Travel Inspiration By A Pro Trip Designer

Just back from: Blackberry Farm

Travel Tips

Oct
22
2016

Yes! I finally made it. I have been wanting to go visit Blackberry Farm ever since I wrote about it for Town & Country Weddings eight years ago. I can recall working with the press team and the front office of the property as we coordinated the story and wanting to travel through the telephone lines to that bucolic, country farm hamlet in Tennessee. Never mind I’d never been to Tennessee before. They had me with rustic beams, fresh fruit spreads and a wine cellar that has over 170,000 bottles. So, when I was invited by Relais and Chateaux this fall, I leapt at the chance, even taking a 6am flight to ensure I had as much time as possible on property.
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Set in 4200 acres of mountainous, rolling green landscape, the farm is long on views and thick on iconic scenery such as the photo above of the covered bridge. The river beneath the bridge is Orvis Fly-fishing approved and the path on the other side leads to hiking trails that are filled with wildlife and even more views. There’s even a skytop yoga platform.

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The rooms are spread among various types of lodging – hotel rooms, shared cabins, stand alone cottages and multi-bedroom houses. The decor among them is consistently soft, neutral and cosseting. The intention is clearly one of respose and it was one of the bigger struggles of my week to climb out of that bed the next morning.

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At BF, the food and wine service is taken very seriously. The term “Foothills cuisine” was created by owner, Sam Beall, who sadly recently passed away, but his legacy lives on at the farm with a sincere devotion to a superior culinary scene. The dishes are thoughtful and sourced directly from the onsite organic garden while the wine cellar and whiskey room are a treasure chest for the oenophile and spirits enthusiast.

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The spa, known as the WellHouse, is yet another display of rustic refinement and a verified bastion of repose. There are two relaxation rooms, ideal for soaking in the effects of the treatment. The one below features swinging daybeds that can be raised up into the ceiling when the room doubles as a yoga or barre classroom.

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The idea behind Blackberry is to breathe deeply and experience fully and the staff is expert at ensuring this is done with the unobtrusive and friendly manner that is signature of well-trained professionals. It’s easy to appreciate that every sense is stimulated at this luxury retreat and to spend 4 to 5 days here is a gift, but even in two, the ambiance is so enveloping that your shoulders are guaranteed to drop inches. Contact me for more specifics on room types and how best to get there.

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Posted in: Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Saturday, October 22, 2016 No Comments

Just Back From: Las Vegas

Friend Of A Friend Consulting, Travel Tips

Sep
06
2016

August 2016

If you can believe it, my recent visit to Las Vegas was indeed, my first. That’s right. Cherry popped. Alas, I wasn’t headed to Sin City for some typical, debaucherous celebration, but rather a week-long Travel Industry conference, Virtuoso Travel Week, set in Vegas’ mid-August swelter. Despite the 100+ degree temps, I strolled down the Strip (more like fought my way through the crowds), toured the various indoor malls (gloriously air-conditioned) and even headed to Vegas’ downtown area to experience its vintage-style glamour at an old-fashioned steak joint for dinner. Although I can confirm what I had always assumed: Vegas ain’t for me, I am happy to report the conference was a huge hit and I was able to meet some wonderful colleagues and travel industry leaders.

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So, for all of you who trust me for my first-person opinions and personalized trip-planning skills on where to go next, I’m excited to impress you further having now acquired a broader arsenal of the industry’s top properties and providers. Oh, and if you want tips of Vegas…well, I’ll defer you to my travel writer pal, Mark, who simply loves it (for reasons I am still hard-pressed to understand).

Posted in: Friend Of A Friend Consulting, Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Tuesday, September 6, 2016 No Comments

Just Back from Jackson, WY

Family, Friend Of A Friend Consulting, Travel Tips

Jan
29
2016

Jackson, Wyoming

January 2016

Happy New Year, and if January is any indication, well, then, so far, so great. Just this past weekend, I was fortunate enough to head out to Jackson Hole, Wyoming for an insider peek into the wintry lifestyle of the gorgeous Teton Valley. Having only ever visited the area during the summer months – something I HIGHLY suggest doing – I was eager to check out the terrain now under a thick blanket of snow.  As you can see from my sunrise shot below, I was hardly disappointed.

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Staying at a mountaintop (or butte-top, to be more accurate) home near the Spring Creek Ranch and the Aman, I was blessed with some truly stunning views. If you can believe it, this sunrise shot above is captured without filters (mostly because I’m terrible at them, anyhow).

The entire weekend, I was treated to an excellent and thorough tour from local expert and Real Estate / Property-Management firm founder, Morgan Bruemmer of the Clear Creek Group. His affable and kind demeanor meant myself and fellow journalist wanted for nothing and were exposed to the very best Jackson has to offer. Of course, the slopes were on my top list, and so ski them I did, with none other than a former K2-rep skier whose bravery and strength was unparalleled – just ask the bears.

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In addition to skiing, we also snowshoed in the National Teton Park on a bluebird afternoon and visited the nearby Elk Refuge via horse-drawn sleigh. It was chilly, but also enthralling to view these massive horned and hairy beasts up close and personal. As you can see below, I tried to flatter my hosts by donning something equally as furry, though the guide’s chaps quickly let me know I had a ways to go. Of course not everything we did was outdoors. We also managed to nourish ourselves rather sumptuously. My favorite meal was found at local bakery, Persephone, where the pastries were sinful and the decor was perfectly vintage-infused and charming. I could have easily nestled in with my laptop and spent the better part of the day. I’m already planning my return. Next time, with my family in tow.

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Posted in: Family, Friend Of A Friend Consulting, Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Friday, January 29, 2016 No Comments

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About Meg

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Meg is the founder of luxury travel consulting company, Friend of a Friend Consulting. Her three books, Italian Hideaways, Caribbean Hideaways and England's Hideaways are published by Rizzoli. Passionate about travel, hotels and wine, she continues to write freelance travel pieces and is currently pursuing a Masters in Wine through the WSET.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not reflect separate business relationships with the subject. Whenever posts are supported financially, they are designated as such.