Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant

Life is Short, Eat Fritters First!

The Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant (AFR) sticks in your memory after you have been there once and it is easy for it to become a place that you frequent a lot of you live here in the area.  For me, the Applewood Farmhouse will always be tied to the memories of working at the Louise Mandrell Theater.  The Applewood Farmhouse is located across the river from what used to be the Louise Mandrell Theater (now the Smoky Mountain Opry) and when I worked there, we ate at AFR a LOT!  The fritters became a staple part of all of our diets and of course, the food was eaten almost once a week at lunch, not to mention the number of tour groups that we sent to them over the years.  Add to that the fact that they were located right across the river and we had a restaurant that almost became our hang out.

Each and every meal that is served at the AFR is served with fritters.  They come to the table piping hot, served with butter to spread on them or to dip them in.  An apple fritter is a thing of beauty and when it comes with great food that they compliment to a ‘t,’ well you just can’t beat a fritter.  There were times at the theater when someone from Applewood staff would show up with a basket of fritters for us to munch on during the day.  That almost always guaranteed that we would end up across the river at lunch.

And the food they serve is as good as the fritters.  Their menu is full of southern comfort food.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served each and everyday throughout the week.  From fried chicken to chicken pot pie, from pork chops to beef liver, the menu is diverse and wonderful.  Full of the flavors of home and the tastes that you might have had at your grandmother’s house, the food takes you back in time.  The food becomes not only substance but a way to remember those days gone by.

In fact, just visiting the restaurant is a step through time.  It is housed in an old farmhouse, hence the name.  When you walk to your table you trod decades old boaords in the floor that have seen thousands of feet throughout the year.  This used to a be a farmhouse that was a stop on the way to Gatlinburg.  People in those forgotten times would stop at the farmhouse to spend the night, to get a bite to eat.  Now, for people visiting the area and for countless locals, this is a place to stop in for a bite to eat.  This is a place to spend a lunch hour or dinner after work.  This is a restaurant that is a first stop or that one special night out when you come to town for vacation in the Smokies.  The Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant is calling you back to another time, stop in for a visit.

Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant
240 Apple Valley Road
Sevierville, TN

Harrisburg Covered Bridge

There has been a covered bridge in the Harrisburg Community of Sevier County since the mid 1800s.  The bridge was used by the locals to cross the East Prong of the Little Pigeon River and connected the two separate parts of the community.

Originally, the Harrisburg Covered Bridge was named the McNutts Bridge but in 1875, the bridge was washed away during a storm and was completely destroyed.  Later that same year, a Sevier County Court established a committee to oversee the construction of a replacement bridge.  $50 was raised privately and $25 was donated by the county.  The people of the Harrisburg community donated all of the lumber that was needed and the labor.  The people of Harrisburg built the bridge and made sure they would be able to get back and forth to town easily and that they would be able to further grow their part of the county.

While other covered bridges around the country were being torn down, the people of Sevier County kept the Harrisburg Covered Bridge up and going.  IN the 1950s, the bridge was renovated, but by the 1970s the bridge had fallen into disrepair and was nearing the end of its life.  At this point in the bridges history, the Great Smokies Chapter and the Daughters of the American Revolution raised the money to keep the bridge up and to make sure that it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Today, you can still go visit the Harrisburg Bridge, take some pictures and drive through a bridge that has been around since 1875.  The bridge is 83 feet long, 14 feet wide and has 11-1/2 feet of clearance.  A true wonder of not only architecture but also of a people that wanted to keep their history alive.  Pencil the Harrisburg Covered Bridge into your next trip to the Smokies.  Drive a a little out of the way.  Head down Dolly Parton Parkway and follow it to Old State Highway 35.  Once you turn left on 35, follow the signs, the bridge is just a few miles down the road.  Get out and take some pictures and spend some time in real, living history.

Tennessee Museum of Aviation

Sevierville celebrates everything to do with Tennessee’s aviation history in the Tennessee Museum of Aviation.  One of the best niche museum you will ever walk through is combined with a hangar full of aircraft give you a knowledgeable and fun way to explore the world of aviation and of course how Tennessee has figured into that history.

The museum has been lovingly curated and tells not only about the history of aviation but it also weaves in the important roles that the people of Tennessee have played in the history of aviation.  From a timeline showing the evolution of aviation (this take sup an entire wall) to a wall depicting the Tennessee Hall of Fame, there is nothing like this museum.  Everything it labeled and the exhibits move from one era to another, from one topic to another.  It becomes very easy to know what the subject matter is and even the youngest in the family will enjoy the information they are absorbing.

