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Take a Magical Road Trip to Ancient Lore Village

Take a Magical Road Trip to Ancient Lore Village

  • This fairytale roadtrip from the Rocket City is a fantasy-lover's dream!
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Twilight at Ancient Lore Village in Knoxville, TN
Twilight at Ancient Lore Village in Knoxville, TN
family photo at Goats On the Roof
Bokee's Bungalow at Ancient Lore Village
The hearth of Bokee's Bungalow at Ancient Lore Village +23
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Twilight at Ancient Lore Village in Knoxville, TN

As my kids get older, it’s harder and harder to find a quick family getaway that they will get excited about. The siren’s song of hanging with friends or commitments like school, work, and extracurriculars often beats out any roadtrip I want to take with them. But recently we discovered a hidden jewel that impressed us all – Ancient Lore Village made my little Middle-Earth-loving family’s jaws drop and we can’t wait to go back!

Our Visit to Ancient Lore Village

Just south of Knoxville, TN and on the way to Pigeon’s Forge and Gatlinburg, this is the perfect place to stay for a long weekend (or more!) while you explore all the area has to offer. I was traveling with four teenagers, so I booked a rental van and struck out for east Tennessee and headed towards the Great Smoky Mountains. The 3 hour, 45 minute drive was pretty scenic and took us through Chattanooga and a time zone change to Eastern Standard Time.

family photo at Goats On the Roof
It’s $12 per ride on the goat coaster at Goats On the Roof.

Goats On the Roof

There are lots of places to stop along the way if you like, and we stopped at Goats On the Roof to ride the goat coaster, a one-person mountain coaster that flies an exhilarating 30mph down a 1-mile track. You control your cart using a hand brake and let gravity do the rest! The mountain views are so pretty, and since you can go as fast or as slow as you want it’s great for a variety of ages. Parents can ride with their littles in their lap too! There’s also a kitschy little gift shop, gem mining, ice cream, and a goat petting zoo to enjoy.

After our little pit stop, we headed over to Ancient Lore Village.

Staying at Ancient Lore Village

We arrived at our destination right around dinner time, and couldn’t believe our eyes. It’s like someone built a Middle Earth village right at the base of the Smoky Mountains – in fact, that’s exactly what happened. The owner and creator had a vision to create a world where people from different backgrounds could live together in peace and harmony in a place where only good, genuine goodness, exists. Sounds fantastic, right? Technically, Ancient Lore Village is a boutique resort and event facility, and the story of how it came to be is fascinating and inspiring.

The first thing you see as you drive through the gates is an enormous waterfall, Boyd Hollow Falls. It’s one of the largest man-made waterfalls in the country, and it’s a breathtaking backdrop. We were there during St. Patrick’s Day and the water was tinted green for the celebrations happening at the Village. All around the falls are places to sit for a meal or just to watch the sun set or rise. At the base is a valley with nature trails to explore.

Right next to the waterfall is Bokee’s Bungalow, a cozy 2-story house fit for a hobbit! This is where we stayed with our group of five, but it can house up to eight people. It’s nestled into the side of a hill, and even has charming grasses shipped in from Ireland growing on the rooftop.

Bokee's Bungalow at Ancient Lore Village
Staying here was a dream come true for this Middle Earth fan!

Definitely Tolkien-inspired, even the smallest of details inside and out are thoughtfully designed. The breakfast nook looked like something out of a Peter Jackson movie, and the cozy den is centered around a gorgeous stone fireplace with a winding staircase up to the loft and bunk bed area.

Every single room was charming and lovely, and I was surprised at the luxurious beds and bathroom amenities. A giant copper tub and a shower built with river rocks made washing up its own special event, and the kids and I agreed we’ve never slept that well at any other place we’ve ever stayed. The beds are that comfortable.

The hearth of Bokee's Bungalow at Ancient Lore Village
This little lodge has two private Queen bedrooms and four bunk beds, with three bathrooms total.

Other available dwellings in Ancient Lore Village are all designed quite differently from each other. You can book the two-bedroom Waterfall Villa that reminded me of an Elf Queen’s palace, the shimmering Fairy Cottage, the impressive Leprechaun Lair, the charming & rustic Orc Home, or the puzzle-themed Gremlin Den. Each one is exquisitely designed and decorated!

