Chattanooga Choo Choo


Tennessee Vacation - The State's Official Travel Planning Website

October 2013 E-Clips

Timber Tops Luxury Cabin Rentals Names Dollywood Harvest Festival the Number One Family Activity for the Fall (PR Web) With changing leaves and cooler weather, fall is one of the most popular times to visit the Great Smoky Mountains. Timber Tops Luxury Cabin Rentals invites families to celebrate the arrival of autumn at the Dollywood Harvest Festival. Running from Oct. 2 - Nov. 2, the Harvest Celebration will feature daily Southern gospel concerts and artisan craft demonstrations. “Our guests always have a fantastic time at the Dollywood Harvest Celebration,” said a spokesperson for Timber Tops Luxury Cabin Rentals. “All of the great musical performances and craft demos really add to the value of Dollywood tickets. With so many exciting and educational things to do, you can easily spend the whole day at the park.” Throughout the fall, Dollywood will host over 300 concerts that are free with park admission. Southern gospel stars performing at the park include The Perrys, Guy Penrod and The Isaacs. Guests at the park will also have the chance to learn banjo making, basket weaving, chainsaw carving and other crafts from professional artisans. Expert jewelry makers, quilters, woodworkers and other crafters from across the country will come to Dollywood to share their trades with the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the park. Dollywood will be open every day of the week excluding Thursday in the month of October. Park hours are from 9:00 am - 7:00 pm on Saturday and from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm on weekdays and Sunday. One day adult tickets cost $57.00 and children's tickets cost $45.00. Dollywood also offers adult season passes for $136 and children’s passes for $124. Located minutes away from Dollywood, Timber Tops’ Pigeon Forge cabins are heavily frequented by families attending the Harvest Celebration. With over 300 log cabins in the Great Smoky Mountains, Timber Tops Luxury Cabin Rentals offers lodging to accommodate any family size.

10 quintessential fall weekend trips (USA Today) Shortening days, comfy sweaters, steaming mugs of warm apple cider: Some things are so quintessentially fall that, despite the promise of snowy days to come, we just can't wait to partake. Autumn is the ideal time for weekend trips both urban and rustic. Check out our 10 favorite fall destinations and then plan your own cozy escape. Nashville - Stumbling upon a musical performance in Nashville is as inevitable as the changing of the seasons. Artists and travelers alike flock to Music City each fall for a slate of festivals, headliner shows, and the opening of the theater and opera seasons. Kick off autumn with the Music City Eats: Nashville Food, Wine & Spirits Festival (Sept. 21 and 22), with Caleb and Nathan Followill of Kings of Leon at the helm. Take your pick of the area's many pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and farmers' markets for a seasonal Tennessee bounty, or embark on the Tennessee Central Railway Museum's 10-hour Super Fall Foliage Excursion for prime leaf peeping throughout the highlands of Tennessee. Peak colors occur around the third and fourth weeks of October. Where to stay: Most major hotel chains have outposts in Nashville; check out seasonal deals from Hilton and Loews. Also be sure to dig through the offerings from, where seasonal hotel packages can be music to your ears.

Dollywood wins five Golden Ticket awards (Mountain Press) Dollywood won five “best of the best” awards, ranked as finalists in five additional categories and landed two coasters on Amusement Today’s annual Best Steel and Best Wooden Coaster lists at the magazine’s prestigious 2013 Golden Ticket Awards on Saturday, Sept. 7. The awards, presented by trade publication Amusement Today, were handed out at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, this year’s Golden Ticket Awards host park. “News of our five 2013 Golden Ticket Awards just absolutely blows me away,” said Dolly Parton. “I’m absolutely humbled but truly so very proud of my great team at the Dollywood Company. Having just announced plans for next year’s FireChaser Express at Dollywood and my new Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort in 2015, all of these Golden Ticket Awards let me know that we’re on the right path to expanding our family vacation destination so that more and more folks can experience what our industry has so kindly and sweetly honored among the best our business has to offer. Thank you from the very bottom of this country girl’s heart!” Dollywood’s five Golden Ticket Awards include top honors in three categories, including a first-time win for Dollywood’s Splash Country, and repeats in four categories.

Tennessee Tourism Announces Guided Tours Available During the 2013 Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event (PR Web) Friends of Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park will offer tours during the Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event in Chattanooga Oct. 9-12. All tours are at various times Saturday, Oct. 12 and will depart from and return to the Chattanooga Conventions Center downtown. The tours are on a variety of topics related to Battles for Chattanooga and Battles of Chickamauga.

