Blackberry Farm

 

Blackberry Farm is nestled in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee.  My wife and I have been happily coming here since our 22nd wedding anniversary in 2000.  This was when there was just the main house and Cottage Suites to stay in.  This was even before they had a liquor license  and we had to join a private club in order to be served alcohol in the restaurant.  Meals were served using fine silver utensils plated on their own pattern of fine China.  They upgraded us for that occasion from a room in the main house to a Cottage Suite, and travel has never been the same since.  With the privacy of a private cottage snuggled into the woods completely stocked with the inclusive dove bars and small green bottles of coke, it was simply decadent, in a good way.  

Massages were given in an available Cottage Suite as there was no spa built at that time. Years later a spa was located in the main farmhouse, which is now the home of Chris Bell, the proprietor.  Todays Blackberry Farm sports a complete spa facility with yoga, spa, gift shop, and just great lounging-- all located in it's own building just a short golf cart drive from the main house. 

Meals during our early stays were all served in the main house, jacket required!  Today, breakfast and lunch are at the main house, but dinners are served at The Barn, where you are picked up at your cottage and whisked to the front door in a shiny black Lexus.  This is no ordinary barn!  It is a luxurious open space large enough to seat a large number, while still enabling intimate conversation at each table.  Regardless of meal, location, or dish, we have often commented that each meal is the best we've ever had. It's that good. 

We have now been fortunate enough to have stayed here in every season, and for whatever reason, it is hard to pick one that was any better than another.  Each has had it's own unique special vibe with special memories.  Once experienced, there is literally not a place we stay that is not instantly compared with Blackberry Farm for excellence in service, dining, spa, or activities.  Hearing the words, "It will be my pleasure" is how each and every request is met.  Without question, you will consider it as one of your "Best of the best" trips of a lifetime.  For my wife's recent 60th birthday last October, I asked her where she would like to go if she could choose anywhere.  I barely got the words out of my mouth before she had replied, "Blackberry Farm".  

Attention to every detail, impeccable service and outstanding cuisine have helped Blackberry Farm earn its pedigree as one of the most celebrated small luxury resorts in the world.  They take great pride in the number one ranking by their guests in many readers choice awards, as well as similar recognition from the worlds leading authorities on travel and leisure destinations.  Over the years, Blackberry Farm has garnered industry praise, including three James Beard Awards for Best Chef—Southeast, Outstanding Wine Program and Outstanding Service, and was named Bon Appetit’s No. 1 Hotel for Food Lovers. Blackberry Farm continues to be named among the top small hotels in the world by publications ranging from Conde Nast Traveler to Travel + Leisure. Does it get any better? 

 

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Location

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Nearby
Latitude: 35.7281 Longitude: -83.8132 Elevation: 922 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Kenny Markanich

Lodging Style and Amenities

Much differently than our first stay 20 years ago, Blackberry Farm now offers 68 different guest accommodations, including Historic Rooms, Estate Rooms, Cottage Suites, Hill Cottages, Farmstead Cottage, and multi-bedroom houses, all beautifully appointed and furnished with fine antiques. Personal service and attention to detail are the defining elements of Blackberry Farm's award-winning reputation. My wife is an award winning high end interior designer who is always impressed with the styling and details that are a part of the Blackberry Farm experience.   

Each room is decorated uniquely with fine antiques, artwork, lighting, and a fabulous bathroom with a heated floor.  The shower alone is worth the trip, as it is similar to experiencing standing under a waterfall.  The small refrigerator is stocked full of dove bars, soda's, waters, nuts, and other treats--all included in your stay for you to enjoy to your hearts content.  A golf cart is provided for you to use at your leisure to explore the grounds or just to get from place to place when you don't feel like walking.  A game room is completely furnished with pool table and game boards, as well as a bar and large screen TV for game day enjoyment.  There are two different gift shops, one with all styles of apparel appropriate for wearing in the outdoors, and the other chock full of gifts, cookware, and other unique items many of which are made specifically for Blackberry Farm.  There is not a nook or cranny that has not been prepped, polished, and made perfect for your enjoyment. 

