A Sweet Way To End A Day At Dollywood
Category: Family Visits
Date: February 1, 2017
The end of any great Dollywood day is always a bit sad. Even after long days of fun at Dollywood, my kids often want to stay and experience “just 1 more!” and don’t want it to end. So, we started a tradition that makes the walk out of Dollywood almost as exciting as the walk in- visiting the Sweet Shoppe!
Dollywood's Sweet Shoppe sits on Showstreet not far from the main entrance and exit. The Shoppe is full of delicious treats to enjoy or take home, and my family likes to make it the last stop of the day and we each choose a treat. It’s a large store with a working kitchen, and if you're lucky you might see master candy makers dipping beautiful apples or mixing brittle on a stainless steel table, or making fudge on a large marble slab. There’s much to choose from and usually my treat is a huge piece of fudge. Fudge holds a special place in my heart and I’ve never met a flavor of fudge I didn’t like. As a girl, my great grandmother used to make a special penuche fudge each Christmas, and it was a treat we looked forward to all year. Like Nana’s, Dollywood's fudge does not disappoint and they have more than a dozen flavors to choose from.
My kids head to the novelties where they sell fun Pucker Powder sticks they can fill themselves, penny candy and crazy-sour things my kids love. My husband usually chooses the ice cream counter. He’s a vanilla kind of guy, and a thick milkshake is his thing. Dollywood serves us Mayfield's ice cream, and they bake their own waffle cones and bowls. Truth be told, more than once I’ve bought both ice cream and fudge!
In addition to the chocolates and candies you might expect, confectioners create regional favorites including potato candy, something called divinity which is made with egg whites and nuts, and a chocolate concoction called Smoky Mountain Mud. As it turns out, Smoky Mountain Mud was an accident. A confectioner messed up a recipe, but kept going to see how it would turn out—and it was a hit! It’s made with milk, Rice Krispies, marshmallows and peanut butter. Dollywood’s Sweet Shoppe also offers packaged gifts and goodies to bring home including taffy, jams and apple butter.
It’s a sweet way to end a day. Want to take a closer look at the Dollywood Sweet Shoppe?
The master craftsman at the Sweet Shoppe is Linda Rice. She’s been making candy for 35 years—longer than Dollywood has been around! She trains all park confectioners in the art of making taffy, fudge, candied apples, apple butter and countless other decadent creations. Stop by this Dollywood treasure to watch your favorite sweets being made—and be sure to take some to go!
A Cabin Retreat [Dollywood Style]
Date: March 06, 2017
When you travel, where do you usually stay? A hotel or motel? A rental by owner? If you’re planning a trip to the Smoky Mountains, consider hanging your hat in a Dollywood cabin. I’ve rented cabins with other families on multiple occasions and found them not only to be more enjoyable and comfortable than other options, but cost effective, too.
Ample space. There are more options than a hotel room! Dollywood cabins are designed to allow even large groups to spread out. There are more than 100 cabins to choose from that accommodate between 2 and 30 guests. Most have 3 floors plus outdoor space to ensure everyone has ample room. With up to 10 bedrooms plus multiple common areas, you’ll find Dollywood cabins that allow the night owls and early risers to avoid disturbing one another, and give the kids space to play while grown-ups relax!
Built-In Fun. Each cabin has its own personality, but they all include built-in fun and pampering. Want to host a game or movie night, or soak away the day? Most of Dollywood’s cabins are equipped with luxurious extras, such as outdoor hot tubs, pool tables, home theatres, on-suite jacuzzi tubs, wrap-around porches with rocking chairs and more. A game room with a pool table is a favorite with our group of tweens and teens, and some include foosball, video arcade, ping pong and more. Some cabins even offer swimming pool access in the summer months, or an indoor pool on the bottom floor! (Check out The Grotto!)
Enjoy the kitchen. Dollywood cabin kitchens come fully equipped with dishes, cookware and appliances including a microwave, toaster, coffee maker and dishwasher. We find eating even a few meals at the cabin saves us money and is more enjoyable than waiting for seating for a large party at the nearby restaurants. Consider preparing meals ahead of time like casseroles, when you get back from a busy day, just take your dish from fridge to oven for a no-hassle dinner. One of the most enjoyable cabin moments for us is when the kids take the initiative and make breakfast for everyone while the adults sleep in; it’s such a treat!
If you need a break from cooking, you can always order from numerous restaurants who deliver right to your cabin. Or, make it a treat and visit Song & Hearth Restaurant at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort. Cabin guests often get a discount! Check with them when you stay.
Comfortable home-base. Does someone in your party need to take a nap or get some work done while the rest of group is on an excursion? A cabin provides a comfortable home-base that includes Wi-Fi, cable TV, and washing machine and dryer combo. Some models are wheelchair accessible and offer home-office amenities; just ask in advance.
Park Privileges. Did you know that guests of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins are invited to park free in special designated areas close to the entrance of Dollywood? Cabins guests also get special early-access to the park on Saturday; enjoy the rides and amenities one hour earlier and avoid a wait. My favorite perk to share with people who stay in one of Dollywood’s Smoky Mountain Cabins is to purchase a Length of Stay Ticket. If you come for a week or just a long weekend, buy one of these tickets, exclusive to Cabin Guests, and you’ll pay a little more than what it costs for a 1-day ticket, but can use it the whole time you’re here! Come and go as you please. It’s a great deal! And new this year—the Length of Stay ticket comes with a Length of Stay TimeSaver pass!!
Bring your pet. Some Dollywood cabins allow pets, just search for the pet-accessible feature when making your reservation. If you’re headed to one of Dolly’s parks, you might even choose to bring your dog to Doggywood for the day! Space is limited at Doggywood and reservations are highly recommended.
Save Money: I’ve found cabin rentals cost less than hotel stays. Because we split the cost with other families, there are substantial savings immediately. We add further saving from not eating each meal in restaurants or feeling the need for constant entertainment.
Depending on when you visit, you might be eligible for special discounts during your cabin stay for area attractions and meals and spa services at Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort. And packages are available certain times of the year that bundle lodging, attractions and more.
Enjoy views like this:
Have you ever sat in a rocking chair and enjoyed the great Smoky Mountains? Smoky Mountain views really feed your soul, and my favorite thing to do at a Dollywood cabin is to enjoy a leisurely morning coffee on the wrap-around deck. No matter which season you visit, you will not be disappointed.