Tennessee Tourism Announces What's New For The State In 2014

Thursday, January 9, 2014 - by Amanda Stravinsky

With the holidays all wrapped up, it’s time to look to the horizon for what the upcoming year has in store for Tennessee. World-class attractions, non-stop amusement, and yearlong celebrations will have Tennessee abuzz throughout 2014.

The Birthplace of Country Music Museum, a 24,000-square-foot facility, will house the Birthplace of Country Music operations including the museum, educational programs, and artistic programming in downtown Bristol. This major tourist destination in Northeast Tennessee is expected to attract approximately 75,000 visitors per year with a direct annual economic impact of over $5 million. The museum is scheduled to open in August 2014.

The 140,000-square-foot Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville will complete a $75 million, 220,000-square-foot expansion, more than doubling its size. Currently home to the largest collection of country music artifacts in the world, the museum expansion will open spring 2014.

West Tennessee kicks off the 60th Anniversary of Rock n’ Roll with yearlong commemorative events like Graceland’s celebration of Elvis’ birthday and a global celebration July 5 at Sun Studio.

Tennessee Civil War Sesquicentennial Signature Event continues in 2014 themed, "The Final Shots in Tennessee." The event will be held Nov. 13-14 in Franklin. The 2014 keynote speaker will be famous British Civil War Scholar Amanda Foreman, author of the prize-winning book, “Georgianna: Duchess of Devonshire” and “World on Fire: Britain’s Crucial Role in the American Civil War.” For more information, visit www.tncivilwar150.com.

Below is a listing of what’s new for 2014 in Tennessee tourism. For more information, visit www.tnvacation.com/press.

EAST TENNESSEE

FireCatcher Express, a family friendly rollercoaster that launches both forwards and backwards, is the new major attraction for the 2014 season at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, which opens March.

The Titanic Museum Attraction will feature an entire gallery dedicated to one of Titanic's most popular, colorful passengers, Margaret "Unsinkable Molly" Brown, including personal possessions that belonged to her.

Rocky Top Sports World, the country's newest sports tournament destination facility will open May 2014 in Gatlinburg as the best-in-class indoor/outdoor sports complex in the U.S. with seven outdoor turf fields and 10 hardwood basketball courts, six of which will be in an indoor court facility.  

Blackberry Farm in Walland will add a wellness and spa facility set to open June 2014. A new cheese maker has been hired and will launch three new cheeses in the coming months.

The new Tennessean Hotel will open next to the Knoxville Convention Center.

The Chattanooga Whiskey Company opens the Tennessee Stillhouse Distillery located in Downtown Chattanooga in Fall 2014. The distillery will include a tasting room, barreling operation, bottle shop and a 2,000-gallon whiskey still. The current structure will be updated with antique factory-style windows like the distilleries before Prohibition.

The High Point Climbing Center in Chattanooga opened in December 2013, consisting of 25,000 square feet with an auto belay area; multiple bouldering rooms; sport climbing; top roping and a speed-climbing wall; and an exterior public art piece, also a climbing wall that allows climbers to go outside the building and climb over 600 ft. up. 

MIDDLE TENNESSEE

The American Classic Rodeo will become an annual event at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills.

“Visit Clarksville,” a new, user-friendly mobile app complete with full restaurant, shopping and hotel listings, GPS mapping and rotating special event information has been launched. 

Historic Variety Record Lounge reopens in Columbia under new owners who are bringing vinyl back to a new generation. Described as a “listening lounge,” the site also will sell vintage furniture, turntables and accessories.

Castle Heights Museum will open in the 101-year-old Castle Heights Library on the Castle Heights Military Academy campus in Lebanon.

In preparation for hosting motorcycle rallies in 2014 and 2015, a new series of bike trails have been created in Cookeville and the Upper Cumberland region entitled, “Carve the Cumberlands on the Tennessee Twelve,” where 12 “righteous rides await you”! 

The 2013 Southern Living Idea House at The Mansion at Fontanel is re-opening February 2014 as The Inn at Fontanel, a boutique, “micro-hotel.” Prichard’s Distillery will open their second distillery location at Fontanel complete with tours, gift shop and a package store.

