A fall weekend at Buckberry Lodge is a perfect blend of great outdoors and blissful leisure. Located in Gatlinburg, Buckberry Lodge is rustically elegant and the perfect fall weekend getaway, so take note as fall is just around the corner.

My husband and I were lucky to be part of a group visiting for Buckberry’s annual three-day Wild Game Weekend. While just a half day from Memphis by car, it’s a world away from our weekly routines. It was a culinary adventure that included a five-course wild game dinner with wine pairings, a creek-side picnic, whiskey tasting and even a starlit marshmallow roast. 

This year’s Wild Game Weekend will take place November 1 – 4. Early November is the tail end of their fall foliage season, so the color will still be excellent!

How about a marshmallow roast?


Our creek-side picnic setting redefined "get-away."
We joined our group for a creek-side picnic. Photo credit: Blue Sky Photography


The picnic buffet table.
Our picnic buffet table. Photo credit: Blue Sky Photography

The Buckberry estate is discretely located on 26 of the original 90 acres owned by the local McLean family, who wanted to share the natural beauty of their property, while at the same time not sacrificing any of it in the process. Buddy McLean greets each Buckberry visitor like a long-time friend. His daily involvement, from hosting elegant dinners with wine pairing in the boardroom to gathering another log for the fire, brings a delightful dimension to each guest’s stay.

Buckberry by day
Buckberry by day


Buckberry by night
Buckberry by night

Under the direction of interior designer Jeanie Johnson of Housebones, this retreat was created in the Adirondack Great Camp style—reflective of the 1800s when “Great Camps” were modeled after Swiss chalets in Europe and built with native materials from the Adirondacks in upstate New York. After spending time in upstate New York and enjoying the classic Great Camp style, the McLean family decided to bring true Adirondack elegance to the Smokies.

... and outdoors
Outdoor dining area

The lodge décor includes a notable collection of Scottish memorabilia dating back to the early 1800s, which has been gathered by the McLean family over many generations. Displays include traditional clan dress and military items, keepsakes reflecting the McLean family lineage, plus a boardroom featuring a heavily carved, Jacobean-style dining set including table, chairs and sideboard—a McLean heirloom going back three generations.

Main lodge
Main lodge

With beautiful views of the mountains, 600- to 950-square-foot luxury-suite rooms feature fireplaces, private decks, baths with separate walk-in showers and soaking tubs. But unlike many off-the-beaten-path retreats, each room also offers WiFi Internet access. The Lodge features 44 guest suites, a reception area, gift shop and a spacious conference room, plus a fitness center, walking trails, a lean-to, a creek-side pavilion, and catch-and-release trout-fishing creek, as well as a variety of other activities. Guests can rest, recharge and relax within the natural mountain grandeur of Buckberry Lodge, and the attractions and experiences that Gatlinburg has to offer are also a short drive away.

The room balcony at Buckberry. Quite a view!


Grand suite bath
Grand suite bath

Dine alongside views of Mount LeConte and Buckberry Creek and you will forget about rustic surroundings while experiencing the refined flavors created by Executive Chef Ian Krystick and Sous Chef Eric Greer. Buckberry’s cuisine reinterprets Southern comfort foods using unexpected and delicious blends of flavors and textures. Menu selections can range from starters of gazpacho or fried green tomatoes to entrees of beef tenderloin or a variety of fresh seafood. An extensive wine list complements each day’s seasonal menu.

Their Wild Game dinners usually include pheasant, elk, venison, trout and boar. Of course, it depends on availability of the game and what the chef decides will make an excellent dish to serve at each of the five courses.

Dinner on the pavilion
We enjoyed dining on the pavilion one night.

In this come-as-you-are setting, the lodge graciously accommodates various sized gatherings and special events. Each guest is invited to enjoy a personalized version of the finer things in life. One outstanding option—creek-side gourmet dining. Ambient sounds of the outdoors invite guests to experience Buckberry’s creek-side pavilion—complete with outdoor bar and comfortable seating. Enjoy grand dining or the simple pleasure of a marshmallow roast in this hideaway setting. And local musicians are available if you want to add even more to a memorable evening.




Guests are treated to an extremely unique mode of transportation at the Lodge—a Pinzguaer. These rare Humvee-like vehicles are used in the military in Switzerland and Austria, and can transport up to 20 people. The Lodge uses these vehicles to transport guests to the nature trail, Buckberry Creek and other outdoor amenities.

Don’t simply take my word for it; Buckberry is one of the “must-see” destinations named in Patricia Schultz’s 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, and number six on a recent “Best Resorts for Fall Foliage in the US” on the World Property Channel. Buckberry combines pristine woodland surroundings and world-class luxury, a paradoxical blend of upscale rusticity in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

For more information about the Lodge at Buckberry Creek, visit www.buckberrylodge.com.


About the Author
Christian Owen