Tennessee beefs up tourism budget (Travel Mole) The Tennessee Tourism Committee is looking at ways to grow the state into a Top 10 tourist destination. The Commission last week issued a report recommending that the state develop a market plan that focuses on key markets, like Faith Travel; encourage longer stays; and put together a series of music-oriented festivals and events. Tennessee governor Bill Haslam has added $8 million to the state's tourism budget, bringing the total budget to $13.5 million. The tourism industry had an impact of more than $16 billion and employed more than 146,000 people, and tourists generated more than $1 billion in state and local taxes.®ion=3

Tourism is big business in Rutherford County, according to data recently released by the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and the U.S. Travel Association. (Murfreesboro Post) According to the report, Rutherford County saw an increase of 7.93 percent in tourist spending from 2011 to 2012. Tourism-related spending in Rutherford County in 2012 increased from $252.83 to $272.88 million, placing it in the Top 10 counties across the state, for travel-related expenditures. “The economic impact figures show that our tourism efforts are paying off in large dividends.  2012 was a very good year for Rutherford County,” said Bill Jones, who serves as chair of Destination Rutherford, a division of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce. Money that tourists spend in Rutherford County at restaurants, hotels, retail stores, entertainment venues and on transportation directly impacts the community, he added. Without the money generated by tourism, Jones said, every household in Rutherford County would have to pay approximately $226 more in state and local taxes, every single year.  “Tourism is a significant economic driver that benefits everyone in the community,” said Lanny Goodwin, chair of the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

New Nashville Omni Hotel opens amid fanfare (Tennessean) Grand opening ceremony of the Omni Hotel in downtown Nashville included a ribbon cutting, live music, food and tours on Monday Sept. 30, 2013. Anne Elizabeth McIntosh of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. and attorney Charles Robert Bone talk next to a large guitar table at the Onmi Hotel. The 800-room, heavily subsidized Omni Hotel opens across from the Music City Center with a ceremony featuring Gov. Bill Haslam, Mayor Karl Dean and the chairman of Omni, a luxury hotel chain based in Texas. Nashville’s Music City Center finally has its long-awaited hotel, and the addition is being met with plenty of fanfare. “We made it,” Dan Piotrowski, general manager of Nashville’s new Omni hotel, told a huge of city dignitaries and tourism and hospitality leaders gathered at the building’s front door Monday for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting of the new 800-room, 21-story hotel. Mayor Karl Dean, who struck a public-private deal with officials from Omni Hotel & Ressorts three years ago to bring it here, held the giant scissors and snipped the ribbon to officially welcome the new hotel at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Korean Veterans Boulevard, across the street from the new center and connected to the adjacent Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum. Gov. Bill Haslam was among those also in attendance for what was Nashville’s most anticipated hotel opening in recent memory. With construction already underway on Nashville’s new $585 million center, the city agreed in 2010 to chip in substantial dollars to get the center a hotel, viewed as crucial to the well-being of the facility. Metro and tourism officials had sought a 1,000-room hotel, but were satisfied with getting one that was 200 rooms shy.

Dollywood's DreamMore Resort set to open in 2015. (4 Entertainment legend Dolly Parton announced plans for $300 million in capital investments in The Dollywood Company over the next 10 years. The investment includes new attractions, resorts and the creation of more than 2,500 jobs. Construction is under way on the new FireChaser Express rollercoaster, opening in March 2014 at Dollywood. To mark the company’s 30th anniversary in 2015, the 300-room Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort will open adjacent to Parton’s award-winning Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country waterpark, both located in Tennessee’s famed Great Smoky Mountains. “I’ve always been a big dreamer just like I’ve always wanted to do more for my home here in these beautiful Smoky Mountains,” Parton said, “This is where I nurtured my heart’s dreams, and I want to share more of them. My plans for the next 10 years are to expand my Dollywood properties to offer families more opportunities to play together and grow closer while they make their best memories. It’s truly the culmination of this country girl’s wildest dreams!” “With Dolly Parton’s vision and world-class properties like Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country waterpark as our foundation, The Dollywood Company is poised to become a family vacation destination like no other,” said Craig Ross, President of The Dollywood Company. “Dolly welcomes folks into her home and her heart, and our plans to grow and expand The Dollywood Company are steeped in her desire to bring families closer together by creating experiences delivered from the heart.”