The main difference today is the number of activities that are offered and the number of people they can now provide the experience.  Somehow, they have still been able to provide a personalized level of service similar to what was provided when it was a much smaller resort. 

Individual rates are based on double occupancy and include nightly accommodations, pantry snacks and three meals per day of our celebrated Foothills Cuisine. If you are visiting with a group, Blackberry Farm's remarkable Guest Services can help you find a number of indoor and outdoor meeting spaces available for multiple uses.

Seasons Open

All Seasons

Recreational Opportunities

We have witnessed a lot of different things going on around the property during our stays, but we tend to like the spa, hiking and fly fishing most of all.  That being said, during our first stay we heard a story that is worth sharing.  There was a young man who had lost his parents at an early age and was raised by his grandfather.  As an adult, he had become quite successful, and each year, he would bring his grandfather to Blackberry Farm for a solid week of relaxation. The old man would sit on the porch all day watching the day go by, while the young man would schedule a daily two hour massage each afternoon. Someone asked the old man if there wasn't anything else he would rather be doing than sitting in that chair during the day, to which he replied, "You don't come here to do things, you come for the food!"  After you've enjoyed a meal at Blackberry Farm, you'll find it tough to disagree with that logic.  40 years ago, Blackberry Farm was founded on the idea of creating a home with good friends, family and good food, and it seems like they have accomplished just that.  

The trout fishing I've been able to do on the private stocked Hesse Creek has been spectacular...and that's an understatement.  In the early years, I would call the front desk and a golf cart would come to our cottage door to pick me up and take me down to the creek.  They would even ask if I would like the trout that I caught prepared for my dinner that evening!  Today, there is an Orvis managed guide service cabin directly on the property next to this creek, and you need to book a guide to fish the water.  They are excellent in their knowledge and in letting you fish according to your abilities.  It is all catch and release today, but the fish are abundant, and catching a trophy fish is pretty likely. 

Hiking the many trails at Blackberry Farm is an experience in the beauty of nature that few other hikes can provide.  There are many hikes of different lengths, and they will pack you a lunch to take along the way if you desire.  A guided hike is highly recommended.  Our very first guided hike was with an outdoor legend, ranger, and author of the book "LOST" named Dwight McCarter.  The stories and insights provided by Dwight are priceless, and give a whole new understanding to what is going on around you in the woods. Along the way, we were joined by none other than Senator Lamar Alexander, as he is a neighbor to the property, and loves to take in hikes like this when he can.  What a gem of a man to get to hike with and have leisurely conversation.  Lamar made sure to tell us about the special sourwood honey that comes out of the sourwood trees that grow at that altitude, and who to buy it from at a roadside stand outside the property.  This is no ordinary honey.  It has an odd name, but is actually known as the "Cadillac of honey".  Sourwood honey is so good that it will be tough for you to use any other kind of honey again. This hike was the beginning of a long friendship with Lamar, and it has been a great memory for us both over the years. 

Recently, we were guided on a similar hike by Tere Blue, who is another Blackberry Farm guide who has dedicated her life to being in the outdoors.  It was such a fabulous hike I even wrote a blog about it that is now being published by National Geographic.  https://capitalsportsman.com/blogs/news/smoky-mountains-guided-hike

Today, Blackberry Farm offers yearly almanac showcases returning and exciting new events featuring the nation's hottest chefs, innovative winemakers, GRAMMY award-winning artists, talented artisans and top athletes. These aren't just talented people, but the BIG names in every genre.  Honestly, We have not tried all of the activities as there are simply so many to choose from.  See the growing list below to get a feel for all that is offered--it is quite diverse.

Sportsman weekend

Author Weekend

Music concerts

Cooking weekends

Culinary Tastings

Horseback riding

Carriage rides

Archery

Clay shooting

Hiking

Fly Fishing

Paddle Sports

Cycling

Yoga

Spa

Paintball

 

Driving Directions

The closest airport is located in Knoxville, Tennessee.  There are direct flights to Knoxville from more than 25 cities, which enables you to fly and drive roughly an hour from the airport door to door.  Your car is unpacked for you and taken to your room or cottage while you are in the process of checking in.  From check in, you are able to leisurely walk or be driven to your cottage or room.  Your car is moved to a lot out of sight until either you need it, or it's time to check out. 

