At a Glance
This traditional farmstead retreat feels a bit like a friendly country club and is world-renowned for its phenomenal culinary program.
For hikers, foodies and design fiends, the blue-toned Great Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee contain two must-visit sister properties: Blackberry Farm and Blackberry Mountain. Perhaps best enjoyed together—but still amazing on their own—the two hotels encompass nearly 10,000 acres for hiking, biking and horseback riding—as well as other entertainments like wheel-thrown pottery, archery, yoga, fly fishing and whiskey tasting. While the location is decidedly country, the décor and atmosphere are decidedly not: at the Mountain, the jewel-toned, Art-Deco cocktail bar is the place to end the day; at the Farm, a highlight is meeting the resident truffle-hunting Lagotto Romagnolo dogs. The range of freestanding accommodations is ideal for privacy, as well as groups—and after a few meals at the acclaimed restaurants, you’ll have to resist the urge to move in permanently.
The Standout: Spending an afternoon in the company of the gardener, the cheese maker, the beekeeper or the sommelier (bonus: meeting the Lagotto Romagnolo dogs is a must)
Don’t Miss: Scenic vistas and pure mountain streams from a horse-drawn carriage, followed by dinner in the 18th-century gambrel-roofed barn and stargazing by the bonfire
- Meeting the Lagotto Romagnolo dogs (typically used for truffle hunting) that are bred here and have a five-year waiting list to buy
- S’mores, stargazing and sundowners around the twilight bonfire
- The one-bedroom Carriage House suites, which offer striking mountain views and are located within walking distance to the spa, pool and main restaurant
The journey to Walland, Tennessee is improbably simple. A nonstop flight to Knoxville and a few curves down a country road will find you settled in a hilltop rocking chair opposite a gorgeous tumble of rural Appalachia, drinking in rich, fragrant mountain air. While the setting is peaceful, what differentiates Blackberry Farm from other destination resorts is its lauded culinary program, and there is no better way to spend an afternoon on the farm than in the company of the gardener, the cheese maker or the beekeeper. Turn down a gravel road, and you’ll find the Blackberry Farm Brewery, where the farm’s first brew-master can be seen cultivating hand-crafted ales.
Spanning 4,400 acres, Blackberry Farm has guest accommodations as well as private homes. Most of the rooms come with golf carts for guests to get around, but the property also has a fleet of Lexus SUVs that can shuttle them from point A to point B. The overall atmosphere at Blackberry Farm is that of an easy-going country club, and down time is likely spent unwinding on the main building's beautiful terrace or at the 12,000-square-foot spa, which has a yoga studio and a saltwater adults-only pool (there is a separate kids' club with its own pool). Active types will love that the resort’s backyard is a softly billowing woodland wilderness traced with miles of hiking trails. Avid sportsmen can visit the shooting academy or Orvis-endorsed fly fishing program, while horseback riding, cycling and canoeing are perfect for those who are just hoping to work up an appetite for dinner. Anglers and mountaineers troubled by the prospect of an entire day away from Blackberry’s heroic kitchens can take heart: all day-trippers are mercifully provisioned with lunchboxes that are stuffed with delicious treats.
Nightly dinners in the 18th-century gambrel-roofed barn—stunning and storybook red—are anything but stuffy. The dining room is abuzz with festive, familial warmth, and the sublime cuisine is distinguished by its integrity, if not exactly by rusticity. While Blackberry Farm is known for its gourmet offerings, the three-course dinner menu still offers accessible dishes such as grits with fennel pollen and summer vegetables and wagyu flank steak with potato purée, smoked beef fat and charred broccoli.
Who Should Stay
Couples and families who want Southern charm in an intimate atmosphere and enjoy being active outdoors.
When To Go
Open year-round, Blackberry Farm is quiet and relaxing in the winter. It is in its prime in the spring and fall when the activities are all running but it isn’t yet too hot. It can be extremely hot in July and August, so it’s best to avoid visiting then, if possible.
— Cabell Belk
Blackberry Farm is a 30-minute drive from the McGhee Tyson Airport, just outside of Knoxville.
Written by Indagare