- Style Home-comfort farm
- Setting Pristine pastoral idyll
Hidden away on sprawling bucolic acres in Tennessee's Smokey Mountains, Blackberry Farms hotel is so much more than a well-maintained country home off the beaten path. This picket-fenced pastoral paradise raises the bar on rural retreats by kicking up the luxury with contemporary décor, a welcoming and helpful staff and a private fleet of Lexus cars. That would have been enough, but one of the best local culinary experiences in the country sets this escape a cut above the rest.
Need to know
- Rooms 59.
- Rates Double rooms from $845.00, excluding tax at 33.25 per cent.
- More details Rates include the 'Full American' meal plan of three meals a day and snacks from the pantry.
- Facilities Fitness room, spa, library, tennis courts, croquet lawn, hiking trails, DVD library, free WiFi throughout. All rooms have CD players; Singing Brook suites and Hill Cottages have minibars and flatscreen TVs – Singing Brook Cottages have DVD players.
- Poolside Atop the hill, not far from the main house, Blackberry Farm’s smallish pool is surrounded by loungers and flowers, with views of the Smoky Mountains stretching into the horizon.
- Check–out 1pm. Check-in is officially 4pm, but guests are welcome to arrive at the farm at any time.
Children The farm’s a dream-come-true for outdoorsy young uns. Over-10s are welcome at any point; under-10s during ‘family time’ – 15 June to Labor Day, the Thanksgiving Holiday, Christmas (15–29 December), Easter, and Memorial Day.
- Also There’s a two-night minimum stay, except in September and November, when it’s three nights, and Thanksgiving, when there’s a four-night minimum.
In the know
- Our favourite rooms Our faves by far are the Singing Brook Cottages, which are superbly spacious pleasantly secluded, and offer a gorgeous contemporary take on chic rusticity. They're only slightly pricier than the more chintzily trad Holly Glade Cottages, but swathes more stylish. East Friesian and Milk & Cider are Smith’s top picks. The Hill Cottages are the hotel’s top tier, with jaw-dropping blinged-up bathrooms and outdoor fireplaces on their decking – but we’d still go for the more modest Singing Brooks. If you prefer more traditional Southern surroundings, we fell head over heels for the double aspect mountain views from Magnolia, an Estate (standard) Room in the main house. In the guest house, Trillium and Yellow Mandarin are both cosily situated in the eaves of the building – Trillium looks onto the mountains, Yellow Mandarin the forests.
- Packing tips Bring plenty of conversational inspiration – you’ll doubtless be sat in hickory rocking chairs chatting and star-gazing late into the night. Do remember swimwear – just because you're high in the hills doesn't mean you can't top up your tan.
- Also You’ll be given your own golf buggy for pootling about the farm, but should you wish to travel further afield, you can choose between the hotel’s Lexus fleet and a horse-drawn carriage.
Food and drink at Blackberry Farm
- Hotel restaurant Fine dining is on offer in the Barn, reconstructed 18th-century Amish building centred on an open kitchen. The Main House is cosier and less formal. Made from the farm’s own produce, ‘Foothills Cuisine’ is more nouvelle than traditional Southern.
- Dress code Southern-belle style for ladies, jackets for gents if you’re eating in the Barn. The Main House has a more casual, less ‘vacationing CEO’ sartorial vibe.
- Top table The Barn’s booths are elegant and intimate, but you can take a meal anywhere you wish on Blackberry Farm – we like lazy lakeside lunches at the boathouse and early evening barbecues at the Yallarhammer pavilion by the trout pond.
- Last orders The Barn’s last dinner reservation is at 9pm – ditto the Main House, but there are snack-filled pantries throughout the farm available for the pilfering throughout the night. You can get a drink at the Dogwood bar between 4.30pm and 11pm.
- Room service The in-room dining menu covers everything from standard Stateside snack fodder such as popcorn and milk and cookies, to full gourmet meals.
- Hotel bar Tucked away in the Main House, the wood-panelled Dogwood Bar is a tea room by day, and a traditional cocktail spot by night, with a huge range of signature drinks and a passion for artisanal bourbons.