Pigeon Forge Map

With all the new technology that is out there today – GPS, navigation, smart phones, etc., you’d think that the need for actual maps, or road atlases for that matter, would just die out. And while a good portion of people don’t even consider using much less purchasing maps anymore, there are still thousands who come to Pigeon Forge and the Smoky Mountains every year and ask for a map of the area.

Maybe it’s just an old habit, who knows. Whatever the reason is, with so many streets and traffic lights to remember, as well as shops, directions to and from places, a map can still be a pretty handy thing around these parts. Wants to know what road you’ll find at the intersection with traffic light No. 2 in Pigeon Forge? Better find yourself a map, or just glance at the one in this post.

Most places in town offer up their own map with their business, as well as other major attractions highlighted on the map or brochure. It’s still a great way to market whatever you may be offering. Ask any of the major attractions or restaurants around here, they’ve been carrying out this practice for decades. People still remember places that way, especially those vacationing in the area who end up packing their brochure away then discovering it once they return home. It’s almost like you’ve put your own personal stamp on them. The map is just a reminder of the great time they had while vacationing in Pigeon Forge.

So, besides the map to the right, where can you find a Pigeon Forge map around town? Well, if you’re at a place like the Tanger Five Oaks Outlet Mall, you’re bound to see a large brochure, or area attractions stand at some point while you’re walking between shops. There is also a large stand in the hallway that leads to the public restrooms at Tanger near Gap. You’re also sure to find one if you’re at any of the major attractions along the Parkway like the Titanic Museum attraction, Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud, or Lumberjack Feud.

Maps are just another way to connect all your favorite shows, attractions, restaurants, and shops in Pigeon Forge. It’s a way of discovering the Smokies that isn’t totally extinct just yet. And there’s just something about them that makes you think that they’ll continue to help guide visitors for years to come.

Dollywood Extends Summer Hours

Just in order to give their guests as much time as humanly possible this summer to ride all their favorite rides, see all the park’s great shows, and generally leave no stone unturned, Dollywood is extending the park’s operating hours for 2013.

On June 22, Dollywood inaugurates the “Great American Summer,” six weeks of extended operation. A live performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” starts each day at 10 a.m., and a music-synchronized fireworks display called “Dolly’s Nights of Many Colors” caps the day off at 10 p.m.

Not only will Dollywood be operating on extended hours this summer, the park will also be breaking in a brand new ride next door at Dolly’s Splash Country. A year after opening the Wild Eagle winged coaster – the first wing-design roller coaster in the country, RiverRush is set to open in May at Dollywood’s Splash Country waterpark. RiverRush will be the state’s first water coaster and ads yet another big draw to the adventure park and its 23-slide roster.

RiverRush adds water to the climbs, drops, twists and turns of traditional terrestrial coasters. Four-person toboggan-style boats climb 237 feet up a conveyor as the 1,175-foot-long ride begins. RiverRush is four stories tall, with hairpin turns and dark tunnels that create an unexpected waterpark experience.

From the twisting turns of the Mountain Scream body slide ride, to the daring drops of Big Bear Plunge – a white water rafting ride, Dollywood’s Splash Country is everything you and your family could want in a Smoky Mountain water park here, or anywhere for that matter. In addition, there are two interactive children’s playground areas, the Cascades and Little Creek Falls, where kids can be themselves and create lasting summer memories in the heart of the Smokies.

Dollywood won five Golden Ticket Awards in 2012, the industry’s top awards. Among them were awards for the best live entertainment and for being the friendliest park anywhere.

A Water-y Start to 2013

To say things have been a bit water-logged in the Smokies to start out 2013 would be hittin’ the nail on the head, or to put it more accurately, like stepping right in the middle of a muddy pothole.

Whether it’s torrential rain you’re talking about, snow, ice, or a mixture of all three, this area has seen it all over the past month. The Little Pigeon River has seen it’s waters reach record levels, and by now everyone knows about the washout of Newfound Gap Road.

Numerous attractions in the area and around Pigeon Forge have taken it on the chin as well during this months of storms.

During the weather of this past week, Music Road Convention Center employees weren’t taken aback when the center’s lower parking lot flooded Wednesday. What did surprise them was the amount of time it took for the lot to reach dangerous levels. It happened so quick, most were scrambling to move any cars that might be left in the lot.

This round of flooding took place after a week that saw the first flood of the season at the popular Pigeon Forge convention center.

