DESTINATION ROMANCE: SEVIERVILLE, TENNESSEE

Enjoy A Romantic Three-Day Weekend In The Smoky Mountains

We’re betting that during the holidays you put yourself last on the to-do list, again. Resolve to treat yourself better in the new year.

No need to wait long. The first two months of the year present three different holidays—Martin Luther King Day, Valentine’s Day, and President’s Day (fans of the Bill Murray movie might add Groundhog’s Day to the list, too!)—that offer a perfect opportunity for a romantic retreat to Sevierville, Tennessee.

Enjoy spending quality time with your favorite special someone surrounded by the spectacular beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Relax, rejuvenate and reconnect. You deserve it.

Romance sizzles in Sevierville in every season, but winter offers some of the best bargains. Businesses are open and ready to welcome you and your sweetheart. Whatever interests you share, Sevierville offers a long list of possible to-dos here, from attractions to shopping, culinary experiences to adventures, historic treasures to the great outdoors.

To jump-start planning your trip, use this three-day itinerary as a guide.

Welcome to Sevierville, Tennessee!

3-5 p.m. Check into a luxury one-bedroom log cabin at Oak Haven Resort & Spa. Stay in a cabin to enjoy a home away from home feeling and the whole space to yourselves. Every fully-furnished cabin at this year-round resort boasts a large private hot tub, fireplace with gas logs, private screened porch, large jetted bathtub, custom kitchen with full-size appliances, master bedroom with king-sized bed, plus rockers and a swing to comfortably enjoy the outdoors. What’s more, each cabin offers spectacular views that naturally set the mood for romance.

4-6 p.m. Share a relaxing spa treatment, such as the side-by-side “Almost Heaven” couple’s massage at The Spa at Oak Haven. Skilled therapists release tension using a proven combination of flowing strokes, gentle kneading and targeting pressure points. By the end of the blissful treatment you’ll both feel like you’re floating on clouds.

6:30 p.m. Enjoy dinner at Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant, Sevierville’s oldest restaurant, located on a working apple farm nestled among trees alongside a river. The dining room has a homey vibe and the menu offers hearty traditional favorites like fried chicken, chicken pot pie, chicken and dumplings, fresh local trout, meatloaf, and other satisfying dishes. Every meal includes complimentary apple fritters, apple butter, and your choice of homemade farmhouse soup.

After your meal, roam around the Apple Barn & Cider Mill complex. Retail shelves at the general store, located inside the original barn built in 1910, are packed with nostalgic goodies and scrumptious treats.

8 p.m. Return to your cabin. As suits your moods, enjoy time together soaking in the hot tub or rocking in side-by-side chairs.

8:30 a.m. Enjoy a Southern-style breakfast at Five Oaks Farm Kitchen. Menu options range from savory Eggs Benedict to sweet Belgian waffles topped with warm cherries jubilee and whipped cream. Healthy or decadent, every order is served with gracious hospitality.

10 a.m. Head to Historic Downtown Sevierville. Visit the bronze statue of Dolly Parton, a tribute to the superstar by her hometown community, on the courthouse lawn. The six-and-a-half-foot tall sculpture was crafted by nationally-known local artist Jim Gray and depicts Dolly fresh faced with a loose ponytail, sitting barefoot on a mountain boulder with her guitar. Since it was unveiled more than 30 years ago, the statue has attracted millions of visitors from all over the world.

Next, enjoy a self-guided walking tour of 20 of the city’s most important historic sites, from when the city was settled in 1795 to today. Grab a free brochure from the stand near the Dolly Parton statue for a map and details.

11 a.m. Visit the Robert A. Tino Gallery. Watercolor, acrylic and oil paintings inspired by the Smoky Mountains are available in a range of schemes, sizes and prices. Working as an artist since the 1980s, Robert is best known for his landscapes, some of which include barns or houses and many of which showcase the local area. His works embrace a diverse range of styles including abstraction, impression and realism. You can choose a custom frame for any piece and even commission the artist to create a one-of-a-kind original work of art.

12 Noon Enjoy lunch at The Diner where all-American fare is served in a retro ‘50s setting. The extensive menu can satisfy almost any craving with options like burgers, pastas, soups, salads, steaks, sandwiches and other mouth-watering options made from fresh ingredients.

1-4 p.m. Pursue an activity you both enjoy. Among the options…

Shop ‘til you drop. Find nearly 100 brand-name stores offering designer clothing, shoes, accessories and more at discount prices of up to 70 percent off retail at Tanger Outlets Sevierville, the largest authentic outlet center in the state of Tennessee. Hunt for antiques and rare treasures at Flea Traders Paradise where vendors sprawl throughout the 40,000-square-foot mall as well as two acres outside.

Heed your need for speed at NASCAR SpeedPark Smoky Mountains. Among the 22 different attractions are eight different race-themed go-kart tracks plus bumper boats, amusement park rides, a three-story climbing wall, two miniature golf courses, an arcade, and more.

Feel a spicy burn at Pepper Palace, “The Planet’s Number One Hot Shop.” More than 1,000 award-winning products are hand-crafted in small batches using all-natural ingredients at the headquarters in Sevierville, including hot sauce, salsa, barbecue sauce, jellies, pickles, dips, seasonings and other tongue-tingling treats. Only at the Sevierville headquarters can you get a behind-the-scenes tour through all stages of production, from measuring fresh ingredients to hand-bottling goods.

