In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell. Nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat. It was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.
And so begins the grand adventure of Bilbo Baggins, the title character of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.”
In the days before masters of amusement made it their life’s work to build tactile imaginary worlds into which we could wander, I had Bilbo Baggins’ Shire and Middle Earth.
Often, I’d return for long, luxurious reads or quick forays into a favorite chapter.
Rivendell is home of the elves, the mighty and mysterious Mirkwood forest. It’s the deep, dark cave lake where Gollum hunted blind fish and communed with his precious and eventually traded riddles with a very lost hobbit.
Those were the places I retreated to when the world in which I was supposed to be living got to be too much.
And so, when they announced the creation of Ancient Lore Village – a Tolkien adjacent themed village with the luxuries of a five-star resort located in South Knox County near the Sevier County line – my interest was piqued.
Is the Ancient Lore Village associated with J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth?
Emphatically no, it is not. In other words, the Tolkien intellectual property is exceptionally valuable and closely guarded by the Tolkien estate.
What is Ancient Lore Village?
Ancient Lore Village is a luxury event venue and a fairytale-themed resort.
But it is also a host for business retreats and special occasions like family reunions and private events. Additionally, it’s a Sunday brunch spot. The venue hosts special events like cosplay weekends and wine tastings.
It’s a little bit of everything.
Who built Ancient Lore Village?
Knoxville businessman Tom Boyd – father of the University of Tennessee President Randy Boyd – is the brainchild of the village.
It was originally slated to be more of a resort than an event venue. However, plans changed when Boyd received community feedback that was less than positive about zoning changes.
The theming of the village is based on Boyd’s own book – “In Bokee’s Trek: Outcasts To Inner Earth”.
The book is based on the journeys of a hobbit-like main character.
Read Also: Treehouse Grove Gatlinburg: A treehouse for adults in the Smokies
Can I stay overnight in Ancient Lore Village?
Yes. There are a handful of themed overnight accommodations available for the resort, mostly banking on special event business.
There are no televisions. The village encourages making connections without distractions from the outside world.
The types of rooms include …
1. Bokee’s Bungalow
This bungalow features two private bedrooms with a queen bed and four bunk beds as well as a cave dinette and game area.
With a grass-covered roof and sweeping English-style gardens that are quick to remind one of the hobbit houses of the Shire, it is the only standalone accommodation in the entire village. It sleeps up to 8.
2. Gremlin Den
The Village itself is a series of connected rooms.
Each has a different theming based on the villages and creatures Bokee met on his journey. The Gremlin Den has one king bed and sleeps 2.
Decorated in stone and wood, it has the feel of an upscale hunting lodge. But with a really nice walk-in shower. Also, the two Gremlin Dens can be adjoined.
3. Orc Home
A room fit for an orc – which in the world of Boyd’s Hollow are not the monsters you remember from Lord of the Rings – with highlights that include a hand-crafted, breathtaking, live-edge headboard and the highest ceilings on the property. The adornments are suited for a spacious stay.
A king-sized bed sleeps two.
4. Leprechaun Lair
Highlights include a majestic stone fireplace and a magical bathroom that feature the splendor of a simpler time. The king-sized bed sleeps two guests.
5. Fairy Cottage
If you’re planning a unique fairytale wedding, this is the place for the bride.
For example, shimmers of pinks, creams, golds and purples embellish the elegant walls. Certainly, it’s a great spot for pre-wedding photos and wedding prep photos. It’s beautiful, elegant and delicate.
Read Also: How to elope in Gatlinburg; packages, advice for a simple wedding
6. The Waterfall Villa
Located at the other end of the Village from the top of Boyd Hollow Falls, this two-room villa has its own cascade of water.
The beautiful wood-themed 600 sq. ft. room comes complete with a king-sized bed and full bath featuring a waterfall shower and wet bar. Additionally, it adjoins a 400 sq. ft. room, which offers a queen-sized sleeper sofa, full bath and wet bar area.
The indoor birchwood theming feels like something out of “Where the Wild Things Are” or “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”.
This room probably fulfills the promise of the wonder of Ancient Lore Village as well as any other.
Are there other facilities on the grounds?
Yes, the Yeti Cave is an outdoor space for private events. In particular, it’s a perfect spot for the altar at luxury weddings, business retreats and other special events. The Tree Elf Nest and Ground Elf Burrows are public gathering spaces open for all Village guests.
The Tree Elf Nest patio is the resort’s primary dining area. It features excellent views of the village and panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains. The village gardens or the boulders patio also make for excellent reception sites.
Can you tour Ancient Lore Village?
Yes. There are tours of the village gardens and the village itself.
Prices vary depending on if you just want the tour or if you want to tour and eat.
What activities are at the Ancient Lore Village?
There are team-building options perfect for corporate retreats as well as games and tests of skill.
Axe throwing and archery fit well with the team building. They are also available as add-ons if you want to encourage your team to get outside the conference facilities. There’s a golf game where you can whack a shot on a par 3 for a chance to win a free night’s stay.
Are there ways to enjoy the Village without staying the night?
Sure. In addition to the tours and the axe throwing and archery, the Ancient Lore Village hosts a weekly Sunday brunch prepared by Village staff.
The meal offers a variety of brunch fare. There’s also Taste of the Village every Thursday, a gourmet dinner prepared by the Village culinary team. There is also a series of Signature Events.
Currently scheduled signature events include movie nights, a cosplay weekend and a wine tasting. There is also a wide variety of private party options.
How much does Ancient Lore Village cost?
At the time of this writing, nightly rate packages start at $399. Prices for Bokee’s Bungalow, which sleeps 8, start at $899 per night. Visit the website for more information or to make reservations.
Have you visited the Ancient Lore Village? Let us know what you think in the comments!