An array of retreats dots the landscapes near and within Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland, adding to the charm of Knoxville and its surrounding regions. These retreats house a range of accommodations, from deluxe suites to rustic cabins, each offering a unique perspective of the valley’s stunning views. Alongside comfortable living spaces, retreats offer distinct dining experiences and dishes inspired by worldwide culinary traditions. Far more than just meals, these dining experiences create opportunities for community-building and mindful eating.


At the core of these retreats are carefully designed programs aimed at enhancing overall wellness. The variety of activities on offer is extensive and includes traditional yoga and meditation, therapeutic wraps and mud baths, and immersive sound healing sessions. Other highlights are rebirthing breathwork sessions, restorative Nada Yoga, and instructional cooking classes. For those inclined towards exploration, guided hikes to stunning vistas and waterfalls offer an opportunity to connect with nature. From wellness programs and yoga immersion to personal development and nature exploration, these retreats provide a space for introspection, rejuvenation, and inner peace.


Isha Institute of Inner-sciences

Hidden away in the beautiful landscape of Tennessee’s Upper Cumberland, the Isha Inner-Sciences Center is a mountain getaway designed to promote overall wellness. This center focuses on pure yogic science through one-on-one wellness retreats, group trips, and traditional meditation and yoga programs. Visitors from worldwide corners travel to this unique spot to unwind, retrospect, and find solace in its blend of solitude and tranquility.




The institute features an array of accommodation choices, from luxurious suites and practical studios to charming cabins. Nestled on a wooded hillside with beautiful views of the scenic valley, the deluxe suites boast plenty of space which makes them ideal for families with older children and couples. Some suites even offer additional comforts like balconies and cozy fireplaces and all come with private bathrooms. The studios, which feel like single-room flats, also feature their own bathrooms and are a good fit for families and couples alike. Lastly, the cabins offer a private and serene lodging option with stunning valley views and are complete with a twin bed and an attached bathroom. 




Drawing inspiration from worldwide culinary traditions, the center serves up two wholesome vegetarian meals. These meals are intentionally designed to align with the rhythm of those who are committed to the practices of classical yoga and meditation. Such routines often call for a simplified meal schedule that includes a substantial mid-morning brunch and a hearty dinner, complemented by an assortment of fruits and juice in the afternoon. Those seeking something outside the standard meal times will find the Welcome Center lobby open round-the-clock. It features a refrigerated vending machine filled with a variety of healthy snacks such as raw nuts, fruit juice, and kashi bars and even comforting options like organic chocolate milk and chai tea. 


Retreats and Programs 


The center offers a rich variety of programs, each thoughtfully designed to foster a holistic sense of wellbeing. Notably, the individual wellness retreats and the free yoga days reflect its approach of combining physical and mental practices to promote overall health and harmony.



Known as Isha Rejuvenation programs, the individual wellness retreats blend the timeless wisdom of Ayurvedic and Indian Siddha traditions with a host of restorative practices. They provide a variety of healing methods, including therapeutic wraps and mud baths, massages, and yogic exercises, as well as restorative herbal tonics. These programs integrate the principles of alternative therapies and allopathic medicine with the knowledge from diverse Indian healing traditions. This fusion forms an unique approach and invites participants to begin a journey towards holistic wellness.



The free yoga days at the center offer a full immersion into the world of yoga and meditation. They begin with a gentle round of Upa Yoga, followed by a session of Isha Kriya, a meditation practice aimed at experiencing inner peace and wellbeing.



Next, the agenda introduces the concept of inner engineering and offers participants a chance to interact with an Isha teacher. Following this, the Living Isha Presentation sheds light on how to thrive within the supportive environment of the center itself. It emphasizes the various choices visitors have, from studios and apartments to individual homes, which enable them to shape a lifestyle in this unique environment.



The day also includes a Nada Yoga session, a form of meditative practice that helps enhance mental and physical health, as well as a healthy cooking class that shares how to prepare a highly-pranic vegetarian dish. The day wraps up with another round of Isha Kriya and Upa Yoga, leaving participants feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and filled with a renewed sense of wellbeing. In addition to these sessions, there are daily guided hikes to scenic vistas and waterfalls which allow everyone to connect with nature’s tranquility and beauty.


Elohee Retreat Center, GA

Encompassing three sites for retreat and discovery, Elohee comprises the forest-shrouded Thanksgiving House, the Bald Mountain Center, and the scenic Landsong trails. With extensive trails to explore, a canyon waterfall, and expansive mountain vistas, Elohee offers a wealth of transformative experiences. These include empowerment and yoga retreats, restful weekend getaways, and women’s wellness programs, among others.



With its cottages and tent camping facilities, Elohee caters to a range of preferences and comfort levels. The charming cottage village is situated along a gravel path at the foot of the mountain and is interconnected by sections of the red trail. The cottages host groups of up to 50 people and come with three types of rooms: king bed and twin beds with a private bath and single twin with a shared bath.