Maryville man makes handcrafted guitars sold worldwide (WATE) - Violins have their Stradivariuses and pianos have their Steinways. For guitars there are Martins and Gibsons, but have you ever heard of a Dudenbostel? They're sold worldwide and are made in Tennessee. From his little shop in the foothills of the Smokies, Lynn Dudenbostel works on his latest guitar creations. In a year's time, he will crank out around a dozen instruments, which will sell in places as far away as Italy and as close as East Tennessee. "It's amazing. I built my first guitar in 1989 as a hobby, and now it's a hobby that's gone beyond my wildest dreams," said Dudenbostel. "At the time, I never dreamed it would become a full time endeavor, and in 1997 I went full-time with this, and it still doesn't feel like a job." Dudenbostel guitars have a crisp and clean sound, and if they remind you of an old Martin or Gibson, that's because they're modeled after Martins and Gibsons of the 1920s and 1930s, which he describes as the golden era of instrument making. "[When] I started out, I was real fortunate, because I had some guys who loaned me some real vintage instruments and let me study them, and that's our best teachers are these old instruments," he said. Dudenbostel says making a quality instrument is about craftsmanship and artistry, but it's also about the wood.

Cleveland area hosts Bridging the Blues events ( The second annual Bridging the Blues, which happens through Oct. 13, a project created by organizations in Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee to celebrate the cultural heritage of the Delta region, has expanded this year to include a third weekend.  "This event has grown so much in just a year," said Cleveland Tourism Director Kelli Cotton. "We have such an influx of visitors, both domestic and international, during these festivals, so it just made sense to create a variety of events in many different towns to keep them in the area and let them experience many venues and visit historic places they might have missed. "It just shows what can happen when people work together for a common cause."  Bridging the Blues offers music fans a packed calendar, highlighted by the venerable King Biscuit Blues Festival on Oct. 10-12 in Helena, Arkansas, and the new Mighty Mississippi Music Festival on Oct. 4-6 in Greenville, which incorporates the decade-old Highway 61 Blues Festival, formerly held in nearby Leland. The Cleveland area is hosting multiple events as part of BTB. The week kicks off with a Dockery Blues Jam and Historical Tour on Tuesday, and again on Thursday from 1-4 p.m.

International film festival comes to Renaissance Center Oct. 18-20 (ETSU News Bureau) The Southern Appalachian International Film Festival, in partnership with the City of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, will present a retrospective with selected films that relate to the Tri-Cities area at the Renaissance Center Theatre. The films will be shown on Oct. 18-20. Tickets are $7 a day or $15 for all three days of the event. SOAPIFF started as a master’s thesis project in Cross Cultural Tourism Development at East Tennessee State University by founder Mark Compton. “With close to one hundred films screened each year, it was difficult to choose what movies to show,” Compton said. “So with that said, SOAPIFF decided to stay somewhat local with sprinkles of International flair thrown in for good measure; international is our middle name.” On Friday from 5-11 p.m., the films “Five Across the Eyes” and “Broken Springs” will be shown. “Five Across the Eyes” is the first ‘Best in Fest’ winner and “Broken Springs” is a zombie, horror thriller that was directed in and around the Tri-Cities by Neeley Lawson On Saturday from 4-11 p.m., several shorts and five films will be shown including the ‘Best in Fest’ film “Freedom,” which was created by Rick McVey with assistance from the Barter Theatre. “Freedom” is a historical Civil War drama and will be opened by the 2012 winner “Wolf Call,” which is a historical drama performed by one actor, Mike Wiley. On Sunday from 1-4 p.m., five films will be shown including two regional documentaries, “Melungeon Voices” and “The Mysterious Lost State of Franklin.”

Tina Turner Celebrated In Her Hometown (WBBITV) West Tennessee residents spent two days celebrating Tina Turner, the international superstar who was born and raised in Haywood County. The Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville held the first annual Tina Turner Heritage Days this weekend to pay homage to the singer. "It's a big tourism draw because she's a big superstar," Sonia Outlaw-Clark, Director of the Delta Heritage Center, said. People from all over the world came out to participate in the Friday and Saturday events, including musicians from as close as Brownsville to as far as Norway. "I went to see Tina Turner myself back in 1988, during her European tour," Knut Roppestad, a Norwegian musician said. "So I was happy to perform here." And besides bringing more awareness to the county, organizers say the community event helped out in other ways. "It's drawing international attention to Haywood County and that means more tax dollars," Outlaw-Clark said. The Delta Heritage Center houses a year-round exhibit of Tina Turner and other local artists. 