Driving directions to Blackberry Farm located at:

1471 West Millers Cove Road
Walland, Tennessee 37886
865) 984 8166

From the North:
Traveling I-75 South –
1. Take I-75 South. Continue on I-275 South for 3.4 miles towards downtown Knoxville.
2. Merge onto I-40 West for ½ mile. Remain in right lanes.
3. Take exit #386B Smoky Mountain/Alcoa/Airport Highway 129 South.
4. Follow 129 South for 13 miles passing McGhee Tyson Airport.
5. Merge into the left lane at the split and follow TN 35/321 towards Maryville and the Smoky Mountains.
Continue for 8 miles.
6. Stay straight to remain on 321 North/Lamar Alexander Parkway passing Blount Memorial Hospital and
continue for 10 miles passing the Foothills Parkway entrance and exit.
7. Where the four lane road becomes two lanes, immediately turn right onto West Millers Cove Road, noted
by a small green street sign (for the privacy of our guests there is no directional sign on the highway that
identifies Blackberry Farm).
8. Continue on West Millers Cove Road for 3.5 miles. The split rail fence begins as you approach Blackberry
Farm. Continue past two gated entrances until you see the sign for Blackberry Farm. Turn left into our
driveway. Our team will greet you at the Oak Cottage on the right.

From the South:
1. Take Interstate 75 North through Chattanooga toward Knoxville.
2. Take exit #81 Lenoir City/Oak Ridge. Turn right and follow Highway 321 North through Lenoir City
and Maryville (about 35 miles).
3. Continue on 321 North passing Blount Memorial Hospital on the left approximately 10 miles passing
the Foothills Parkway entrance and exit.
4. Where the four lane road becomes two lanes, immediately turn right onto West Millers Cove Road,
noted by a small green street sign. (Please be aware that, for the privacy of our guests, there is no
directional sign on the highway that identifies Blackberry Farm.)
5. Continue 3.5 miles to where the white rail fencing begins on your left. Continue past two gated
entrances until you see the sign for Blackberry Farm, turning left into our driveway. Our team will greet
you at the covered entrance to the Oak Cottage.

From the East:
1. Travel west on Interstate 40 toward Knoxville.
2. Take exit #386B Smoky Mountain/Alcoa/Airport Highway 129 South.
3. Follow Highway 129 South passing McGhee Tyson Airport.
4. Merging into the left lane at the split, follow Highway 321 North toward Townsend and the Great
Smoky Mountains National Park.
5. Pass Blount Memorial Hospital on the left continuing on 321 approximately 10 miles passing the
Foothills Parkway entrance and exit.
6. Where the four lane road becomes two lanes, immediately turn right onto West Millers Cove Road,
noted by a small green street sign. (Please be aware that, for the privacy of our guests, there is no
directional sign on the highway that identifies Blackberry Farm.)
7. Continue 3.5 miles to where the white rail fencing begins on your left. Continue past two gated
entrances until you see the sign for Blackberry Farm, turning left into our driveway. Our team will greet
you at the covered entrance to the Oak Cottage.

From the West:
1. Travel East on Interstate 40 toward Knoxville.
2. Take Exit #364 Lenoir City/Oak Ridge.
3. Turn right onto Highway 321 North and follow into Maryville about 40 miles.
4. Pass Blount Memorial Hospital on the left continuing on Highway 321North approximately 10 miles
passing the Foothills Parkway entrance and exit.
5. Where the four lane road becomes two lanes, immediately turn right onto West Millers Cove Road,
noted by a small green street sign. (Please be aware that, for the privacy of our guests, there is no
directional sign on the highway that identifies Blackberry Farm.)
6. Continue 3.5 miles to where the white rail fencing begins on your left. Continue past two gated
entrances until you see the sign for Blackberry Farm, turning left into our driveway. Our team will greet
you at the covered entrance to the Oak Cottage.


