A resort based on a fantasy world is coming in the not-to-distant future to a land north of Blount County.
That’s the plan. Knoxville businessman Tom Boyd’s development dream includes a 40-acre resort with more than 150 period homes and tree houses, a 150-seat restaurant, a 500-person meeting and event center, and a 1,000-seat outdoor amphitheater that would open in South Knoxville in 2020.
The expectation is for the $40 million project to draw 200,000 visitors annually.
The resort, called “Ancient Lore Village at Boyd Hollow,” is based on a new book Boyd wrote called “The Bobbins — Outcast to the Inner Earth.”
Boyd has written two other books about his life and business career with his son Randy Boyd — who ran in the Republican gubernatorial primary in 2018 — but this is his first foray into the world of fiction writing. The book portrays a fantasy world where there is no negativity and people from all cultures and places live and work together in harmony, according to a news release.
Boyd, who is CEO of Boyd Hollow Resorts Inc., said, “We want to bring this book to life, and that is why we’re creating Ancient Lore Village at Boyd Hollow. This resort is unlike anything else in the world, and it will draw people from all over to Knoxville.”
The themed resort features 100 homes designed to look like the various dwellings in the book. Guests would be able to stay in one of the homes that include grass roofs, decorative exteriors and fully furnished interiors reminiscent of a fantasy world.
In addition to the homes that form Ancient Lore Village, plans call for 50 tree houses where guests could choose between one, two and three-bedroom units with balconies overlooking the village in the valley. There are also three luxury units with five bedrooms each — called “Bobbin Homes” — that have balconies overlooking the entire property.
According to Boyd, Ancient Lore Village at Boyd Hollow will include miles of walking trails connecting all homes and event areas on the property. The landscaping, water features and stone walls on the property will have an “ancient age” look. Employees will be dressed in costumes as characters from the book and a gift shop and Artisan Center will allow local artists to demonstrate their craftsmanship and sell products.
The village is designed around a sheep pasture and a goat barn. There will be daily events such as sheep herding with dogs, concerts, plays, Halloween parties, a Christmas lighted valley and other activities for guests. Every evening the valley will come to life with millions of fireflies projected across the property. It’s all part of the plan.
“There are no in-room televisions because the Ancient Lore Village is a place of peace and quiet,” Boyd said. “No motor-driven vehicles will be used, rather electric golf carts designed as ancient wagons transport guests to the various areas they want to visit. Parking is hidden from view, and roads are lined with trees to protect village views. Ancient Lore Village will also be a very dog-friendly place to stay.”
Concrete be gone
There will be no concrete or blacktop in Ancient Lore Village at Boyd Hollow. All roads and paths will be designed to blend with the surroundings and the park’s theme.
Another aspect of the resort is that visitors will be encouraged to let other guests view their homes during specified mid-day hours. Boyd said this is to foster a spirit of community, a central focus of the book and his primary vision for Ancient Lore Village at Boyd Hollow.
At the highest point on the property, a tavern with a lookout platform will sit surrounded by covered fire pits. Guests will be able to gather there to meet and talk while taking in the spectacular panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains. Two additional bars and food areas are planned for the valley with special food and drinks named after the book’s main characters.
“The village will reflect only good and togetherness,” Boyd said. “Everything is designed so that those who stay with us feel connected to each other. Convenient gathering areas will be provided, and the tree houses will be connected by walkways to a central meeting area with a fireplace and seating to encourage interaction.
“It is my goal to make this a worldwide destination resort. I would expect the Village to be a major advantage for my hometown, Knoxville. I also hope Ancient Lore Village at Boyd Hollow conveys Knoxville as a good place to live — one where people would be proud to settle.”
Boyd anticipates that 120 full-time jobs would be created to staff the resort. Additionally, 100 artisans would be on the property at any given time doing demonstrations and selling their products.
The Ancient Lore Village at Boyd Hollow theme park and lodging development plans cover 40 acres in South Knoxville on Nixon Road and Old Sevierville Pike. Partners is spearheading project development and DKLEVY and Citadel Construction LLC are managing design and construction.