On a recent visit to the US state of Tennessee, I stopped by Sevierville, hometown of Dolly Parton and adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
This is the perfect place to spend a couple of days before heading to the state's bigger cities of Nashville and Memphis.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
On my first day, I took a scenic drive up to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in the USA and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We made sure to stop at Newfound Gap, where in 1940, U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt officially dedicated Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Appalachian Trail runs through that area of the park, and there was even a spot where I could put one foot in Tennessee and the other in North Carolina.
Foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee
Sevierville’s Most Famous Resident, and Dollywood
This spectacular Tennessee setting provides the perfect backdrop for Sevierville native and entertainer Dolly Parton’s amusement park, Dollywood, with its thrilling rides and authentic attractions. You’ll also find native Appalachian crafts in the quaint shops.
Although I’ve not been on a roller coaster since I was a teenager, I thought it would be fun to see how I felt about them now. I boarded the Wild Eagle ride and sat in the front row. My palms got sweaty and my legs were jittery. We soared through the air with our feet nearly grazing the tops of the surrounding treetops. When I disembarked at the end, my legs felt like jelly, but I was grinning from ear to ear.
Posing in front of the Wild Eagle Roller Coaster at Dollywood in Tennessee
RMS Titanic Museum
My favorite part of visiting Sevierville was touring the RMS Titanic Museum, a two-story building shaped like the Titanic ship. As I entered the museum, I was greeted by authentically dressed crew members, and was given a boarding pass. On the reverse side of the pass, I found out I was Charlotte Collyer, a 31-year-old Second-Class passenger traveling from Hampshire, England, to Idaho with her husband and daughter.
In addition to seeing a selection of artifacts, I glided up and down the Grand Staircase. What stood out most for me was the chilling opportunity to put my hand into the interactive water exhibit, which is kept at -2 Celsius, the same temperature as the water would have been on that fateful night in 1912. Within three seconds, my fingers were numb.
Near the end of the tour, a wall exhibit tells which passengers lived or died during the journey. Although Charlotte survived the sinking of the ship with her daughter, her husband died.
The RMS Titatic Museum in Sevierville, Tennessee
Accommodations and Shopping
If you’re in the mood for a little pampering, head to Oak Haven Resort, located just minutes from Sevierville, with luxury cabins nestled within the beautiful mountain scenery. From one bedroom to seven, take your pick and make this into an ideal getaway for friends and family.
I rounded off my visit to the area with a trip to nearby Tanger Five Oaks, Tennessee’s largest outlet mall. With more than 100 name-brand stores, all touting amazing prices, I stayed entertained for hours.
What a trip! Sevierville is the perfect place to stay, whether you’re young, old or somewhere in-between. Be sure to include Sevierville on your next US-bound holiday!
Oak Haven Resort in Tennessee