Posted by Phil Rodgers in Sevierville
If you've ever driven to Pigeon Forge and/or Gatlinburg on a Smoky Mountain vacation, chances are you first drove through Sevierville, Tennessee, on your journey. Decades ago, Sevierville was little more than a place to stop to get gas or a bite to eat on your way to one of the other destinations. But these days, Sevierville has more to offer tourists than ever before. And if you haven't taken a look at that city's downtown area lately, you'll see why Sevierville has become a worthy place to stop and play in its own right.
The city has poured a lot of money ($7.5 million, to be exact) into redeveloping its downtown streets and businesses. From the sidewalks to the rooftops, recent renovations have improved the look and feel of Dolly Parton's hometown while restoring much of the city's original charm and also adding lots of modern amenities. From murals and restaurants to unique stores and even a luxury hotel, there's lots to explore and experience on your next trip to Sevierville.
For example, some of the most dramatic changes have occurred along Bruce Street and Court Avenue, which have been reimagined to look more like they did in the early 1900s. Sidewalks have been widened, benches added and utilities moved underground. The city has also installed fiber Internet as well as new trees, flowers, streetlights and bike racks. And five downtown businesses are receiving new signage and renovated facades in an effort to restore the original look of the historic buildings.
Two new murals are bringing fresh new color to downtown as well. One depicts a young, blonde child enjoying a burger at Red's Café (a favorite eatery of young Dolly Parton), and the other is called Wings of Wander - a larger-than-life monarch butterfly that serves as a vivid backdrop for selfies and Instagram photos. Several other works of art are being added, including a sculpture made from railroad tracks unearthed during the renovation period.
There's also an eclectic new collection of businesses to complement the new pedestrian-friendly infrastructure. Graze Burgers is known for its grass-fed beef burgers as well as its creamy milkshakes, and The Appalachian is a fine-dining restaurant run by prominent regional chef David Rule. The menu focuses on traditional hearth-cooked Appalachian dishes, most with a modern twist.
The Appalachian is very near the new Central Hotel, a boutique historic property that belongs to the Ascend Hotel Collection by Choice Hotels. The building was constructed in the late 1800s as a hotel before burning in 1923 and being rebuilt in 1924. In addition to its accommodations, Central Hotel is the site of Honeybee Coffee and a rooftop lounge.
Finally, don't forget to keep downtown Sevierville on your shopping list. A variety of retailers are keeping business there vibrant, including the Cherry Pit Quilt Shop, Beauty & The Beast Bridal Boutique, D Garden Floratique and Jolene's on Bruce St., a trendy boutique inspired by the owner's love of Dolly Parton.
Of course, always standing proudly as the anchor of downtown Sevierville is the historic courthouse, which was built in 1896. In 1976, it became the first courthouse in the state to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the front lawn has been adorned by a bronze statue of Dolly Parton for the past 30 years. It's one of the most popular photo opp locations in the Smokies.
After you've spent some time in downtown Sevierville, be sure to explore as much of the rest of the Smokies as you have time for. At Goats on the Roof, we're open every day at our location on Wears Valley Road in Pigeon Forge. We're just a short drive from Sevierville, so we hope to see you during your summer travels.