Fellows Program

Sam Beall

Sam's Bio

Sam Beall spent the earliest years of his life at Blackberry Farm, returning to it again and again as a child and teenager until he came to stay and to make it his own home and the place he would raise his growing family. Until his passing in 2016, Sam honored and expanded the vision of his parents, who founded Blackberry in 1976. During his time as proprietor, the Farm saw the creation and evolution of the Farmstead, the development of the Wellhouse, expansion of its retail offerings, the creation of two new restaurants, and worldwide acclaim, with accolades ranging from Travel + Leisure’s Number-One Hotel in North America, Bon Appetit’s Number-One Hotel for Food Lovers, and three James Beard Awards. Today, Sam’s wife, Mary Celeste, is Blackberry’s proprietor, and she and their five children live on the farm and carry on his legacy. Blackberry Farm and Blackberry Mountain are, to the family, not simply a business but their life, and they bring equal measures of passion, celebration, and knowledge to continually raising to new heights the level of service and experiences found here.

His Journey

In his early 20s, Sam was fortunate enough to go on a once-in-a-lifetime journey that would forever shape his approach at Blackberry Farm. After graduation from culinary school, he then went on to stages at the French Laundry, Cowgirl Creamery, the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco and weekends with winemakers, learning all he could about creating a lifestyle and experiences that would become lifelong memories for his guests back home at Blackberry Farm. When he returned to East Tennessee, he dove into every aspect of the hotel business, spending time in each department, including housekeeping, reservations, accounting, and of course, a lot of time in the dining room and kitchens. Sam became proprietor of Blackberry Farm in 2003, and during the next 14 years, the arc the Farm took is nothing short of extraordinary. Blackberry Farm went from a quaint, luxury, boutique hotel to a worldwide leader in service, an award-winning wine and food destination, and a hallmark property for sustainable farming and foodways.

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