Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Blackberry Farm

One of the negatives about living in the Midwest is that there aren't that many places we can get away to for a long-weekend.  Enter Blackberry Farm, a luxury hotel and resort situated on a pastoral 4200-acre estate nestled in the Great Smokey Mountains.  The beautiful hotel is the epitome of rustic luxury, with all the standard amenities such as a pool, tennis course, golf course, spa, yoga classes, etc.  However, they also have a wide variety of activities to allow the nature-lover truly experience the beauty of the area including hiking, fly fishing, canoeing, kayaking, wildflower walks, star gazing, and mountain biking.  If you'd rather let someone else do the work they offer rides through the country side in either a horse-drawn carriage or a Lexus Convertible.  

Still not sold?  Well, to top that off Blackberry Farm is known as a foodie paradise allowing guests can dine on the refined yet rugged "Foothills Cuisine" the area is famous for.  The hotel's dining venue, "The Barn," creates a magical experience that has been featured in Food & Wine, Gourmet and Bon App├ętit. The multi-course menus are inspired by seasonal, farm-fresh products and produce, grown just a few feet away.  The hotel also offers cooking courses, wine and whiskey tastings, foraging, a cooking school, and just about every other culinary experience you could ask for.  

So what do you think?  Would you splurge on a weekend getaway to Blackberry Farm?  I most certainly would!

Images via

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hermes "A Sporting Life!"

The legendary French luxury brand Hermes has again hit it out of the park with their latest advertising campaign titled "A Sporting Life!"  The photos feature the brand's sportswear, accessories, and home goods set against the picturesque backdrop of Lake Como {which is at the top of my bucket list vacation destinations}.  I love how the iconic brand comes off as fresh and carefree instead of privileged and exclusive.  And I must admit, looking at these photos is making me that much more excited for my getaway to Italy in September!
Images via

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dresden, Germany

A few years ago my family traveled to Germany to visit my sister that lives in Berlin.  We spent most of the trip exploring her home base, but one day decided to rent a Mercedes and drive on the Autobahn to the beautiful and historic city of Dresden.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the city, it was decimated by firebombing during the end of WWII {which Kurt Vonnegut detailed in his fantastic but heartbreaking anti-war novel "Slaughterhouse Five"}.  The entire old town and Royal Palace were destroyed, with an estimated 25,000 citizen casualties.  This UNESCO World Heritage Site has since been completely rebuilt and now serves as a symbol of reconciliation and a quiet reminder of the inhumanity of war.  It was incredibly moving being able to explore this gorgeous city.  Our day concluded with a peaceful drive through the German countryside and a stop at the beautiful Morizburg Castle.