From the beaches to the mountains, a Knoxville couple who has long owned land along the coastal communities of 30A recently chose the perfect lifestyle — spending part of their time along our coast, during the most pleasant season, and then heading to the mountains for a gorgeous and vastly different season.
Christy and Teddy Phillips recently selected the location of their forever homestead in the Tennessee foothills at Blackberry Farm, and now they enjoy the perfect lifestyle mix of the Gulf Coast and the Smoky Mountains. Christy and Teddy invited us into their home on Blackberry Farm, one of the world’s most exquisite places to live or visit. Named for the prolific number of blackberry bushes and East Tennessee land bent toward rich agricultural opportunity, Blackberry Farm began as a small inn. In 1976, the Beall family purchased the property, and over the next few decades, developed the land into a dream destination. Blackberry Farm is now a renowned member of the Relais & Châteaux association of luxury resorts.
How did you discover Blackberry Farm? Tell us about your very first visit.
Around 2007, Teddy and I decided to do a one-night getaway within close proximity to our Knoxville, Tennessee, home. We booked a room at Blackberry Farm and made the 45-minute drive to Walland. We headed to The Dogwood, which is the restaurant in the main house. Now famous, The Barn (an upscale dining and culinary teaching facility) had not been built. Teddy did not have a dinner jacket. When we entered the dining room, the host told us jackets were required. Teddy told the host he had brought one, but we had a flat tire on the way there. He comically explained the jacket was really dirty because he had laid it on the ground for me to sit and change the tire. I think the host really believed Teddy and felt sorry for me because he let us eat in the dining room anyway. Over the years, we continued to watch the property grow and evolve.
Clearly, Blackberry Farm is a uniquely special place that delivers an unmatched, idyllic lifestyle. For those who have not visited, how would you describe the farm? What elements of this magnificent community are most special to you and your family?
The farm is 4,200 acres of lush greenery and farm-to-table gardens, livestock, and of course, the world famous truffle dogs. The farm to us is similar to our lifestyle on 30A. We are very active here, just as we are at the beach. We walk or run in the mornings, we hike the farm and then we enjoy amazing food. We are even offered room service if we get in a crunch or just want some of their fantastic fried chicken. The gift shop has farm-made items, such as sauces, jellies, baking mixes and their signature pimento cheese that guests have in their rooms upon checking in. Blackberry Farm even has a local brewery. Its Classic Saison won the World Beer Cup in 2016.
Share with us the top reasons you chose Blackberry Farm as the location for your forever home.
Blackberry provides for us the same lifestyle we enjoy on 30A but in close proximity to work, family, friends and our beloved grandchildren. Driving home through the beautiful foothills every day is a pleasure that I do not take for granted.
Having previously designed and built residences in many planned communities, what were the original visionary elements and features that you wanted to bring to life in the design of this home? What are the highlights of this exceptional residence?
The inspiration for our home came from a stay at Calistoga Ranch in the Napa, California, area. There, we enjoyed pod living. I like smaller, intimate spaces. Pod living provides a sprawling home yet still offers intimate areas throughout, which makes the home feel cozy. We describe our house as having a one-story master suite pod, a two-story entertaining, all-glass pavilion, a three-story kitchen/living/guest room pod, and a separate guest cottage. The goal was to bring the outdoors inside. I need sunlight and, therefore, lots of glass. I also love how dark it gets here at night. I remember one special evening so well. I watched the full moon pass through the three dormers in the pavilion, and shortly after I saw the Big Dipper.
Driving up to your property brings a broad smile at first impression, especially when greeted by the small sign indicating the home’s name. Tell us the story behind naming your home “Hissyfit”
I would rather not comment on how the name came to be, ha-ha!
“Hissyfit” is a good old Southern term for a feminine temper tantrum. Maybe I had one or two hissyfits during construction.
You are now settling in as Walland, Tennessee, locals. What have been the highlights of living at Blackberry Farm? What do you love the most?
I would say that Teddy loves that, in his words, “the pretty people turn up over here twice a week.” He loves talking with the staff, guests, neighbors and basically anyone and everyone. We enjoy the concerts and special events. The grandkids love riding on the golf cart. At Christmas time, there is an organized scavenger/photo hunt. One of my favorite moments happened last Christmas. We visited Blackberry’s Chapel on the Hill. My 4-year-old granddaughter spotted the chapel’s Bible and told us the story of baby Jesus. Another highlight is that we have lots of overnight guests. Several months ago, a neighbor reminded us, “If you invite them, they will show up.” He was right.
How will this home shape your days ahead in ways you have dreamed of and looked forward to?
This home feels comfortable and not formal. Hissyfit is a place where others want to stay and put their feet up. There is something special about family and friends not having to run out the door to get home. When they know they are staying overnight, they just seem more relaxed. We look forward to many overnights with family and friends.
Blackberry Farm boasts many amenities. Stunningly appointed accommodations are only the beginning. Guests and residents are treated to top-notch spa services at The Wellhouse. Local artisans and chefs from across the globe delight diners with first-class, creative cuisine. Famous musicians hold private concerts. For exercise and outdoor enthusiasts, Blackberry Farm guides thrill participants with kayaking, fishing, cycling and hiking adventures on Little River, on Old Walland Highway, and in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, respectively.
Blackberry Farm is hard to capture in words. Being “on property” is an immersion in an unmatched combination of nature, comfort, imagination, simplicity, and exposure to the world’s finest experiences while settled on a sacred and safe piece of earth.
For more information, visit BlackberryFarm.com.
Photos by Hillary Moore, Wandermoore Photography