Share an adrenaline rush at Foxfire Mountain. Obstacles throughout this 150-acre park include a seven-line Waterfall Canopy tour, five-line Goliath zip-line course which boasts the highest, longest and fastest zip-line in the Smoky Mountains, and the 330-foot long Bridge to Prosperity Mountain, which is the longest swinging bridge in the U.S. You’ll also find climbing walls, ropes courses and off-road ATV adventures.

4 p.m. Slow down and share a tasting experience at one of Sevierville’s wineries or distilleries. Using Tennessee grapes, Hillside Winery produces sparkling and Italian-style wines made that range from dry to sweet, white to red. The Apple Barn Winery offers sweet dessert wines. Old Tennessee Distilling Co. makes an assortment of corn whiskey, rum, rye, flavored moonshine, vodka and limited-edition bourbon. Sevier Distilling Company is one of only three distilleries in the world that makes a pure honey spirit; Master Distiller Chris Yett (who just so happens to be a descendant of Sevierville’s namesake John Sevier, Tennessee’s first hero!) also produces moonshine, vodka, rum, and whiskey.

6 p.m. Feast on flavor at local favorite China 1, ranked one of the top 100 Chinese restaurants in the U.S. Popular dishes include Miso soup, Hibachi steak and shrimp, Oishi stir-fried noodles, pork chow mein, curry shrimp and more.

OR... Enjoy dinner and dancing at Friends Tavern. The menu offers an eclectic mix of hearty American favorites, including a 16-ounce, bone-in ribeye prepared with a genuine “Secret Mountain Marinade” that’s a family secret recipe. Groove on the dance floor to a range of music genres that are selected to appeal to a broad range of ages, while especially catering to the 40+ crowd.

8 p.m. Share a graceful spin around the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel at The Island in Pigeon Forge, one of the tallest attractions in the Southeast. While seated comfortably together in an all-glass gondola, gaze out at the neon lights against the night sky.

OR... Sip cocktails at the new Ghost Bar. Order your favorite spirited drink from the full bar or try any of the 20 specialty cocktails like Spooky Witch’s Brew made of rum and juices or a frozen mudslide.

10 p.m. Spend quality time together at your cabin. Turn on the gas fireplace, open a bottle of wine, and raise a toast to long-lasting romance.

9 a.m. Dig into a made-from-scratch breakfast at Flapjacks where the menu offers pancakes, waffles, biscuits and gravy, omelets, country ham, chicken and waffles, and more.

OR... Enjoy breakfast at The Wildflour Bakehouse where sweet temptations like smothered cinnamon rolls and flaky pastries are offered alongside healthy options like avocado toast, yogurt parfaits, and oatmeal. (Note: Closed on Sundays)

10:30 a.m. Visit the McMahan Indian Mound Site, one of Tennessee’s most fascinating historical landmarks. A tribute to the Native Americans that used to inhabit the area, the archaeological site is located just above the confluence of the West Fork and Little Pigeon Rivers, near the Sevierville Riverwalk Greenway. This historical landmark dates back as early as 200 A.D.

OR... Visit the Harrisburg Covered Bridge an 83-foot-long covered timber truss bridge across the Little Pigeon River that’s still functional. Located off Old State Highway 35 near U.S. 411, it’s listed in the National Register of Historic Places and was built in 1875 to replace the original bridge destroyed in a flood that same year. It’s one of only four historic covered bridges in Tennessee.

12 Noon Enjoy lunch at Big Daddy’s Pizzeria where every pizza is cooked at 550 degrees in a wood-fired brick oven. Several pizza creations are available, ranging from Mexican to Hawaiian to Florentine, or you can build your own pie among the list of 40 possible ingredients.

OR... Dig into “the best ribs in the Smokies” at Tony Gore’s Smoky Mountain BBQ & Grill. Whether you prefer baby back or St. Louis-style, the juicy meat is fall-off-the-bone tender and can be drizzled with any of five barbecue sauce options: sweet, spicy, smoky, mustardy and vinegary. The restaurant plays a Southern Gospel soundtrack since restaurant owner Tony Gore is also a renowned singer and leader in that field.

1:30 p.m. Head to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the U.S.

Hike a trail that suits your endurance levels:

  • - Cataract Falls is an easy one-mile round-trip trek from the Sugarlands Visitor Center
  • - Laurel Falls is a 2.6 mile round-trip walk on the park’s longest paved trail
  • - Charlies Bunion is an eight-mile trek along the Appalachian Trail
  • - Alum Cave Bluffs is a five-mile route across log bridges and up Peregrine Peak
  • - Rainbow Falls is a 2.7-mile path to an 80-foot waterfall
  • - Chimney Tops is a steep four-mile hike up to an impressive lookout point
  • - Clingmans Dome soars 6,643 feet—it’s the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, tallest point in Tennessee, highest point along the Appalachian Trail, and the third-highest mountain east of the Mississippi River! Drive the seven-mile Clingmans Dome Road to reach the large parking area; from there, climb a steep half-mile trail to reach the observation tower

OR... Drive through Cades Cove, a valley surrounded by mountains that is one of the Smokies’ most popular destinations. During the 11-mile one-way loop you’ll pass by the widest variety of historic buildings in any area of the national park including three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and several other restored 18th- and 19th-century structures. Pick up a self-guided tour information booklet at the entrance and allow at least two hours to enjoy the scenery.

4 p.m. Depart for home. Drive safe! Along the way, make plans for your next weekend getaway to Sevierville.

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