To ensure the comfort of guests, all cottages are fitted with amenities such as adjustable blinds, ceiling fans, and a heating and cooling system. The decor of the rooms is a result of the founders’ personal touches and their families’ artistic contributions. The beds are covered in soft, white comforters to complement the understated decoration while the bamboo flooring amplifies the contemporary, retreat-like atmosphere.



In contrast, Elohee’s tent camping is tailor-made for those who seek a more outdoorsy experience. It consists of two basic campsites and two raised platforms, along with a facility for showering and bathing conveniently situated near the camping area. 




Elohee’s culinary philosophy is centered around the belief that wholesome, flavorful meals are key to a fulfilling retreat experience. The focus is on preparing meals using local produce and organically grown ingredients so that guests can enjoy meals that are fresh, nutritious, and aligned with their commitment to mindful eating. The dining experience at Elohee is more than just about nourishment, however, it is also about fostering community and connections over shared meals.



Situated in the Mandala Hall, the communal dining space can accommodate up to forty people, with an adjoining outdoor patio for nature-inspired meal experiences. This flexibility of dining setting extends to the menu itself, ensuring that every guest, whether pescatarian, omnivore, vegan, or vegetarian, can enjoy a nourishing meal experience.



At Elohee, the retreat offerings span a broad spectrum, including nature immersion, heath and wellness, breathwork, personal development, women’s retreats, restful weekends, and yoga, among others. Each retreat is designed to cater to a specific need or interest while ensuring a transformative experience for participants.



One such retreat is the Sacred Breathwork, Instinctual Yoga & Sound Healing program. This particular retreat is curated to help guests establish new, positive patterns through integrative yoga sessions. This process is further supported by rebirthing breathwork sessions where each breath drawn is accompanied by the calming vibrations of sound healing using flutes, singing bowls, and other instruments. A shared sound journey is also part of the experience to nurture unity and harmony within the group. As part of the retreat’s climax, participants gather for a mountaintop fire ceremony evening to celebrate the collective journey they have undertaken. 


In addition to collective healing sessions, there is time set aside for self-reflection, journaling, and group circle discussions to foster a sense of community and shared experience. The program further includes walks through Elohee’s picturesque landscape, including lush fern corridors, trails offering mountain vistas, paths meandering alongside streams, and walks to a venerable 400-year-old Hemlock tree.


Blackberry Farm

Spanning across 4,200 acres of serene landscapes in the Great Smoky Mountains, Blackberry Farm has served as a peaceful retreat for over eighty years, welcoming guests, friends, and families in search of tranquility. From its humble beginnings as a mountain sanctuary, Blackberry Farm has transformed into an acclaimed resort known for inviting leisure activities, gourmet cuisine, and alluring scenery. A serene escape from the fast pace of life, the retreat invites guests to experience the charm and tranquility that is quintessentially “Blackberry”.


From the original historic rooms to the luxurious cottage suites, Blackberry Farm provides a wealth of lodging choices to suit different preferences and needs.


Preserving the rich heritage of Blackberry Farm, the historic rooms provide an intimate encounter with the past. They are uniquely decorated with antique items and radiate the charm of a rustic country house. Guests can choose their preferred bedding arrangement, from twin-sized to queen or king beds.


Situated in the Guest House, the estate rooms are an ideal choice for those seeking a truly indulgent retreat. These nine rooms are available with either a twin-sized or a king bed and come complete with an outdoor space and spacious bathrooms. The Guest House itself is a welcoming communal space furnished with dual fireplaces, plush sofas, and a veranda affording splendid mountain vistas.


For guests seeking privacy and opulence, the cottage suites offer an unrivaled experience. These suites feature a king-sized bed, a wood-burning fireplace, and a porch adorned with rocking chairs. With spacious bathrooms boasting whirlpool tubs and double vanities and stocked pantries of alcohol-free drinks and complimentary bites, these are some of Blackberry’s most coveted accommodations.


Lastly, the farmstead cottage stands as an elegant dwelling for an upscale retreat experience. The living area is decked with state-of-the-art audio-visual technology, valuable antiques, and bespoke furnishings, all promising comfort and sophistication. The cottage hosts a living porch encased in glass and equipped with a fireplace where guests can bask in the peaceful ambience of the surroundings. Luxury extends into the dressing suite and spacious bathroom which boasts twin vanities and a whirlpool tub. The farmstead cottage experience is further enriched with the inclusion of a personal golf cart for guests to navigate the expansive grounds at their own pace.



Crafted by a team of culinary professionals, from chefs and cheesemakers to bakers and sommeliers, the dining experience at Blackberry Farm showcases dedication to locally sourced ingredients drawn from their own farm and the surrounding region. 


