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There are many things Tennessee is known for: Elvis Presley, country music, and whiskey. Dashing scenes and dazzling sights sweep across “The Volunteer State,” spreading goosebumps on both onlookers and partakers. And painting the landscape with solemn grandeur are the Great Smoky Mountains: sliding ridge—after sliding ridge—of majestic forest cover. There was never another mountain that deserved the prefix “Great.”

Featuring prominently in this kaleidoscope of breathtaking beauty are numerous hotels, lodges, and campsites that provide accommodation to those consumed by this particular strain of wanderlust. Some cater to budget travelers who don’t mind stretching convenience and comfort to their barest. Others are at hand to satisfy the Epicurean desires of luxury and comfort. At the heart of this delightfully complex web is Blackberry Mountain Resort—the focus of this article. Let’s delve in.

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Here’s Why Blackberry Mountain Resort Is Worth It

Nestled in the twisting foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, about 26 miles (41.8 km) on the southeastern side of Knoxville, Tennessee—via TN-33 S —Blackberry Mountain Resort serves southern hospitality in its exact meaning. The resort is just under 30 minutes if someone’s driving from Knoxville. On reaching Blackberry Mountain Resort, one is immediately struck by its sheer size, in the backdrop of stunning 360-degree views of majestic mountains and verdant valleys. For perspective, this property sits on 5,200 acres. Slightly more than half of these, 2,800 acres—are set aside for land conservation. The resort’s atmosphere is the quintessential picture of peace and serenity. A living, breathtaking green is on every blade of grass that one casts his eyes on.

The resort also has several outdoor activities that go a long way in making a vacation restorative. These include zip lining, aerial yoga, tennis, hiking, gym, water-skiing, painting lessons, pottery classes, and forest bathing—among a dozen others. The elegant rooms, which come in five different classes and styles—all open out to sweeping mountain views that one would not want to stop looking at. Other amenities that come with the rooms include kitchens, wood-burning fireplaces, screened porches, air conditioning, free high-speed internet, and a minibar, among many others. For dining, Blackberry’s main restaurant, known as Three Sisters, offers creative mouthwatering menus, broad in range and prepared with the highest culinary sophistication. A four-course rotating menu, internationally curated wines, as well as well-brewed beers. Yet, that is just scratching the surface.

Related: Going To The Smoky Mountains? Why Explore Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Why Blackberry Mountain Resort Is More Than A Resort

Aside from staying in rooms fit for royalty, serving delicious international cuisines, and offering a delightful range of outdoor activities—all while surrounded by views that are better experienced than described, Blackberry Mountain Resort still has one other distinctive feature: Its wellness offering. The restaurant’s wellness philosophy is holistic, targeting the mind, body, and spirit. While practitioners employ many mediums or agencies to bring about holistic wellness, Blackberry Mountain Resort focuses on just two: nature and, surprisingly, art. Some art-based activities the resort has designed as part of its wellness program include meditative watercolors, Mandala stone painting, guided journaling, and clay-based activities.

Meditative watercolors involve subjecting participants to watercolor painting and embedding such creative elements as meditation, breathing exercises, and what they call “intention-setting.” As participants slide their paint brushes across the page, the sensations get awakened while thoughts become uncluttered. Mandala stone painting involves painting geometric patterns known as Mandalas which is Sanskrit for “circle.” In many eastern cultures, Mandala patterns have been associated with wholeness and continuity and, by extension, wellness and healing. The expected immediate outcome is that of inner calmness and clarity.

Working with clay is essentially a sensory experience that goes a long way in boosting mental energies. When it comes to guided journaling, participants—through writing prompts—are helped in putting their everyday experiences on record in a way that highlights the expression of gratitude and appreciation. Scientists have long established the link between gratitude, feelings of happiness—and overall good health.

Related: Nashville, Tennessee: Your Essential Weekend Itinerary.

These Activities Are Included In The Stay Rate At Blackberry Mountain Resort

Every day in the morning, the resort offers fitness classes as part of the room package—and therefore at no extra charge. Other value-adds that are included in the room package include specialty classes, holistic health lecturers, open art studio, and what they call an Open Climb Time. These classes start at 9.00 AM and, since they take three hours, end at exactly noon.

The services, ambiance, setting, and comfort that Blackberry Mountain Resort offers are eloquent arguments against the adage that money cannot buy happiness. This is a resort that meets, perhaps exceeds, every meaning of the word luxury.