess in its wake.

You can’t even see the water in the river today!

Oh, wait .. here it is – still surging – but down several feet from yesterday.

Okay, yes, a few feet of river water rise is quite an event for January in Pigeon Forge!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S.  Beautiful snow on the mountain peaks – more on the way this weekend.  It’s okay if it stays up on the mountain peaks – camera range will be quite sufficient, thank you.

Iago & Snowmageddon!

Want to see some pictures from our fast and furious 24 hour snow event?  (Click on each picture to see a larger view.)

(Only footsteps.  The car had to overnight in a parking lot a mile away – DOWNHILL from the house…)

  

It’s amazing that most of the images look like black-and-white photos – but they aren’t!

Diamonds scattered across the snow!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Misty Morning

I just wanted to share a couple of pictures with you – they are not called the “Smoky” Mountains for nothing!  Leaving for church early Sunday morning, I was captivated by the mists rising in my little valley.  Even as I sat in the car, the mists were shifting and lifting – it was beautiful.

Do you see the chimney smoke rising on the other side of the valley?

It looked as if a painter had lightly stroked the scene with a brushed dipped in white.  What a beautiful start to the day!

(No, you’re not seeing a UFO in the last photo.  The grayish teardrop shape is not an alien craft hurtling over the range .. it is actually a drop of pine tar on my windshield.  I parked under the trees at my parents’ house on a hot summer day – and this was my reward.  It won’t come off for anything.  Well, except maybe a bottle of pine tar remover.  Which I should use on my hood, really.  And thank you for not mentioning the leaves on the lawn which should have been mulched already.)

Have a wonderful week – it’s finally Christmas week!  I hope we don’t get so busy that we fail to take time out to be thankful for the blessings we enjoy every day and for those to come.

Be blessed, my friends.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Winterfest arrives tomorrow!

Tomorrow is the big day – or should I say night – when Pigeon Forge turns on all 5 million lights for Winterfest!  There will be plenty of fun and excitement for those who come to Patriot Park on Tuesday, November 8, for the traditional kickoff of Winter in the Smokies – this year, in honor of Veterans Day, the event begins with a Salute to Veterans  parade on the Parkway starting at 4:30 PM.  Many-Bears Grinder, Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs, is the special guest speaker for the night in the Park.  Of course, Santa & Mrs. Claus will be along for the parade ride, in a specially prepared carriage.

After the parade, they will both be available for photographs – come to Patriot Park and capture a special memory for this Christmas season.

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

P.S. Sevierville turns on their lights tonight, and Gatlinburg turns theirs on Wednesday night!

And more snow ..

We’re starting 2011 just like we ended 2010, in a blast of white.  Here are a few pics from around our block.

Last night, it was as if we were existing inside a giant snowglobe that someone had given a good shake – the flakes were falling straight down, thick and beautiful .. and fast.

Here’s an interesting image – can you see the ghost tree in the background through the flashing snowflakes?  Taken in my driveway last night.

Here’s the adjusted image – the tree is not really floating in air!

This morning, every twig and branch and blade and stone was coated in a thick layer of frosting – I’m sure the world would have been twinkling quite grandly had the sun decided to rise with us.  It slept in ..

(Pay no attention to the branches still on the ground from the last storm ..)

Frosty Caroler

I wish I could capture in pixels (yes, I started to type “on film”, then had to stop and think about it) the lights glowing on those trees under the snow – trust me, it’s gorgeous and wintery and lovely!  Now here’s me being all interesting and artsy with the camera.  Amazing, I know.

Snow on rocks

Snow on orange bush

Snow on evergreen

At least I didn’t have to walk too far to capture this triptych in the snow.  What a wonderful day to stay by the fire with a mug of hot chocolate.  More white flakes on the way tonight and through the weekend.

This Saturday through next Saturday, it’s time for the 21st Annual Wilderness Wildlife Week, check the details here.  Photography exhibits, classes, hiking & field trips – it’s an amazing time both to explore firsthand and to learn from experts about the variety and beauty of the mountain habitat we share here in the Smokies.

Stay warm!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Merry Christmas!

We had the joy of waking up to what I will call an incoming white Christmas this year – snow began falling at about 9:00 a.m. on Saturday and continued through the weekend – some of our associates report up to 15″ at their homes this Monday morning!  Here are a couple of pictures from our courtyard and looking across the parkway to the hotel.  We haven’t enjoyed this much snow in quite a while, and we’re all kids again today here at Christmas Place!

Hurray for the glimpses of blue sky!

Nothing is prettier than snow on evergreens!

One frosty slide ride today!

Did you get enough of “A Christmas Story”, wrapping & bows, leftovers, and smiles and hugs and laughter this Christmas??  Tell us about it! 

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Winter Wonderland

We had a bit of a cold, wet spell here recently, along with most of the rest of the country, so last Monday I took a trip up to the top of Old Smoky for some photos.  The deepest snow was on the mountain ranges that you can’t see from Newfound Gap, but then we wouldn’t have been able to drive up, now would we?  There were still a few icy patches that required cautious negotiation, but many travelers were on the road with us.  Passing trailheads along the way, it was clear that there were also plenty of hikers enjoying a snowy climb.

Here are a few images I captured.  The stream was mostly snow- and ice-covered, with  barely visible patches of flowing water occasionally reflecting the sky.. well, not that much sky gets through the thick surrounding brush.  About halfway up the mountain to the pass, a pair of very skinny wild turkeys crossed the road behind us – we wished we had some corn to help them make it through the week.

Next is my favorite picture, because it looks like it’s snowing .. but really I took the picture with the sun in the wrong place .. I just wanted to be up there while the snow was coming down!

The next pictures show that there was not much wind during the snowfall – just enough to stick snow to trunks and branches, but then leave it there.

Newfound Gap

Looking south into North Carolina:

Looking north into Tennessee:

Looking west up the valley towards Gatlinburg:

I love that snowy landscape!  For a few days, we were even telling each other the snow was “laying for more snow,” but I sure don’t see it in the near forecast.

Til the weekend, all our cars were white with salt and spray, but now everyone has had a chance to take cars through the car wash, and I’m blinded every time I look out the window here .. which is a good problem, because it means we have guests ~ people are still feeling the spirit of Christmas, even three weeks into the new year.  I think there are only about 341 days til next Christmas ..

Wishing you blue skies and clear highways wherever you may be today!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place

Winter Wonderland

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As promised, a few pictures of the late winter snow we received Sunday night!  We are so very blessed with beauty here, and it is our pleasure to share it with you.  Makes you think, “hey, it’s less than 300 days until Christmas!”

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That's Gatlinburg in the valley below.

That’s Gatlinburg in the valley below.

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You can bet that is some COLD water!

You can bet that’s some cold water!

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Think warm, Christmas thoughts – lights on the Christmas tree, a roaring fire in the fireplace, packages piled high, hot cocoa on the stove.  It’s never to early to start thinking Christmas Place!

~Janet @ The Christmas Place