When I was a kid, it seemed like all of our family vacations were to one place: the Great Smoky Mountains. I remember siting down with our family and reviewing all of the possible destinations for summer vacation. Then, it was decided. Gatlinburg!

This is the second time we have returned to Gatlinburg since we’ve been married. Part of our journey involves trying to recreate some of my childhood memories.

My family loves tradition. So when we went to the Smokies, there was no question about where we would stay or what we would do. Tradition.

Here are a few things on my list of “must do”.

1. You must buy a Crayoneer.

In my family, the story is legend. Here is how I remember it.

It was the last day of vacation. I was maybe 7 or 8 years old. I desperately wanted a Crayoneer… a thick, hand-carved writing instrument, with little colored crayon tips strapped to the side. You could switch out which tip you wanted to write with.

We were parked in front of a little road-side store where they sold the Crayoneers. They were $6 each. I had $1. It quickly occurred to me that there were six people in our family.

“If everyone would just pitch in $1, I could have a Crayoneer,” I said with all of the youngest-child-in-the-family cuteness I could muster.

Without much discussion, everyone reached into their wallets and pulled out the dollars. I marched into the store and returned to the car the proud and delighted owner of a brand new Crayoneer with it’s on blue denim drawstring bag.

I don’t know how many times we visited the Smokies, but I do know that over the years I managed to collect three Crayoneers.

My plan on this trip was to whip out my VISA and buy one for every member of my family. But after searching the downtown strip, the Arts and Crafts community AND the Internet, it seems the Crayoneer no longer exists.

When I typed the word on Google, it sadly replied, “Did you mean crayon?”

No. I meant Crayoneer. I want one.

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