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Blackberry Mountain

Picks

Rustic-chic, wellness-focused, romantic

1041 The Loop Rd. Walland, Tennessee 800-993-7824 www.blackberrymountain.com

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At a Glance

The sister property to the acclaimed Blackberry Farm hotel, the all-inclusive Blackberry Mountain is a smaller, more health-focused property with cozy, stylish rooms and villas, a great culinary program and a daily schedule of excellent fitness classes.

Indagare Loves

  • Early morning hikes to Firetower restaurant, which offers stunning views and delicious cuisine such as sweet potato hash with avocado yogurt, crispy grains, a sunny side–up egg and fermented hot sauce.
  • The holistic spa treatments, including acupuncture and aromatherapy massages
  • The one-bedroom Clingman’s Cottages, which have hot tubs and a spa room that can be converted into a second bedroom for children.

Review

Located on 5,200 acres in Tennessee, Blackberry Mountain had a fanbase before it even opened in 2019, thanks to its world-famous sister hotel, Blackberry Farm, which is seven miles away. A passion project of the Beall family, the mountaintop resort was born out of a desire to create a hotel that was more adventure- and wellness-focused—the boutique Blackberry Farm is much larger, more old-world in décor and has a serious gourmet program that specializes in indulgent Southern cuisine. And the Bealls accomplished just that with Blackberry Mountain, a cozy, high-design property with breakfast, dinner and daily fitness classes all included in the rate. A special hideaway, the resort feels like a sophisticated camp with an abundance of activities, friendly staff and a relaxed but refined atmosphere that is as ideal for families as it is for couples looking to get away for a few nights. (Note that while Blackberry Farm is close, Blackberry Mountain guests can only visit for a property tour and sometimes a meal, but hotel guests get first priority).

All of the accommodations at Blackberry Mountain have a rustic-chic aesthetic, a wall with floor-to-ceiling windows, wood-burning fireplaces and golf carts for getting around the property. The cabins near the main building are the Thunderhead and Clingman’s Cottages, which are nearly identical, except that the latter have hot tubs and spa rooms that can be converted into small second bedrooms (contact Indagare for assistance choosing the room that is right for you). About 15 minutes by golf cart up the mountain are the six Watchman Cabins, which are intended to be more remote. The almost entirely wooden rooms have wood-burning stoves and no TVs. They are located just next to Firetower restaurant and share a small hot tub, but guests can also visit the main pool and facilities—Blackberry Mountain has a fleet of Lexus SUVs that can shuttle guests down in about five minutes. For larger groups, there are two- and four-bedroom villas, which are located near the main area.

A part of Relais & Châteaux, Blackberry Mountain has an expectedly superb culinary program. While the menus are crafted to be highly nutritious and make use of local, seasonal ingredients, every dish is packed with flavor—and guests have the ability to indulge, if they so desire. The most upscale restaurant, Three Sisters, serves four-course dinners in the main building. While all the menus change seasonally, past courses have included homemade tagliatelle with black truffles, sweet potato latkes with chickpea purée and a whole-roasted, fennel-rubbed chicken for two. Also in the main building is Whippoorwill Lounge, which offers a continental buffet and à la carte items such as açai bowls and gluten-free griddle cakes at breakfast and bites like homemade brebis dip with crudité, warm brassica grain bowls and burgers with bacon jam, white cheddar and paprika fries at lunch (the menu can also be enjoyed poolside). No visit to Blackberry Mountain is complete without a few meals at Firetower, a mountaintop restaurant built around a lookout tower from the 1940s that has breathtaking views and a library for post-dining relaxing. Open for breakfast and lunch, the restaurant serves slightly heartier fare, such as sweet potato and kale pizza and mushroom-walnut Bolognese.

The fitness facilities at Blackberry Mountain are phenomenal, and include a well-equipped gym, spin studio, yoga loft, indoor rock wall and a half basketball court. Daily complimentary fitness classes include hot yoga, barre, spin, TRX, suspension Pilates, HIIT classes and guided stretches. There are a handful of activities that can be arranged for an additional fee, such as reformer Pilates, aerial yoga, sound bathing and lessons on the climbing wall.

In additional to the exercise schedule, Blackberry Mountain also offers an abundance of activities (for an additional fee) that encourage guests to get out in nature. These include horseback riding, rock climbing, mountain biking, fly fishing, archery, clay pigeon shooting, wake surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding and hiking on property or in the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There is also an excellent kids club and art studio, where you can make pottery, handwoven baskets and paintings. Blackberry Mountain also runs cooking demos, during which guests can make three-course meals with the chefs or learn about mixology.

The main building is where you’ll find the pool and Nest Spa, the latter of which has holistic treatments, including acupuncture and aromatherapy massages, as well as a nail salon. Should you wish to really overhaul your wellness regimen at Blackberry Mountain, the spa also offers programs like the four-hour Forage experience, which includes an 80-minute hike, herbal remedy session with the hotel’s Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine and an herbal poultice massage.

Who Should Stay

Couples looking for a quiet weekend away, families who want an adventure-focused trip but seriously pampering accommodations and anyone who wants a wellness-focused property that doesn’t feel at all restrictive. Note: Blackberry Mountain has a three-night minimum.

Getting There

Blackberry Mountain is a 30-minute drive from the McGhee Tyson Airport, just outside of Knoxville.

When to Go

Open year-round, Blackberry Mountain is quiet and relaxing in the winter. It is its prime in the spring and fall when the activities are all running but it isn’t yet too hot. It can be extremely hot in July and August, so it’s best to avoid visiting then, if possible.

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