Skip to content

Mark and Sharon Oldham




Dancing Bear Lodge & Appalachian Bistro
7140 E. LAMAR ALEXANDER PARKWAY, TOWNSEND, TN
865-448-6000 | DANCINGBEARLODGE.COM

Married since 1984 and entrepreneurs since 1989, Mark and Sharon Oldham have been the owners and operators of Dancing Bear Lodge & Appalachian Bistro since 2014. They chose Townsend for its natural beauty and location.

“We left Nashville after 25 years, just as the latest boom took off, and we are very glad we no longer live there,” Sharon said.

We love Townsend, ‘the ‘peaceful side of the Smokies.’ We have a 10-minute commute to our ‘office’ and spend many days outside working on the property.”

Knowing they wanted to be in the hospitality industry after they sold their technology business, they began their search for the ideal location. They happened upon the Dancing Bear Lodge shortly after a devastating fire destroyed the main building and restaurant. “We were, and still are, very fortunate to have found this perfect place in the perfect setting,” Sharon stated. “The stars aligned for us in 2014, and we have not looked back since.”

The property includes 26 lodging accommodations, an event center, an event lawn and a full-service restaurant. In addition, at the foot of Dancing Bear Lodge, sits the Apple Valley Mountain Village which has two popular retail stores, the Apple Valley Café and a full-service coffee house called the Dancing Bean.

The Oldhams follow the same rule for every establishment. “No matter the location, we emphasize serving our guests with care and compassion,” Sharon noted. “Customers
and guests must have a product or service they find appealing or they won’t come in the door. Service adds to the equation in a significant manner. We maintain the principle of the Golden Rule by treating everyone we encounter with the same consideration and thoughtfulness that we would want ourselves. We operate as a team to keep our guests and customers happy so  they will come back again and again.”

The Oldhams have invested considerable resources in their properties and appreciate that the community has responded by supporting them in a significant way. “We are not sure how much of the community support we can take credit for and how much is just the luck of today’s great economy, but whatever the mix, we are so grateful,” Sharon said. “We have grown considerably over the past four to five years in terms of business revenue, reputation, number of guests and positive reviews. Even with the occasional frustrations of owning and operating a business, we would not have it any other way. We know our guests are the ones who allow the business to keep operating, and we value their loyalty.”

Mark and Sharon are both firm believers in embracing the community in which they live and work. “We love Blount County and being a part of the business community,” they explained. “More and more we find ourselves in the mountains, and for this, we genuinely cherish and are thankful for this area of the state and the country.”

More Stories

  • Latest Issue 11 22

    Read More
  • Editor's Letter

    I’m writing this from where I wish everything could be written. I’m on the top floor balcony of my little rental home away from home overlooking the ocean. I like to escape every October. It’s my time to reset, relax and prepare for the busy holiday (and event) season ahead of us... Read More
  • Dogwood Arts Bazillion Blooms Campaign

    It’s planting time in Tennessee! Dogwood Arts is on a mission to Keep Knoxville Blooming by selling dogwood trees through their annual Bazillion Blooms program. The trees are disease resistant, April-blooming, and available in either white or pink flowering varieties. Orders can be placed year-round, but trees are distributed in the fall to coincide with optimal planting time for successful growing. Read More
  • Knoxville History Project and Front Page Foundation Honor Adolph OCHS

    The East Tennessee chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (ETSPJ), University of Tennessee School of Journalism and Electronic Media (UTJEM), Knoxville History Project and Front Page Foundation (FPF) teamed up for two events in downtown Knoxville that are free and open to the public... Read More