Slaves and Slaveholders of Wessyngton Plantation,” a groundbreaking exhibit about the slaves and slaveholders who worked and resided at the distinctive plantation, will run Feb. 11-Aug. 31, 2014 at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.

WEST TENNESSEE

After a $27 million renovation, the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel will reopen its main exhibition with state-of-the-art upgrades and electronic enhancements. The Lorraine Motel is famously known as the spot where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968.

Beale Street Landing, the complex at the junction of Beale Street and the Mississippi River in Memphis, is scheduled for completion in spring 2014 and will combine a riverboat dock, interior space, playground and green space.

The Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World will open late 2014 located in the former Pyramid arena of Downtown Memphis and will feature 200,000 square-feet of retail space, 50 to 60 log cabin-style hotel rooms, a restaurant, bowling alley, observation deck and zip lining.

Southern Fried and Sweet Tea Festival is now an annual event held August 2014 in McKenzie.

Carroll County Thousand Acre Recreation Lake, located on Hwy. 22 near McKenzie and Huntingdon, is home to fishing, water enthusiasts, boating, beaches, and picnicking and will open in 2014.

Discovery Park of America, a 50-acre entertainment and cultural complex, is now open in Union City. It offers visitors a world-class educational experience focusing on nature, science, technology, history, and art, including a 60-foot replica of a human body with a 30-foot slide. 

“And The GRAMMY Goes To Memphis,” a new exhibit featuring 19 golden gramophone statuettes from local GRAMMY winners, commemorates the 40th anniversary of The Recording Academy Memphis Chapter now through Oct. 31, 2014 at the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.

       


Two JAWsome Events Coming To Chattanooga

When guests step into the Tennessee Aquarium’s shark cage, they’re stepping back in time. It was an important piece of equipment used during the filming of “Blue Water, White Death,” the first underwater documentary about Great White Sharks. The film was released in 1971 and is widely recognized as having inspired author Peter Benchley to write the novel “JAWS.”  Four years ... (click for more)

All Things Swiss On Display At Gruetli-Laager

All things Swiss were on display at the annual Swiss Celebration at Gruetli-Laager in Grundy County on Saturday. The event is held each summer at the Stoker-Stampfli Farm Museum. Over 100 Swiss families settled in the mountains of Tennessee, but found it not so well suited to agricultural purposes and eventually moved on to Belvidere, Tn. An association has created a farm ... (click for more)

Truck Driver Who Caused Wreck That Killed 6 People At Ooltewah Indicted On 13 Charges; Report Says He Drove Excessive Hours

The Chattanooga Police Department has issued a capias for the arrest of Benjamin Brewer, 39, concerning the multiple fatality traffic crash that occurred on I-75 northbound on June 25. Brewer was indicted on Monday on 13 counts.  They include six counts of vehicular homicide by impairment, a B-felony; four counts for reckless aggravated assault, a D-felony; one count for DUI ... (click for more)

Rawls Says Schools Could Have Better Spent $16,000 Than For Motivational Speech; County To Explore Performance Guaranteed Utility Contract

Bradley County Commissioner Dan Rawls said three school systems could have better spent $16,000 than for a motivational speaker to fire teachers up at the start of a new school year. He said the payment to Ron Clark, former National Teacher of the Year and the founder of the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, could have gone for school supplies and other needs. Bradley County ... (click for more)

Why Is The City Diverting Federal Transportation Funds From Real Need?

The city of Chattanooga and CBL, owner of Hamilton Place Mall, would have the mass of taxpayers believe that improving mall access from the interstate is not impacting us financially.   Namely, CBL has committed to fund the city’s match of $8 million, so they will receive $32 million in Federal Transportation Funds that are allocated annually to local jurisdictions through ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Hero Is Coming Home

In late September, a very special funeral will be held in Bearden, Tenn., when 1 st Lt. Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman Jr., will finally come home to lie in peace with his family. Sandy’s been dead for 72 years now, ever since he was killed in combat on the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands on Nov. 22, 1943. He and a number of other Marine heroes were buried back then in a shallow ... (click for more)