The vintage steam locomotive ( After a 20-year absence, the sound of steam will once again chug along the rails of the Norfolk-Southern main line to Oneida, as a steam excursion train treks up the Cumberland Plateau this November. The Scott County Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday the very first BSF Vintage Train Fest, slated for Oneida City Park on Sunday, Nov. 10. The festival will be centered around the arrival of the excursion train from Chattanooga. Through a co-op between Chattanooga’s Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum and Norfolk-Southern’s 21st Century Steam program, the excursion train — pulled by a 1904 vintage steam locomotive — will bring 400 passengers to Oneida on Nov. 10. Passengers will disembark at the park to visit and experience what Oneida and the northern Cumberland Plateau has to offer for two hours while the train is turned around and serviced for the return trip to Chattanooga. At the park, the festival will include arts and crafts vendors, a classic car cruise-in, live music entertainment, and other fall festivities. “This is a wonderful opportunity for Scott County,” Chamber of Commerce executive director Stacey Kidd said. “Many of these passengers will be making their first visit here, and this is an opportunity for us to extend our hospitality to them and show them the many amazing things we have to offer here.” The excursion train and the festival at the city park is not unlike the popular Steam Train Festival held in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In those days, Norfolk-Southern and the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum teamed up to bring the Autumn Leaf Special steam excursion train to Oneida for two weekends in October. When the excursion trains stopped coming, the Steam Train Festival became the Sorghum Festival before eventually ending altogether.

Memphis festival wants to know why “Memphis Rocks”(Business Journal) Memphians can get in touch with their inner artist and show why they love their city at the same time. The Memphis International Film and Music Festival is bringing back the “Memphis Rocks” category for its 2014 edition, scheduled for April 24-27. Memphians are welcome to create and submit short films about things they think are positive in the city. The five-minute films will be divided into five sub-categories: individuals, schools, nonprofits, corporations and judges’ choice. Selected submissions will be uploaded to the “Memphis Rocks” YouTube channel, and winners will be selected and shown during a special screening at the Film Festival. “The ‘Memphis Rocks’ screening is an outgrowth of the civic pride campaign that’s designed to give back and support the Memphis Police Department Fallen Officer Memorial,” Jeremy Park, director of the Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, which sponsors the category, said in a statement. “The overall ‘Memphis Rocks’ campaign has a mission of promoting all the positives of Memphis, and we’re looking forward to continuing this effort.”

Memphis Zoo mourns loss of rhino (WMC-TV) - The Memphis Zoo is mourning the loss of one of its own: Tombi the rhino. Zookeepers said the rhino began experiencing a dramatic decline in her health earlier in September. Eventually, caretakers said they decided to stop the pain and euthanize her. "Tombi has been at the zoo a long time. She is a beloved part of the zoo's history and was a wonderful animal. She had a great life and we're proud of the care we gave her," said Memphis Zoo President Chuck Brady. Tombi, 41, passed away Friday.

Memphis showcases its green offerings (Commercial Appeal) At the annual Urban Sustainability Director’s Network, over 135 people, representing cities all across the United States and Canada, got an opportunity to learn from each other and from the green things happening in the Greater Memphis area. At the annual Urban Sustainability Director’s Network, over 135 people, representing cities all across the United States and Canada, got an opportunity to learn from each other and from the green things happening in the Greater Memphis area. The Memphis-Shelby County Office of Sustainability would like to thank the Urban Sustainability Director’s Network for choosing Memphis as host city for the annual conference that took place Sept 15-18. Over 135 people representing cities all across the United States and Canada learned about the things happening in the Memphis region.

Attendees were treated to southern hospitality and welcomed by Mayors Wharton and Luttrell. The sustainability directors enjoyed four days of biking and walking tours, workshops, networking, and educational sessions. Local venues that helped make this a success were AutoZone Park, Beale Street Landing, A. Schwab, B.B. King’s, Sears Crosstown, Doubletree Hotel, and The Peabody. Local groups who provided tours and information were Downtown Memphis Commission, Riverfront Development Corp, Overton Park Conservancy, Harahan Bridge Project, Memphis Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), Greenline/Main Street Bike Rentals, Mid-South Regional Greenprint, Community LIFT, Livable Memphis, Sears Crosstown, MATA, Development Studio, CGI & Partners, Henry Turley Company, Main Street Apartment Partners, and Aerotropolis Project. Local food was provided by Déjà vu, Felicia Suzanne’s, Whitton Farms, St. Jude’s Hospital, The Elegant Farmer, Alcenias, Trolley Stop Market, Woodson Ridge, Delta Grind, Bluff City Bakery, Bonnie Blue Farms, Ghost River Brewing Co, Bonterra Organic Vineyards, Fork It Over Catering, and entertainment by the Ed Finney Quartet.

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