Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

Welcome to Blackberry Farm in Tennessee: The South’s Swankiest Resort

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“Are you sure your GPS isn’t leading us astray?” asked SVV—who, truth be told, is not known for his sense of direction—as he drove the windy way off Highway 321 to what was supposedly our final destination for the weekend. “It’s been known to happen before.”

“No,” I said hesitantly. “It’s marked right here on Google Maps. See: Blackberry Farm in Tennessee.” But I wasn’t sure, to be honest. After all, from the moment we exited Highway 329 in Walland and started down West Millers Cove Road, it didn’t appear as if we were going anywhere in particular—well, except further into the countryside.

We passed small homes and farms, trucks and tractors. Then, out of nowhere, a white picket fence materialized from the twilight, and we began to see traces of farm life—and potential human life, too.

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

“Maybe this is it….” I trailed off as a modest sign announcing our arrival to Blackberry Farm greeted us to the left side of the road. And that’s how the rest of the weekend would be: understated, unexpected, and humble considering this is one of the most high-end resorts in the entire South, if not the country.

Having grown up in Tennessee and gone to college in Knoxville, I knew of Blackberry Farm from as early as my teen years. I had friends in East Tennessee who worked there during summer breaks; it just never occurred to me that I might someday wind up staying at “The Farm” for a weekend myself. It always seemed the holy grail of travel experiences, a status symbol, something you did once you finally “made it.” And ever since I moved back to the South and started covering regional travel for the likes of Southern Living and Nashville Lifestyles, I’ve had the chance to explore spots like this that weren’t previously on my radar as a kid.

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

According to the in-room literature, the 4,200-acre farm’s origins date back to 1939 when “Mrs. Florida Lasier of Chicago snagged her silk stockings on a wild blackberry bramble while exploring the idyllic Smoky Mountain foothills, and the name Blackberry Farm was born.” In 1976, it opened as a six-bedroom inn; today, the Relais & Châteaux property boasts 62 estate rooms, suites, and cottages, is lauded as one of the country’s most celebrated luxury escapes, and welcomes visitors from all over the world.

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

Truth be told, the rooms reminded me of plenty of other R&C properties in which I’d stayed. Don’t get me wrong; they are nice—an understatement; our Singing Brook Cottage was bigger than the NYC apartment I shared with two people—but it’s truly the grounds themselves that make this resort so spectacular.

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

Blackberry Farm-20

Canoeing, kayaking, standup paddleboarding, mountain biking, hiking, concerts, seasonal festivals, and field after field of grounds perfect for horseback riding–there’s a little for every outdoor soul.

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

Each cottage comes with its own golf cart for getting around; you won’t use your car from the time you check into the resort. Although there are also valets on call should you not want to drive yourself—and I was a huge fan of how every last one we had hailed from a 30-mile radius, giving Blackberry a very distinct local feel.

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

Brand new to the Farm as of this summer is the 12,000-square-foot Wellhouse, comprising lounge space, fitness facilities, spa treatment rooms, and even a shop; the picture windows overlook the Smoky Mountain surrounds. Narrowing down which treatment, like the Appalachian Body Purification or the Deep Woods Muscle Recovery, you want can be challenging; The Wellhouse even has separate menus for men and children.

Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm

Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm

Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm

I went with an 80-minute massage and a yoga flow class, which turned into a private 60-minute session when I was the only one who showed up (OK with it). What I didn’t get to do was unwind in these custom-made swinging meditation beds that dropped down from the ceiling at the touch of a button—but that’s on my to-do list should I ever return.

The Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm

The Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm

The Wellhouse at Blackberry Farm

Lavish meals are included in the price of the stay, from dinner on the night you check in to lunch on the day you check out. Breakfasts are served in the Main House, while a BBQ lunch spread is available on the lawn, and all dinners are taken in the Culinary Barn.

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

But wait, hold up a minute. I haven’t even told you the best part. Blackberry Farm boasts a Puppy Bar. That’s right, you read that correctly: You can drive right up and borrow a pup. OK, so technically it’s a kennel, but whatever; at any point during your stay, you can phone up the trainer and ask to go cuddle some truffle dogs! I know, right?

Truffle Dogs at Blackberry Farm

Truffle Dogs at Blackberry Farm

And it gets even better. If you’re lucky and one has recently given birth to a litter, you can snuggle some truffle puppies. (You’re ready to die by this point, I know.)

Truffle Dogs at Blackberry Farm

When we stumbled into the kennel, five bewitching Ewok lookalikes peered over the gate at us and started jumping up and down on their hind legs, wanting to be held. We gave them each a turn—and one of us may have not wanted to give them back (no prizes for guessing who). Unfortunately, they didn’t all sit still at once in order for me to take their picture.

Truffle Puppies

Lagotto Romagnolo is a breed of hunting dog from northern Italy now used exclusively for seeking out truffles. Blackberry got its first, Tom, back in 2007. The Farm now has nine adults—six females and three males—and every year, three of the ladies give birth to litters. When I return to Blackberry Farm, I’m going to ask if they can make me a bed inside the kennel.

Truffle Dogs at Blackberry Farm

One of the pups, Pappy, from a litter earlier this year went home to live with Luke Bryan. They run around $3,000 apiece in price. I think I could spare that kind of change for a face like that.

