Shared by Susan
Growing up as one of seven children, it was always a large task to get everything together for vacations and holidays. As the years passed and everyone started moving away and starting their own families, it became harder and harder to get everyone together for holidays.We really wanted to make a habit of vacationing together again, especially so the kids could have a chance to see each other and stay close. Hotels were always small and cramped, and it was hard to find a place with amenities for everyone to stay busy, but family time was important so we did the best we could.
In 1995 my family made the decision to purchase a timeshare with Bluegreen Corporation at MountainLoft in Gatlinburg, TN.After we purchased, several other family members also purchased timeshares with Bluegreen.Our tradition of meeting at MountainLoft for Christmas every year had begun. It was just a perfect place for everyone to meet, and everyone comes from several states.
Over the years our family gatherings have been a great way for everyone to keep up and meet new members of the family as the kids grew and had their own children.We now have three generations of relatives that typically make the trip, ranging from six of us up to 20 or so at times, from all over at various times throughout the week. We always stay in several chalets next to each other, which provide plenty of space, kitchens, laundry, and bedrooms with private space for everyone.
Because of the age range in the group, everyone has different interest, but the area offers so much local flavor that there is always something to do.Some of us enjoy shopping, riding the trolley to different sites in the area, and definitely the natural beauty of the area. Between the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and all the other tourist things to do, it’s easy to stay busy. Weather permitting, hiking around a lot of the trails in the park is always a family favorite whether it’s just a short little stroll or hiking all the way up Mt. LeConte, the third highest peak in the Smokies.We all split into small groups during the day and do our own activities, but we always gather together for dinner in the evenings to share the day’s adventures. We either grill out or use the kitchen in the chalet if eating in, or head out into town for a big dinner at one of the local restaurants.
Every winter for the last thirteen years, I've received the best holiday gift a person could ask for, my entire family coming together for a week during Christmas. I feel so lucky to be able to have a place where we can all be together, while at the same time having our own space. Nothing can top the warm feeling I get inside while watching the twinkling lights of town from our balcony and spending Christmas with ones not seen nearly enough.
My son Chris, being the only son in our household, really enjoyed having a private bedroom to get away from all the girls.Chris says, “I truly believe I got to take and enjoy a lot of vacations I otherwise wouldn’t have had the chance to take. So much so, I have been working for Bluegreen for almost three years now helping other families get involved.One of the neat things about working in the industry is getting to meet people my age who also grew up vacationing in timeshare. I like to call us 2nd generation owners!"
Overall, it was one of best things I could have done for my family to make sure that at least once a year, we always get to be together as one big family.