Things To Do at Ancient Lore Village

After settling into the bungalow, we decided to explore the grounds. The resort headquarters is a splendid structure that looks like it’s built into the side of a giant tree. This is where you go to sign up for activities and special events. The Tree Elf Nest Patio sits on the top with a gorgeous view of the whole Village and the valley beneath it.

Gremlin Gameyard at Ancient Lore Village
Playing a rousing round of Connect 4 before dinner.

Fireside Chats & Gremlin Gameyard
Down in the Village Gardens is a giant fire pit with enough seating around it to fit 10-15 people – a great place to make s’mores or just sit and admire the view. Right next to the fire pit is a covered seating area for dining or special events. Down the stone pathway we found the Gremlin Gameyard, and spent some time before dinner playing with the giant Jenga and Connect Four games, as well as corn hole and spike ball.

Archery & Axe-Throwing
After we booked our session, we headed to the top of parking lot and took a short walk through the woods to the entrance of the Axe-Throwing and Archery ranges. The space was perfect for large groups with five axe-throwing lanes and four archery lanes – you can rent one lane or the whole range. Ages 10 and up can shoot & throw, and you must make reservations in advance. I advise booking that right after you check in. You can even take it to the next level and order appetizers & beverages at the range!

teen at axe throwing range at Ancient Lore Village in Knoxville, TN
Some of us even got a few bullseyes!

Our awesome guide, Steve, was there to walk us through each activity and help us with our technique. Steve was a great teacher and pretty soon we were all hitting our targets and even got a few bulls-eyes! I loved the archery so much that I got my own bow & arrows to practice with after we got home.

Tours & Trails
There are lots of trails to explore all around ALV, and we hiked around pretending we were out questing. This place really is a fairytale destination for anyone who loves cosplay, D&D or LARPing.

You can also book one of the guided tours offered by the staff of Villagers. The Bokee’s Trek Story Tour has the option for a picnic lunch and a 45-minute tour of the grounds and the stories behind it. The Village Gardens Tour is great for horticulture fans, and the Love Nature Tour immerses you in the natural beauty of the countryside.

Fun Special Events
You don’t have to stay at Ancient Lore Village in order to participate in some of their special public events (although I highly recommend it). They host regular Movie Nights, Trivia Nights, Live Performances, Comedy Shows, and Character Visits throughout the week. Just be sure to browse their Event Calendar for what’s happening during your visit.

One of my favorite things about this place is there are no televisions in the dwellings. Surprisingly, my teens didn’t even notice! We were so busy exploring the resort, admiring the sunset, playing cards in our cozy bungalow, and enjoying each other’s company that electronics weren’t even missed!

Bullseye atthe Ancient Lore Village archery range
Archery is my new favorite thing now.

Dining at Ancient Lore Village

Since this is an event facility and not technically a hotel, you’ll need to book your arrangements for meals ahead of time when you make your reservation. They cater their special events and if they know you’re coming they will just include you in their headcount for dinner. We didn’t get to eat there, but ALV was having a St. Patrick’s Day Feast the day we arrived and it looked and smelled delicious!

Luckily, the resort is just a 10-minute drive into Knoxville where there are lots of restaurants to choose from, as well as grocery stores to stock your room up with snacks.

Sunday Brunch and Taste of the Village Dinner are regularly offered at Ancient Lore Village. It has a reputation for being a destination for foodies!

Attractions Nearby

Ancient Lore is the perfect place to stay if you’re planning a family trip to Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, or Sevierville. Those areas have grown so fast, and the hustle and bustle can be overwhelming, at least for me. The traffic alone is A LOT. Our crew ventured into those other places during the day, but I was relieved to be able to return to Ancient Lore Village for a tranquil (and quiet!) place to relax and actually get some rest.

Archery and axe throwing range at Ancient Lore Village
Smoky Mountain Steve is a fantastic Archery & Axe-throwing teacher!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how friendly and helpful the staff, or Villagers, are at ALV. Everyone from Tom, the owner, to Martin, the Guest Services Manager, went out of their way to be welcoming and hospitable, and you can tell they all really love what they do.  Big thanks to Micah and Melissa for showing us around and telling us about the history of the place! And to Steve for being an awesome leprechaun and archery teacher!

Ancient Lore Village Details

Address: 7107 Sevierville Pike, Knoxville TN, 37920 (Map)
Phone & Email: 865-200-2434 |
View Website | Facebook | Instagram

Editor’s Note: Thank you to Ancient Lore Village for hosting us during our complimentary visit!

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