I understand that the headline to this story is a bit of an oxymoron, but bear with me, and you'll have your explanation.

USA Today is a gold mine for "best of" lists. When I remember to do it, I'll search "USA Today + best" in my spare time, and then I'm usually down a rabbit hole. The venerable online publication has a list of the best new attractions in 2024, and, oddly enough, one of them actually has a long history. So how did it make THIS particular list?

First, I'll tell you that USA Today has a panel of experts that have the enviable task of traveling the country seeking out the top newly-launched attractions. Seriously, how does one get THIS job?

Once they locate them, they leave it up to the readers to vote, and east Tennessee made the cut. A certain country music icon would be pleased.

The Pines -- Sevierville TN

Of all the new attractions on the USA Today list, this one is the oldest. And here's how that makes sense. First, let's take a trip back in time to 1956. That's when a 10-year-old Dolly Parton stepped onto the stage of The Pines to perform her first paying gig, little realizing what door that threw open. Established in 1944 then renovated and remodeled in 2022 (hence the USA Today designation), The Pines never stops celebrating the most famous person to ever sing a note on its premises.

The Pines is now so much more than just a bar and a restaurant, as you can see. And after taking my own virtal look around, I have to wonder if Dolly herself has ever shown up to do a little bowling.

Or maybe Scrabble? (I bet she's good at it.)

Sounds like party central in east Tennessee to me. Congratulations to The Pines for its impressive recognition AND for the kind of publicity that will likely more of an "attractive" attraction than it already is.

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