TN Travel Guide - Page 2
It’s time for Dollywood part deux, as Dolly Parton is ready to get to work—maybe even 9 to 5—on her second theme park. This time she’s got her sights on the greater Nashville area, and if all goes as planned the tourists and travelers will be filling up the parking lots starting in 2014.
The new place doesn’t sound to be another exact version of the original theme park, as this new establishment is going to only cost $50 million to build. Officials are billing it as some sort of water and snow park, and it’ll be located across from the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. Apparently it’s just the first piece in a number of new entertainment offerings coming to the area as the city looks to get families and other visitors to stick around and spend a little cash.
Elvis is at the B Gates
Did you go to Memphis and not buy a caseload of Elvis memorabilia? A brave decision, and one that probably won't fly so well with the folks back home. Luckily, you have an escape clauseand you won’t even be charged for checking it into the hold.
Instead of the usual boring souvenir shops, see, Memphis airport has an Elvis shop. That’s right, a shop that stocks purely Elvis memorabilia, from magnets and t-shirts to clocks, Christmas ornaments and cookie jars.
The memorabilia is all official Elvis gear, so it’s the same stuff you can find at Graceland. And yes, there’s a mark-up, but it’s not as much as you’d think in all cases – about $1 more for Elvis emery boards and magnets, and about $5 more for anything bigger. We arrived three hours early for our flight and ended up taking home the Elvis clock – made out of pink glassthat we’d admired at Graceland but wondered how we’d fit it in our case. Simple, in the event: we just took it on the plane in addition to our already bulging hand luggage.
If you planned on checking out Bonnaroo this year, which will take place between June 9th and June 12th in Manchester, TN, you better hurry because tickets are going fast!
The annual music and arts fest has an awesome line-up for 2011, including Eminem, Arcade Fire, Widespread Panic, The Black Keys, Neil Young, My Morning Jacket, Lil Wayne, and The Strokes. The bad news is general admission tickets are already sold out. The only tickets left right now are the VIP packages which include two 4-day festival passes, camping fees, VIP parking, special shower and restroom facilities, access to VIP lounge areas, exclusive viewing areas, t-shirts and more for $1,349.50. There is also a payment plan available and an upgrade which includes meals. Tickets can be purchased at Bonnaroo.com.
Fresh off their Grammy wins, Eminem and Arcade Fire will make plans to head to a Tennessee farm, but not to celebrate their award with a rustic vacation. The guys, along with the Strokes, My Morning Jacket and Lil Wayne, will headline the 10th annual Bonnaroo Festival.
The music and arts fest runs from June 9 to 12 at a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee. It'll feature the only fest appearance of Buffalo Springfield with original members Neil Young, Stephen Stills and Richie Furay.
Even though there have been plenty of movies about country music, most of them never shot one scene in Nashville. But Country Strong, in theaters today, was not only filmed in Nashville, it also features local musicians who recorded most of the soundtrack on Nashville's famous Music Row.
The movie, which stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, Gossip Girl's Leighton Meester, and Garrett Hedlund, is about an aging country singer (Paltrow) trying to rebound in her career and marriage. But it was McGraw who pushed for the movie to be shot in Nashville, while producers originally planned on filming in Austin. “I think Nashville played an important part. Nashville is a character unto itself," McGraw said. "There’s such a vibe in this city, and I think the soul of the city is country music, and if we didn’t have that sort of intangible thing there that sort of lingers on film … it would have been just one more obstacle.”
Worlds-Scariest-Roller-Coasters / Dollywood / Roller Coaters / Theme Parks / Amusement Parks / Holiday Travel / Tennessee Travel / → All Tags
The weather in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee does get a little chilly for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean that Dollywood is shutting things down for the season. Most of the rides and attractions are open through the end of 2010—somewhat weather permitting—and those that brave the cold are rewarded with millions of Christmas lights and other holiday decorations.
In the middle of all the holiday hoopla sits the Tennessee Tornado. One of the best roller coasters at the park, it simulates what it’s like to make your way through an old mining company. Three loops will disorientate even the most hardcore coaster enthusiast, especially when the park’s holiday lights, displays, and decorations go whizzing past you at speeds of up to 70mph.
