Set on 4,200 secluded acres of hillocks, ponds, and gardens at the foot of the Tennessee Smoky Mountains, this award-winning resort, a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux brand, is awash in genteel luxury, from its splendid spa to its exquisitely appointed rooms, suites, and cottages. But make no mistake, the family-owned property takes the “farm” in its name to heart: Its James Beard Award–winning restaurant, The Barn, as well as the more informal Dogwood restaurant, were early leaders in the farm-to-table movement, welcoming guests who come to pay homage to the inn’s self-described foothills cuisine.
In addition to several gardeners, the farm employs its own butcher, cheese maker, and beekeeper, along with a preservationist who makes pickles, jams, and jellies. The staff raise their own sheep, pigs, and chickens, and forage the land for mushrooms, berries, ramps, wild crab apples, and muscadines—which you’ll share at the table with other guests (all meals are included in your stay). Thankfully, a roster of on-site activities—including cycling, wakeboarding, archery, paddleboarding, hiking, fly-fishing, swimming, tennis, and golf—allow you to indulge without feeling guilty.
Blackberry Farm: Pure Luxury Meets Tennessee Farm Life
America’s dreamiest luxury farm retreat is not in California or upstate New York, as you might expect, but on a 9,200-acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains. No roughing it here: Rooms, cottages, and three- and four-bedroom homes all come with fireplaces and feather beds. Still, a big draw is spending time with overalls-clad master gardener John Coykendall, who tends to wax poetic about heirloom vegetables and seed saving, and with the chefs who offer cooking demonstrations in the Barn restaurant. After indulging, guests can detox with green juice and Pilates at Blackberry’s year-old Wellhouse Spa.
America's Dreamiest Farm Hotel, Blackberry Farm
At Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, you can watch cooking demos, tour the hotel’s new brewery, and hike the many trails on the 4,200-acre estate. Multi-course dinners are held in a beautiful barn and feature ingredients from the on-site bakery, butchery, salumeria, and creamery.
A Stand-Up Paddle Picnic in the Smoky Mountains
Foodies from around the world whisper about Blackberry Farm. The 4,200-acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains is my version of heaven. For years the hotel has been known for its award winning restaurant, The Barn, which features ingredients from Blackberry Farm’s bakery, butchery, salumaria, garden, and creamery. Chef Joseph Lenn’s delicious creations might include potato and pickled ramp salad topped with a fried quails egg or wood oven roasted guinea hen with cornbread pudding and collard greens. Take my advice, put yourself in the hands of sommelier Andy Chabot and his team so they can choose the perfect wine pairings from Blackberry Farm’s 8,000-square-foot wine cellar. To balance out all of the indulgence, Blackberry Farm opened the Wellhouse in June 2014. The Wellhouse is more than just a spa. It offers a 360 approach to well being. In addition to amazing treatments that use products from Naturopathica and Tata Harper, the spa also offers yoga, barre classes, personal training and lots of activities that take advantage of the gorgeous setting. Don’t miss a chance to stand-up paddle board (you can even request a healthy picnic lunch at the boat house be set up while you’re on the water). My favorite offering is the Earthfit Endurance Hike, which includes a pre-hike stretching session, a gorgeous hike on the property’s trails (with squats and push ups along the way) and a post-hike yoga and meditation session near the pond.
Paddle Chilhowee Lake at Sunset
For a taste of rural Tennessee, kayak Chilhowee Lake, a 10-mile river-like reservoir that falls between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Cherokee National Forest. The Inn at Blackberry Farm can arrange four-hour guided canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard excursions—try a sunset outing.