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An East Tennessee Escape

Article by Kellie Walton

Photography by Provided

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

Sometimes you need to step away from reality, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the mountain of problems big and small that come along with it. That’s how I found myself at Windy Hill Farm – a cozy farm resort tucked in the hills of East Tennessee’s Loudon County. I went in frazzled and drained, and left recharged and reinvigorated. 

The property, which spans 650 acres and borders Watts Bar Lake, has been in Steven Brewington’s family since the early 2000s, originally operating as a working cattle farm and a destination for quail hunting. But in recent years, Steven knew the farm needed to be shared, and the idea for a luxury respite was born. 

Lodging is seamlessly integrated into the grounds, with a collection of well-appointed cabins and a separate multi-room lodge folded into the farm’s rolling hills and flourishing gardens. The family’s original five-bedroom farmhouse is also available to rent. I stayed in a water tower cabin, which exudes luxury thanks to its floor-to-ceiling windows and a sitting area made for overlooking the property. At the center of it all is a stunning reception area with a downstairs restaurant, Wilder, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily. 

Windy Hill Farm is all-inclusive, and the meals alone are enough to guarantee repeat visitors. Executive chef Ben Warwick has curated a menu merging time-honored Southern methods with subtle Caribbean flare, sourcing as many ingredients as possible from the surrounding grounds. Every meal, from the quail to the smash burger, catfish sandwich and bourbon-soaked chocolate cake, was worth the price of the stay alone. 

A highlight from my visit, I had the opportunity to spend time in the kitchen alongside chef Ben learning the methods and trade secrets behind the Wilder menu. A cooking class is just one of the activities offered onsite, ranging from complimentary options like yard games, nature trails and mountain biking to guided adventures like archery, beekeeping, sporting clays and kayaking. If you want to try them all, an activities pass is available for $125 per person, or activities can be booked a la carte. Topping the must-do list on my next visit is the guided wine hike, which, as it sounds, brings guests on a wine tasting experience through the farm’s nature trails, stopping to explore the flavor profiles and natural notes that come through each varietal. 

While the activities and meals blew me away on their own, it was the small moments that made my trip most memorable: waking up with the sunrise and catching the faint outline of the Smoky Mountains in the distance, wandering through the garden and being handed fresh-picked crimson clover for my room, hitting a bullseye with a bow and arrow, spending evenings around the campfire (book and wine in-hand), and capping my visit listening to live bluegrass music with the Windy Hill team who were starting to feel more like friends. 

Windy Hill Farm welcomes visitors Thursday through Sunday.