Wine tastings and brewery tours are for lightweights. Hardcore drinkers will opt for the moonshine trail in Tennessee. The state tourism bureau is trying to make the trail an attraction that allows you to see the route bootleggers used to smuggle moonshine—also called white lightning.
Just outside of Knoxville, the 200-mile White Lightning Trail winds through nine counties and celebrates the state's homemade corn whiskey past. Unfortunately you can't taste the 100-proof home-distilled alcohol on the self-guided driving trail, but you'll encounter historic sites, preserved homes, restaurants and moonshine museums.
Yesterday, Kenny Chesney tweeted a photo of himself submerged knee-deep in water, proof that even celebrities aren't immune to natural disasters.
Kenny's house was among those flooded in Nashville after record rain caused the Cumberland River to rise more than ten feet above flood stage. Kenny was scheduled to appear on Anderson Cooper 360 last night to discuss the flooding and let people know what they can do to help.
Along with the photo, he also tweeted, "Sending Anderson Cooper footage of my house under water for tonight. TN is a mess."
Somehow we’re already halfway through April, and since we like to always look forward, it’s time to start thinking about May. It’s always a good idea to be in Memphis during the month of May, and this year is no exception. Of course there’s plenty of barbecue to enjoy, but way there’s more than just smoke and ‘cue.
The whole Memphis in May Festival actually starts on April 30—their secret is safe with us—with the Beale Street Music Festival. The music runs through May 2, and this year’s concert features four different stages and over fifty acts ranging from rock to gospel. Hall & Oates, Alice in Chains, and Bret Michaels are just some examples of the eclectic blend of music styles. A three day pass to all the music and entertainment will run about $75, and that includes all the mandatory fees and surcharges. Just please remember that the concert is not an open casting call for the next season of Rock of Love.
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is one of the great tourist traps of the United States, and it's about to get yet another attraction in addition to the old Ripley's Believe It or Not, small wedding chapels and Dollywood. The Titanic Museum Attraction opens there today, in a replica of the original boat. At least there's no danger of this one hitting an iceberg in Tennessee and sinking, since it's fully landlocked.
Regis Philbin, who's probably as old as the original Titanic, will be aboard today for the grand opening of what's being billed as "the world's largest museum attraction."
If you've ever wanted to appear in a movie but can't be bothered with getting an agent or a headshot, tomorrow you'll have your chance. On Feb. 2, 2500 extras will be needed in Nashville, TN for a pivotal concert scene. The footage will be included in the movie, Love Don’t Let Me Down, in which Gwyneth Paltrow plays a struggling country singer managed by Tim McGraw.
Anyone who wants to participate in the shoot will be admitted to Municipal Auditorium, 417 Fourth Ave N, on a first-come, first-served basis and must be at least 18 years old. A free shuttle will take extras from Lot R at LP Field to Municipal Auditorium, where doors open at 4 p.m. Extras should be able to stay until 11 p.m.
"Easy to get to, hard to leave," boasts the website for Blackberry Farm, a picturesque retreat in the Great Smoky Mountains.
According to MSNBC, "agritourism" is on the rise this year as travelers sweetly yearn to get back to the land. Not many farmers' kids we know grew up tooling around on the backroads in a Lexus GX SUV (available for rental on-property!) or getting four-handed massages inspired by the Cherokee, but at least Blackberry is a working farm producing artisan cheeses, fruit, cured meats and preserves.
And then we noticed something funny: Back in 2007 our sister site HotelChatter noticed how heavily acclaimed Blackberry Farm was, noting the tasteful decor and delicious dishes.
The farm has since added 12 guest rooms -- and most shockingly, over $200 to its daily rates for the most modest accommodations. No time like the present to urge people to get back to nature at a ridiculously inflated price!
Want to get back to nature on a budget? You may have to forgo award-winning fly-fishing and the spa, but volunteer vacations like those offered by organic farms through WWOOF offer the chance to get your hands dirty and a little relaxation time, too.
· Living The Luxe Life Down On The Farm [MSNBC]
· 2007: Luxury in the Middle of Nowhere: Blackberry Farm [HC]
· Volunteer Travel: It's A WWOOFer's World [Jaunted]