Jennifer and her daughter seated at the spa in robes with fruited water.

Have you ever planned a trip to do nothing but relax? On many of my trips, I try to see as much as possible,  especially if I’m traveling someplace new.  As a result I’ve returned from more than one vacation feeling like I need a vacation. But I’m learning to slow down, in part thanks due to my husband’s knee!

My husband badly injured his knee helicopter skiing and needed surgery.  We had planned a family vacation to Aruba, and he postponed his surgery until after the trip which really slowed us down.  Poor Joe was on crutches or in a wheelchair the entire trip, and just moving from place to place was painful and took time.  For a week, our days consisted of sitting by the pool, sitting on the beach, moving back to the pool in time for happy hour, and going out to dinner.  We hardly left the resort other than for food, and some days we did not even leave.

It turned out to be just what we all needed, and one of the most relaxing trips ever. The kids kept busy playing water polo, poolside bingo and sucking down virgin pina coladas and never once said they were bored.  If you’ve ever been to Aruba, you know that there is not a ton to do, but there are multiple gorgeous beaches to explore, and a few tourist spots including a butterfly garden and an aloe farm. We did nothing and saw only the beach outside our hotel. It was perfect.

I was reminded of this recently when my daughter and I enjoyed a lazy weekend. As a past Dollywood Insider, my family and I visit Pigeon Forge, TN regularly, but we usually plan outings.  A visit to Dollywood plus a hike in Smoky Mountain National Park is a typical visit.  But last winter I took an overnight visit to Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort with my daughter in the affordable off-season with nothing planned.  We knew we’d visit the DreamMore Spa. It’s been on her wishlist, and with an upcoming 13th birthday, this seemed a great gift. On the drive up, we shared ideas of what we might do, including visiting a dinner show, escape room, taking a hike, shopping, or visiting The Island.

As it turned out, we were so enjoying the Resort, we never left. We spend 2 days just chilling out, and it was wonderful. We enjoyed leisurely meals and worked out in the gym. We listened to live acoustic music, warmed up at an outdoor firepit, and enjoyed coffee by a fireplace. We explore the Resort looking at Dolly’s special art and artifacts that are displayed throughout.

And we enjoyed the spa, which made it really special for us. We each booked 2 treatments, and decided to split them up over two days which was a nice way to experience the relaxation of the The Spa. My daughter got her hair cut and enjoyed her first massage.  I also enjoyed a massage and loved, loved, loved the Signature Facial, which was much more than a facial. I was delighted to find my hands and feet massaged and wrapped in moisturizing “cocoons” that worked their magic during the facial. 


It was great to enjoy time with my daughter in such a relaxed setting, and I hope to treat us both to something like this again.

If you’re feeling burned out, travel can be a great solution, and this spacation was just the ticket for us.


Note: As a Dollywood Insider, I was a guest of the spa, but all opinions are my own. You can learn more about the Dollywood Insiders and see the entire spa visit article HERE

Lobby with sofas and a large framed photograph of Dolly Parton sitting on the ground smiling.