The story below is an excerpt from our Nov./Dec. 2013 issue. For the rest of this story and more like it subscribe today, view our digital edition or download our FREE iOS app!
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Dollywood, in Sevierville, Tenn., will open its 300-room Dream-More Resort in 2015.
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Dawsonville Moonshine uses original family recipes.
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Rocky Gap Casino
The Rocky Gap Casino in Western Maryland offers 558 slot machines in its new $35-million casino.
A major new resort has opened in Virginia. Tennessee’s Dollywood has one in the works too. plus much more, from luxe treehouses to a new North Carolina cheese trail, a West Virginia river trail and more new treasures.
After weeks of dropping hints, country music singer Dolly Parton has announced her big plans for Pigeon Forge, Tennessee: she’s building a major resort hotel next to her Dollywood theme park and adding the nation’s first dual-launch, family roller coaster. The 300-room DreamMore Resort, slated to open in summer 2015, will offer a variety of accommodations including a 2,200-square-foot celebrity suite. Part of a $300-million expansion, the project will include an amphitheater, indoor and outdoor pool complex, spa, and farmhouse-style restaurant with a wraparound veranda. Following the opening of her RiverRush water coaster in 2013, Parton has highlighted plans for the 12-story FireChaser Express coaster that launches twice, traveling forward and backward on a half-mile track. The coaster, which will accommodate most four-year-olds, is scheduled for a March opening. A Sevier County native, the popular singer/songwriter was raised in a cabin with a dozen siblings near the site of her sprawling theme park. dollywood.com
Still want to camp, but don’t really want to rough it? Consider glamping. Gatlinburg’s outdoor luxury resort, Camp LeConte, is adding luxury tree houses and comfy safari tents to its mix of RV sites and tent camping on its private park. Each tree house includes a covered porch, private bathroom, open air sleeping, a loft, and a view. The safari platform tents are equipped with two bedrooms, free wiFi, covered porches, ice service, linens, towels and toiletry kits. The camp is located on a stop for the trolley that serves town attractions, has a heated pool, air conditioned showers, and a playground – everything for the happy camper. 865-436-8831; campleconte.com
Grab your sweetie, grab your horse. Brand-new Salamander Resort in Middleburg, Va., welcomes both equine guests and their human masters. You’d be hard pressed to find a better locale for a luxury resort with an equestrian flair than this former horse farm set in the heart of Virginia horse country. The 340-acre resort features a full-service equestrian center with stables and a practice ring as well as activities that include fly fishing, survival skills, zip line, and a full-body exercise course. A James Beard-nominated chef oversees the dining rooms, culinary gardens, and cooking classes. 866-938-737; salamanderresort.com
Named simply Virginia Mountain Bike Trail (VMBT), this new, 480-mile path gains and loses 65,000 vertical feet from Strasburg to Damascus, earning the praise as the Southeast’s sweetest single track. Riding the ridges, tunneling though rhododendron thickets, crossing streams, and negotiating through technical rock gardens, the VMBT links eight major trail systems, mostly in remote sections of national forest. Public campgrounds are dotted along the route, and organizers envision a hut-to-hut system, much like shelters on the Appalachian Trail. Virginiamountainbiketrail.com or shenandoahmountaintouring.blogspot.com