Sevierville & Pigeon Forge

Hi all! I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I have a good reason: I was recently away enjoying a vacation in beautiful Tennessee.

Tania and I had been planning this trip for a while, as we both really wanted to do a road trip to the States this fall. Tania had never been to Tennessee; I’d been to Nashville (and loved it!) but it was for a work trip so I didn’t get much time to explore the city. When we started planning our trip, we knew Nashville was a must, but we also decided we wanted to visit the Smoky Mountains, which is about a three-hour drive east of Nashville. The road trip to Tennessee itself was long but not unmanageable; about 11-12 hours each way including stops for gas and food. Because the drive can be done in one day, Tennessee is a popular road trip destination for Ontarians, and it’s easy to see why: we had an absolutely amazing time. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be taking a short break from sharing Ontario content in order to bring you some of my top highlights and recommendations from our Tennessee trip. Hopefully they inspire you to do a road trip of your own!

Today, I’m going to start by sharing some highlights from the Smoky Mountains portion of our trip! The Smokies are a subrange of the Appalachian Mountains running along the Tennessee-North Carolina border. They are called The Smokies because of the natural fog over the mountains that gives it a “smoky” appearance. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park includes most of the range and is the most popular national park in the U.S., welcoming over 11 million visitors per year. It’s a particularly popular destination this time of year, due to the changing leaves that create a stunning rainbow of colours across the park’s 100+ different types of trees. Experiencing fall in the Smoky Mountains had always been on my travel bucket list, and I’m so glad I got to cross it off!

When people say “the Smoky Mountains”, they’re typically referring to either the mountains and park itself, or the surrounding area of Sevier County, which is home to three of the most popular tourist towns in East Tennessee: Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Today I’m going to share some of our favourite attractions in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge!

Where We Stayed

I’d already mentioned that experiencing fall in the Smokies was on my travel bucket list, but to be more specific: I wanted to experience fall in the Smokies in a cute, rustic cabin! Cabin rentals are a huge tourism draw in this area, and while you could stay in an equally nice hotel or condo rental, I believe that in order to get the full Smokies experience, a cabin is the way to go. We rented a cabin in Sevierville through Airbnb, and it was so cozy: the utter definition of rustic charm. It was so peaceful sitting out on the wraparound porch in the morning, watching the sun rise and listening to the birds chirp. Keep in mind that unless you rent an expensive luxury cabin, most of the cabins in the Smokies are humble, no-frills places, so set your expectations! Bring your own ‘creature comforts’, expect to see a bug or two, but believe me when I tell you the experience is worth ‘roughing it’ a little.

Things To Do In Sevierville

Admittedly, we didn’t spend a whole lot of time in Sevierville, as it doesn’t have as many attractions compared to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. However, here are a couple of things we did there that we really enjoyed!

The Apple Barn & Cider Mill: This apple farm is home to an extensive complex of buildings, and you could easily spend an entire day here. We’d heard it was a popular tourist destination, but were truly blown away by how big it was! Their massive property houses a restaurant, ice cream shop, candy factory, bakery, winery and cidery. (The winery and cidery both offer complimentary tastings!) There’s also a general store where you can purchase homemade fruit butters and jams along with various gifts and home decor items, and there’s even a shop dedicated to all things Christmas! I have to say, though, that my favourite items in the store were the chicken-shaped table lamps.

Dolly Parton Statue: Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of Miss Dolly Parton, and have been since I was a kid! Sevierville happens to be Dolly’s hometown, so while we were there, I simply had to see the bronze Dolly statue located on the front lawn of the Sevier County Courthouse. The statue was sculpted by artist Jim Gray in 1987, and is one of Sevierville’s most recognizable landmarks.

Things To Do In Pigeon Forge

Pigeon Forge Strip: If I had to describe Pigeon Forge in two words, I’d call it “Southern Vegas”. The infamous parkway is lined with wax museums, amusement park rides, dinner theatres and souvenir shops, and is especially flashy at night. It really did remind me of the Vegas Strip, albeit a more country, ‘down-home’ version. This is one of those places that may not be for everyone, but both Tania and I happen to have a soft spot for tacky tourist towns, so we LOVED it! If you’re looking for souvenirs, this is the place to go: they have several souvenir superstores offering local gifts and memorabilia at affordable prices.

Christmas Place: If you’re like me and obsessed with all things Christmas, you will love this festive store on the Pigeon Forge Strip! Billing themselves as “the South’s largest Christmas shopping village”, their massive store contains a maze of rooms that feature every Christmas decoration you could ever want, from tiny ornaments to larger-than-life figurines. When I say it’s a maze, I’m not kidding – Tania and I made the mistake of wandering off to look at different things and couldn’t find each other for a good 20 minutes! So…I highly recommend a buddy system if you visit.

Smoky Mountain Candy Makers: They had me at “hillbilly taffy”! This candy store makes their delicious taffy on an old-fashioned machine from 1940 (which you can see up close in store) and sells various other sweet treats including chocolate, fudge, candy and peanut brittle.

The Old Mill: One of Pigeon Forge’s most photographed buildings, the Old Mill is one of the oldest operational gristmills in the United States. Built by businessman Isaac Love in 1830, today it’s home to a restaurant, cafĂ©, candy kitchen, ice cream parlour, and several shops. It’s also close to the Mill Bridge Winery, which offers free wine tastings and a picturesque view of the Little Pigeon River.

Dollywood: We simply couldn’t visit Pigeon Forge without spending a day at one of its most popular attractions – not to mention the Number 1 Theme Park in the US – Dollywood! As mentioned above, I’m a huge Dolly Parton fan, and I’d wanted to visit Dollywood forever. We had an absolutely amazing time at the park experiencing its various attractions, rides, shows, live music, demonstrations, shopping, and of course…its fabulous food. Dollywood is one of those places that truly deserves its own blog post, so stay tuned for my guide to the park, which I’ll be posting in a few days!

Until then, I hope you enjoyed this post about Sevierville and Pigeon Forge!

Have you ever been to the Great Smoky Mountains? Let me know in the comments or send me an email – I’d love to hear about your experience!

4 responses to “Sevierville & Pigeon Forge”

  1. Wonderful colours – looks like you chose a great time of year to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kevin! There’s definitely nothing like fall in the mountains!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. […] you read my last post about Sevierville and Pigeon Forge, you may recall that I’m a huge Dolly Parton fan, and I […]


  3. […] hope you all enjoyed my recent post about Sevierville and Pigeon Forge as well as my guide to one of Pigeon Forge’s most popular tourist attractions, Dollywood! […]


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