This immersive hobbit-inspired village will make you feel like you’re living in a Tolkein novel
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. And so, I heard about Ancient Lore Village – a Tolkien-adjacent themed village with the luxuries of a five-star resort located in a small town just outside of the Smoky Mountains – my interest was piqued.
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What is Ancient Lore Village?
Ancient Lore Village is an event venue, entertainment center, and a fairytale-themed resort surrounded by panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains. And it’s quite immersive. There aren’t even televisions. In other words, the village encourages making connections without distractions from the outside world. It’s an intimate experience with only a handful of rooms available. The resort primarily caters to business retreats and special occasions like weddings, family reunions, and private events.
But the venue is also open to the general public and offers daily Village Discovery Passes, Activity Passes and Night Passes. These special passes include a variety of activities including archery, tours of the property, axe-throwing and fanciful food offerings. The venue also hosts special events like cosplay weekends, wine tastings, and, of course, Sunday brunch. This is good news for those who wish to experience the village without forking over the $250-$1399 price to stay the night. But if you plan on partaking in any of these special events, reservations are highly recommended.
The brainchild of the 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. But plans changed when Boyd received community feedback that was less than positive about zoning changes, and Boyd pivoted accordingly.
However, it is important to note that this property is not formally associated with J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth. Tolkien intellectual property is exceptionally valuable and closely guarded by the Tolkien estate. The theming of the village is actually based on Boyd’s book – “In Bokee’s Trek: Outcasts To Inner Earth“. The book is based on the journeys of a hobbit-like main character.
A look inside the immersive rooms
Thinking about spending the night at the Ancient Lore Village? 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. Rooms include the Leprechaun Lair, Fairy Cottage, Orc Home, Gremlin Den, Waterfall Villa and Bokee’s Bungalow. Here’s a closer look at each:
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 eight.
2. Gremlin Den
The Gremlin Den has one king bed and sleeps two. 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 also 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 features 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 pink, creams, gold and purple embellish the elegant walls. Certainly, it’s a great spot for pre-wedding photos and wedding prep photos. It’s beautiful and elegant but also delicate.
6. The Waterfall Villa
Located at the other end of the Village from the top of Boyd Hollow Falls, this two-room villa has a 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.
Cost and location
Ancient Lore Village is located at 7107 Sevierville Pike, Knoxville, TN 37920. At the time of this writing, nightly rate packages range between $250-$1399 depending on date, availability and room type. Day passes start at $38 per person. Brunch is usually $37 per person and special on-site dinners average about $100 per person. Visit the Ancient Lore Village website for more information or to make reservations.
Have you visited the Ancient Lore Village? Let us know what you think in the comments!