The hangar is, maybe, the most exciting part of any visit to the Tennessee Museum of Aviation.  Most of the planes are still, airworthy aircraft that are flown on occasion.  Here is a partial list of what you might see in the hangar at any one time:

  • 1902 Wright Glider
  • Beechcraft SNB
  • Bell 222 – Airwolf
  • Boeing P-12E
  • Douglas A-1H – Skyraider
  • F-86 Sabrejet
  • MiG 17
  • MiG21
  • North American P-51D – Mustang
  • North American Rockwell OV-10 – Bronco
  • North American T-28 – Trojan
  • Republic P-7D – Thunderbolt
  • Sikorsky UH-34G
  • T-33

The Tennessee Museum of Aviation is located in Sevierville, TN.  If you come to town from I-40, you will find yourself on Hwy 66 (Winfield Dunn Parkway).  When you get to Sevierville proper, you are going to make a left hand turn onto Dolly Parton Parkway.  Follow Dolly Parton Parkway through the main part of town.  After you cross the turn off to Veterans Blvd, start watching for the Tennessee Museum of Aviation on the right hand side of the road.  From this point, follow the signs.

The Tennessee Museum of Aviation is a great museum to learn more about the history of aviation and Tennessee heroes of aviation.  Browse through the Hall of Fame, look through the exhibits and then stand in awe among some of the most famous types of plane sin the world.  Remember that most of them are airworthy and that they are all marvels of the creative spirit of the aviation pioneers that invented and designed them.  Spend the day with the family learning and marveling at the rich history of Tennessee in the world of flight.

Tennessee Museum of Aviation
135 Air Museum Way
Sevierville, TN

Great Smokies Flea Market

One of the great shopping destinations in the Smokies!

Who doesn’t love a flea market?  In Sevierville, and in fact in the Smoky Mountains, one of the best and in fact one of the biggest is Great Smokies Flea Market! Located right off of exit 407 in Sevierville, this is a shopper’s paradise with tens of thousands of products and hundreds of vendors this is one of those spots.  Everything from housewares to clothing and everything in between can be found beneath the roof of this retail paradise.

When you walk in the front door of the indoor part of the Great Smokies Flea Market, you are stepping into one of the best organized and best maintained flea markets in the southeast.  The owners of the flea market keep out the riff-raff and and the vendors keep the consumers in the merchandise that they want.  The booths in the inside section are well lit, handicap accessible and clean.  This is not a dank, outdoor flea market, this is an indoor, heated and cooled mall.  Once you are inside, pick a row and start browsing.  A lot of the vendors on the inside are there weekend after weekend, month after month and they have been there for years.  There is literally everything under the sun, under this roof: collectibles, movies, books, housewares, furniture, everything you can imagine and all at low cost prices.

great smokies flea market 2Then you might want to venture outside.  During season, you are looking at a place for lots of outdoor vendors and a farmers market.  Aisles of produce, straight from the farm, landscaping, lawn furniture and outdoor tools.  Along with all of these wonderful vendors, this is also the place where you will see vendors that might only be at the flea market for one weekend or for a series of weekends during the season.  These outdoor areas are roofed and have clean wide walkways between them.  The outdoor booths are a revolving door through which the Great Smokies Flea Market brings lots of new merchandise and even locals that are looking for a place to have a makeshift yard sale in a bigger venue.

Of course, as in real estate, the best part about Great Smokies Flea Market is location.  When you come off of I-40 on exit 407 into Sevier County, you will take the first right hand turn.  This puts you on Dumplin Valley Dr in Sevierville.  Follow this road until you see the Great Smokies Flea Market, it will be on the right hand side of the road, don’t worry you will not miss it!  Add the Great Smokies Flea Market to your places to stop while you are in the Smokies, don’t miss the shopping experience.

great smokies flea market 1Great Smokies Flea Market
220 W Dumplin Valley Road
Kodak, TN 37764

Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass Festival

When you think of local spring/summer festivals, the images of mouth-watering food and great music seem to always be prevalent. Nowhere is that more the case than in Sevierville, Tennessee every May when the town closes its downtown streets for two days in anticipation of the oh-so-yummy Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass festival.

Bloomin' BBQ & Bluegress FestivalIts racks upon racks of pork, brisket, and chicken drenched in some of the nation’s premiere barbeque sauces. Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass attracts some of the greatest grillers from around the country to downtown Sevierville, as well as a number of other vendors who follow the barbeque circuit. Take a break between pork sandwiches and watch the mascot parade and dance competition on Friday evening. Kids get their chance to grill as well in the annual Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union Kids’ Que… It’s a new generation of rib racks and sauce!

