The Great Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park, protecting some 520,000 acres, is the most visited nationwide park in the nation. With a wealthy historical past and spectacular views, the park affords a lot to guests – however the Smoky Mountain enjoyable doesn’t cease once you depart the park.

Wine lovers ought to be sure you try the Rocky High Wine Trail which spans 12 miles throughout three Tennessee cities to the west of the park. This completely free and self-guided wine trail contains tastings at 5 extremely acclaimed wineries – Sugarland Cellars, Mill Bridge Vineyard, Mountain Valley Vineyards, Apple Barn Vineyard and Hillside Vineyard – all of which name the Smokies residence.

These in finishing the wine trail can choose up a “passport” at any of the 5 areas (or print one on-line) and have it stamped at every cease. After the third stamp, members obtain a free memento wine glass, and after completion of the total wine trail, they obtain a second present.

Whereas all 5 wineries are shut sufficient to simply go to in sooner or later, for the final expertise, it’s advisable that you just unfold your tastings out over a few days and depart time to find the native tradition and eating places surrounding every cease.

Sugarland Cellars

Sugarland Cellars' Martha Jane RosSugarland Cellars’ Martha Jane Ros — Photograph courtesy of Staci Sagliano, Rocky High Wine Trail

Closest to the Great Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park is Sugarland Cellars, nearly a soccer discipline away from the park’s entrance. The identify, Sugarland, comes from the park’s Sugarlands Valley, previously residence to a handful of Appalachian communities. These early settlers named the valley for the sugar maple bushes that grew there.

Visitors at Sugarland Cellars are provided a novel tasting expertise that facilities round holding “the forgotten stories of the Smokies alive.” Along with tastings, free excursions of the winemaking facility are provided Thursday via Sunday from 1 pm to five pm.

Afterwards, if you wish to stroll off a few of the wine, discover the Gatlinburg Trail, a simple 3.8-mile-round-trip scenic path that begins nearly 300 ft away at the entrance to the nationwide park.

For those who’re not feeling as much as strolling and would favor to seize one thing to eat, head throughout the avenue to The Peddler Steakhouse or The Park Grill. Each are very happy to help you carry your personal bottle of wine from Sugarland Cellars with no corkage charge.

Mill Bridge Vineyard

Try a Mill Bridge cider on tapAttempt a Mill Bridge cider on faucet — Photograph courtesy of Chelsea Koerten, Rocky High Wine Trail

Anybody on the lookout for a traditionally and culturally vital expertise will take pleasure in exploring Pigeon Forge’s Outdated Mill District. Almost 200 years outdated, the Outdated Mill is one among the oldest repeatedly operated grist mills in the nation. Value testing are the Outdated Mill Creamery, serving up old style hand-churned ice cream, The Outdated Mill Restaurant, Pigeon River Pottery and, after all, Mill Bridge Vineyard.

Mill Bridge affords a wide range of candy, fruity wines and laborious ciders, however for those who’re trying to strive one thing dry, there’s additionally their thematically named white and purple wines, Millstone and Grindstone. After you’re achieved sampling, seize a glass or bottle of your favourite and take it out to the shady patio and luxuriate in it alongside the Little Pigeon River.

Mountain Valley Vineyards

You'll love the knowledgeable staff at Mountain ValleyYou may love the educated workers at Mountain Valley — Photograph courtesy of Staci Sagliano, Rocky High Wine Trail

One other three miles down the highway, near the Pigeon Forge–Sevierville border, is Mountain Valley Vineyards, one among the space’s oldest and largest wineries. Mountain Valley focuses on producing French- and German-style wines whereas nonetheless priding themselves on their candy fruit wines, particularly the muscadine wine, which they are saying is the take a look at of a “true Southern winery.”

Along with wine tastings, complimentary guided excursions of the wine-making facility are provided. After your time at Mountain Valley, you’ll wish to head to Sevierville’s Apple Barn and Cider Mill for extra wine tastings, in addition to for nice meals.

Apple Barn Vineyard

Get your apple on at the Apple BarnGet your apple on at the Apple Barn — Photograph courtesy of Staci Sagliano, Rocky High Wine Trail

Positioned simply one other mile up the highway from Mountain Valley is a fixture of the Sevierville group, the Apple Barn. Initially an outdated cattle barn constructed in 1910, the barn was transformed right into a basic retailer in the 1980s and at present gives guests with the alternative to buy apple cider, apples, applewood smoked hams, apple butter and different souvenirs.

Moreover, guests to the farm can take pleasure in a scrumptious meal in the Apple Barn Farmhouse Restaurant or at the Applewood Grill. For those who’re on the lookout for one thing lighter, you possibly can seize an apple cider doughnut in the Cider Bar or cease in to the Creamery ice cream parlor.

In the Apple Barn Vineyard, guests can observe the wine manufacturing and bottling course of via giant glass home windows, browse the tons of of medals and ribbons the wines have acquired, and pattern the distinctive collection of apple-based wines.

Hillside Vineyard

Enjoy a glass of wine with a friend at HillsideGet pleasure from a glass of wine with a buddy at Hillside — Photograph courtesy of Chelsea Koerten, Rocky High Wine Trail

Simply up the highway from the Apple Barn is one other of the state’s largest wineries. This one, Hillside Vineyard, crushes over 865,000 kilos of Tennessee grapes every year to be used in their wines. Hillside Vineyard continues to set themselves aside, not simply by producing award-winning bottles of wine, but additionally via their work mentoring and supporting smaller wineries and grape farmers all through the state.

The workers is not simply pleasant and passionate however excited to share their data with guests. After touring the facility and sampling the wines, guests can take pleasure in a bottle on the patio. Facility excursions are family-friendly and can be found Tuesday via Saturday from midday to five pm.

Whenever you’re all achieved at Hillside, head again down the hill to 5 Oaks Farm Kitchen the place you possibly can have a good time finishing the Rocky High Wine Trail with a improbable meal. 5 Oaks Farm initially lined about 128 acres and was owned by Dr. John Ogle and his spouse, Blanche.

The 2 have been identified all throughout the county for his or her hospitality, and it is in their honor that 5 Oaks opened on the property with the mission of serving up giant helpings of each Southern hospitality and genuine Southern-style consolation meals.

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