Although on the outskirts of the recent Gatlinburg / Pigeon Forge wildfires, Sevierville, TN was close enough for residents to evacuate and prepare themselves for the worst to happen to their homes and businesses. Like any good neighbor, Sevierville has supported the affected surrounding areas with charity and a helping hand. Our Inquisitive TravelingMom encourages you to visit and explore Sevierville yourself to see just what makes this East Tennessee town (and hometown of Dolly Parton!) so special.
Mountain Tough: Why You Should Visit Sevierville, TN
We are a House Divided. My oldest and I are beach babies. Lucky for us, we live just a few hours from the Georgia coast and can satisfy our ocean needs often. My husband and middle son lobby for a mountain vacation every chance they get. My youngest is happy just going somewhere.
Since I’m the one who plans most of the vacations, guess where we end up going most frequently? I know, though, that everyone needs to be thrown a bone every now and then so we found ourselves heading to Sevierville, TN in July instead of the beach.
We had the opportunity to stay in a two bedroom cabin at Hidden Mountain Resort. The resort offers cabin accommodations anywhere from one bedroom up to fourteen bedrooms! With five in my family, we just needed a two bedroom cabin. The master bedroom was on the main floor and offered a king size bed as well as a jacuzzi tub in our room. The upstairs bedroom also held a king size bed while the couch in the living room was a sleeper sofa. The kitchen was well stocked with appliances, dishware and utensils. We had a lovely screened porch facing the mountains and a hot tub from which to view them.
The resort’s pool was a great place for my kids to blow off the busyness of each day and wind down before bed time. When we didn’t feel like cooking for ourselves, we found that an abundance of restaurants were just minutes away. If you travel with your own home on wheels, Hidden Mountain Resort also offers space in The Dell, a motorcoach park.
Take A Walk On The Wild Side
If an attraction features animals in any way, shape or form, my kids are all in. They were not disappointed by Rainforest Adventures. This would be a great bad weather activity since this exotic animal zoo is mostly indoors. The kids were treated to all manner of birds, reptiles and mammals – some I had never even heard of before! We all loved the birds in the center of the building that talk to you. As one of my kids was walking away, the bird called out, “Bye-bye, Big Bird!”
The Park That Dolly Built
Technically, Dollywood is in nearby Pigeon Forge, but we couldn’t be that close to so much fun and not take advantage of it! We had been to the Dollywood Splash Country water park years ago but this was our first visit to the theme park. It truly is a family park as it has a wide variety of rides and live entertainment. My middle and I tackled some crazy roller coasters! One of the newest rides, the Screaming Eagle, actually has you dangling off to the side of the tracks. My youngest enjoyed the water-related rides as well as the carnival type rides. My oldest could have spent hours watching local craftsmen such as leather workers, blacksmiths and glass blowers. We were able to enjoy some fun live music around the park that included stage shows as well as the unexpected street performers.
History Takes Flight
If you have anyone in your family that loves planes and helicopters, the Tennessee Museum of Aviation is a must. Military history enthusiasts will also love exploring the exhibits included in the museum. There are plenty of historic artifacts as well as exhibits dedicated to noteworthy Tennessee aviators. After you pass through the exhibit hall, however, you enter a 35,000 foot airplane hangar! The majority of the airplanes housed within are serviced regularly and are in flying condition. Each aircraft has a sign stationed nearby imparting interesting information about the craft. My husband is an air & space fan so I knew what was coming when he asked, “Can you do me a favor?” After the boys were through touring, I took them to a nearby restaurant for lunch and afforded my husband the luxury of more time to take a closer look at the exhibits. The person manning the admission desk said they often refer to the museum as “Adult daycare for husbands.”
Satisfy A Need For Speed
One of our last stops before heading home was Adrenaline Park. We had reservations for ziplining. My youngest son was too small (must be 42′ or taller) while our oldest son is decidedly not a thrill seeker and politely declined. Son Number 2, though, was ALL about this. I wanted in, because who knew when I would get this opportunity again?
Once we were strapped in and on the platform awaiting our turn, however, I started FREAKING OUT. I was about to travel a half mile over the French Broad River. What was I doing? I’m a mother, for goodness sakes! Think about the children! Turns out, I’m a mother who is totally cool. Once we were released from the platform, I absolutely loved it. It was incredibly fun and the views couldn’t be beat. The absolute best part, though, was earning some serious street cred with my tween son. That’s priceless.
A Meal That Makes Memories
All this activity works up some appetites. My family travels frequently and we eat out a lot. We’ve had some great meals but it’s not that often that I keep calling specific meals to mind long after I return home. I have been periodically salivating over the thought of Applewood Farmhouse for quite a while now. The food was excellent home-cookin’ and there was plenty of it. Included with your entree and two sides is a bowl of soup, a salad, dessert and a bowl of apple fritters for the table. Trust me when I tell you to wear clothes with some give around the waistline. Our server was attentive to our kids and very accommodating of my picky eaters.
No, it wasn’t the beach. But Sevierville, TN afforded my family a mountain vacation that I wouldn’t trade for the world.