Luxury meets adventure in TN
Blackberry Mountain is approximately seven winding, country miles from the award-winning Blackberry Farm.
Though close in proximity, the just opened resort in Walland, Tennessee, offers a more adventurous luxury experience.
If Blackberry Farm is a five-course, Southern meal complete with locally grown produce, a fine vintage and old world comforts, the now-open Blackberry Mountain is its get-up-and-go younger sister, offering nourishing meals with world-inspired flavors and a craft beer to wash it all down.
“I want guests to leave the mountain feeling inspired. I hope they’re invigorated by something they saw, did or learned,” proprietor Mary Celeste Beall said. “I want our guests to feel like they discovered a new place where they can feel at home, a place that is nurturing, exciting and impossible to forget.”
If Blackberry Farm is a quiet stroll through the garden, Blackberry Mountain is a rigorous, uphill hike followed by a yoga cool-down.
Trail access is integrated into the resort, so guests are never very far away from one of the many hiking and biking trails and are even encouraged to hike to breakfast.
The Farm interiors are refined and classic, while the Mountain interiors are warm and modern, achieved with hardwood with sleek metallic touches, warm jewel tones, massive windows, countless fireplaces and eye-popping light fixtures.
Staying at Blackberry Mountain
Like Blackberry Farm, Blackberry Mountain is a member of luxury resort association Relais & Châteaux, one of only four resorts in the world to earn the designation before opening Feb. 15.
“Blackberry Mountain has been a dream for the Beall family for a long time,” Beall said. “There was so much behind the vision of this property. We wanted to protect the land, to preserve the beauty of the viewscape, and to create even more opportunity for guests to experience this area that we love and cherish so much.”
After three years of development, the completed resort spans 5,200 acres, more than half of which is in conservation.
The accommodations on the Mountain have a modern but cozy feel.
Crafted with local stone, the 18 Stone Cottages halfway up the mountain come in a variety of sizes, some with a private courtyard and hot tub. Atop the mountain are the six Watchman cabins, more rustic and remote. The Azalea Gap Homes and The Mountain Homes offer more space and privacy.
There are lots of memorable details to be found on the mountain, from the massive windows revealing every possible view opportunity to the outdoor board meeting area that can be accessed via hike.
All the resort rooms have been completed and the 70 private home properties available on the Mountain have almost all been sold, director of marketing Sarah Elder Chabot said.
Room rates start at $995 for double occupancy and include dinner and breakfast, guided morning hikes and morning wellness classes.
Mountain wellness: Sound bathing to chakra balancing
Guests on the Mountain have endless activities to choose from, like mountain biking, pilates, rock climbing or creekside meditation, to the more unusual. Aerial yoga, sound bathing, inspiration hikes and cardio drumming are just a few examples.
“We want them to connect, whether that’s with the land or with the people that they came with or themselves. To try something new and to push themselves,” Chabot said. “I think a lot of times on vacation people are searching for rest and relaxation, but they also walk away like ‘What did I just do with my time?’ I think this is a property that’s really going to combine both of those things.”
The spa, Nest, is a naturopathic treatment center with a sauna, steam showers and heated infinity pool with a view of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It offers a long list of selfcare and wellness treatments from the traditional to herbal remedies, tuning forks and chakra balancing.
There’s also a kid camp with a gym, rock climbing wall and art studio to appeal to families.
Three Sisters and Firetower restaurants
The cuisine at Three Sisters is intended as fuel for adventure, Chabot said, with an opportunity to try new flavors and spices and a vegetable-forward menu. Executive Chef Josh Feathers has been with Blackberry Farm since 2000.
“There’s a lot of opportunity to try some new things, there’s very world-inspired flavors and spices that you’ll find on the menu,” Chabot said.
The Firetower restaurant was built around a restored watchtower, which guests can climb. The casual, mountaintop restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and cocktails with dishes like mussels, flatbreads and harvest bowls. Chef Joel Werner oversees the Firetower menu.
Between the Farm, the Mountain and Blackberry Farm Brewery, the company employs about 738 people, including about 190 on the Mountain.
Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Brenna McDermott
The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit www.eteda.org
Published March 29, 2019