Southern Agenda

Lofty Living

When Amanda Jensen and her husband, Brian, built a tree house for their children years ago, they decked it out with a zip line, foldout bunk beds, and a fire pole. That wonderland sparked their current endeavor to construct the adult-and-kid-friendly Sanctuary Treehouse Resort in the mountains of East Tennessee. “There’s something about staying in a tree house that takes us all back to childhood,” Jensen says. Late this summer, their sylvan success story will tower outside Knoxville on a forty-acre spread of sugar maple, pecan, and black walnut trees, when the first six of a planned 140 treehouses will open for reservations. “The beds are hanging from ropes, and there are outdoor daybeds, slides, and sinks made of whiskey barrels,” Jensen says of the rustic digs. Guests can chug around the resort in solar-powered golf carts—no cars allowed—and catch panoramic mountain views from quite a perch.