“Too many people to count”, have experienced an unforgettable “Mountain Top Experience” in Coker Creek! Since 1963, Sanford and Esther Gray and family, have operated Coker Creek Village (formerly Tellico Mountain Camp) for thousands to enjoy.
Sanford Gray and Esther Scarbrough first met as students at Carson Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee. After Sanford Graduated he and Esther married and started their life together. The couple raised their family in Sweetwater where they had four children Douglas (deceased), Bridgett, Marylu and David. Sanford became a teacher, athletic coach, administrator and finally owner of Tennessee Military Institute and TMI Academy. Throughout the years, those that knew Sanford can recall how he was a committed Christian, husband, father and citizen who tried to make a positive difference in his community.
It all started with a dream of starting a summer camp for youth to come to in the summer months to experience the mountains in a Christian environment. Sanford and Esther Gray began their lifelong journey to make this happen in 1963. Throughout the years, Tellico Mountain Camp has come to be Coker Creek Village. Even with the many changes throughout the years, Sanford and Esther Gray held strong to their goals of providing a Christian environment for all to experience the mountain beauty of Coker Creek.
From the start of Tellico Mountain Camp in 1963 with 6 campers per summer, currently Coker Creek Village has seen as many as 500 participants per day for retreats. It is not uncommon for many visitors to stop by the Village to visit the Gray family today. Many that visit had been a former Tellico Mountain Camp camper, camp staff, Tennessee Military Institute/T.M.I. Academy student, teacher, participant of one of the many group retreats that stayed at Coker Creek Village or a friend of Sanford and Esther Gray.
Many special events and festivals are still held at Coker Creek Village. Sanford Gray was one of the founding fathers of the Autumn Gold Festival, which is held the second weekend of October each year at Coker Creek Village. The festival, organized by the Coker Creek Ruritan Club, is close to its 40th season with all proceeds going toward community projects in Coker Creek.
Located in the heart of the mountains of East Tennessee, Coker Creek Village Conference and Retreat Center 300+ acres, is in the center of a peaceful mountain top community, surrounded by the Cherokee National Forest. Our full-service facility is open year around for groups of 10 to 300. The beautiful rolling hills, creeks and valleys are the perfect setting for groups to hike and explore all nature has to offer. Church groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Family Reunions, school groups, senior adult groups, Business groups, specialty groups and more visit Coker Creek Village today. Weddings are also a new service we are excited to offer.
On-site recreational opportunities include Horseback Trail Rides, Mountain Biking, Team Building/Low Ropes, Climbing Tower & 300’ Zip Line, Swimming, Team Sports, Sand Volleyball, Gemstone Mining, Gold Panning, Hayrides, Hiking, & more! White Water Rafting is also offered on the famous Ocoee River, which is only a short drive from Coker Creek Village. The delicious home cooked “All You Can Eat” southern meals are served in the Dining Hall. Meeting rooms/facilities are offered for the groups to use.
Our staff takes pride in assisting each group with their custom retreat needs, from the moment they arrive to their departure. We offer lodging and meal options to fit each group, all of which contribute to a seamless, hassle-free experience for groups and leaders.
Even though Sanford Gray passed away August 11, 2005, his visions and dreams for Coker Creek Village to provide a place for all ages to create “Life Time Memories”, is kept alive by his wife Esther Gray and family. From relaxing retreats to high adventure, there is something for everyone at Coker Creek Village. The family welcomes visitors anytime, stop by and see how the dream continues at Coker Creek Village today!