Honoring this commitment, lunch spotlights fresh, local ingredients. Dishes like honey-cumin grilled quail, crispy saison-brined fried chicken, and pan-roasted king salmon make up a menu that is as inviting and flavor-forward as it is nourishing. 


Consistently, the dinner selection maintains focus on local ingredients and is no less spectacular. With dishes such as honey-rosemary roasted chicken, chili-roasted gulf shrimp, and brown butter-basted salmon, the menu reflects the center’s Smoky Mountain heritage while maintaining a modern approach to cuisine.




Blackberry Farm offers a wide range of activities to cater to various interests, from outdoor pursuits such as paddle sports and cycling to immersive experiences like farmstead tours and culinary demonstrations. For those looking for a holistic experience, the center’s yoga and meditation programs stand out. 


Within the yoga program, there are several group classes tailored to different skill levels and preferences. The introductory course, “Yoga Basics” is designed with beginners in mind and targets key aspects of yoga such as mindfulness, proper posture alignment, self-awareness, and breath control. It also presents a welcoming environment for those nursing injuries and veterans of yoga who wish to enhance their mastery. 


The flow yoga class marks the next step in the journey as it is intended for those already familiar with basic yoga principles. The essence of this class lies in blending fluid movement, breath, and individual poses to dissipate stress and foster a stronger bond with one’s inner self.


Also aimed at relieving stress and achieving inner balance, the restorative yoga class combines soothing poses and meditation. This class particularly focuses on easing tension, replenishing depleted energy, and establishing equilibrium within the nervous system.


Alongside these yoga classes, the center provides guided meditation sessions aimed at cultivating mindfulness and proper breathing techniques. These sessions are designed to empower participants to navigate the complexities of life with greater awareness and acceptance. 


Seven Springs Retreat Center in Maryville

Spanning 126 acres of privately owned land, the Seven Springs Retreat Center finds its home in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Here, seven natural springs are nestled within a temperate rainforest which houses a remarkable diversity of 17,000 plant and animal species.


From its roots as a thriving agricultural hub and greenhouse business, this verdant land has nourished cattle, chickens, and expansive vegetable gardens while also contributing thousands of plants to the local community. Today, Seven Springs has evolved to serve a deeper purpose – to inspire, cultivate consciousness and awareness, and encourage personal growth amidst natural beauty. Here, guests can find a peaceful refuge as they explore transformative retreats and events designed to enhance their spiritual and emotional wellbeing.




At Seven Springs, guests can immerse themselves in a blend of nature and culture through the choice of accommodation. Two different options await visitors, the globally inspired yurts and more rustic, bring-your-own tent camping sites. 


In the yurts, guests are welcomed by a blend of artwork and traditional textiles which tell stories from the countries that the host family visited. The Mexico Yurt, for instance, captures attention with its rich cultural detailing. Adorned with a hand-loomed Oaxacan blanket and a rug created by artisans from Teotitlán del Valle, it merges comfort with the essence of Mexican heritage. In a different corner, the expansive Peru Yurt offers a journey into the heart of the Amazon. Displaying Shipibo tapestries, its design elements hint at deep indigenous roots. Four single beds accentuate the interior, each adorned with traditional fabrics weaved in the Sacred Valley.


The Guatemala Yurt, a 15-foot structure, showcases dynamic hues and patterns characteristic of Maya Guatemala. The walls display tapestries from communities that border Lake Atitlan while the queen bed features nature-inspired textiles. 



At the heart of Seven Springs’ dining experience is a chef with a passion for sustainable, organic, and plant-based cuisine. Originally from Alabama, she spent years communing with nature, which led her to earn degrees in environmental science and technology and plant sciences. Now, she brings her expertise and dedication to Seven Springs, where her love for cooking meets her commitment to health and the environment. Having lived a vegan lifestyle for over twenty years, she uses plant-based ingredients to create wholesome meals and a culinary experience that champions health-conscious choices. 



At the Seven Springs Retreat Center, guests can select from an array of wellness services designed to complement the retreat experience. Each retreat package includes a stay in a private yurt along with the wellness service of the guest’s choice.


Guests may opt for a custom yoga experience designed to suit their interests. A Vinyasa flow class is also available for those without specific requests, accommodating all levels of experience with the provision of necessary props and blocks.


Another wellness offering is a private sound bath, a restorative session that combines the healing powers of sound and nature. With an assortment of instruments like drums, chimes, gongs, and bells, guests are guided into a state of meditation that promotes holistic healing. 


For those inclined towards the outdoors, the retreat offers a guided nature hike around the estate. Led by a local ecologist, the hike offers insights into the diverse plant and animal life native to the area. Far from being laborious, the stroll makes for an engaging journey through various trails and is tailored to the guests’ preferences. 


