Places & Spaces: Blackberry Farm, Tennessee

A gourmet slow food paradise in the Smoky Mountains.

In the misty foothills of eastern Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, Blackberry Farm is a delightful and unusual hotel offering a gastro-luxe farm-to-table experience, with southern hospitality.

This being Earth Month, we’ve been reflecting on various ways we’re bringing nature into our homes, for example with micro-sized sexy urban gardens. This rural hotel/farm is at the other end of that scale, a vast 4,200 acre estate with a range of animals including sheep, which produce milk (for cheese), wool and meat; pigs, for sausages and pork; and hens (free-range, naturally), for their eggs. The animals also regenerate the pasture, fertilize, control pests and consume waste products from the farm’s food production.

The gardeners produce heirloom varieties (organically developed over generations, un-genetically-modified) of fruit and vegetables, such as apples, beans and carrots, while wild mushrooms are foraged from the woodlands. They even have black truffles – perfect with fresh eggs for breakfast.

Foodies will truly find heaven, care of the artisans of the farmstead as well as the gardeners. The farm has its own bee-keeper, for instance, and cheese-maker, butcher, plus a preservationist who makes jams, pickles and preserves. There’s a cooking school with celebrity chef guests, as well as a packed program of other food and wine events.

Accommodation is either in a beautiful private house and cottages, or guestrooms in the guesthouse: all is comfortable and classic, with four-poster beds, low-key prints or chintz in muted tones. All rooms and houses have fireplaces, high-speed internet, and integrated surround-sound systems. As well as the outdoor pool, with mountain views, there’s the spa with a wet treatment room offering the latest technology, such as various high-pressure water therapies; yoga classes are also available. Croquet, wildflower hikes and horse-and-carriage rides are other low-impact activities designed to get you in tune with nature, without harming it.

Rates from $345 excluding tax (two night minimum).

Photos: Blackberry Farm

Places & Spaces is a travel guide that will inspire you to carve out a vacation on your calendar. All of the gorgeous locations and accommodations in our guide share our concern for the environment. From tent glamping to lavish built environments, fair warning, you’ll feel compelled to pack your suitcase.

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