By Melissa Tosetti
I just got back from a quick trip to Knoxville, TN. I was there to do a speaking engagement for a financial advisor on Thursday. Since it’s spring break, I took Paul and Dante along for the ride. Our initial plans were to go for a hike in the Smokey Mountains the day of the speaking engagement and then head to Dollywood the following day. After hearing about a cavern with an underwater lake from a friend, we shifted our plans and headed to The Lost Sea Adventure
the morning of the event. We’re so glad we did! Paul is already planning a trip back with about 12 of our closest friends for their extended 3 hour cave crawl and overnight stay.
The next day we headed to Pigeon Forge to visit the theme park Dolly Parton started 30 years ago.
Paul and Dante were excited about Dollywood for the food and rides. Like Paul and Dante, I was also looking forward to the parks attractions, but the real reason I wanted to go was to learn more about one of my greatest heroes – Dolly Parton.
As a kid, I spent many hours in my dad’s GMC truck listening to Dolly, Loretta Lynn and our long distant cousin Merle Haggard (his mom is my grandmother’s cousin).
Although I enjoy her music and the memories it brings back, what I love and appreciate even more is her drive. She grew up in a one-room cabin in Sevier County, TN, the fourth of 12 kids. There was no silver spoon in her mouth, let alone her entire house.
What Dolly did have was an amazing voice, a fantastic personality and a crystal clear vision for who she wanted to be. With those tools, she turned herself into Dolly Parton.
She’s role model for turning a vision into reality through hard work and perseverance. I love that!
For the record, whether you like country music or not, Dollywood is a fantastic place to visit and the food exceeded our expectation, especially the cinnamon bread! The roller coasters were equally amazing. I’m pretty sure the Mystery Mine burned at least 1,000 calories through the pure terror of it!
If you are a Dolly Parton fan though, there’s one place you have to go while you’re there and that’s the Chasing Rainbows Museum. It holds thousands of memorabilia items from her childhood as well as her music and movie career.
There was an item on display that caught me by surprise and made me choke up to an embarrasing level - and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one. It was the actual Coat of Many Colors Dolly’s mama made for her as a child and inspired one of her most famous songs. Seeing the actual coat made me appreciate just what a visionary that five year old girl must have been to be so poor, but believe she didn't have to stay that way. That there was something so much more out there for her. We can learn a lot from that little girl!
The Original Coat of Many Colors