DOLLY PARTON STATUE

A statue of Dolly Parton is located in her hometown of Sevierville, Tenn.

Fall is the perfect time to visit the Smoky Mountains and there is no place more beautiful to visit than Sevierville, Tenn., the hometown of Dolly Parton. A statue of the iconic country music star in downtown Sevierville is Dolly’s favorite tribute. It is also the first stop of many visitors to the town.

The best way to truly experience the beauty of Sevierville during the fall is go on one of the driving tours offered by VisitSevierville.com. We picked up the brochure for the Boyds Creek Fall Driving Tour when we stopped at the Dolly statute for a few photos.

We followed along the 22 stops that took us on some of the most scenic spots in the Smoky Mountains, including Luretta United Methodist Church, which sits on top of a hill with a view of the Little Pigeon River Valley and the Smoky Mountains and the Island View School, a favorite for artists and photographers. The two-room schoolhouse was built in 1918 and used until 1949.

Other scenic stops on the driving tour included the Oak Haven Resort and Spa where we found plenty of great views and fall decorations. The great thing about this driving view is that you find areas of Sevierville that you would not know about. I have visited many times over the years and didn’t know about any of these beautiful stops on the driving tour. It really is the best way to find the hidden treasures of Sevierville.

A walking tour of the town is also offered and the fall is a great time to stroll through town and stop at some of the historic stops, including the courthouse and the town museum.

Other highlights of our visit to Sevierville:

•Smoky Mountain Knife Works, where 2 million knives are on display in the 220,000 square foot space. The business started with 100 knives in the trunk of the car of the owner and it is now the world’s biggest knife store. It’s not just a store, it’s an attraction.

•Robert A. Tino Gallery, where beautiful artwork of the area can be found. The artist says his “artwork is mostly centered around the Smoky Mountains.” He has been painting and drawing every day since he was a child. He says he’s an artist “because it’s why God put me on earth.” His art gallery in Sevierville, located in a lovely home built in 1844, is filled with beautiful artwork.

•Tennessee Museum of Aviation, which is a large gallery filled with fascinating aviation exhibits and artifacts.

•Sky High Tours, where some of us went on a flight with pilot Marc Hightower in an authentic 1928 Waco Bi-Plane. One of my friends, who travels a lot, described this as one of her all-time top travel moments.

WHERE TO EAT

As all of my family and friends, and readers of this column, know, dining out is one of my favorite parts of travel. I enjoyed a few old favorites and several new discoveries on my recent trip. They include:

•Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant & Grill is always a stop when I visit the area. This time, we stopped in one morning for breakfast and shopping. I had a hearty breakfast of pancakes, eggs, bacon and potatoes. Then, we did some shopping in the general store, Christmas shop and candy store. There is so much to do and see and eat at the complex!

•Five Oaks Farm Kitchen, where he had a delicious meal of some of my southern favorites—fried chicken, deviled eggs, tomato casserole, homemade biscuits and creamy potato soup. It was wonderful. This will definitely now be a stop every time I visit Sevierville.

•Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin is a always a favorite of visitors. I started off one morning with a yummy stack of their strawberry pancakes.

•Graze Burgers in downtown Severiville offers some great options. I chose the Southern Jam burger, fries, onion rings and a root beer float for lunch. I wasn’t disappointed. It was great.

•Also in downtown Sevierville, if you want a snack, go to Courthouse Donuts, where donuts are made to order.

•Monster Mash Burgers is a new restaurant in town and it has a fun theme and lots of burger options. I loved the Portobello burger for a veggie option.

•The Diner, which looks like a retro diner with malts and burgers is a fun spot for a meal. I enjoyed the Chef Salad, while my friends tried the burgers.

•Our last dinner was at Holston’s where I had salmon, sweet potato fries and baked macaroni and cheese, and orange cake! Another great meal!

As for where to stay, there are lots of options in Sevierville and I’ve stayed at many of them. I loved our choice this time, The Lodge at Five Oaks. We had chocolate chip cookies and lemonade when we arrived. The lodge features farm-house themed rooms with hardwood floors, hickory furnishings and cozy bedding. And there is a fire pit in the evenings. The Lodge at Five Oaks really is the perfect place to stay in Sevierville!

If you are heading to Sevierville this weekend, be sure to go downtown for the History & Haunts festivities on Saturday, Oct. 12, which will include a “Howl-O’Ween Dog Costume Contest.” For more information on the plans, go to www.DowntownHistoryAndHaunts.com.

To plan your visit, check out the website, www.visitsevierville.com.

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