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.

       


Tennessee Aquarium Volunteer Jane Corn Exceeds 4,000 Hours

In the last eight years, Jane Corn has dedicated 4,000 hours — the equivalent of two salaried years — worth of volunteer service to the Tennessee Aquarium. On Thursday, Tennessee Aquarium president and CEO Keith Sanford and education volunteer coordinator Beth Brellenthin recognized Ms. Corn’s volunteering record with a commorative pin.    The 70-year-old resident ... (click for more)

Tennessee Tourism: Valentine's Day Weekend Ideas

Tennessee’s upcoming tourism news is consolidated for your convenience below. For a complete list of Tennessee events, visit  tnvacation.com/calendar . Ongoing Clinton –  Get  half-off regular museum admission  rate as part of  Winter Wednesdays  every  Wednesday  through  March 1  at Museum of Appalachia. ... (click for more)

Boyd Says He Is Not On Witch Hunt Against CVB, But Intends To Seek Full Audit Of Agency; Graham Backs Visitors Bureau 100%

County Commission Finance Chairman Tim Boyd has told Chattanooga Visitors Bureau President Bob Doak that he is "not on a witch hunt" against the CVB, but he said he intends to seek a full audit of the agency. He said he was inspired to "take an even closer look" at the Visitors Bureau after he said Mr. Doak "unleashing a fire storm of emails condemning my accusations." ... (click for more)

Man, Child Killed In Crash On Highway 136 In Walker County; 2nd Child Who Was Seriously Injured Dies On Monday

A man and an unrestrained five-year-old child were killed when a vehicle went out of control on Highway 136 in Walker County on Saturday. A 10-year-old in the car was seriously injured, and later died on Monday. The driver was thrown from the van and was dead at the scene. The five-year-old was trapped in the vehicle and also died at the wreck site at Ponder Creek Road. ... (click for more)

Judge Doug Meyer Lived A Full Life Helping Many

I was sadden to learn of the death of Judge Doug Meyer.  Judge Meyer retired from the Criminal Court bench here in 2006.  Prior to that he had been the Chattanooga city judge for several years.  As a young attorney I tried many cases in front of Judge Meyer.  Also while I was awaiting my case to be tried, I would observe him on the bench.  Judge Meyer ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Blackburn Good As Gone

I didn’t know until I read John Adams’ column in the Knoxville News-Sentinel that one person who doesn't personally know UTC Athletic Director David Blackburn said he heard he has a drinking problem. I also didn’t know that “the best thing to ever happen to UTC athletics” had health problems, according to a second person who does not personally know him. It is also being said David ... (click for more)