My recent trip to Blackberry Farm in Tennessee was an unbelievable experience. The sheer inspiration I found in the property's Southern charm and focus on organic living and farm-to-table food was truly unparalleled. I can't wait to start dreaming up new paintings and patterns inspired by my time on the farm.
One of the things that struck me the most was how almost everything at the farm was grown right there, from the vibrant produce to the fragrant flowers. It gave me a newfound appreciation for nature's beauty and makes me want to try so many new recipes and interesting combinations this Fall.
Not only was the property's exterior landscape lush and green (and it still wasn't quite fall yet with temps in the 80s), but the interiors at Blackberry Farm were to die for, classic with a southern twist.
If you ever find yourself at Blackberry Farm, here are my tips and takeaways for how to make the most of your stay:
- Plan Ahead: Make reservations well in advance, especially for dining and spa treatments. Blackberry Farm is a popular destination, and availability can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons. We made reservations for dinner each night about three months ahead of time.
- Choose Your Accommodations Wisely: We stayed in the Holly Glade cottages and found them to be perfectly well appointed and spacious for a couple. We had a living area, fireplace, double sinks, bathtub, shower, walk-in closet and bar that was fully stocked with complimentary soft drinks, coffee, tea and snacks. We were also greeted with two jar of homemade cookies. For being the "least expensive" room on property, I honestly wouldn't have wanted anything else. It also came with a golf cart and was very close to all of the main buildings on property.
- Understand What's Included (and What's Not): We learned upon arrival that all food is included with your nightly rate starting with dinner on the evening of check-in. Check-in is at 4 pm. It ends with lunch on the day of check-out. Alcohol is not included. There is always food available, even during off times, but it is extra.
- Explore the Activities: Take full advantage of the farm's activities. We were there with a group of eight couples, and focused on two main activities during the three nights we were there. I would definitely recommend the Clay Shooting/Paintball excursion if you're adventurous. We took a van off-property (about 30 minutes away) and spent 3 hours learning how to shoot clay pigeons and also teaming up for a wild game of paintball. I walked away with a big bruise on my arm, but I earned my battle scar! We also made use of the complimentary tennis/pickleball courts and even had a "Retro-themed" Pickleball Round Robin tourney one day. From guided hikes to farm tours, and culinary workshops, there is something for everyone (note: most activities are additional fees on top of the nightly rate).
- Check Out the Spa: I ended up booking a 50 minute massage for the final morning of our trip. The spa itself is well appointed and is also home to a small fitness room, a locker room and an adults-only pool. If you have limited time, you don't even need to stop at the pool, but it was a very relaxing way to end the trip.
- Culinary Delights: Blackberry Farm is renowned for its exceptional culinary offerings. Enjoy the farm-to-table dining experiences, wine tastings, and cooking classes. Be open to trying the chef's recommendations, as they often showcase the freshest seasonal ingredients. There are two dinner-time restaurants, The Dogwood (more casual) and The Barn. Both were excellent, but The Barn was truly exceptional and had an unbelievable ambience.
- Wine: We were able to ask for a complimentary tour of the property's wine cellar after our dinner at The Barn (this didn't include any tastings). We learned they are home to the country's second largest wine collection in the country, and it was QUITE impressive. Next time I might sign up for the wine and cheese tasting, but felt we didn't have enough time this trip.
- Relaxation and Wellness: Pamper yourself at the Wellhouse Spa. Book a massage or wellness treatment to unwind and rejuvenate. The spa's serene setting adds to the overall relaxation experience.
- Enjoy the Outdoors: Take time to explore the beautiful grounds. Go for a bike ride, enjoy a picnic by the lake, or simply take a leisurely stroll through the gardens. The farm's natural beauty is a significant part of its charm.
- Special Occasions: If you're celebrating a special occasion, let the staff know in advance. Blackberry Farm is known for going the extra mile to make celebrations memorable. Bill was able to surprise me a few times - I had balloons in my room and was surprised with a beautiful cake on my birthday. My parents also surprised us with declisiou wine and champagne and a few other items from the gift shop and a resort credit that I used at the spa on my last day!
- Check for Seasonal Events: Keep an eye out for any seasonal events, such as harvest festivals or holiday celebrations. There wasn't anything "special" going on during our stay, but Blackberry Farm is known for its concerts and retreats, so check the calendar. We also hosted a private dinner one night at quaint space on the property known as the Yallerhammer (for an extra fee). The concierge helped us hire a local Bluegrass band (Misty River), and served everything to us from a small kitchen at the Yallerhammer. We started with music and appetizers and moved to a candlelit dinner outside under a beautiful covered gazebo. Highly recommended for a special experience!
- Transportation: We flew into Knoxville Airport (Austin to Atlanta to Knoxville) and the concierge helped us arrange transport to and from. We had a large group and it was $400 each way for a sprinter van. There are also taxis that can be called, but limited Ubers. The drive to the property was about 30 minutes.
Remember that Blackberry Farm is a place to relax, rejuvenate, and savor the beauty of nature and the culinary arts. By following these tips and tricks, you can make the most of your stay and create lasting memories at this exceptional Southern retreat.