I can’t even begin to tell you all how much I enjoyed my stay at Blackberry Farm and Blackberry Mountain. There is a reason both of these properties are on people’s bucket lists. The service, the food, the spa every single part of my stay at these properties was exceptional.
So what’s the difference? Let’s break it down.
What began as a family farm in 1939 on 4200 acres of land in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, is now one of the best hotels in the country. The property went from farm to hotel in the late 1970s and in the 2000s became one of the premier hotels and destinations for food, wine and adventure.
The property is south of Knoxville and is a picturesque drive off the main interstate. When you arrive to the main guest house you are greeted by a team of staff who are the perfect example of “southern hospitality” Your bags and car are taken away (the property has golf carts, bikes and a team of Lexus vehicles to drive you around.) My room was not yet ready, so after I checked in I went to the Main Guest House for lunch.
The outdoor patio at Dogwood (the Main Guest House’s restaurant which serves breakfast, lunch and dinner) serves elevated southern comfort food. I was offered a drink and a fantastic chicken sandwich. During my meal, I observed just how attentive the staff here is. They greeted each guest by name, asked how their morning was, what their plans for the afternoon were and made suggestions on things to do during their stay. It was very impressive.
My room was ready after lunch and the my bags magically were ready and waiting for me. I stayed in the Main Guest house in a very spacious room, decorated in traditional decor with a southern feel. I toured the farm by foot the rest of the afternoon, checking out the kennels (they just had puppies), chatted with all the farm animals- sheep, goats, chickens, horses and even a turkey roam the farm and stopped at the lake to sit and read.
The amount of activities available seem endless- archery, canoeing, fishing, hiking, biking, clay pigeon shooting, horseback riding, carriage rides, gardening classes…the list goes on. For dinner, I dined at the award winning Barn. I was driven there by one of the staff in a Lexus SUV and immediately made to feel at home as soon as I walked in.
I am a food lover and this is one of my top 5 meals in my entire life. One of the unique things about Blackberry is that your breakfast and dinner are included with your stay. I almost thought they would have to roll me out of there. Every dish was impeccable. They also have a Chef’s tasting menu and you can add wine pairing to the tasting menu as well from their James Beard award winning Somalier. (both at an additional cost). The Barn at Blackberry Farm also boasts one of the largest wine cellars in the country.
The next morning after breakfast (where I had the best bacon of my life) I spent some time at the spa. Where I relaxed by the pool and ended my stay at the farm with an amazing and relaxing massage. I didn’t want to leave but fortunately was headed just up the mountain to continue my time at the Farm’s sister property- Blackberry Mountain.
After a 15 minute drive from the Farm (my bags were taken from my room, placed in my car and waiting for me. No check out needed- I’m telling you, the service…its so good) I arrived at Blackberry Mountain.
You pull up to a gate to access the property and after another winding drive up the mountain arrive at the main lodge. Blackberry Mountain opened in 2008 and sits on 5200 mountainous acres in the Great Smoky Mountains. The Mountain does have more of a wellness retreat feel and even feels a little more laid back then the Farm.
After I checked in, I was given a tour of the main lodge, the property and my room by the staff who drove me around (the property is very spread out so golf carts are provided for each room as well as the Lexus SUVs the staff use to chauffeur guests around.) The main lodge features a pool, the main restaurant Three Sisters and is closer to the stone cottages. The Mountain has several room categories- Stone Cottages, private mountain homes (perfect for families) and the watchman cabins.
I was in the Watchman Cabins located at the very top of the mountain close to the other restaurant on the property, Firetower. The cabin featured a balcony, wood burning fire stove, floor to ceiling windows and I had my own golf cart to drive around the property. I gasped when I saw this room. It felt like my own little oasis. There are no TVs in the Watchman Cabins so you can have a truly relaxing and off the grid experience.
Blackberry Mountain has a wide range of activites, guided hikes are included in your stay as well as morning group fitness classes. You can also enjoy the rock climbing wall, spa (including holistic doctors, Meditation and soundbathing classes), art classes (painting and pottery) and so much more.
Like Blackberry Farm, your meals are included. I had dinner at Firetower which features panoramic views of the valley below. The food here is more laid back, but just as delicious. The staff knew my birthday was coming up and gave me not one but two desserts that were exceptional. I had a relaxing morning enjoying the view from my cabin before having a fantastic breakfast at the main lodge. I wish I had more time to stay at both properties.
The minimum stay is three nights at both the Farm and the Mountain. If you wanted to explore more of Tennessee you could start at the Farm spend 3 nights there, head over to explore Nashville and Memphis and then end back at the Mountain to end a week’s roadtrip through the state.
Don’t forget that as part of my partnership with Virtuoso, my clients receive extra amenities and upgrades at both properties.
A stay at both properties is not cheap but is it worth it? Absolutely. This is a once in a lifetime experience and I left wanting to go back.