Most though were already parking at the center’s upper lot when forecasters predicted another similar round of storms for the week. Few remained when water was seen rushing over the banks into the lower lot.

Some, like a man who had parked his truck down in the lower lot, were simply relieved they were able to get to their vehicle before the worst could happen. Some stranded autos could have seen as much as 5 or 6 feet of water.

Those that were there Wednesday afternoon said that the onslaught of water was mesmerizing to watch as it crashed over barriers into the lower lot.

Water eventually subsided after a few days, but it made for some trying hours for the convention center, as well as most Pigeon Forge businesses last week. Here’s hoping February is a bit drier and a lot milder than January was in the Smokies and Pigeon Forge.

Smoky Drive – Closed at the moment.

In keeping with all local closures, road work, etc., Smoky Drive in Pigeon Forge may be one place you might want to put on your list to try to avoid in the coming months.

According to city officials, a section of Smoky Drive will be closed for approximately 2 months, due to road construction. Work actually started Monday, January 14.  Smoky Drive will not be accessible from the Parkway, only East Wears Valley Road and will not be a through street during construction.

Many people, especially during peak seasons, use Smoky Drive as a short cut around the parkway for a number of reasons, including just to avoid other cars coming into the area. Officials urge drivers to use a little patience during this time as crews work to improve an area that has seen a dramatic increase in traffic over the past 10 years.

If you have any questions please contact Blalocks at 453-2808.

Greenway Trail Closed

For those of you who haven’t already noticed, Pigeon Forge’s Greenway Trail is currently closed and runners, walkers, cyclists, and others are encouraged to find different running/walking locales for the time being.

Construction in the area officially began on November 8 and has been closed since. The area is located between Jake Thomas Road and the parking lot for the new LeConte Center.

In all, the greenway in Pigeon Forge makes up around 4 miles from its starting point on one end of town to its conclusion on the other end. It runs along beautiful neighborhoods and through the business district as well. Most people start out from Patriot Park to take in the entire trail. The trail even offers a reprieve at the Plaza at Butler Street and Ashley Avenue. Here, you’ll find park benches, a water fountain, as well as a memorial dedicated to English McCarter, who was a former city commissioner. Want to get out and enjoy the Little Pigeon River? The greenway is a great way to do that as well.

As noted, the greenway can be found in Pigeon Forge’s Patriot Park, home to many of the town’s recreational activities. Flagpoles featuring flags from all 50 states surround the park’s perimeter which runs beside a 0.6 mile paved walking/running trail. You’ll also notice a historic patriot missile on display, a Liberty Bell replica in size and scale, and WinterFest lighting displays during the holiday season. One of Pigeon Forge’s mos historic attractions, the Old Mill, is located beside the park. It was built in 1830. Families and large groups can rent out the park’s pavilion, complete with 14 picnic tables and four electrical outlets, by calling 865-429-7373.

Patriot Park’s walking/running trail connects to the greenway. From Patriot Park you can cross Old Mill Avenue and continue along the greenway past several homes to the mini-park/trail-head. The greenway then turns and runs along the river to Jake Thomas Road and then continues to the city’s new parking area. This trail will eventually continue past the Riverwalk Village at LeConte Center, formally known as Belle Island and currently under construction.

LeConte Center Construction Remains On Schedule

Everything is moving forward according to plan on Pigeon Forge’s LeConte Center. In fact, most city officials consider it a pretty smooth process so far when you look at such things as schedule for completion and the project’s budget.

Construction work began in October 2011 for the center, which is primarily slated to host trade shows and religious gatherings, as well as some sporting events such as gymnastics and cheerleading.

The center can accommodate up to 10,000 people, so a large group focus is where the LeConte Center will begin once it opens its doors. It will operate on a year-round schedule. And as of today, 13 weeks’ worth of events are booked from the time the LeConte Center officially opens. The first is the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies/Souvenir Super Show, scheduled for November. To say that things have been moving right along would be an understatement. The engine was running before it was even installed.

In September 2014, the center will host the National Quartet Convention. The southern gospel music event will move from Louisville, Ky., where it has been held since 1993. The Louisville event attracts about 40,000 participants.

From an outsider’s point of view, the first thing that catches your eye is a 100,000-square-foot, clear-span hall. The design and the hall’s amenities were exactly what Pigeon Forge was looking for in a building needed to bring in trade shows, sporting events, festivals and large assemblies like the National Quartet Convention.

Following the International Gift Exposition, The Scott Dawson Evangelistic Association will take up the center’s next two booking slots. They are expected to bring large conferences in December of 2013 and January 2014.

