For the 50+ Traveler

TravelAwaits is excited to share this account of Lynne Spivey’s Blackberry Farm experiences as we look forward to the publication of Blackberry founder Kreis Beall’s new book, The Great Blue Hills of God, which will be out on February 4, 2020.

For more on the book, read our editor’s review: 5 Reasons Why The New Blackberry Farms Tell-All Is Your Next Vacation Read.

Located in the Tennessee mountains just south of Knoxville, Blackberry Farm in Walland provides a luscious setting for relaxation among breathtaking vistas. The farm’s accommodations are spectacular in an easy-going and comforting, classic American style. From individual cottages with heated floors and large windows facing the peaks and forests to charming farmhouses that can host family gatherings, lodging at the farm, a Relais and Chateaux property, has something for anyone wanting to be pampered.

And the pampering begins with selecting the perfect nest for your stay at the Farm!

A room at Blackberry Farm.

From several differently sized offerings, two options work well for an individual visitor or for a couple: a Historic Room in the farm’s original main house or the Holly Glade Cottage Suite. Either choice is especially convenient for first-time Blackberry visitors as they’ll be staying in close proximity to the staff office, the farm’s shop and transportation hub, and casual dining in the main house.

And the farm staff gets it right when they say guests can “expect a feeling of warmth and coziness as if enjoying a private bedroom at a great country estate,” when they cozy into the Historic Rooms’ lovely, country antique-appointed bedrooms.

Equally as luxurious but offering more space given the addition of a living room looking out on stunning landscapes, a stylish suite in the Holly Glade Cottage enclave is only a few steps down the meandering path to the main house.

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Blackberry Farm Activities

Our favorite farm activities over the years have included visiting the farm’s eye-popping wine cellar, which houses an esteemed international collection, enjoying extraordinary wine and artisanal food product tastings, experimenting (and eating!) at cooking lessons in the demonstration kitchen, and exploring the wondrous grounds of the farm.

Of course, a Blackberry stay means the opportunity to sample all of the region’s gorgeous, locally produced fare! While the farm is well known for its own production of quality products, the culinary staff specializes in showcasing and promoting regional, artisanal foodstuff. You can even load your suitcase with scrumptious examples available in the farm shop for a touch of the farm in your own kitchen! In addition to more casual dining available in the main house, evening dining is across the hill in the big red Barn restaurant.

Known not only for its extensive wine collection and farm-to-table cuisine, Blackberry also offers experiences in fly-fishing, horseback riding, hiking and bicycling, and cooking and organic gardening throughout the year, plus an ever-changing array of entertainment and special events. Spa delights and wellness programs are a popular indulgence for visitors wanting to destress, detoxify, and reenergize.

Beautiful landscape near Blackberry Farm.

For adventures away from the farm, visitors (Texans in particular) might be interested to know that Sam Houston began his trip through history in Tennessee as a teacher and then governor before heading west. A wonderful park in his honor is situated a few miles away from the farm. At different times of the year, the farm’s neighboring towns, including Maryville, host events such as the annual Scottish Festival at Maryville College.

And for those who are hoping to stumble upon Southern roots, are collecting tidbits of history, or are just plain nosy, the surrounding country’s small communities, museums, and roadside markers commemorate the early doings of those hardy souls who moved into eastern Tennessee long ago. The typically narrow, winding mountain road leading into the Blackberry Farm acreage is speckled with traditional country houses, pastures, fields, and quaint churchyards where a visitor might see a familiar name or two!

Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a short drive to the farm’s southeast, with Pigeon Forge, Cades Cove, Clingmans Dome, and Gatlinburg nearby. Plan on enjoying the full mountain cultural experience by soaking in the ethereal beauty of the landscape and the people, who are such an integral part of the true American spirit.

Blackberry Farm on a summer day.

For nearly five decades, the Beall family has welcomed guests to relish the beauty and comfort of Blackberry Farm. As the third generation of Bealls grows along with the farm, visitors can continue to enjoy the majesty of the location, the comfort of the mountain retreat, the gift of great food and drink, the camaraderie of new friends, and the welcoming embrace of a fine Southern home.

On a more personal note, after our son and his wife, along with three of our granddaughters, returned to Houston from a week in the Smoky Mountains during the girls’ spring break from school, our son reflected, “I see why you thought about a place here. It’s wildly beautiful.” This confirmed why our hearts start galloping, almost to the bursting point, any time we travel east of the Big Muddy, and our feet begin to feel the elevation change, climbing our way back toward the waiting arms of our beloved mountains in the Land of Blue Smoke -- a name derived from the Cherokee Shaconage (Sha-Kon-A-Hey) meaning: blue, like smoke, which describes the mountains surrounding Blackberry perfectly.

Already dreaming of your Blackberry Farm getaway? Then the new Blackberry Farms tell-all is your next vacation read for these five reasons.