There are many reasons to rest and reset at the luxurious Blackberry Mountain and Blackberry Farm resorts in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee: rustic cottages with wood fireplaces and soaking tubs, farm-to-table menus, lush hiking trails, amazing classes, and breathtaking sunsets. And the spas are already a huge draw, but what’s new is the sought-after facialists now in residence there.
At Blackberry Mountain, the Nest spa recently became the first-ever Joanna Czech–certified spa in the US, with Czech performing facials herself as well as training staff in her techniques; at the same time, down at Blackberry Farm, skin-whispering legend Tammy Fender is doing facials (her next residency is in September 2024).
We talked to both skin experts to get their best tips, and we got to spend time at the Blackberry Mountain spa—a wonderland of steam rooms, infrared saunas, an outdoor pool and hot tub, acupuncture, chakra balancing, Reiki, energy work, massages, wraps, scrubs, and, of course, amazing facials.
Joanna Czech’s At-Home Rules for Amazing Skin
Czech, who gets booked up years in advance at both her New York and Dallas studios, trained aestheticians at Blackberry to tailor each facial to each client’s individual skin type and concerns. Whether you get it with Czech herself (her next residency is in June 2024) or one of the aestheticians she trained, the combination of sculpting and lifting massage (Czech’s famous signature is an invigorating “slapping” method), thorough exfoliation, extractions (if needed), and layers of serums, creams, and masks is interspersed with modalities like microcurrent, cryotherapy, radiofrequency, microneedling, LED light therapy, and even a few minutes with the LYMA laser, one of Czech’s favorite in-studio (and at-home) tools for supple, plumped skin.
1. Vitamin C Every Morning
Czech is obsessed: “Apply it every day for amazing brightness and glow,” she says.
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2. Serums for Targeted Benefits
“The right serum zeroes in on your biggest skin concern,” says Czech. She notes that everything from age and lifestyle to weather and stress affects what your skin might need on a given day.
3. Treat Décolletage as You Do Your Face
“Your skin care should be applied from your hairline to your nipples,” says Czech. “You can use serums and creams designed for your face, but if you can’t remember to do so, get a treatment that’s specifically for décolletage.”
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4. Go Deeper with Devices
Czech loves both microcurrent and LED light to lift, sculpt, and supercharge just about any routine. “I love devices you can use while multitasking—like watching your favorite show—so you’re more likely to use them consistently,” she says.
Tammy Fender’s Best Skin-Workshop Tips
Palm Beach–based Fender is famous for her totally custom, almost unbelievably glowifying facials; clients come from all over the world to see her, and now they can see her at Blackberry Mountain’s sumptuous sister property, Blackberry Farm. Fender does more than just facials at the farm, however: During yearly retreats, she shares her tips on holistic living, leads workshops, and creates special oil blends to pair with other retreat activations.
The facials themselves are different, says Fender. “At Blackberry Farm, I’m able to really fine-tune the experience for each client by focusing on unique herbal blends that pair beautifully with the season we’re in,” she says. “It’s much more in-depth than a spa facial.”
1. Moisturize as You Detoxify
Fender employs all manner of hydrators and emollients in her ultranourishing rose and pink-clay mask that leaves anyone’s skin baby-soft. “Smooth it on and relax in a bath,” she says. When you splash it off, you won’t believe your skin.
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2. Repair and Restore When You Need To
“I originally made this for my clients going to Aspen—but demand grew from there, so I had to make it for everyone,” says Fender of this super rich, silky, helichrysum-infused face balm.
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3. Exfoliate Thoroughly
“You want to smooth away all the dead skin cells to get to fresh, glowing skin,” says Fender. “And exfoliants help all your other treatments, including moisturizers, go deeper into your skin.” This purifying blend of Moroccan rosemary, kaolin clay, and soothing spearmint works as an exfoliating mask, cleanser, and peel in one, boosting hydration as it softens skin and even helps calm breakouts.
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4. Treat Your Body to the Very Best
“Botanical extracts and essential oils can be so powerful for our bodies and our minds,” says Fender. “So use the highest quality you can find—it makes a difference.” This exquisite lavender oil is made with avocado, grape-seed, and rose hip oils to leave your skin supple.
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AN EDITOR’S GUIDE TO BLACKBERRY MOUNTAIN
Although I didn’t get to stay at Blackberry Farm (it’s on my list!), I spent a full weekend at Blackberry Mountain. Here’s what I loved.
- Book yourself one of the new, enchanting Treehouse cabins that jut out right into the forest. They have comfortable cloud beds, cozy fireplaces (order the s’mores kit to your room), and large marble soaking tubs.
- The Firetower—a restaurant at the very top of the mountain—offers panoramic views of the Smokies and watercolor-esque sunsets. Get the quinoa-fried quail with chili honey and watch the sun go down with a crisp glass of white wine.
- All the hikes are incredible, but especially the guided hike to Cat’s Paw Ridge.
- The Woodlands Yoga, on a remote platform in the middle of the woods, was one of the most relaxing classes I’ve ever taken.
- The Stretch and Release self-myofascial release class really helped me work out a frustrating knot in my shoulder.
- The soothing sound bath meditation completely transported me to another planet.
- At the other restaurant, Three Sisters, get the grilled sourdough with marigold and creamy onion-cashew dip, the seasonal chestnut and caramelized-onion ravioli, the guinea hen, and the refreshing bourbon-and-blackberry-syrup Blackberry Blackberry.