Meanwhile, the National Quartet Convention is a group that was founded by JD Sumner in 1957. Sumner is a legend in the gospel world and former backup singer for Elvis Presley.

Among their 2012 National Quartet Convention event performers are the Gaither Vocal Band, the Hoppers, the Kingdom Heirs, Gold City, Greater Vision, the Booth Brothers, Legacy Five, Triumphant Quartet and the Isaacs.

The LeConte Center is a $45 million events facility that is on schedule to open in September.

Wear Farm City Park Nears Completion

According to city of Pigeon Forge officials, the much anticipated Wear Farm City Park is on track to open in March, just in time for spring. And with construction almost complete, expect the area to receive its fair share of looky loos up until then.

The new park was scheduled for completion in March and the forecast is still the same. All the major work has been completed and all the remains are small tasks within the project. Things like landscaping, piecing together the new playground, as well as spring planting are just a few of the remaining to-dos.

The park’s grand opening is scheduled for March, but a date has yet to be set. Later that month, little league baseball games are slated to commence.

Wear Farm City Park replaces nearby City Park, which was torn down to make way for a wastewater facility. Aside from little league baseball diamonds and football fields, picnic areas, walking trails, a basketball court and play areas are a few of the other major amenities that will be included in the park construction.

In all, Wear Farm City Park, located at 647 Wears Valley Road, will be a 118 acre multi-use park. Pigeon Forge is hopeful to start scheduling summer sporting events soon and well be available to large groups by then. As part of the park’s first 40 acre phase, five lighted baseball diamonds, a lighted football field, one multi-purpose field, two full playgrounds, three pavilions, a basketball court, walking trails, and concession stands are scheduled for construction.

The new Wear Farm City Park carries a price tag of about $7.8 million.

New Slogan Touts Pigeon Forge as “Land of More”

It’s no secret that if you come to Pigeon Forge during the holiday season you’re going to see more Christmas lights, more shopping opportunities, and more cars than you’re likely to see anywhere else within a 100 mile radius. During the spring you’re like to see more classic cars, the fall brings about more colorful foliage, and summers bring more vacationers from more states and more countries than other times. So it’s no surprise that a new city slogan is proclaiming Pigeon Forge as the “Land of More”.

Of course, this new campaign is a concerted effort of attract more visitors every year and grow what is an already booming tourism industry.

“More” is the umbrella covering all of Pigeon Forge’s unique attractions, restaurants, and businesses in the city. When you think of more attractions, it’s hard to pinpoint another place close by that offers a theme park like Dollywood with roller coasters like the Wild Eagle and a water park right next door. More theaters align the parkway in town and give guests quite a selection of shows to pick from including the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Feud, and the Lumberjack Feud.

When you mention more restaurants, it’s tough to travel a half mile on or around the parkway without pulling in front of a restaurant. And there are so many great places to eat around here nowadays from the Mellow Mushroom to the Partridge & Pear to Bullfish Grill, you’re bound to find something to satisfy everyone’s taste buds.

As far as businesses go, you won’t find more shopping opportunities than you’ll find int he Pigeon Forge/Sevierville area. Of course, everyone thinks of the Five Oaks Tanger Outlet Mall first and foremost, but on down the road there are such popular places as the Christmas Place, where you can find every Christmas-related item imaginable, and the new Walden’s Landing area – both of which feature outdoor shopping with a more modern feel.

It’s a great start for Pigeon Forge as the city looks to attract even more visitors during the spring and summer seasons. TV, radio and print ads will begin running in March in 18 different markets.

Pigeon Forge is located just a short distance from Interstate 40 in East Tennessee. Taking exit 407, you’ll travel south along Winfield Dunn Parkway (Hwy. 66), through Sevierville, until it becomes U.S. 441. Stay on 441 and you won’t miss it, you’ll actually run straight in to Pigeon Forge. Hope to see you this spring and summer!

Wilderness Wildlife Week 2013: Exhibitors

Pigeon Forge’s annual Wilderness Wildlife Week in early January, this year Jan. 12-19, always brings about some of the best organizations dedicated to fostering growth in the most natural of habitats. From Pigeon Forge’s own American Eagle Foundation to Wildlife Photography by Weldon Lee out of Allenspark, Colorado, the event’s exhibitors run the gamut of wildlife enthusiasts. So for all you nature lovers out there, mark your calendars for Jan. 12-19, you won’t want to miss this year’s Pigeon Forge Wilderness Wildlife Week at the Music Road Hotel and Convention Center.

