The name Johnny Appleseed has become a household one, eliciting images of pioneers, apple trees, and the great outdoors. John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman was the American pioneer who brought apple trees to Pennsylvania, Ohio, and beyond. Stories tell of Johnny Appleseed spreading apple seeds everywhere he went, planting nurseries and donning a tin-pan hat and bare feet along the way. The stories vary from person to person, but one thing is certain: the widespread use of apples in the U.S. is due in large part to the eccentric John Chapman.
Like many of the people who contributed to our country, there is a holiday to celebrate John Chapman! March 11 (or September 26, John Chapman’s birthday) is Johnny Appleseed Day. In honor of this American pioneer, we think it’s the perfect opportunity to spend some time in the great outdoors and – of course – find the best apples around!
From orchard-fresh apples and ice-cold cider to candy-covered treats and fried apple pies, the Smokies is the place for all your favorite apple treats. And once you’ve gotten your fill, you can take a page from Johnny Appleseed’s book and enjoy some time in your natural surroundings.
The Apple Barn Cider Mill & General Store
230 Apple Valley Rd | Sevierville, TN | 800.421.4606
Built in 1910, The Apple Barn (once serving as an actual barn) traces its history back more than 100 years in the Smokies. More than 70 years after the structure was built, The Apple Barn became what it is today – a favorite local spot for apple cider, sweet treats, and more. At their Cider Bar, enjoy fresh-pressed apple cider, hot or cold, at the cherry-and-onyx-back bar. For the perfect pairing, stop in at the Apple Pie Kitchen for homemade apple dumplings, donuts, fried apple pies, and more. They also have lots of apple goodies to take back to your Pigeon Forge cabin, from apple butter, apple pancake mix, and dried apples to fried apples in a jar, Granny Smith gummy bears, and apple salsa.
The Apple Barn Cider Mill & General Store is also the location of 2 great Southern restaurants – Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant and Applewood Farmhouse Grill – that serve up favorites like the apple cider smoked bacon and the apple julep grilled chicken. Can’t get enough apples? You can even fill up your home with apple-themed décor, from candles and napkin holders to Christmas ornaments and coffee mugs.
Wyile Cider Barn at Foxfire Mountain
3757 Thomas Lane | Sevierville, TN | 865.446.5149
After a day zip lining, taking ATV tours, or testing your skills on the Aerial Adventure Course at Foxfire Mountain Adventure Park, nothing will be more refreshing than a glass of craft apple cider at Wyile Cider Barn. The rustic red barn offers handcrafted cider, with O’Klee’s Dry Cider and Keeva’s Sweet Cider as just the first 2 of many!
Candy Apples in the Smokies
A favorite treat in the Great Smoky Mountains, both in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, is the candy apple. Gooey caramel, crunchy nuts, chewy gummy worms, sweet candy bar clusters…anything goes on these yummy creations. Here are just a few favorites for candy apples in the Smokies.
Old Mill Candy Kitchen
177 Old Mill Avenue | 865.453.7516
3152 Parkway | 865.453.0099
Smoky Mountain Candy Makers
2880 Parkway | 865.453.9213
Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen
744 Parkway | 865.436.4886
645 Parkway | 865.436.3720
Aunt Mahalia’s Candies
Mountain Mall | Gatlinburg, TN | 865.436.7992
Get Outside for Johnny Appleseed Day
When you think of Johnny Appleseed, you think of the great outdoors. And when you think of the Great Smoky Mountains, a gorgeous natural setting is probably your #1 thought. What a perfect pair! In honor of John Chapman’s love of nature, get outside and explore. The Smokies is an outdoor playground, offering opportunities for tons of fun outdoor activities. Want some ideas? Here are a few of our favorites…
- Hiking along the 800+ miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
- Visiting historic sites and buildings along the Cades Cove Loop road
- Picnicking in Patriot Park or Wear Farm City Park
- Ziplining at Smoky Mountain Ziplines
- Skiing and snowboarding at Ober Gatlinburg
- Riding the trolleys to reduce car emissions
- Walking instead of driving along the Parkway (you can keep your shoes on!)
- Explore via horseback with Sugarlands Riding Stables