PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dolly Parton visited the future place of her new HeartSong Lodge and Resort in Pigeon Forge and shared her vision for the property.

On Friday, Dolly spoke about the resort that is set to open in late 2023 as part of a $500 million expansion by the Dollywood Parks & Resorts group. She explained how the placement of the resort and why it means so much to her.

“In its simplest form, HeartSong is about the Smoky Mountains and why I continue to come back home year after year,” she explained. “It is the place I recharge and stay grounded. The beauty of the mountains—at every hour and in every season—is simply an inspiration. From the time I was a child, I roamed the hills of Locust Ridge and explored God’s coloring book.”

The large resort will be nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains and will feature a wide variety of amenities for guests. The resort will feature high ceilings and exposed beams and natural layered textures. It will also have large family suites and bunk rooms that can accommodate the whole family. The resort will be five stories and will have special themed suites and loft rooms. 

According to a release from Dollywood, this Smoky Mountain lodge features four-story, lantern-inspired windows in the resort’s welcoming atrium, epic indoor and outdoor pools that provide guests a refreshing escape in all seasons, and a picture-perfect outdoor cove with family gathering spaces. With 26,000 sq. ft. of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space, the property can accommodate gatherings for several hundred guests. It will feature a two-story event center, an outdoor meeting space, and event lawn to host a wide variety of gatherings.

While Dolly was in town she also accepted an award from the American Chestnut Foundation on behalf of her late uncle, Bill Owens. The award was the Chestnut Conservation Champion Award, which honored Owens for his long history of helping the foundation.

Owens worked toward developing a blight-resistant chestnut tree. The tree was almost eliminated, but their work helped save it. Once the resort is finished, the hybrid tree will be planted to honor Owens and his contribution. Chestnut trees will also be present in artwork throughout the resort.

“My uncle Bill worked for decades with The American Chestnut Foundation to help their effort in creating a new tree that is blight resistant,” Parton said. “As a result of that work, he has been honored in a new documentary about the chestnut tree. To honor him, we have this beautiful hybrid chestnut tree on stage. We have some representatives from the foundation here as well.”

For more information on the resort you can visit the website here.