When you think about tourist attractions in East Tennessee, places like Great Smoky Mountains National Park
and Forbidden Caverns
(just to name a few) immediately come to mind, but not a Harley-Davidson dealership.
That is until you visit Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson
Opened in 2004, owner Scot
t Maddux wanted a place where both his passion for motorcycles and music could come together. Discovering a vacant 60,000-square foot facility located near the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains, he decided to transform it into "the riders destination."
For the past 11 years, Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson has attracted visitors from all 50 states and around the world, as well as NASCAR drivers, regional celebrities and musicians.
"The dealership is built more around the lifestyle," he says. "While there is a dedicated showroom
, there's also an emphasis put on visitors. There are road maps ava
ilable, a rental program
, riding classes
Among the "more" is the Rider Guest Service
, a free program that assists group ride planners with their visit to the area. Information provided includes recommended riding routes, preferred lodging, dining and entertainment options.
Another initiative that both locals and visitors enjoy is Project RideMore
. It promotes exploring and understanding the area with guided rides offered on both weekdays and weekends.
With trails as Cherohala Skyway
, Blue Ridge Parkway
, Foothills Parkway
, "The Dragon
" and other lesser-known ones, Maddux says the "area has some of the best cycle riding
east of the Rockies."
Completing the overall experience is the Shed Smokehouse & Juke Joint
, next to the dealership. Enjoy some 'cue and live music. The Shed has hosted such musicians as Blackberry Smoke, Jason Isbell, Kentucky Headhunters, among others.
Even though Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson set the Guinness World Record in 2006 for the "World's Largest Simultaneous Motorcycle Burnout" with 213 participating in the event, Maddux says it has been word-of-mouth that has made them well-known.
"Visitors tend to become evangelistic about their experience here and tell their friends about it. They
come back and bring their friends, and then those friends bring their friends.
Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson has become a must-see experience."
photos courtesy of Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson