The Barn at Blackberry Farm is the most elegant barn I’ve ever seen. True, there are exposed ceiling beams and rough sawn walls, but there’s also carpet on the floor, a massive stone fireplace, hotel quality kitchen, and cushy chairs. And tables are adorned with crisp white napkins and fresh flowers from the garden. Attentive servers make you feel like you’re a first-class passenger aboard a luxury liner, instead of a stranger in the backwoods of southeast Tennessee.
The menu features “Foothills Cuisine,” made from locally sourced foods and Southern-inspired recipes. Acres of organic vegetables, many grown from heirloom seeds, supply the kitchen during the growing season. Don’t bother about costs or tips while you’re there. Everything is included in the room rate, which means you can order anything you wish from the menu.
The farm also boasts 300 rare whiskies and a wine list of a couple hundred pages. In the wine cellar, you’ll find 160,000 bottles of vino, some exceeding rare and costing thousands of dollars a bottle. A small brewery on the farm produces a Roasted Red Stout. You won’t be thirsty.
Wining and Dining in The Barn
Within The Barn dining hall is a spacious sideroom equipped with a kitchen and several tv screens for viewing cooking demonstration. With only 8 people in our class, we all had a front row seat. Our teacher, Jeff Ross, knew several St. Louis chefs and spoke glowingly of the food scene in our city. He made—and we ate—several superb dishes. (Recipes were promised, but have not yet arrived.)
The lunch menu included roasted parsnip chips, that crowned a salad of arugula and green onions. The lovely dressing came from a blend of blackberry jam, smoked onions (both sold in the gift shop), apple cider vinegar and garlic. For the entree, Jeff placed a sliver of baked trout atop a bed of vegetables and added a sauce that started with simmering bacon lardons. For dessert, we had a clafoutis (pronounced: cli·foo·tee) made with Luxardo cherries, a deep red, almost black, cherry from Italy. (See in skillet above.)
A Proud Heritage
The farm located in the small town of Walland, Tennessee, is spread out over 4,100 acres. The scenic getaway houses up to 120 guests in 65 rooms, some in the main house and others in cottages, and employes 600 workers. The recent purchase of Blackberry Mountain added another 5,000 acres to the resort property.
It’s not hard to see why the farm is considered one of the finest, small luxury resorts in the country. Guests are pampered, but without it seeming fussy. Mrs. Beall says, “Our family motto is: ‘The answer is yes. Now what is the question?” That attitude is apparent in every interaction with their remarkable staff.
Blackberry Farm continues to exude Southern hospitality, along with charming accommodations and fine food. That was what the Beall family intended when they first began as a country inn more than four decades ago.
More about my stay at Blackberry Farm: A Photo Journal