You’ll also find a variety of new food vendors, funnel cakes, and various deserts for sale to go along with your barbeque, and plenty of great new entertainment on the festival stages. In years past, crowds have listened to the musical stylings of bands from Blue Moon Rising and Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier to the legendary Sam Bush, and it’s all been absolutely FREE.

On the business end of the grill, barbeque masters such as the Carolina BBQ Company, Carolina Rib King, and Smoky Mountain Smokers – last year’s grand champion, have competed yearly for Bloomin’s top prize. You’ll also come across local establishments like Evelyn’s Ice Cream, The Diner and Tony’s Kettle Korn cooking what they’re best known for – exceptionally great food. In all, these are just a few of the vendors that will be on hand offering some of their best recipes over the weekend.

There will be plenty of hands-on Que’ing going on at the festival’s annual BBQ Boot Camp. This usually occurs in the days leading up to the Bloomin’ Barbeque Festival. Visitors can come and talk barbeque secrets, and pick up a few tips and tricks for backyard BBQing, advanced BBQ smoking and even learn some new summertime dessert recipes! BBQ Boot Camp classes are taught at the Rel Maples Institute for Culinary Arts at Walters State Community College in Sevierville, TN. This new facility offers state-of-the-art kitchen facilities rivaling major cooking schools nationwide

Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass is a family-oriented festival that celebrates the beauty of the Smoky Mountains, great barbeque and lively bluegrass music. Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass is a part of Sevierville’s Smoky Mountain Springfest. Bloomin’s Barbeque cook-off is an official barbeque championship of the state of Tennessee and is coordinated by the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce.

History of Sevierville

To fully understand the history of Sevierville and its beginnings, you must go back to time when the Native American Indians roamed the Great Smoky Mountains, more specifically those of the Cherokee Nation.

What our history books tell us is that during the 1700s, the Cherokee Indian tribe was the only Native American group that called Tennessee their permanent home. Not only had the Cherokee claimed the eastern, as well as central portions of the state to use as hunting grounds, they had also come to refer to themselves in their native language as the “Principal People.” Some argue that these Cherokee were a detached Iroquoian tribe that settled the region located at the doorsteps of the Smoky Mountains. This tribe included Native Americans who John Sevier fought in order to protect European settlers in and around Sevierville.

Sevierville is named after John Sevier, one of the most famous figures in the history of the state of Tennessee. Known as a frontiersman, soldier, war hero and politician who served under George Washington in the American Revolution, Sevier became renowned for his role in the battle of King’s Mountain.

Sevier was elected as the first governor of the State of Franklin in 1785 – a new state that was established on the land around Watauga, in Johnson City, Tn. The State of Franklin was eventually annexed to North Carolina and Sevier was accused of treason for going against the annexation of Franklin.

Eventually, Sevier recovered and ascended to a higher office, that of the governor of Tennessee. Sevier was Tennessee’s first governor, serving from 1796 until 1801 when the State of Tennessee was formed, and again from 1803 to 1809. Sevier even served as a Tennessee state senator from 1809 until 1811 and followed that up as a member of the US House of Representatives in 1811. You could say that Sevier was “loosely” involved in politics for a good portion of his life.

Sevier, Nicknamed “Nolichucky Jack” for his Nolichucky River exploits, died in Georgia during a boundary negotiation with Creek Indians in 1815.

To many, Sevierville is known as the original birthplace of country music. These southern mountaineer songs are considered by a growing group to be the only true folk music ever produced by the European immigrants to America. Most go back as far as the British ballads of the 1700s.

English Musicologist, Cecil Sharp, said in Smoky Mountain Country by North Callahan that he was tremendously taken with the people who settled the Appalachian Mountains, their strong character, their individuality, the isolation and its effects upon them and their music. The mountain people were sheltered by rugged mountains from the rest of the world and by this very condition, he concluded, they had retained in all its purity the most lyrical folk music in the world.

Today, music inspired by the Smoky Mountains and the Sevierville countryside is recognized around the world. One of the most prolific and well known musicians of this genre hails from Sevierville – country music artist and philanthropist Dolly Parton. One of 12 children born in Locust Ridge, Tennessee, Dolly has remained faithful to her mountain roots, even as her international fame continued to grow. After opening her Dollywood theme park, which helps preserve mountain music and crafts while creating jobs for area residents, she also began the Dollywood Foundation, which funds many charities in the Sevier County region and Tennessee including the Books from Birth program.

Forbidden Caverns

If you’re looking to cool off in Sevierville, head underground…. Seriously.

The Forbidden Caverns, one of the most well-known Sevierville attractions, keeps a temperature of 58 degrees throughout the year and can be a great respite for families, or just yourself, if you’re driving through Sevierville to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Pigeon Forge, or Gatlinburg.

