November 5, 2021


In the summer of 2010 (just a few weeks before Ezra arrived), we went to Dollywood!  Patrick and Julia drove over from Swannanoa with 5-year-old Sam and Eli and I drove from Nashville to meet them.  Our first visit to Dollywood was planned to be a relaxing weekend getaway (especially for Julia). 

This photo shows two hot but happy little guys with their dad after their first miniature golf outing!  We had a motel suite, took snacks and beverages, and enjoyed shops, rides, shows and restaurants at the resort.  The motel swimming pool was probably the most relaxing part of the trip for Julia—although Sam and Eli weren’t eager to go into the water at first.  Once they did, they enjoyed paddling around with their parents.  The miniature golf games were a highlight for them, although they took some fairly unorthodox shots.  

Dolly Parton is an amazing woman and in developing Dollywood, she has had a huge positive impact on the economy of the Sevierville area where her family lived. Her music, her Imagination Library, her genius for business and her heart for philanthropy make her a national treasure.  The six-episode podcast Dolly Parton’s America was based on a course by that name offered at the University of Tennessee. During the pandemic, she gave a million dollars to Vanderbilt to support the Moderna vaccine development. 

After devastating wildfires struck the Great Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg in 2016, Dolly Parton and the Dollywood Foundation provided $10,000 to each of 900 families affected. Her foundation donated a total of $12.5 million to the people of Sevier County after the wildfires. 

It’s about time to take another family trip to Dollywood! 

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