The Great Smoky Mountains National Park attracts more than 12 million visitors each year, making it the most visited national park. Crowds are especially dense in autumn, when the black gums, sour woods, dogwoods and red maples erupt into fiery foliage. This fall, leave your camping gear in the garage and head to Blackberry Mountain (from $ 1,045 a night, blackberrymountain.com), where you can experience the tranquility of the ancient Appalachian countryside away from the leafing crowds.
The east Tennessee resort, which opened in 2019, sits just outside the park on 5,200 acres of secluded protected wilderness in the Smoky Mountains, and combines the luxurious accommodations and hospitality of its famous sister property Blackberry Farm with an expert-operated selection of stunning outdoor and outdoor activities wellness activities. But before you envision a weekend of green juices and grain husks, think again.
“The culinary experience is just as central for the mountain as it is for the farm,” says Andy Chabot, who oversees the two restaurants Firetower and Three Sisters as well as a wine cave with first-class bottles from small family families. Operate wineries; Pinot Noir is a collaboration with Hirsch Vineyards in California.
The Blackberry Mountain chefs take advantage of the natural premium of the Smokies and are avid collectors of mushrooms, herbs, vegetables, berries and other wild ingredients. Despite a health-conscious approach, enjoyment is essential. After all, you can migrate it later. Or burn it in the Spin Lab, the Yoga Studio or on the climbing wall in the Hub, the center of all resort activities.
Or not. Lazing around the spa’s infinity pool is okay too. The spa offers range from standard hot stone massages and moisturizing facials to chakra balancing and suspended sound baths. And if Mother Nature makes you miss out on the camping gear, the resort offers guided backpacking trips – with luxury cribs, an open-air stone house that will ruin tents forever, and chef-cooked alfresco multi-course dinners.