GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — It’s one of the most beautiful times of the year in and around the Smoky Mountains. Why not visit a treehouse?

There are sixteen tree houses at Treehouse Grove in Gatlinburg. You’ll be treated to spectacular views. The owner and developer truly has deep roots in East Tennessee. The project is the fulfillment of a dream that began when Joseph Ayres, owner and CEO of Treehouse Grove, was a child.

“Me and my dad used to build small little forts or something like that in the backyard and had a small treehouse. Not anything like this,” he said, gesturing behind him at the cluster of treehouses, “not as luxurious as these.”

The charming collection of cabins built into, and around beautiful trees got a helping hand from Animal Planet’s Treehouse Master, Pete Nelson. Ayres and his team are big fans of the show.

Ayres has his own claim to fame as a Vol for Life, who played for UT starting in 2009. He’s also the great-great-grandson of the man for whom Ayres Hall on campus is named.

“He was the 12th president of the University. Ayres Hall was being built back then and he actually died during his presidency, so they named it after him, ” Ayres explained. “We’re very fortunate to have that iconic history with UT, proud to have classes there and proud of it being the Game Day set these past few weekends.”

He enjoys building on his own story paying close attention to craftsmanship, naming each home away from home for a specific tree, unique treetop getaways where families can go fly-fishing, couples say their ‘I do’s’ and kids snuggle up in a bedroom loft made just for them.

“We have our eight tree houses you see behind me,” Ayres said, “they’re by the creek, they’re kinda cozy, great for couples, one or two kids, then we have eight new tree houses up on the mountain. They’re more family-friendly, pet friendly and they’re as big as four bedrooms.”

The newest group has incredible mountain views, and boasts brand-new swirling hot tubs. If you’re in the mood for a pizza in the crisp fall air, there’s an outdoor oven ready to go.
It’s all thanks to a childhood dream come true.

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“It’s fun,” Ayres said. “I get to wake up and do what I love every single day.”

The wood used in the building process, Ayres said, comes from Washington State and some are reclaimed wood. To book a stay, visit treehouse-grove.com.