Sevierville & Pigeon Forge, A Vacationing Couple’s Paradise
Better than anything on either coast, with absolutely everything a couple could need or want for fun, delicious food, pampering, live entertainment, luxurious accommodations, shopping, music, and top notch hospitality, this gem of a destination leaves no stone unturned.
Southern hospitality at its best, southern cooking at its finest, and unlimited attractions for everyone, Sevierville and Pigeon Forge are the locale needed to custom create your best individually tailored vacation. The two towns blend together geographically and in offerings to compliment each other as a dual destination.
There is so much to do that it would be impossible to cover it all in anything less than a book but some of our absolute favorite highlights are easy to mention.
WHAT TO DO
Both times we’ve gone to the area, Dollywood was the highlight of both visits. This impeccably clean, fun, safe and friendly theme park truly stands alone providing a quality experience. Visitors will notice that customer service there (yes, even at a theme park) is outstanding. The rides, restaurants, restrooms, and everything are clean the way theme parks used to be. The rides and attractions are safe, uncrowded, and pleasant in every regard. It really is a class act. The musical and theatrical performances are top notch. And we’ve even found the food at the restaurants to be of exceptional quality and fairly reasonably priced.
Wonderworks is another favorite we have visited on both our vacations to the area. This outstanding, upside down amusement park has over 100 hands-on, interactive, fun and educational exhibits that will entertain and entice you for hours. With a heavy emphasis on Science you will learn a lot while you have a great time. They also have excellent musical, magical, and comedy shows throughout the year with dinner shows available as well.
Next door you’ll want to check out the Titanic display with hundreds of artifacts from the actual Titanic and a themed and guided tour. An amazing two-story permanent museum designed like the actual Titanic, makes this an unusual spectacle.
Adventure Park Ziplines at Five Oaks is amazing with 1600 feet of zip line above the trees for magnificent views of the Smoky Mountains. They even offer a zip-at-night option. The guides are friendly and knowledgeable and can help folks of all ages and levels feel confident and get a great experience.
We enjoyed the Rainforest Adventures and Discovery Zoo which features over 600 animals from around the world. Designed by one of the world’s leading zoo contractors, it has inside and outside exhibits and allows guests a close up and personal exploration of its inhabitants. It was the best display of cobras and exotic rain forest animals we had seen.
Forbidden Caverns is another fun and intriguing spot where a one-hour guided tour through the caverns will give you an insightful peek at a geological wonder of history and creation.
If you like everything airplanes, take an hour to check out the Tennessee Museum of Aviation which also hosts Tennessee’s Official Aviation Hall of Fame.
Flyaway Indoor Skydiving is the ultimate thrill of a lifetime where participants can experience the adrenaline rush of skydiving in an indoor vertical wind tunnel. A 2o minute safety briefing and class prepare you for this less than tame adventure.
Wilderness at the Smokies was one of our favorites as it boasts Tennessee’s biggest. indoor/outdoor water park. We especially loved the indoor/outdoor pool, wave pool, and surfing attraction where you can actually surf indoors. It was truly amazing as far as water parks go.
You have to visit the Apple Barn Cider Mill and General Store for all things apple. Apple slushies, apple cider, apples, apple crafts and home decor…they have it all and then some. Everything was delicious and interesting.
GREAT SOUTHERN COOKING
Just a minute up the road, lies a special little hidden gem called the Tin Roof Cafe. Having only been in business since 2008 but continually outgrowing space and evolving to accommodate its following, this little tucked-away treasure has some of the best food you can find in the area. Fresh, hand made and home made specialties served in a charming farmhouse mean you need to save a lot of space for this place.
Delicious, from-scratch soups, salads, fruit teas, spectacular homemade, old-fashioned style desserts are all the treats at this diamond. A relaxing, farm atmosphere with books, magazines, gardens and porches, if you love wonderful food in an equally wonderful and relaxed country environment, then you will be as pleased as we were. Definitely try their famous paninis (20 on the menu to choose from), and the Snowcream freeze is a signature item worth savoring.
When it comes to food, the pinnacle of our trip was Tony Gore’s Smoky Mountain BBQ & Grill. Tony is about the nicest, most down-to-earth, kind-hearted, famous musician you could ever hope to meet. A gospel singer with accolades and credits too numerous to list, he has graced the charts with number one hits and toured the world. The walls of his restaurant are lined with hundreds of celebrities who love Tony and his food and it’s no question why.
Southern cooking, Southern gospel, and Southern Hospitality at its finest, this is our new favorite Tennessee restaurant. Many of Tony’s famous dishes came from his dear grandfather’s own repertoire and lovingly and painstakingly, Tony shares them with his guests, who are blessed indeed, to know Tony and his cooking. The ribs are melt-in-your-mouth goodness cooked with Tony’s grandfather’s secret sauce, T’s Tater Chips (loaded) are a not-to-be-missed experience. Seafood, pork, chicken sandwiches…Tony serves it all and with all the homemade fixin’s.
You will feel welcome, loved, and valued as a customer there as Tony’s generous heart and portions please everyone. Not a place for those counting calories, but Tony does fry in 100% peanut oil and makes everything from scratch, so it is healthier. Even his fried corn is delicious and different. Tony also offers a Dinner On the Ground Concert Series featuring many of his favorite special guests and friends. Better music and better food for the stomach and the soul could not be found anywhere.
We were so sad to leave and felt like we carried a bit of Tony and his love in our hearts as we listened to a CD of his terrific music on the rest of our trip.
For a fun and educational flair to your dining, check out the Culinary Cafe at Walters State Community College, just outside of town. You can actually sample wonderful culinary creations made by chefs in training. We were impressed and the prices are very low.
Outstanding costuming, effects, horsemanship, and casual dining are enjoyed by all ages at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede. This dinner attraction is fun, patriotic, and entertaining.
Another patriotic and classy show is the Smith Family Dinner Theater Show. With great music of various styles and decades, classy, clean humor, and an overall wonderful stage presence this talented family delivers a class act through and through. A show steeped in Southern music and culture and delivered with huge helpings of good Southern food, you won’t go wrong with this one.
Cirque de Chine’s fantastic, stomach turning, eye-stopping two hour showcase of traditional Chinese acrobatics, music and theatrics pushes the physical limits of these performers to their limits. The death defying movements of the performers are coupled with dramatic music and lighting. The audiences watches on the edge of their seats while the acrobats contort their bodies into sculptures using magnificent strength and agility. When five motorcyclists defy both death and gravity inside the “Globe of Danger,” it constitutes an act that has placed them in the Guinness Book of World Records. You can actually relive the thrill of the Beijing Olympics while watching this show.
As for where to stay to enjoy the best of Sevierville, we were fortunate to stay at the Fairfield Inn at Five Oaks located across from the Tanager Five Oaks Outlet Center and next door to the Adventure Park Zipline. This was central to most all the shows and proved to be an excellent property with a good breakfast and friendly and helpful staff. It was clean, convenient, and provided a very good overall lodging experience.
For our portion of our trip in Pigeon Forge we stayed at the Econlodge Riverside. Unlike any other Econolodge we had ever seen, this property exceeded all expectations. Not only central to everything, but with a gorgeous pool and spa, and lots of little extra amenities to make our stay extra pleasant. With breakfast included, microwaves, refrigerators in the rooms, and directly across from the Pigeon River for feeding the ducks or fishing, this place had it all.
Pigeon Forge and Sevierville are a vacationing couple’s ultimate paradise in every sense of the word. They have everything and anything you can imagine for fun, relaxation, entertainment, and all of it tastefully wrapped up in warm Southern hospitality and kindness.