Blackberry Farms, Walland

Set on 4200 acres Blackberry Farm is breathtakingly beautiful. It’s rolling hills are bordered by sparkling white fences, there’s a dazzling pond and Boathouse at the base of the Main complex hill, a wonderful farmhouse used as the appropriately named Farmhouse Spa and a delightful pavilion set on another pond and used for various functions.

THE INN
The main complex consists of three buildings; Reception, Chestnut Cottage and the Main House. Reception, also houses the Gift Shop; Chestnut Cottage, is the property’s recreation spot with a fireplace, comfortable chairs and couches, a pool table, piano, game tables, a bar and a complete fitness center. The Main House which sits majestically atop a knoll overlooking the foothills, is home to the restaurant, Dogwood bar and guest rooms. Outside the buildings are white shingled with stone facades and slate roofs. Inside, they are marvelously decorated with rich fabrics, heavy draperies, oriental carpets, stunning artwork and the always dramatic mountain vistas from nearly every window.

THE ROOMS
There are 29 bedrooms and 16 cottage suites that can accommodate 88 guests at any one time. Our Queen Deluxe was a delightful room, though a little small at 262 sq. ft. The Queen Standard is even smaller at 219sq. ft., so I would stay with the Deluxe or better. I would skip the next category (King Standard and Deluxe) and go right to the wonderful Cottage Suites. The price is only slightly more than the King, but the room size jumps from 300 to 600 sq. ft. The Cottage Suites have covered porches with rocking chairs, wood burning fireplaces, a King featherbed, large bathrooms with double vanities and a whirlpool bath.

THE SERVICE
Each morning guests receive a “Times Digest”, a summary of current news from the New York Times and a copy of the Blackberry News, a round-up of the days activities.

I love this place and recommend it heartily. But I would be remiss if I didn’t share my reasoning for a rating just slightly below the other three. We experienced some service glitches and more than one. Nothing really major, and the overall service is very good, but the bar is set a little higher in this company. Normally when I see something wrong during a visit, I send the owner a little note with my observations and leave it at that. In this case I sent an e-mail and a letter to the proprietor and never heard a word back. Not good. We’ll definitely go back and hopefully be able to take the rating up a notch

RATES:
$795-$1,995 includes room for two, three meals for two and most recreation equipment. recommended Cottage Suite is $1,245-$1,345. Two night weekend minimum

WHAT OTHERS SAY…
Forbes 4 Star-Lodge and Restaurant

“Even” “rainy days” are “perfect” at this “cream of the crop” “getaway” in the Smokey Mountains where “beautiful” cottages with stocked pantries and a “doting but discreet” staff are “absolutely the best”; expect to “gain weight” from the “phenomenal” food at the Relais Gourmand eatery, then be distracted by the “breathtaking views” and “acres of gardens” (as well as by wonderful spa services); just be warned: you may “miss your first and second born when you hand them over for payment.” ZAGAT

Travel + Leisure 500 Best Hotels & Resorts Around the World
Conde Nast Gold List
Relais & Chateau Member