On a weekly basis, there are Mondays. Unavoidable, dreaded, Mondays. We all know this.
But sometimes there are Mondays that make you want to crawl back in bed, curl up, and start the day, start the week, maybe even start the entire month over.
This Monday was one of those days.
Without going into details, I was reminded on both personal and professional levels that this life we try so hard to dictate is often far beyond our grasping hands to control. At 10 AM I looked at my phone – the absolute bane of my existence at the moment – and decided to not let the incoming calls (I mean one after the other of just bad news) hinder the trip I had planned. As an early Mother’s Day present, I had arranged a road trip with my mom to Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee, only about 25 minutes outside of Knoxville.
This fantastic partner property is well worth the easy drive from Atlanta and apparently, it’s the South’s best kept secret. Be forewarned: there are no signs for the property when you turn off of the highway, you just have to trust that your GPS is taking you to an oasis disguised as a farm.
From the fresh smell of the air to the seclusion of your cabin, something about Blackberry Farms allows weary travelers like myself to finally exhale. That and the lack of cell phone coverage (ironically, while chatting with my boss earlier today, I told her that I hoped I was going far enough away that my phone wouldn’t work – that might’ve been a self fulfilling prophecy, so email me if you need anything over the next two days). I owe a big thanks to my wonderful rep, Michael, for allowing us to experience this fantastic retreat – and for the amazing room upgrade and tour of the property.
We’re currently staying in one of the Singing Brook Cottage Suites, a room that is nestled into the woods and slightly reminiscent of our stay at El Silencio in the cloud forest of Costa Rica. The perfect little suite has crisp white decor and views of nothing but intense, green foliage. The room also comes with its own golf cart, which I abruptly ran off the road (it only took us 10 minutes to figure out how to turn it on…) on the way to our dinner.
Prior to our dinner, Michael showed us around the property. Just driving past the long white fences and rows of little yellow flowers is enough to put any mind at ease. The 6600+ acre property is truly a paradise waiting to be discovered – from ponds for fly fishing to hiking trails (but let’s be honest, we all know the only thing I’ll be discovering is the food). Our tour also took us past the greenest of meadows where llamas stood tall guarding the sheep.
I was so intrigued when this was pointed out to me that I had to find out more. Apparently, since the llamas are so tall, they scare away any potential threats to the sheep, like coyotes. If I were to choose an animal to guard me against predators, it would most definitely not be a llama, but apparently it works…Speaking of animals, Michael told us about the truffle dogs that are being raised on property, so we’ll be on the lookout for the puppies that they’re currently training tomorrow.
The idea behind Blackberry Farm is phenomenal – it is a truly remarkable, large scale and functioning example of the ever popular farm-to-table cuisine style. For example, the truffle dogs will soon be used to assist with harvesting the truffles that the property is currently cultivating. Blackberry Farm prides itself in meals that have been brought in either from its own farm or from a very nearby source – and it reflects in the fresh, delicious cuisine. The property landed on the cover of last month’s Bon Appetit magazine and several members of the culinary team are representing Blackberry at the James Beard Awards tonight. If the food alone doesn’t do it for you, maybe the wine collection will: with over 180,000 bottles, Blackberry is home to one of the largest wine collections in the world.
Tonight, we enjoyed a fantastic meal of Potato and Green Garlic Soup, Red Snapper with Lemon Butter Gnocchi, a selection of Blackberry’s fresh cheeses and homemade jam (my favorite part) and Milk Chocolate Hazlenut Crunch (also my favorite part) before settling back into our cottage for the evening. With one short evening, Blackberry managed to turn my Monday completely around (and fill me with more food than I usually eat in a week).
Moral of the story: sometimes you need a getaway even more than you realize…and sometimes that getaway is just a short drive up the road. Keep Blackberry on your radar and check back on tomorrow’s blog post to hear more about the cuisine, our convertible Lexus ride, and possibly even more on those llamas.
Interested in a stay at Blackberry Farm? Don’t forget: guests who book through me receive a $100 spa credit and an upgrade if available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to begin planning your own getaway to anywhere in the world!
We are stones to be seen, in the meadows we are dreams to be free
It’s where we bow our heads to pray, we are echoes God creates in the shade
It’s where the light can come in, your breath becomes the wind in the trees
We are free, we are free.
– “Maraqopa,” Damien Jurado