If you love travel and scenic snaps, then here’s a name to add to your Instagram follows: Victoria Lewis. The New York-based writer and consultant’s feed is filled with one breathtaking image after another, with an eye towards the colorfully captivating — like a kaleidoscope of woven goods at a Marrakech souk, hand-dyed block prints in Rajasthan, or beach houses with striped facades in Praia da Costa Nova, Portugal. Most recently, her travels took her to Blackberry Farm in Tennessee — and she gave Tory Daily an exclusive glimpse. Here and in the second image in the slideshow above, Lewis shares her recs on what to do there.
Blackberry Farm is world famous for its incredible food — so much so, in fact, that chefs like David Chang and Rich Torrisi have been known to make pilgrimages there to indulge (and, from time to time, take a turn in the kitchen themselves). At breakfast you’ll find plates piled high with sticky buns, steaming griddle cakes and just-baked biscuits. And, yes, it’s all as delicious as it sounds. But be sure to save some room because for lunch there are southern classics like fried chicken (try it – you won’t regret it) on offer and for dinner, good old Tennessee barbecue.
Take a hike.
The stunning property sits at the edge of Smoky Mountain National Park and offers more than nine miles of hiking trails on site (and local guides if you’d like to venture further afield!). Our hike took us through babbling creeks, over boulders and to the top of a wooded ridge from which we had a sweeping view across the hotel grounds and the gorgeous, purple-hued Smoky Mountains beyond.
Make a new friend — or two.
Blackberry Farm is home to plenty of animals — chickens, sheep and some very photogenic horses among them. But by far the stars of the farmyard are the special truffle dogs (called Lagotto Romagnolo) that the staff breed and train on site. The sweet puppies are impossibly adorable, but don’t fall too head over heels — there’s a five-year waiting list to take one home with you!
Give yourself some time to relax and take it all in.
After you’ve hiked, rode bikes, wandered the farmyard and eaten pretty much everything in sight, you’ll want to sit back, relax and take it all in. I escaped one afternoon to the pretty boathouse and sat in the shade watching a grandfather teach his small grandson to fish in the pond. The sweetest way to spend an afternoon.
Indulge in a little spa time.
There’s nothing I love more than a hotel whose spa draws on the ingredients and rituals of the surrounding area and Blackberry Farm does this brilliantly. Try the Smoky Mountain Skin Glow or the Appalachian Body Purification, both of which incorporate local herbs and minerals.
Channel your inner child.
Just outside the Main House, a picture-perfect swing sits attached to the thick branch of a massive tree (referred to by the hotel’s staff as the “great tree”). Right around sunset you’ll want to stake out your turn, swinging high into the air with an unobstructed three hundred and sixty degree view of the majestic Smoky Mountains.