Photo by Rachel Levitin
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee doesn’t sound like a hot spot for a prime piece of amusement park real estate. The best this slice of the American life can offer besides its gorgeous location among Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains is a stretch of road right off the highway. There’s an extensive slew of “As Seen on TV” stores, mini-golf and go-kart tracks galore, and even a Titanic museum. Add some monster truck raceways and that’s pretty much Pigeon Forge, or at least that’s what I thought until being introduced to Dollywood.
Dolly Parton is one smart whippersnapper. The often outspoken, always smiling, firecracker of a performer is Country music’s sweetheart and rightfully so. Parton was born in 1946 in Locust Ridge, Tenn. to impoverished sharecroppers and lived in a cabin with 11 siblings without electricity or running water. Since then, she’s done pretty gosh darn good for herself.
Parton has accrued quite a lofty sum of money in her name for her wide variety of classic Country tunes (and covers of said Country tunes). It’s thanks to those tunes and quirky demeanor that she’s built a lucrative entertainment empire, part of which includes the greatest gift she could have even bestowed upon her family in the Smokies — Dollywood. Continue reading