Once a place only known to select few, in particular the Eastern Woodland Indians, Forbidden Caverns is now known by people worldwide for its “buried” earthen structures and rock formations. The Eastern Woodland Indians actually used the caverns to their own benefit. When they weren’t traversing East Tennessee’s forests and mountains in search of good hunting grounds, they used the cave in the winter as a shelter. One of the big draws to staying in the caverns, besides its shelter, is the underground river that provided a consistent water supply.

Forbidden CavernsSo where did that river come from? Its source is believed to stem from an underground lake found beneath English Mountain. Famous for its spring water, chert or flint can also be found on English Mountain, but in limited quantities. Indians once used both to form arrowheads, knives and scrapers to use for tribal hunting and battle. Calcite formations can still be found growing in the cave as well as other rare rock formations. English Mountain boasts the largest wall of rare cave onyx or dripstones known to exist anywhere.

Moonshine was distilled in the cave from the early 1920s until 1943. The cave’s never-ending water supply and the isolated locale was a moonshiner’s dream in order to brew their homemade Tennessee whiskey.

It wasn’t until 1964 that a group of businessmen began the task of preparing Forbidden Caverns for its grand opening to the public. Forbidden Caverns finally opened in June 1967 following three years of excavation work on the expansive cave.

Forbidden CavernsIf you’re making a trip to the caverns these days, a picturesque valley leads you right to the caverns’ opening. You’ll see the peaks of Mount LeConte and English Mountain as make your way through the valley toward the caverns. Along the way, stop and take a look at the grist mill-museum, some primitive farm houses preserved from generations past, and a trout farm.

Looking to make a day of it, well Forbidden Caverns is just a 35-minute drive from Gatlinburg, from Knoxville a short 45 minutes, and should figure into your plans if you’re coming through East Tennessee, specifically the Great Smoky Mountains area. If it’s a tour you’re looking for, plan on at least a 55 minute stop. Cars and buses park for free and guests can peruse the souvenir shop and use the picnic pavilion at their leisure.

Sevierville, TN

“Your Hometown in the Smokies”

Sevierville is the county seat of Sevier County, Tennessee and the hometown of Dolly Parton.  Since the early 90s, Sevierville has grown both the borders of the city and its influence on the tourist industry.  Adding many shopping opportunities, entertainment venues and lots of good food, Sevierville is becoming its own destination in the Smokies.  Instead of merely being the support arm for Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Sevierville is really coming into its own.

Sevierville was one of the most heavily settled areas by Native Americans on the Tennessee side of the Smokies.  After years of the Cherokee controlling this area and building trails and trading posts with the towns on the other side of the mountains, European settlers made their way into the Smokies.  As settlers began to work their way into the area they settled around the streams and rivers that cover the area that is Sevierville.

Over time, as Sevier County became a vacation destination (through the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park), Sevierville has grown into the town to shop in while you are in the Smokies.  Along with those shopping areas they have grown to include the area all the way out Hwy 66 to the Tennessee Smokies Baseball Park and the Bass Pro Shop.


NASCAR Speedpark

NASCAR Speedpark brings lots of speed and family entertainment to the Smoky Mountains each season.  The fastest track in town, mini-golf, climbing walls, a huge indoor arcade and of course a NASCAR themed gift shop make this a must for NASCAR fans visiting the Smokies each year.

Here is just part of what you can do at the NASCAR Speedpark in Sevierville, TN:

  • Smoky Mountain Speedway – This is the biggie!  A quarter-mile track with 3/8 scale karts.  This is as close to real racing as you will find in the Smokies.
  • The Competitor – A short oval track with side-by-side racing.
  • The Intimidator – This track is chalenging enough to be named for Dale ‘The Intimadator’ Earnhardt himself.
  • Slidewayz – A 750-foot slick track.  Get ready to drift.
  • Family 500 – An hourglass shaped track designed for people of all ages.
  • Young Champions – Another family friendly track.  Measuring 1,100 feet long, this is a great one to take the kids on.
  • The Qualifier – This is a beginner track.  Great for those younger members of your family that need to learn how to drive a go kart.
  • Baby Bristol – This course is designed for the youngest NASCAR fans in mind.  A 200 foot starter track that really gets your kids blood pumping.
  • Speed Bumper Boats – Double seat bumper boats with electric motors.  This outdoor attraction is only open seasonaly based on the weather.
  • Speedome Arcade – Find all of the best racing arcade games ever made.
  • Rock Climbing Wall – 4 rock walls of indoor challenge.  See if you ca make it to the top and then see if you can make it to the top before your kids do.
  • Dragon’s Lair Fantasy Golf – 2 18-hole golf courses of min-golf fun.
  • Speedway Draft – This is a small roller coaster with your little one sin mind.
  • Starship 3000 – If you remember the gravitron from your hometown fair, then you are in for a treat at NASCAR Speedpark.
Again, thi sis only a small list of the many things that await you at the NASCAR Speedpark.  They have special going all the time that will give you and arm band for unlimited rides on their most popular tracks and rides.  This attraction can turn from a short stop into a whole day of fun.  If your kids are wanting a place where they can play for hours, this is the spot.  If mom and the girls want to spend the day shopping, NASCAR Speedpark is located right next to the Tanger Five Oaks Outlet Center – let mom drop you off.  You and the boys can spend all day riding go karts and having a great time in the beautiful outdoor location.  Of course, if you are a NASCAR fan then thi sis the one place that has to be on your bucket list when you come to the mountains. Many NASCAR legends have stopped by to visit this location and occasionally they will have signing while those stars are in town.

