A new campground and vacation destination has opened at the former site of Tremont Outdoor Resort in Townsend.

Owners Carmen and Brad Simpher and Chelly and Kevin Clayton, the CEO of Blount County-based Clayton Homes, cut the ribbon Friday on Little Arrow Outdoor Resort, 118 Stables Drive.

The family-owned resort offers more than 80 RV spaces, 26 cabins, nine Clayton tiny homes, four modern “glamping” (glamorous camping) tents and a variety of amenities, including a playground, pool, coffee lounge, general store, laundry services and access to Little River and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Kevin Clayton, who’s been vacationing in Townsend with his family for the past 15 years, said his wife Chelly saw the property was up for auction about three months ago and the two eagerly made a bid.

“It’s almost comical how much had to happen in three months,” he said during Friday’s grand opening event. “I really think this was meant to be.”

Clayton said the mission is “to create a unique place for people to enjoy the outdoors,” while also boosting Townsend’s tourism.

“We’re trying to elevate all of Townsend,” Clayton said. “Townsend is a very special place. It’s much more than just the Peaceful Side of the Smokies, and we’re trying to show the wonderfulness of the area.”

In addition to its current amenities, Clayton told The Daily Times that plans are in place for a dog park, squirrel obstacle course and a larger pavilion that can act as a meeting facility for various events.

“There’s been a lot of interest in using the resort for philanthropic events,” he explained. “So Phase II would be to have a larger pavilion and meeting spaces for all types of gatherings.”

Such gatherings could be the Tennessee Whiskey Trail, for example, or the Tennessee Grains and Grits Festival in November, which already has booked the whole resort, Clayton said.

“There appears to be a lot of demand for that,” he said. “People love the feel. It’s nice, but rustic.”

Clayton said he also would like to explore ways to make the resort “more green” by reducing energy costs with solar power and establishing an onsite treatment plant.

But that likely won’t happen until sometime next year.

Right now, he said, Little Arrow is focusing on offering a “family-oriented and relaxed” destination to people who prefer a more non-commercialized approach to vacationing.

“Being with campers is just special,” Clayton said. “They run at a slower, different pace. (When you’re with them), you never want to leave.”

“We want people to come together and enjoy the outdoors,” added Carmen Simpher, Chelly Clayton’s sister, noting the significance of the name Little Arrow. “An arrow can only be released by first pulling it back, so when life pulls you back, it simply means it’s launching you into something amazing.”

Rachel joined The Daily Times in 2015, and is a currently a business writer. Email her with promotions, new hires and golden retirement information from your Blount County business as well as story ideas.

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