The Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area is bursting with vacation ideas and entertainment for every member of the family. Dollywood and Splash Country, miniature golfing, the strip at Gatlinburg…all these offer hours (days!) of fun, especially if you’re making memories with your children.
For those who want to get away from the noisy tourist destinations, there is always The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with miles and miles of hiking and backcountry backpacking waiting quietly for your exploration. There are other natural attractions in the area, too; white water rafting on the Big Pigeon river is just minutes away from Gatlinburg. Ober Gatlinburg offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter and other fun attractions in the summer. (Visit obergatlinburg.com to find out more.)
But there’s another side to Sevier County that’s really coming into its own lately: fine wining!
Due to its humid and temperate climate, East Tennessee was once well known for its vineyards and wineries until Prohibition in 1919 (see www.tennesseewines.com/history for a brief history of wine culture in Tennessee.) Most people are familiar with moonshining that came after that, and the backwoods racing to outrun the revenuers that spawned the sport that is now known as NASCAR.
But now, wine is back on the menu in East Tennessee! Some of our vineyards have been back in business for decades, and many others are newly flourishing in our area so uniquely suited for growing grapes. See this informative publication from the University of Tennessee for information about growing grapes in our area.
Whether or not you’re interested in growing your own grapes, you can sample East Tennessee’s delicious bounty in a wine tour.
The Four Rivers Wine Trail includes Blue Slip Winery (in Knoxville), Eagle Springs Winery (in Kodak), Richland Vineyards, Spout Spring Estates, (both in Blaine) and The Grape Barn at Nolichucky Vineyards (in Russelville). Visit their website for more information.
The Rocky Top Wine Trail includes six wineries open for tastings and tours, all on hwy 66/441 between Kodak and Gatlinburg: Eagle Springs Winery (Kodak), Hillside Winery (Sevierville), Apple Barn Winery (Sevierville), Mountain Valley Winery (Pigeon Forge), Doc Collier Moonshine Distillery (Gatlinburg), and Sugarland Cellars (Gatlinburg). These wineries have even partnered with Elite Limo Tours if you need a designated driver.
Visit rockytopwineries.com/wine-trail for links and directions.
Once you have chosen your favorite bottle (or bottles!), take it home to savor the flavors of the warm sun, gentle breezes and nourishing summer storms. The Rocky Top Wineries participate in a wine club, with significant member discounts. Learn more by clicking here: rockytopwineries.com/wine-club.
If you’re not a local yet, you can always rent a chalet in Sevier County. Visit here or here to search for accommodations. And, of course, should you fall in love with the area and want to start looking for your own place to call home in East Tennessee, visit darlenereeves-kline.com for listings and information.