From J.M., New York, NY
My takeaway from Blackberry Farm is that it is a unique and special place that caters to a guest’s every whim. Want to deviate from the menu? Sure, we can do that. Want us to take your kids for an extra hour or two? Sure, we can do that. Staff is there 100% to please the guests, and you sense this from the moment you arrive. There are a lot of things that make this place special – the food, all fresh and from the gardens and farms on site, the activities, the accommodations. But it is the southern hospitality and graciousness that appealed most to us jaded New Yorkers. I came with fairly high expectations (and I have been to amazing places), and they were surpassed in every way. It is definitely one of our top three places we have stayed at.
Accommodations: We stayed in a Leather Britches cottage. Everything was top notch. We had our two young daughters with us, and they stayed in cots in the room. This made it a bit tight but there was still enough space to keep it comfortable. The fully-stocked refrigerator (complimentary) was a big hit. The guest cart was also a big hit, even if a bit cold to use some evenings.
Food: Fresh and incredible. My only comment here for improvement is there needs to be a casual alternative, because four full days of gourmet food is too much (at least for us). We found ourselves skipping lunch one day and getting chili at the kids club or ordering burgers in our room (ordered off the menu – no fuss). Meals are very long and slow, which is a bit hard for the kids, so a shorter option a day or two for dinner would have been wonderful. The only hiccup we had during whole stay was in-room dining. It took too long and then wrong order came and took a few times to get it right (think it was one member of staff who got many orders wrong that night though). Our favorite aspects were the outdoor food events, such as the southern fried turkey lunch on picnic tables on the lawn or barbeque lunch at the pavilion overlooking the lake with band playing Tennessee tunes.
Kids Club: This stood out for us among many other hotels’ clubs. The staff goes all out for the kids. For example, one night was a movie, The North Pole. Our kids received personally addressed envelopes in their rooms with golden tickets to get on the “train”. The room was decorated with snow and makeshift trains. It’s those little things that make the place stand out. Also, the club educates the children about farming and growing vegetables (gathering eggs, milking sheep, making apple cider) versus your standard activities. This appealed to us very much.
We met the owner Sam Beall (his family owns the Ruby Tuesday restaurants), and you can tell he takes great pride and investment in Blackberry Farm. One night at dinner he was going around the tables providing his expertise and recommendations on the wine menu (quite extensive and impressive). The other time he was signing the famous Blackberry Farm Cookbook.
Most of the guests are from Atlanta or other close-by states within driving distance. We definitely stood out as New Yorkers (our kids a bit more “rowdy” than the well-mannered children of the south), and we could tell from some of the adult-only guests that they believed children should be “seen and not heard”. But the staff always made us feel highly welcome. The flight is less than two hours from New York. It is such an easy flight and drive…but you feel millions of miles away.
I would definitely give this place a 6 star if I could! Highly recommended. We are looking forward to going back – when we can replenish the loss in our wallets – but it was worth every penny!
Read a postcard from a member about a family cooking class at Aureole
Read about a member’s visit to Atlanta and Sea Island
Read the Indagare Destination Report on Savannah