We love Dolly Parton
here in Pigeon Forge. With the annual Dolly Parade coming up on May 2
, now is the perfect time to share 4 of our favorite facts about Dollywood,
her namesake amusement park, located right here in the Great Smoky Mountains.
Here are four things you might not know about Dollywood:
1. Dollywood wasn’t always Dollywood.
Putting a theme park in Pigeon Forge wasn’t quite Dolly’s idea. The park that started it all, Rebel Railroad, was originally opened on the same land in 1961. In 1970, the park was purchased by another agent and re-named Goldrush Junction. The theme park changed hands again in 1976, and this time was dubbed Silver Dollar City. Dolly finally got involved in 1986, and the name was changed to Dollywood.
2. Kurt Russell has been to Dollywood, as Captain Ron.
Do you remember this raucous 1992 comedy movie? Kurt Russell plays the captain himself, and delivers the following famous line when comparing his travels to those of the elite yacht passengers:
Captain Ron: I've been to Dollywood.
3. Think Parkway traffic is bad now? It was worse on opening weekend.
I can remember Dollywood’s opening weekend in May of 1986. Even though I was just a little girl at the time, I recall the entire Pigeon Forge Parway as a parking lot. Apparently, traffic was stopped for 6 miles down U.S.-441 on the park’s opening weekend and 1.34 million visitors came during the park’s first 5 months. Now, about 2.5 million folks come each year.
4. The park’s grist mill has nothing on the Old Mill in Pigeon Forge.
The iconic grist mill inside Dollywood might look old, but it was built in the 1980s. The real Old Mill in Pigeon Forge, on the other hand, dates all the way back to the early 1800s.
Is Dollywood a must-visit attraction for you and your family when you’re in Pigeon Forge? Let us know at the PigeonForge.com Facebook page!
While you’re at it, check out the following links for more information:
When you’re planning a trip to Pigeon Forge, you have a wealth of lodging options
to choose from. From beautiful fully-furnished cabins and chalets
to rustic campgrounds
, you’ll find it all right here in the Smokies!
What kind of lodgding shoud you choose on your next Smoky Mountain adventure
? Take the quiz below to find out which option might be best for you! And while you’re at it, be sure to share your results on Facebook
The Smoky Mountains’ newest moonshine stop just might have the longest legacy. Doc Collier Moonshine
is bringing several generations of history to the Gatlinburg Parkway with their new distillery.
The new sippin’ stop opened the first week in April, but is backed by 120 years of Collier family history. According local legend, the owner’s great-great grandfather, William ‘Doc’ Collier, once traveled through the Smoky Mountains on horseback delivering his moonshine “before moonshine was even a word.” Back then, it was just corn whiskey and an honest man knew he could always find a stiff drink here in the hills.
Now, the Collier family has taken the same care and expertise used by their patriarch with the new distillery and facility. The shop, located at 519 Parkway in Gatlinburg, is designed to look like an old dry goods store – where their ‘shine might have once been sold under the table. In the new shop, you see an old-fashioned slide ladder, play a round or two of checkers on a table fashioned from a whiskey barrel, or even try out your hand at cracking corn on an antique sheller.
You’ll also see a pickle barrel in front of the shop. That’s another throwback to the old Collier family legend. According to the story, a shopkeeper selling moonshine under the table would put the barrel on the doorstep to let his customers know that he had some white lightening in stock.
One thing that makes Doc Collier Moonshine unique is the fresh mountain spring water in the recipe. The Colliers have formed an exclusive partnership with English Mountain Spring Water.
This local bottler captures water fresh from the source in Dandridge, Tennessee, likely the same spring Doc used all those years ago. This cool, pure mountain water has the perfect mineralogy and pH level needed to make outstanding ‘shine.
Right now, Doc Collier Moonshine comes in one flavor – classic corn whiskey. The ingredients are simple: Just sugar, corn and the fresh mountain spring water. The ‘shine comes in two sizes: You can by a 750 mL jar for under $24.95 or a 375 mL jar for $14.95. By the end of May, the offerings will expand. You’ll soon be able to buy blackberry, peach and apple pie flavored moonshine. Additionally, Doc Collier is working for build partnerships with some of our favorite stops on the Rocky Top Wine Trail
, so hopefully soon we can expect even more local flavor from this new distillery.
Doc Collier Moonshine is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit http://doccollier.co/
or find Doc Collier Moonshine on Facebook.
Have you ever tried Smoky Mountain moonshine? What’s your favorite way to drink the strong stuff? Get involved in the conversation by following along on the Pigeon Forge Facebook page
. We love hearing your stories from the Smoky Mountains.
Looking for more information? Check out the following links: