6 Places in the Smoky Mountains to Go Back in Time
Don’t you wish you had a time machine to go back to the “good ol’ days,” sipping on a milkshake in a diner, and listening to tunes on a jukebox? Here’s our list of six places from Sevierville and Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, where you can immerse yourself in the nostalgia of days gone by.
Located off the Parkway on Wears Valley Road in Pigeon Forge, Mel’s brings the classic 1950s roadside dining experience back to life. From breakfast to dinner, and dessert in the middle, you’ll have a great spread of all-American selections to pick from for every member of your group (including the kids). They have been open since 1993, but you might not believe it from taking a look inside the diner. Metal signs and albums decorate the walls while neon strips light up the ceiling. You’re not likely to miss the Rock-Ola Jukebox. Before you head out, make sure you pick up the Hot Rod Collector’s T-Shirt for 2016. They also have other great souvenirs you can take home including mugs, caps, and shot glasses.
Also in Pigeon Forge, TN, Buckboard Too! is the stop for collectibles and merchandise from your favorite movie and television shows. Their metal sign collection alone is worth stepping in for. They have humorous signs, signs for beer and beverages, tractors, gasoline, cars and music, sports, military/war, and firearm manufacturers. They also have a wall for Funko’s POP Vinyl Figurines and vintage pops (or depending where you are from…soda and quite literally, Coke). Best of all, they support the USA, with over 700 products made locally in the USA. They mark those items so you can easily spot them while shopping. Here are some other sections within the store to check out if you are a fan of collecting:
- Doctor Who
- My Little Pony
- DC and Marvel
- John Wayne
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
- Star Wars and Star Trek
- Betty Boop
- Marilyn Monroe
If you are looking for a nostalgia store in Gatlinburg, TN, they have another location there too at 612 Parkway! If an item is on their website, they have it in their shop (although check for availability since they share the same inventory).
America’s Hit Parade
This captivating musical journey will take you from the 50s to the 80s and beyond. Colorful costumes and familiar songs will take you through the greatest jukebox hits. You’ll end up wanting to sing and dance in your seat! America’s Hit Parade is located in Pigeon Forge at The Grand Majestic, the show provides the option of a dinner an hour before each production, although you can choose to enjoy only the show. They also offer local moonshine you can purchase by the shot glass. Gluten-free or vegetarian options are available with advance notice.
Since 1974, Mellow Mushroom has been making happiness via stone-baked pizzas. They also serve up other delectables like the aptly named “Mushroom Club Hoagie” topped with beansprouts and their House calzone stuffed with spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, and cheese. Their eclectic mix of flavor combinations branches into the very atmosphere. If you have dietary restrictions, don’t worry! They have a vegan menu, a gluten-free menu, and a special menu checker that shows you possible allergens in menu items. Besides the food, there is a great list of beverage options, from 24 on-tap beers and ciders to cocktails and frozen beverages. They have three different sized souvenir cups that you can choose from to take home with you when you visit them in Pigeon Forge, TN. You can come as you are, but you’ll definitely blend in if you wear a tie-dye shirt!
Hollywood Star Cars Museum
Over 40 vehicles are on display from your favorite movies and shows like the Fast and the Furious series, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Smokey and the Bandit, and Herbie. The Hollywood Star Cars Museum in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is home to one of 17 original General Lee’s made for the show The Dukes of Hazzard. This car museum also offers you the unique ability to have your photo taken with you sitting in the driver’s seat of your favorite car in the collection (there are a few vehicles excluded). Their gift shop also has collectible die-cast cars and limited editions. Kids under six are free, and they are open daily from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Make sure you give yourself at least an hour to tour the facility.
Muscle Car Museum
If you’re looking exclusively for muscle cars of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, Floyd Garrett’s Muscle Car Museum up in Sevierville, TN, is worth a visit. They have about 90 cars in their 35,000 square-foot building. Floyd began his collection in 1975. Now there is over $8 million dollars worth of cars in the collection on display in the Smokies, which opened in 1996 for the public to admire. The museum is open daily at 9 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. from April–December. They are free for kids eight years and younger. Make sure you stop by the gift shop. They have 6,000 square feet of inventory from collectibles and unique gifts to t-shirts and posters.
Don’t leave without posting a comment or sharing this post! We hope you enjoyed our list of nostalgic locations in the Smokies to shop, eat, and experience. If you have time to visit, we hope to see you (and your car!) out for the Pigeon Forge Rod Run from September 15–17 this fall at The LeConte Center. There is a cash giveaway, door prizes, a meet and greet with Jim Mitchum from the movie Thunder Road, and plenty of free parking for those who want to view the show.
Content on this page is subject to change. Please contact the locations mentioned to see if promotions, hours, pricing, etc. are still valid.
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