And just to make it that much easier for you, here’s a list of all the exhibitors, where they’re from and the dates they’ll be there, that will be a part of wildlife week:

Alpine Adventure Trails & Tours – Macon, GA
An adventure travel company that specializes in Switzerland and Austrian hiking tours.
Will be at the event January 12 – 16.

American Eagle Foundation – Pigeon Forge
Dedicated to the preserving America’s most recognized bird – the eagle.
The entire week.

Appalachian Bear Rescue – Townsend
Operating in Townsend, TN since 1996, Appalachian Bear Rescue continues to provide care for sick, injured, orphaned or abandoned bears with the goal of returning them to back to the wild.
The entire week.

Bays Mountain Raptor Center – Kingsport
It’s bird rehabilitation facility, wildlife exhibits, trails, wetlands area and planetarium are some of the best in the state.
The entire week.

Beneath the Smoke – Gatlinburg
Locals Ken & Vickie Jenkins operate this photography business in the heart of the Smokies.
The entire week.

Birds-I-View – Jefferson City, MO
Steve & Regina Garr operate this wild bird and nature store in Missouri.
The entire week.

Clayton Sharp – Corryton
Watch Clayton Sharp as he demonstrates the art of blacksmithing.
The entire week.

Coleman Factory Outlet – Pigeon Forge
Coleman carries a complete line of outdoor supplies and related items, and is well-known across the country for its quality gear.
The entire week.

Cumberland Trail Conference – Crossville
Volunteer organization that encourages the development of the Cumberland Trail, to meet the recreational needs of park visitors and area residents through building, maintenance and fundraising.
Will be at the event January 17 – 19.

Discover Life in America – Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Collects and preserves information on the amazing biodiversity of plant and animal life in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
The entire week.

Dutchman’s Loft – Gatlinburg
Artist Dick Ensing paints in the tradition of the French impressionists and is the 5th generation grandson of the legendary Dutch painter, Adrian Van Der Werf.
The entire week.

Doug Elliott – Storyteller – Union Mills, SC
Doug is a naturalist, herbalist, and a well known storyteller.
Will be at the event January 12 – 14.

Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Kodak
Dedicated to helping the GSMNP fund numerous projects.
The entire week.

Great Outdoors! Adventure Travel! – Kingston
Owners Joel & Kathy Zachry plan wonderful outdoor adventures everywhere.
The entire week.

Great Smoky Mountains Association – GSMNP
This association retails, with all proceeds benefiting the GMSNP, a complete line of publications, DVDs and many other items related to the history and preservation of the Great Smoky Mountains.
The entire week.

Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center – Townsend
Dedicated to preserving the old fashioned way of life and heritage in the Great Smoky Mountain area.
Will be at the event January 15 – 19.

Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont – Townsend
A private, non-profit that provides in-depth experiences through educational programs that nurture appreciation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The entire week.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Volunteers in Parks Program – Cherokee, NC
Find an area to volunteer as there is always a need for volunteers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The entire week.

Ijams Nature Center – Knoxville
Discover the magic of the natural world at Knoxville’s premier environmental education center and park.
The entire week.

Jim Gray Gallery – Pigeon Forge
This local art gallery, features the work of Jim Gray. Jim is best known for his prints of the Smoky Mountain area where he has been painting since 1966.
The entire week.

Kate Marshall Graphics, Inc. – Alpharetta, GA
This 10-time international film award-winning company specializes in the natural and cultural heritage of the southern Appalachians, offering DVDs and photography.
Will be at the event January 12 – 14.

Louise Bales – Artist – Gatlinburg
Louise lives in the Glade Arts & Crafts area of Gatlinburg where she has a gallery in the Cliff Dwellers Complex.
The entire week.

Lynne McCoy – Wildlife Rehabilitator – New Market
This amazing woman is a state and federally licensed independent Wildlife rehabilitator and teacher.
The entire week.

Mast General Store Outfitters – Knoxville
With several stores in the Southeastern area, this retailer specializes in outdoor clothing and equipment.
The entire week.

Nantahala Outdoor Center Gatlinburg – Gatlinburg
This retailer specializes in outdoor clothing and equipment as well as outdoor adventure planning in the Great Smoky Mountains.
The entire week.

Natural Look Woodcarving – Sevierville
Don Taylor, a teacher of woodcarving, operates this gallery which features his many world-class carvings.
The entire week.

