From wide-open landscapes to soulful cuisine—not to mention gracious hospitality and ease of travel—a Southern honeymoon has all the makings of a memorable journey. But to turn a regular vacation into a once-in-a-lifetime honeymoon, you need a YOLO-worthy hotel. In the South, few can top Tennessee’s Blackberry Farm, a 9,200-acre escape in the foothills of the misty Smoky Mountains. The pastoral hideout has something for everyone: fitness buffs will love the daily exercise classes and miles of hiking trails, foodies can expect world-class meals and firsthand lessons, spa lovers will want to spend all day at the Wellouse. Not matter where your passions lie, rest assured Blackberry Farm will inspire you to try a little bit of everything. Not equestrians? Prepare to ride horses every day. Never fly-fished in your lives? Consider yourselves hooked. If the goal of your honeymoon is to relax, reconnect, and kickstart your new life together with amazing experiences (which it should be), you really needn’t look further. But just in case you’re yet not convinced, here are five reasons why we love Blackberry Farm:
1. It’s easy to get to.
Sure, the South Pacific is super sexy, but it’s also super far away. Blackberry is located just 200 miles east of Nashville and 30 miles south of Knoxville. Guests who aren’t local have the option to fly into the regional airport in Knoxville or drive four hours from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. We recommend the latter route, which turns the journey into a scenic road trip, one that’s all the more memorable when you’re in a state-of-the-art vehicle like the Buick Enclave Avenir. We were among the first to test-drive the new car.) Those who are directionally challenged will appreciate the built in WiFi, touch-screen navigation, and the rear park assist, while the passenger will love playing DJ with the Bose speaker system.
2. There’s tons of privacy.
Blackberry Farm is home to 68 standalone suites, which range from two-room cottages to five-bedroom homes. The style is rustic yet warm—clean, neutral tones and vaulted ceilings complement upscale accents like fine-art paintings, oversize fireplaces, and can-I-take-that-home-with-me wooden chandeliers. Though many guests opt to stay in one of the main guest house, we recommend the Singing Brook Cottage Suites, which are nestled among pine trees and have cozy porches for alfresco morning coffee.
3. It gets you back to nature.
Think of Blackberry less as a hotel, more as a home-away-from-home. So let the pastoral vibes sink in and explore the grounds as if they were your own backyard. Take a custom mountain bike out on the winding, tree-lined roads. Get closer to those Smoky Mountains on a hike inside the national park, which has 900 miles of nature trails. Go for a horseback ride on the property. Or explore the nearby waterways—mountain lakes, streams, and wetlands—by canoe, kayak, or standup paddleboard.
4. The food is insane.
Prepare to throw that pre-wedding diet out the window. Blackberry Farm is a member of Relais & Chateâux, a designation given exclusively to hotels with top-notch culinary programming. You'll see why Blackberry is deserving of this when you tour the on-site creamery, bakery, and charcuterie. And the 180,000-bottle wine cellar. And the collection of 600 different bourbons, ryes, scotches, and Japanese whiskies. For dinner, take your pick between the Barn and the Dogwood, which, since the ingredients are harvested just a few feet away, are farm-to-table in concept. Treat yourselves to the seven-course tasting menu with wine pairings at the Barn. The menu changes seasonally, but we promise dishes like fingerling sweet potato with roasted pecans or Painted Hills beef flat iron with potato purée will make your honeymoon truly unforgettable.
5. You can learn a new skill.
The best part about Blackberry’s culinary focus: You can learn to cook straight from the pros. Watch a Top Chef-style cooking demonstration or help one of the chefs prep a three-course farm-style meal to put your new skills to the test. After you’ve worked up an appetite, challenge each other to a new sport. Blackberry has an Orvis-endorsed fly-fishing outpost, so all the gear, guides, and even the fish (they stock the creek, since it’s such a popular activity) are right there for you. First one to catch a trout gets… well, we’ll let you decide.