WALLAND, Tenn. — The phrase “well-being motel” might also conjure pics of fitness-aware vegans sipping smoothies among detox and meditation sessions. That’s now not the scene at Blackberry Mountain, the brand new luxury well-being retreat in Walland that sits on five,2 hundred bucolic acres (extra than half of are committed to conservation) on the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a sister property to nearby Blackberry Farm, the broadly lauded Relais & Chateaux lodge that positioned tiny Walland at the radar of well-heeled vacationers from around the globe years ago.
The new hotel offers a bespoke revel in which traffic outlines wellbeing for themselves. They may be all-in with vegetarian food and rigorous workout or opt for a balanced approach, where a day of mountain cycling or staying power climbing is rewarded with a fave cocktail. The Field Guide issued at taking a look at-in advises guests to “set your purpose” every day so the hotel can assist with reaching dreams, whether meaning adventure, relaxing within the Nest spa, or studying a brand new talent, which includes archery or capturing carrying clays.
On my latest visit, the aim changed into breakfast at the Firetower restaurant. To get there, I had to hike nearly 1.5 miles — uphill all of the manner. I met Hall Mebane, my young, in shape guide, at The Hub, a base camp for resort activities that consist of the entirety from aerial yoga to cooking demonstrations to canoeing within the Little River. Along the shaded Roaring Branch Trail, Mebane mentioned delicate plants, explaining that biodiversity is a hallmark of this temperate Appalachian rainforest. “There are best 3 or 4 locations inside the international that have a greater numerous vicinity of flowers and fauna,” Hall says. “There are a hundred thirty species of bushes and over 1,500 different species of wildflowers.”
As some distance as fauna, you may catch a glimpse of the elusive bobcat or a shy black undergo, nearly a mascot for the Smoky Mountains. A detour to Goat Hill, a popular lookout point, provided such a fantastic view of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that the ache in my knees evaporated just like the early fog. In this serene oasis, it’s tough to believe that the site visitors-choked traveler towns of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are just a few miles away. At Blackberry Mountain, folks that can come up with the money to spend 4 figures for an overnight stay will find luxe solitude from the traveler throngs. Accommodations are provided in 18 present-day stone cottages, every with its personal patio, fire and soaking tub, or six smaller Watchman Cabins.
Finally, the Firetower restaurant came into view. I wolfed my avocado toast (the “health” idea didn’t avoid an aspect of crispy bacon) and lingered over coffee, looking vibrantly hued indigo buntings flit across the mountaintop.
Guests who aren’t willing to hike to their first meal of the day can continually get a lift in a golfing cart or one of the vehicles from the Lexus fleet. Those extra is inquisitive about enjoyable the mind than training the frame regularly emerge as on the pottery studio. In a quick-paced, high-tech international, there may be something soothing approximately getting lower back to basics, having your fingers on clay and watching it spin, spin, spin at the wheel until the malleable grey lump is converted into a bowl or a vase, a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Instructor Emily Davis gives mild guidance. Add water. A little greater stress. Less speed on the wheel. But she has an arms-off coverage concerning guests’ crafts, so she in no way truly touches the pottery. “I tell them, ‘It’s not my piece. It’s now not our piece. It’s your piece,'” Davis says.