These are the 5 most viral stories in the Smokies in 2021

Woman holds a phone, looks at the smokies website website attracted 4.7 million views in 2021. Below you will find a roundup of our most popular stories (photo by Morgan Overholt/

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As we near the end of 2021, we thought it would be fun to take a moment and look back at the stories that caught your eye over the past year.

Below, we’ve compiled a list of our top five biggest articles of 2021 as featured on and ranked them according to pageviews.

Greenbriar Steak Gatlinburg
It’s hard to beat the steak at The Greenbrier in Gatlinburg, TN (photo by Morgan Overholt/

5. Who has the best steak in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg: Our top 6 steakhouses

It should come as no surprise the people of the Smokies love their steaks. This article, “Who has the best steak in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg” went viral shortly after its original publication in 2020 and attracted 78,770 visitors in 2021 alone.

In the article, our columnist John Gullion breaks down his top six picks for best steaks and steakhouses. Locations range from Fox and Hounds of Newport to The Peddler in Gatlinburg.

If you want to see who else made the final cut (steak joke), you can read the full article here.

Maggie Valley's Ghost Town in the Sky has been closed since the late 2000s (photo courtesy of Gary and Carol Cox)
Maggie Valley’s Ghost Town in the Sky has been closed since the late 2000s, but a revival may be on its way (photo courtesy of Gary and Carol Cox)

4. When will Ghost Town in the Sky Reopen? The latest 2021 update

Another hot topic in 2021 surrounded the possible revival (ghost joke) of Ghost Town in the Sky.

Our article “When will Ghost Town in the Sky reopen?” attracted 80,393 eyeballs in 2021.

Ghost Town in the Sky is a now-abandoned theme park located in Maggie Valley, NC. It has been closed since the 2000s.

In its prime in the 1960s and 1970s, the Western-themed park attracted thousands of visitors annually. Guests flocked to the attraction to ride the chair lift and see gunfight reenactments performed in the streets.

While there has been a multitude of rumors about a possible reopening over the course of the last decade, 2021 brought is the most tantalizing news about a possible resurrection to date.

To find out exactly what that big news entails, check out the full article here.

Fairy House in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
A fairy house is hidden in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (photo by Isaiah N Lilly/

3. Where is the fairy house in the Smoky Mountains? A landmark lost in time

Lovers of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park also love their hidden gems and historical landmarks.

This is why we weren’t shocked that our story on the lost “fairy house” received over 86,738 views in 2021 alone.

While it goes by the popular nickname “fairy house” this hidden landmark is actually part of the remains of the Voorheis estate. The estate was originally constructed from 1928-1944.

While much of the estate has since been consumed by vegetation and time, the “fairy house” along with a handful of other structures remain.

For information on how to find the fairy house and the lost Voorheis estate, check out our full article “Where is the fairy house in the Great Smoky Mountains?“.

The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is in Bryson City, North Carolina (photo by Bob Pool/

2. Is the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad worth it?

For decades, the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad has been a point of fascination for those who wish to explore the other side of the Smokies in Bryson City, NC.

But with some ticket prices rivaling a day at Dollywood, we here at are always being asked: “Is it worth it?”

So in 2021, we sent a few of our writers to the railroad to find out.

In addition to writing a full editorial on the subject, we also produced a video which you can watch above. You can read the full article, which received over 87,716 views in 2021, in its entirety here.

Dolly being escorted through dollywood
Rumors are cropping up yet again about Dolly Parton selling Dollywood. But is there any truth to the rumors? (photo by John Gullion/

1. Did Dolly sell Dollywood? Who owns Dollywood now?

And finally, the story we couldn’t believe we had to write – “Did Dolly sell Dollywood?”.

This article, which received 117,181 views in 2021, was written as an editorial response to an internet rumor.

We believe the rumor began in 2019 after a local tourism website published the article “Kanye West buys Dollywood theme park for $130 million” as an April Fool’s Day prank.

Unfortunately, the prank was a little too realistic for some.

Still today, according to our search traffic analysis tool, there are approximately 500 internet searches per month related to the sale of Dollywood.

In our humorous editorial “Did Dolly sell Dollywood” we address the rumors and debunk the myths.

You can read the full editorial here.

Did you happen to catch one or more of these popular articles in 2021? Which was your favorite read? Let us know in the comments below.

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 for questions or comments.


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