Guests can also explore the retreat’s medicinal herbal gardens to delve into the world of therapeutic plants. This educational stroll equips them with know-how to recognize a multitude of herbs, whether found in their garden, the confines of their yard, or the wilderness. Discussion about each herb’s healing properties and the ways to utilize them adds a holistic dimension to the experience.


Lastly, the retreat offers comprehensive health consultations where guests are supported in exploring multiple dimensions of a healthy lifestyle. With insights drawn from language empowerment, Ayurveda, and yoga, these personalized sessions aim to enhance guests’ relationships with their diet, physical activity, surroundings, and their inner self.


Blackberry Mountain, Walland 

Located in Walland, Tennessee, Blackberry Mountain stretches across 5,200 acres within the scenic Great Smoky Mountains. Nearly half of its expanse, sizeable 2,800 acres, is devoted to conservation to ensure the pristine landscape of the mountains remains undisturbed. Grounded in preservation and the provision of unique experiences, the retreat’s philosophy invites guests to engage with the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. With a strong focus on ensuring comfort and readiness to facilitate outdoor adventures, Blackberry Mountain crafts an elevated retreat experience




Accommodation at Blackberry Mountain is varied and curated to ensure an immersive experience with nature. The offerings include stone cottages, treehouses, and mountain homes, each with its own unique charm and comforts.


Designed to blend with the mountainside, the stone cottages offer expansive views of The Great Smoky Mountains. These cottages feature local materials and artisanal craftsmanship in elements like iron windows, stone archways, and oak flooring. Their highlight is an outdoor patio fitted with a fireplace, an ideal spot for guests to unwind in the mountain evenings.


For those in search of a more secluded experience, the treehouses provide an excellent choice. These intimate accommodations are designed to provide privacy while remaining within a short golf cart ride from the Hub and Lodge. Featuring open-plan bathrooms, these treehouse lodgings offer a romantic setting for couples. 


Similarly, the mountain homes offer a private experience amidst natural landscapes with sweeping views. Each home comes with spacious bedrooms that include king-sized beds, individual bathrooms, and separate spaces for relaxation. They are also equipped with dining areas and large-scale kitchens that can comfortably serve 10 to 12 guests, which makes them ideal for group gatherings. A stone fireplace in the living room adds a cozy element to the space. The year-round enclosed porch, complete with a grill and an additional fireplace, provides an extra space for relaxation.



At Blackberry Mountain, the dining experience is all about creativity, healthy ingredients, and diverse flavors and cooking styles from all corners of the globe. The meals included in the stay start with dinner on the first day and wrap up with a farewell breakfast on the last day. If guests wish to have lunch on their first or last day, it is available for an extra charge. A dynamic four-course menu is also on offer, spotlighting fresh, locally sourced produce and foraged ingredients. Diners can look forward to dishes like lemon and herb-seared salmon, a hearty roasted turkey club, and grilled chicken brined in buttermilk.



A wealth of activities caters to the diverse interests of guests, including sessions in an art studio, body therapies, skincare treatments, forest bathing, fitness workouts, and crystal reiki, among others. 


For those seeking to harmonize their mind and body, the center provides a variety of yoga classes. Welcoming practitioners of all levels, ‘Yoga Basics’ concentrates on the cornerstones of yoga – breath, alignment, and asanas. The restorative yoga session offers postures that promote a peaceful mind while the Sunrise Vinyasa class features dynamic movements that energize the body and stimulate digestion. The power yoga class is more challenging and encourages practitioners to push their limits and enhance their endurance and strength. Finally, ‘Beyond Asana’ presents a combination of different yoga aspects, including Dhyana, Pratyahara, Pranayama, and Asana to create a holistic experience. 


In addition to yoga, the center places a strong emphasis on meditation as part of its wellness offerings. Suspended sound bathing meditation invites guests to relax in a silk hammock while experiencing the restorative impact of sound and vibration. Guided crystal meditation offers a therapeutic journey with the help of crystals, all while in the state of savasana. The last meditative practice, ‘Chakra Balancing Meditation’ offers an exploration of the body’s chakras and their influence on physical health, emotional stability, clarity of mind, and spiritual connectedness.


Wrapping Up

Scattered across the landscapes near Knoxville, a variety of retreats offer unique designs, ambience, and accommodations. These places to stay range from the rustic charm of tent camping to the comfort of stone cottages and upscale mountain homes. 


Enjoying meals here turns into an exploration of global cuisines that promotes mindful eating and fellowship. It is not just about dining but embracing a culture of gratitude, conscious living, and community spirit.


Activities at these retreats are not monotonous but cater to a wide range of personal preferences. These include offerings such as yoga and meditation, sound healing sessions, fire ceremony evenings, and group circle discussions. Beyond introspective pursuits, there are also opportunities for outdoor adventures, immersive culinary lessons, and nature hikes. From the introspective to the adventurous, each retreat offers a mix of opportunities to engage, learn, and rejuvenate.