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Travel Journal: 5 Days at Blackberry Mountain
My packing list, travel notes, and even some interior design sources.
Listen, we could all use a vacation. But sometimes, you could really use a vacation. Like a holy shit, I’m drowning, I’m struggling, get me out of here, I’m losing my mind, break-glass-in-case-of-emergency kind of getaway.
Moving really affects me. I’ve written before about how I deal with both ADD and dyscalculia (basically dyslexia but with numbers) — these things demand my home environment be just so. Thus, the disarray of moving has me losing my marbles. Transparently, I haven’t been doing great. This vacation was exceptionally well-timed because I was teetering on the brink.
Blackberry Mountain is the sister property of the world-renowned Blackberry Farm in the Great Smoky Mountains of Walland, Tennessee. Both Relais and Chateau properties, the Mountain tilts younger with more of a wellness focus than the Farm. For us, it was a pleasant 3.5-hour drive from Atlanta.
Baked into the rate are all kinds of fitness classes — yoga, pilates, HIIT, and even a sound bath. The property boasts two restaurants, the more formal Three Sisters and The Firetower, which is more relaxed. The food is decidedly lighter than at the neighboring Farm, less indulgent though no less tasty. I’d equate the entire experience to a very chic summer camp for grown-ups.
We worked with our travel agent Savannah to plan five days on the Mountain for a much-needed retreat. She set us up in one of the Watchman’s cabins which were roomy and secluded, high up on the mountain with an enormous panel of windows boasting a killer view.
It was walkable to the Firetower restaurant and a private infinity hot tub which was lovely for a late-night escape. Our cabin came with a little Club Car to get up and down the mountain. Kevin and I really enjoyed our little cruises from our cabin down to the Lodge/Hub/pool.
But for me, the real value of the trip wasn’t the food or programming, it was simply the pace of the place, which is slow. Waking up every morning to nothing but the rustling of tree leaves did wonders for my mental state. I slept tons, caught up on some books I’ve been wanting to read, meandered Chairish and 1stDibs for things for our new place in NYC, and spent an entire day laid out by the breathtaking infinity pool, which boasts a clear-shot mountain view for miles. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, it doesn’t get more tranquil than this.
The property (only around 4 years old) is also beautifully designed. So much so that it sent me on a Google scour more than once to source little bits and bobs I saw around. I’m including my findings at the footer of this letter.
Due to the casual nature of the trip, I was able to pack light. Below is a quick guide to what I brought.