Old Mill Square – Pigeon Forge
Historic section of Pigeon Forge surrounding a working grist mill built in 1830.
The entire week.

Pat K. Thomas – Cliff Dwellers Gallery – Gatlinburg
Pat K. Thomas has developed her own italic writing style, combining calligraphy and marbling.
Will be at the event January 15 – 19.

Photographic Society of East Tennessee – Talbot
This association, with members from East Tennessee, caters to photographers all over.
The entire week.

Sevier County Master Gardeners – Sevier, County, TN
An organization which assists people in developing and maintaining beautiful gardens and nature areas.
The entire week.

Smoky Mountain Historical Society – Sevier County, TN
This non-profit group is dedicated to preserving Sevier County’s history and heritage.
The entire week.

Smoky Mountain Llama Treks – Cosby
Enjoy experiencing the Smokies on one of the many possible llama treks offered by the Garrett family.
The entire week.

Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning – Knoxville
A non-profit organization that works with a number of state and federal agencies on long-range planning for Tennessee’s wilderness areas.
The entire week.

Tennessee State Parks – Nashville
This state agency distributes information on the numerous activities and services offered by the Tennessee State Parks.
The entire week.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency – Nashville
A regulatory agency overseeing hunting, fishing and other outdoor programs in the State of Tennessee.
The entire week.

Theresa Tyler – Basket Maker – Gatlinburg
Theresa resides in the Glades Arts & Crafts area of Gatlinburg where she keeps the art of basket making alive in the Cliff Dwellers Complex.
The entire week.

Titanic Museum & Attraction – Pigeon Forge
World’s largest permanent monument to the Titanic.
The entire week.

Tony Thomas – Musician – Clinton
Tony is a multi-talented musician and singer who plays numerous instruments and writes many of his own songs.
The entire week.

Wildlife Photography by Weldon Lee – Allenspark, Colorado
Weldon travels around the world capturing both the majestic beauty and the very essence of wild animals in their natural habitats.
Will be at the event January 15 – 19.

Whaley Family of Greenbrier – Pigeon Forge
One of Sevier County’s oldest families will have pictures, articles and information on their ancestors.
The entire week.

Wildcrafting with Ila – Bryson City, NC
Ila Hatter has delighted people for almost 30 years with her knowledge of plants and their folklore through her many books and DVDs.
Will be at the event January 12 – 14.

Wildflowers of Tennessee – Tullahoma
Jack & Dot Carman are the publishers of this book, which serves as Tennessee’s first color photographic field guide.
The entire week.

In Pigeon Forge, 4 Restaurants Now Serving Liquor by the Drink

In news that caused much hand-wringing over the years, four Pigeon Forge restaurants now offer liquor by the drink including the Mellow Mushroom, Blue Moose Burgers and Wings, and Johnny Carino’s Italian Restaurant. Each began offering liquor by the drink to customers on Friday, Dec. 14. These three are all managed by the same group – Diverse Concepts.

And all three – Blue Moose, Mellow Mushroom, and Johnny Carino’s, plus one more, can all sell liquor, legally, by the drink according to the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

Pigeon Forge just recently voted on a referendum to approve liquor by the drink sales that passed by 100 votes in November. That would put Pigeon Forge in strong company with surrounding Smoky Mountain cities like Knoxville, Maryville, and Asheville, NC.

Diverse Concepts is represented by Tom Horne who commented on the issue following the announcement that their restaurants would now be serving adult beverages of that nature. According to him, it’s been such an issue in the past for their businesses that customers have simply decided not to eat there because they didn’t offer a full bar menu. Towns like Gatlinburg and Sevierville have reaped the rewards of the lack of liquor by the drink in Pigeon Forge. Until now, Pigeon Forge restaurants only had the option to offer beer.

It has had an effect on wait staff as well with staff leaving for restaurants that did offer liquor, thus resulting in better tips in most cases.

Overall Horne says it’s more of a convenience for their guests and another option on the menu. Moreover, it gives them equal footing with other restaurant businesses in the area and makes good financial sense in the long term.

In recent years he says he’s observed more and more restaurants electing to set up shop in neighboring cities to take advantage of liquor by the drink sales. Still, it wasn’t without some opposition. That opposition in the form of lawsuits has since been thrown out by a judge and restaurants are moving ahead with business.

For most it’s a welcome change in Pigeon Forge as new reforms aim to keep business in town. For others, it will always be a contentious issue that only time can help ease.