Nature’s the star at these rustic weekend getaways
Stacie Standifer, USA TODAY
It’s a bit hard to describe Blackberry Farm as rugged with so many luxurious inclusions, but it is one of the most rustic and breathtaking properties in the US. Gourmet chefs gather in an oversized (and equipped) barn or historic house to create unforgettable dining experiences as well as providing luncheons on the lawn. Small cabins are nestled into the hillsides where wood-burning fireplaces and designer linens are standard. Blackberry Farm is located near Knoxville, in tiny Walland, Tennessee.
Hiking, culinary instruction, fishing and indulging in spa treatments are all part of the mix. For those seeking a tranquil locale complete with gourmet fare and a top tier wine selection, Blackberry Farm is the reservation to make.
Another property with similar principles is Dancing Bear Lodge. Located near Blackberry Farm and considered a sister property, this 36-acre retreat boasts private biking trails and complete relaxation. A fire in 2013 destroyed the main house and restaurant; but the cabins are still available for rent and include every possible convenience.
Tennessee offers yet up another rustic but elegant choice in Moonshine Hill. Located in the artistic community of Leipers Fork (a half hour drive from Nashville), this is one of the country’s best-kept secrets. Top country music stars rent the location for gatherings, parties and reunions for good reason. There is a main house, side cabins, lake and oversized outdoor fire pit. Yes, they make moonshine (delicious and dangerous), but that’s not the reason for going. The land, the view and authentic finishes are one of a kind. It’s ideal for a group or family getaway, as there are numerous spaces to gather, all completely removed from everyday bustle. A fully-stocked kitchen and affordable rates are just icing on the country cake here.