NASCAR Speedpark
1545 Parkway
Sevierville, TN

Tanger Five Oaks Outlet Center

Tanger Five Oaks is the premier outlet shopping center in the Smoky Mountains.  Locate din East Tennessee in Sevierville.  You are a stones throw from Knoxville and Pigeon Forge and right at the heart of some of the best shopping in the Smokies.  National name brands have made their homes in this outlet center and though they will have a selection of this years and this seasons merchandise, they also take in the merchandise that has not moved as quickly and they pass the savings on to you to move that inventory and give it a good home.

The stores at this location do change occasionally but the big names seem to remain constant.  Here is a current Store Directory:

  • $5 Christian Bookstore
  • Adidas
  • Aeropostale
  • Alfred Dunner
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Ann Taylor Factory Store
  • Banana Republic
  • Bare Excentuals
  • Bass
  • Bath & Body Works
  • Bose Factory Store
  • Brooks Brothers Factory Store
  • Carter’s
  • Catherine Plus Sizes
  • Champion
  • The Childern’s Place
  • Chico’s Outlet
  • Claire’s
  • Clarks Bostonian
  • Coach Factory
  • Coldwater Creek Outlet
  • Corningware
  • Corelle & More
  • Cosmetics Company
  • Crocs Outlet
  • Direct Tools
  • Disney Store
  • Donna Sharp
  • Dressbarn
  • Earthbound Trading Company
  • Easy Spirit Outlet
  • Ecko Unitd.
  • Eddie Bauer Outlet
  • Family Book Outlet
  • Famous Footwear Outlet
  • Fossil
  • Fragrance Outlet
  • Gap Outlet
  • Gymboree Outlet
  • Haggar
  • Harry & David
  • Hartstrings
  • Izod
  • J Crew Factory
  • Janie & Jack
  • Jockey
  • Johnston & Murphy
  • Jones New York
  • Journeys
  • Juicy Coulture
  • Justice
  • Kaspar
  • Kirkland’s
  • Kitchen Collection
  • Lane Bryant
  • Le Creuset
  • L’eggs Hanes Bali Playtex
  • Le Gourmet Chef
  • Lenox Factory Outlet
  • Levi’s Oulet
  • Lids
  • LOFT Outlet
  • Merrell
  • Michael Kors
  • Motherhood Maternity Outlet
  • Naartijie Kids
  • Naturalizer
  • Nautica
  • New York, New York
  • Nike Factory Store
  • Nine West Outlet
  • Oakley Vault
  • Old Navy Outlet
  • OskKosh B’gosh
  • Pac Sun
  • Perfumania
  • Polo / Ralph Lauren Factory Store
  • Rack Room Shoes
  • Reebok
  • Rockport
  • Rue 21
  • SAS SHoes
  • Sketchers
  • Socks Galore by Hanes
  • Stride Rite
  • Sunglass Hut
  • Sunglass World
  • Timberland Factory Store
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Tommy Hilfiger Kids
  • Totes / Sunglass World
  • Toys R Us Express
  • Ultra Diamonds
  • Under Armour
  • Uniform Destination
  • Van Huesen
  • Vitamin World
  • Wilsons Leather
  • Zales – The DIamond Store Outlet
  • Zumiez

Tanger Five Oaks is located in Sevierville, as we have already discussed.  If you are headed toward Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, you will pass between Walmart on the right and Governor’s Crossing on the left.  The very next thing you will see on the left is Tanger Five Oaks.  It is a sprawling complex of stores, setup in an outdoor shopping area.  There are restaurants both in the complex and right across the street so there is no reason to not spend an entire day or more shopping at Tanger Outlet all.