editorial

Mountains, Magic, and Maple Walnut Ice Cream: Experience the Tennessee Charm of Dollywood

“In my Tennessee mountain home
Life is as peaceful as a baby's sigh
In my Tennessee mountain home
Crickets sing in the fields nearby”

-Dolly Parton, My Tennessee Mountain Home

If there’s one thing that everyone can seem to agree on— it’s Dolly Parton. Her down-home country charm, authenticity, and amazing talent are universally adored. And in the Great Smoky Mountains, Dolly Parton is revered to almost saint-like status. After all, she grew up in a small cabin in Sevierville, Tennessee.

And Dolly seems to be everywhere lately. A new NPR podcast, Dolly Parton’s America, takes listeners on a personal journey of the singer’s childhood in rural Appalachia. They even explore the Dolly Parton class that’s taught at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. And the popular Netflix series Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings explores the stories behind some of her most popular songs.

Smoky Mountain Grist Mill

Dollywood Ferris Wheel

Her award-winning theme park, Dollywood, is built on the gentle mountain slopes of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Unlike other theme parks that can wear you out with their long lines and endless acreage, Dollywood is super-easy to navigate. It also has as many shows— or opportunities to sit down— as it does rides. And like Dolly Parton herself, Dollywood is kitschy, wholesome, and wildly entertaining. It was also awarded the friendliest theme park in the country. What’s not to love about that?

For the upcoming 2020 season, Dollywood is ready to roll with even more thrilling entertainment than ever before. Check out acts like the Wild Roots Band for authentic Smoky Mountains sounds or the soul-stirring gospel quartet of Kingdom Heirs. Dollywood can even transport you far outside the slopes of the Smokies and give you a taste of authentic international entertainment. Get your heart pumping at Namaste India— a foot-stomping Bollywood show with color, energy, and over 400 costume changes. For some comic relief, check out Ole!, a trio of eccentric guitar players that delight audiences with magic tricks and musical humor.


The Dollywood Theme Park re-opens for the 2020 season on March 14th and promises more hair-raising thrills and wholesome family fun than ever before. Adrenaline junkies will love heart-thumping rides like the twisty, turn-y Dragonflier or the thrilling Great Tree Swing. The most unique, unforgettable features of Dollywood’s theme park rides are the magnificent views. Since Dollywood is nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, each ride not only delivers thrills, but they also give you jaw-dropping views of the mountains and beyond. And for the little ones, there are plenty of opportunities to slow down and enjoy a ride through a sparkling spring on the back of a bear at Black Bear Trail or hop on a playful frog as he jumps through the tall grass trying to catch fireflies in Frogs & Fireflies.

Fire Chaser Express at Dollywood

Crossroads Funnel Cakes

And then there’s the food. You simply can’t miss the world’s best cinnamon bread— cooked before your eyes and served up daily at the Grist Mill. You’ll also want to make a pit stop into Crossroads Funnel Cakes and try the award-winning Red Velvet Funnel Cake. At the Sweet Shoppe you can sample dozens of flavors of homemade candies, taffy, and ice cream. For some more substantial fare, duck into Hickory House BBQ for savory pork sandwiches and giant turkey legs. And for authentic Southern fare, try the Meatloaf Stacker or Pot Roast at Granny Ogle’s Ham ‘n Beans.

As part of our partnership with Xplorie, guests staying in one of our Natural Retreat Smoky Mountain cabins with 3 or more bedrooms will receive one free admission to Dollywood per day of your stay. There’s never been a better time to gather your whole crew together for an unforgettable trip to the Smokies. Spend your days hiking or biking the pristine mountain trails, or strolling through the charming pathways at Dollywood. Spend your nights gazing at the stars around a crackling campfire, or catching a dinner show at Dolly Parton’s Stampede.

Take a peek inside some of these Tennessee vacation cabins, and start planning your trip today.

Country Living

Birchwood Lodge

Tucked into the foothills of the Smokies, Country Living is a four-bedroom cabin that can accommodate up to fourteen people. Ideal for family trips, couples getaways, groups of friends, or any combination of family and friends you can dream up! Country Living even allows four-legged friends to join in the fun too. Relax on the wrap-around deck and enjoy the views, or take a dip in the relaxing hot tub. If it’s mountain views you crave, look no further than Birchwood Lodge. This soaring three-story log cabin has jaw-dropping views of the mountain from the deck. You’ll find yourself drawn outside to gaze in wonder over the treetops to the rolling hills beyond. With three spacious bedrooms, this home sleeps 11 people. There’s even a game room, home theater, sauna, and a hot tub.

Tennessee Lodge

Fireflies In The Night #74

Are you looking for the ideal spot for a family reunion or corporate retreat? Tennessee Lodge is that place. With enough comfy sleeping space for 28 people, this mountain oasis can accommodate any size group with ease. All three levels of this huge Smoky Mountain home have covered decks, allowing you to linger with a glass of wine while you watch the gentle fog caress the mountain tops. It’s pure mountain holiday bliss. With seven bedrooms, Fireflies in the Night #74 is a gorgeous three-story cabin that’s made for group vacations. Take full advantage of the panoramic mountain views on one of the three decks. Relax with a glass of wine on one of the rocking chairs. Breathe in the fresh mountain air, and keep an eye out for wildlife visitors. Endless hiking trails are right outside your door.

So if you’re looking for a classic Smoky Mountain getaway with convenient access to Dollywood— our Tennessee cabin rentals offer the best of both worlds. You’ll experience the feeling of seclusion and the peace that untouched mountain beauty can bring, while still being close enough to all the dining, shopping, and Dollywood you can handle. Immerse yourself in the quiet trails and sparkling mountain streams. Try your hand at fly fishing, mountain biking, or horseback riding. Gather around a bonfire and toast marshmallows while a breathtaking display of stars twinkles above you.

Our Great Smoky Mountain local experts will help you choose the perfect home for your family to enjoy all that eastern Tennessee has to offer.