Truffle Dogs at Blackberry Farm

But, puppies aside, the best part of the weekend in my opinion was not having cell service and just chilling out for a brief 48 hours, something neither of us do nearly enough. True, we had Wi-Fi on our laptops and got a little work done in the early mornings and later at night, but the days were reserved for pool time, reading, relaxing. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

For us, getting to Blackberry is a relatively straightforward, direct three-hour drive from Nashville. Those coming from out of state will want to fly into the tiny Knoxville airport, which is no more than a half hour from Walland.

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

It’s no cheap retreat—full disclosure: I was on magazine assignment so we, indeed, were not footing the bill—but if you have a special occasion and are in Tennessee, Blackberry Farm is definitely a splurge worth making—especially if you’re not from ’round here and have never been to the Smokies—and I guarantee you’ll leave feeling like a million bucks.

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies

Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Smokies


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Tennessee Weekend Getaway: Steal Away to Blackberry Farm
Tennessee Weekend Getaway: Steal Away to Blackberry Farm
Tennessee Weekend Getaway: Steal Away to Blackberry Farm
COMMENTS
  • October 8, 2014
    Briel K.

    This place looks like a dream! Add a kennel of kittens and it would be like heaven!

    • October 16, 2014

      Ha, add a kennel of kittens and I’d be sneezing all over the place! Albeit sneezing and happy 😉

  • October 10, 2014

    I have heard about this place for years- and I’m secretly hoping my husband surprises me with a weekend here for my 40th birthday! 🙂 (Which is a very, very, very, very, very LONG TIME AWAY, of course!) Thank you for the scoop- It looks amazing.

    • October 16, 2014

      Of course! Like, in 11 years you mean, right? =)

  • October 11, 2014

    Wow, incredible place, and great photos.

    You must be rich to be able to stay in a place like this!

    • October 16, 2014

      As I said above, good thing I was on assignment, as I definitely can’t afford Blackberry Farm!

  • October 14, 2014
    Mister Sister

    a) you have beautifully pointed toes
    b) who is that douche in the golf cart? 😉
    c) give me one or all of those pups

    • October 16, 2014

      Why thank you! My family has always commended my grace 😉

  • October 14, 2014

    I expected to read a post about you picking blackberries and hard work, not this super nice retreat! New to me for sure, an idea for whenever I go to the smokies…

  • October 14, 2014

    This place looks absolutely amazing!!! WOW. And those meditation beds?!? Mmmm.

  • October 15, 2014

    I talked about Blackberry Farm on a travel segment I did recently but still haven’t been there myself – looks unbelievable! That Wellhouse! Your room! I’m dying to get there next year!

    • October 16, 2014

      Yes, you do! And come see me en route, will you? =)

  • October 15, 2014

    I love the couches in the bedroom. I like to have attendants at the ready 24/7. 🙂

    • October 16, 2014

      We would be compatible travel buds, no doubt 😉

  • October 16, 2014

    A beautiful place indeed! Wow, those pics are simply stunning. It’s a shame they are breeding dogs. 🙁 They are adorable though so we think we would also opt for a bed in the kennel. 🙂

    • October 16, 2014

      Well, the same could be said for children when there are plenty in the world already to be adopted. It’s all perspective. 😉

  • October 17, 2014

    You had me at rental puppies. I’M IN.

  • October 19, 2014

    Absolutely beautiful! I’ve wanted to visit there for a long time. Fingers crossed for 2015!

  • July 1, 2015

    These pictures seem so peaceful. The puppies are adorable too. What I wouldn’t give to be in a place like this. Your post really took me to the place. Thanks for sharing.

  • August 3, 2015

    can’t wait for any chances to go to that place. lovely

  • August 21, 2015

    I really like your blog, keep bloging like this.

  • August 26, 2015

    Article fantastic, thanks for sharing this incredible experience !!!!.

  • October 14, 2015

    We are taking our entire family to blackberry farm for the thanksgiving 5day extravaganza This has been over a year in the making and the staff at the farm have been outstanding Managing our crew is “hands on” adult children are very excited and my grandson says I’m goin to camp blackberryI goin to camp blackberry–your photos and insights have been a blast
    HAPPY TURKEY DAY here we come??

    • October 19, 2015

      Oh I’m so excited for you! I bet they’ll have it all decked out for Christmas already. Let me know what you think and what all activities you try =)

  • March 16, 2016
    Nicole Schwartz

    We got our Lagotto Romagnolo from Blackberry Farm. INHUMANE! At 6 months old she was diagnosed with DOUBLE HIP DYSPLASIA! We called to let them know and they said, oh she’s the second one in her litter! Turns out her breeding father, Bruno bred multiple dogs with hip dysplasia! INHUMANE BREEDING PRACTICES! We are so upset and want all future owners to know that Blackberry Farm is not a safe place to get your little lagotto. Our baby is going to have surgery soon, we have to wait until she is a year old. She is in so much pain, has to take 2 painkillers to be comfortable everyday. She cannot jump and she has trouble running beyond 30 second spurts. IT IS SO SAD TO WATCH YOUR LITTLE LAGOTTO IN PAIN! I WANT THE WORLD TO KNOW BLACKBERRY FARM IS NOT A SAFE PLACE TO PURCHASE THESE BEAUTIFUL DOGS!

  • April 18, 2018

    I’ve been wanting to visit this resort and their brewery for years! Had no idea about the puppy bar… even more excited to stay there one day!

    • April 18, 2018

      Oh, but that’s the best part!

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