Last week, my mom and I went on a quick three-night girls trip to Blackberry Farm, the luxury hotel in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. At first, it might seem odd to travel to the middle of Tennessee for vacation but the 4,200 acre resort will quickly win you over thanks to their amazing food, great activities, and top notch service. A visit to Blackberry costs a pretty penny, so it is certainly an investment, but we loved every minute. Keep reading for our full travel review of our stay at Blackberry Farm.
We stayed in the Holly Glade Cottages, which was perfect for us! The cottages are tucked away in the trees and a short walk (or golf cart) ride to the Main House. I am sure any accommodation at Blackberry Farm would be lovely. The resort is spread out (it took about 5+ minutes by golf cart for us to get to dinner at The Barn from our cottage) so I certainly suggest that you reserve a golf cart with your room, as that will be the main way you get around the farm. (Some rooms come with golf carts, but not all of them, so just be sure to ask for one when you book.)
One of the key selling points of Blackberry Farm is their amazing food and wine. While I am not a wine connoisseur, we did love all our meals, cocktails, and glasses of wine. Breakfast and lunch are served daily in the Main House and then for dinner – you can eat at The Main House – “The Dogwood” for a relaxed, casual, and shorter dinner or have a fancy meal at “The Barn.” I would say dinners at “The Barn” are one of the real selling points for the hotel, this is a lingering, four course meal in an elegant setting. Some friends suggested that we have all our dinners at The Barn to really get the most of the trip but instead we had our first dinner at The Barn, dinner the second night at The Dogwood and then returned to the Barn the third night. This mix was perfect for us, as it allowed us to have a more casual two course meal our second night. *The meal program is included in the cost of your stay (except for wine & alcohol.)
There are activities for every personality at Blackberry Farm! From the mom who wants to relax at the spa to the outdoorsy husband who wants to go fly fishing or skeet shooting, there really seems to be something for everyone! We did not want our schedule to be to over booked so we stuck to one or two actives per day, which was perfect for us, but we did think that we easily could have stayed for one more night and with no activities booked and simply just relaxed and enjoyed the property.
Farmstead Tour – our first activity was the Farmstead Tour where a member of the Blackberry Farm team takes you around the property – from the pastures with goats and the chicken coop, to the wine cellar and creamery. It was also a great way to learn about the history of the farm and get a general lay of the land. My favorite part (as expected) was visiting the kennel where Blackberry Farm breeds and trains Lagotto Romagnolo dogs (aka truffle dogs.)
Horseback Riding: the next day we went horseback riding (which is a bit out of the norm for me, I like to keep my two feet solidly on the ground as much as possible, ha!) But family friends had suggested this activity as a great way to take advantage of the beautiful setting. I had not been on a horse in years (but as a child I used to ride a bit, so it was a fun blast from the past.) The great team at the stables can accommodate any level of experience – from a beginner to an advanced rider. The Stables are not on the main property, so the Blackberry Farm team will drive you the short 5-10 minute drive down the road to their Stables. *If you visit with kids, they have a pony and a miniature horse which was too cute!
Massages at the Spa: one of the many buildings on the property is The Wellhouse which is the home to all the wellness and spa options: the adult pool and hot tub, gym and workout studios and spa treatment rooms. My mom and I both had great deep tissue massages and enjoyed relaxing and reading our books afterword in the Wellhouse lounge. Group fitness classes are offered daily (typically one at 9am and another at 11am) – sadly, we did not time our other activities correctly so I could never try any of their classes, next time.
Tour of Blackberry Mountain: while Blackberry Farm opened in 1976 the family recently opened a sister property, Blackberry Mountain in 2019. This new resort is 20-30 minutes away from their first location but treated as an entirely different hotel/experience. Similarly, to Blackberry Farm, the luxury resort offers delicious food and a wide range of daily activities. Overarchingly most seemed to say that Blackberry Mountain is a bit more ‘wellness’ focused with a larger roster of activities and healthier food options. Originally, we hoped to book a lunch at Blackberry Mountain, because we did not want to go all the way to Tennessee and not see both properties, but in the end, we just ended up driving over for a quick afternoon tour (the hotels don’t overly promote crossover for dining/activities which was too bad.)
Blackberry Mountain was beautiful! It certainly wins in terms of stunning views as the resort is truly built right into the side of a large mountain. Additionally, as the resort is newer, it felt more modern and chic while Blackberry Farm is more quaint and traditional. Like its sister property, Blackberry Mountain offered a wide range of activities but with a slighter longer list of options that included art classes (pottery and painting) as well as rock climbing and a few more adventurous outdoor activities.
If I ever had the change to visit either property again, I will choose Blackberry Mountain, to try something different, but also because it seemed to have a bit of a younger and chic vibe. We met one group of guests who were staying for three nights at the farm and then three nights at the Mountain – now that set up sounded beyond PERFECT.
And there you have it, a review of our stay at Blackberry Farm. In short, it was a fabulous vacation that perfectly melded a range of fun activities with lots of leisure time (and of course, great food!) It would certainly be a spot that I suggest adding to your travel wishlist, as I know I would jump at the chance to ever be lucky enough to return.
P.S. If you are interested in learning more about the history and family behind Blackberry Farm – I really enjoyed this podcast episode and this NYTimes article.
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