I’ve been a journalist for about a decade and have been to many press events. Typically, the average press event is a dreadful affair. A company wants to show the press a new product or service usually through a slideshow or some sort of awkward presentation. Lexus recently invited a few journalists from across the nation to what was an innovative press event at a location that you must add to your travel bucket list: Blackberry Farm in Tennessee.
Blackberry Farm is a 4,000-plus acre pastoral resort in Walland, Tennessee. The entire place is nestled against the Great Smoky Mountains—there is not a bad view to be had in the quaint cottages and carriage houses you can rent during your stay.
On the resort, there’s a slew of activities including paddle boarding, fly fishing, horseback riding, wine and whiskey tastings, and hiking (be cautioned; the seasoned hiking guides will mention the black bears and wild pigs that roam the woods of the Smoky Mountain foothills).
An eclectic selection of food is in abundance. Blackberry Farm is a highly lauded culinary destination with much of the food sourced locally from the region. It’s heaven for foodies, especially Southern cuisine aficionados.
An added luxury: Lexus is a partner with the resort. You can ask the concierge for the keys to any of the latest-model Lexus vehicles on the property and take one for a spin.
Of course, such accommodations don’t come cheap. Expect to pay nearly $700 just for a room and over $1,000 for the smallest guest house. Larger houses can cost up to $9,000 for a weekend.
As an African American woman, I felt quite at home and was charmed by the locals’ hospitality. With the exception of a few off-site mom-and-pop gift shops, I saw no Rebel flags or any other pageantry giving homage to the dark days of the antebellum South. In fact, from what I read online, Walland was one of the few towns in the Deep South that was pro-abolitionist and anti-Confederacy.
Click the below gallery to view the slideshow of the Lexus press event, appropriately named #LexusMountainAdventure.