One last look at the eerie sights of empty streets, attractions in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg

Photo by Daniel Munson/

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I’ve been social distancing since March 16. I’m not sure exactly when coronavirus “started,” but that’s the day I started taking it seriously. And it’s partly due to Dollywood.

I was scheduled to attend Dollywood’s media day Friday, March 13. I was so excited about season opening and desperately hoping to catch a glimpse of Dolly Parton herself. At that point, coronavirus was on the news, but it was merely a blip on my radar.

When Dollywood delayed media day, and subsequently its entire season opening, I decided it was time to take it seriously. Other businesses soon followed suit, a “safer at home” order was put in place, and I’ve been hunkered down ever since.

Coronavirus will undoubtedly be one for the history books – and as with all major events and tragedies – we will all remember where we were, what we were doing and the impact it had on our lives.

While the pandemic is not yet behind us, we are at least starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel with Governor Bill Lee’s “safer at home” order set to expire on April 30, giving some local businesses the green light to slowly phase in a reopening.

But the highly unusual sights and sounds – or rather, lack thereof – of Sevier County’s normally busy streets and attractions looking eerily empty and abandoned will undoubtedly be a visual that residents will not soon forget.

For those of you who have not had a chance to see this unusual sight for yourself, we thought we’d document this moment in history with this one-of-a-kind “coronavirus photo tour” of some of The Smokies’ most popular attractions, with the hope that it’s a sight we never see again:

The Apple Barn (Photo by Daniel Munson/
Dollywood (Photo by Daniel Munson/
Chairlifts in Gatlinburg (Photo by Daniel Munson/
Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Photo by Daniel Munson/
NASCAR SpeedPark (Photo by Daniel Munson/
The Island (Photo by Daniel Munson/
Gatlinburg trolleys (Photo by Daniel Munson/
The Titanic Museum (Photo by Daniel Munson/
Wonderworks (Photo by Daniel Munson/
Streets of Gatlinburg (Photo by Daniel Munson/
Tanger Outlets shopping center (Photo by Daniel Munson/

In the words of Dolly, we believe that “brighter days are ahead.”

Protect yourself and those around you by following the CDC guidelines. Visit the CDC website and the Tennessee Department of Health website for the latest information about the coronavirus.

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at [email protected] for questions or comments.

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