From Knoxville's McGhee Tyson Airport in Alcoa/Maryville, Tennessee:
Approximately 18 miles/25 minutes.
1. When leaving the airport, take 129 South toward Maryville.
2. Merging into the left lane at the split, follow the sign for Highway 321 toward Townsend and the Great
Smoky Mountains National Park. You will pick up 321 North in Maryville.
3. Pass Blount Memorial Hospital on the left continuing on 321 North approximately 10 miles passing the
Foothills Parkway entrance and exit.
4. Where the four lane road becomes two lanes, immediately turn right onto West Millers Cove Road,
noted by a small green street sign. (Please be aware that, for the privacy of our guests, there is no
directional sign on the highway that identifies Blackberry Farm.)
5. Continue 3.5 miles to where the white rail fencing begins on your left. Continue past two gated
entrances until you see the sign for Blackberry Farm, turning left into our driveway. Our team will greet
you at the covered entrance to the Oak Cottage.

 


From Knoxville's McGhee Tyson Airport in Alcoa/Maryville, Tennessee:
Approximately 18 miles/25 minutes.
1. When leaving the airport, take 129 South toward Maryville.
2. Merging into the left lane at the split, follow the sign for Highway 321 toward Townsend and the Great
Smoky Mountains National Park. You will pick up 321 North in Maryville.
3. Pass Blount Memorial Hospital on the left continuing on 321 North approximately 10 miles passing the
Foothills Parkway entrance and exit.
4. Where the four lane road becomes two lanes, immediately turn right onto West Millers Cove Road,
noted by a small green street sign. (Please be aware that, for the privacy of our guests, there is no
directional sign on the highway that identifies Blackberry Farm.)
5. Continue 3.5 miles to where the white rail fencing begins on your left. Continue past two gated
entrances until you see the sign for Blackberry Farm, turning left into our driveway. Our team will greet
you at the covered entrance to the Oak Cottage.

Eco-Friendly Notes

From what we've seen over the years, Blackberry Farm was one of the first "farm to table" providers in the resort arena.  Sustainably harvested ingredients are the essence of their cuisine, and the menu changes as they grow, harvest and eat according to the seasons.

They have a working farm, including gardens that provide endless kinds of vegetables that the chefs are able to produce incredible culinary creations.  They also have a forager, livestock team, and local agricultural community that provide milk for their onsite cheese maker and meat for their butcher.  Wild mushrooms, blackberries, cherries, and a multitude of other items are constantly being foraged and used in their recipes.  

Guests can even join in  to participate in farm activities and even learn from their garden manager and farmstead educator  about gardening techniques and philosophy.  

 

Locally or Family Owned Business Notes

Mary Celeste Beall
Proprietor
Mary Celeste Beall is the Proprietor of the acclaimed resort hotel Blackberry Farm in the Tennessee Foothills. For more than a decade, Beall has lived and worked on the family-owned property. She and her late husband Sam are credited with transforming the space into a renowned food, wine and wellness destination. Prior to moving to the farm, Mary Celeste earned degrees in business and accounting, and worked as an associate with PricewaterhouseCoopers in San Francisco. She resides on the property with her five children, in the family home she and Sam built within Blackberry’s working farm.

Years ago, her husband Sam Beall would find us at some point during our stay and personally welcome us back.  He was genuinely interested in the perspectives of those guests who had been staying there over the years, and what they thought of the updates and changes.  He was a gem of a person who unfortunately is now deceased, but the overall vision that he had for the property has been upheld and even taken to a new level.  

Sam was clearly all about making sure we had a great experience at Blackberry Farm, and was genuinely interested in any comments or suggestions we had.  Today, there is a foundation in place to support his vision, created by his oldest daughter Cameron who wanted to continue spreading her fathers idea of engaged optimism and pay tribute to his vision of making great days for everyone he came in contact with.  If you're interested in this foundation, you can find more information here:  

http://www.blackberryfarm.com/about/foundation/

 

 

 

Pet Friendly Notes

Yes! But it depends entirely on the cottage or room that is reserved.

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