Over the past couple of years, we have gotten to know the Buick brand quite well. What was once considered your grandpa’s car has transformed into a modern practical vehicle with sleek designs, comfortable seats, and all the bells & whistles. We were invited on a trip to experience the first-ever Buick Enclave Avenir, the company’s family-oriented luxury auto.
We started our trip from the Atlanta Airport and drove through pristine highways surrounded by gorgeous trees and greenery. After clicking the OnStar button (there is one in every Buick), we told the operator that our destination was Blackberry Farms in Tennessee. The coordinates were inputted into our GPS, we made a quick stop at Arden’s Garden for some fresh pressed juices, and then we hit the road. Techies will enjoy the 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot so that you can be connected while you’re on the road.
At first glance, you will notice the stunning architectural design of the Avenir. Smooth lines, a 3D grill, and a chic interior make this the ideal car for any family. With seven seats, our car interior had maroon and black coloring that made it feel sporty. If you have allergies, you will appreciate the air ionizer that breaks down negatively charged particles and keeps the air smelling clean. This system requires no maintenance.
Exterior Design Director Bob Boniface shares, “As the focus for luxury buyers increasingly shifts to premium details and experiences, our role as designers is to interpret customers’ tastes and preferences for more refinement into the portfolio. The time was right for Buick Enclave Avenir to curate a new premium expression of its own, which was the inspiration for the Buick enclave Avenir concept.”
Experience the 3.6 Liter V6 engine with 302 horsepower and 260 pound-feet torque. It gets 17 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway. The inside cabin has been engineered to minimize unwanted interior noise by sealing sound-deadening acoustics through its QuietTuning technology. Throw in 10-Bose Premium speakers and you will be cruising with the best sounds.
Buick Enclave Avenir highlights, per the Buick website:
- Avenir model comes standard with extensive active safety, connectivity and luxury features for a simple and convenient buying experience.
- It has an all-new body structure for safety, strength and mass efficiency, plus 17 radar, camera and ultrasonic sensors when fully equipped.
- It accommodates seven passengers comfortably and offers more cargo volume behind the first row than the Acura MDX, Audi Q7, and Infiniti QX60.
- Standard hands-free power-programmable liftgate with a Buick tri-shield logo illuminates the ground below the hidden sensor and power-folding third row.
- Avenir-exclusive 3-dimensional mesh grille, badging, pearl nickel 20-inch aluminum wheels and luxurious interior materials are standard.
- Buick-first Rear Camera Mirror is standard on Buick Enclave Avenir. This is ideal if you have too much luggage in your trunk. You can see behind you. It’s surreal when you see this for the first time.
After we entered Tennessee, the scenery changed as we passed expansive lakes surrounded by rolling hills of evergreen trees. Once we entered the backroads of Blackberry Farm, we saw barns, mansions, and cottages as they sat quietly in the countryside. We spotted 2 cows kissing each other… love was in the air.
We had entered a parallel universe that was foreign to us. We rolled down the windows and realized that time was sitting still and we could finally breathe the fresh air. It’s quite a contrast from the city smog we are used to. We arrived at Blackberry Farm as the sun was setting and enjoyed pink and blue colors in the sky. A magic hour had begun.
Blackberry Farm is a 4200-acre estate in the Great Smoky Mountains. A Relais y Chateau property, it is celebrated as one of the best small luxury hotels in the world. It has 68 guest accommodations including historic rooms, cottages, and estates. We stayed in the White Ginger Room, located on the second floor of the Guest House. The room had a view of one of the most stunning sunrises we had ever seen, with rolling fog, a fire pit and birds flying through the air.
We opened the windows and let the fresh morning breeze into our room. Our bathroom had heated floors that we cranked up to 95 degrees. The environment was magical, enchanting and unreal. It felt like we were living in a fairytale with some good old fashioned Southern Hospitality.
Blackberry Farm serves Foothills Cuisine® which is a mix of refined and rugged drawing ingredients haute cuisine and foods local to it’s Smoky Mountain heritage. Three curated restaurants are available for your enjoyment. Cassidee Dabney, Executive Chef at the Barn, came to Blackberry in 2010 as a Sous Chef and worked her way up. She is inspired by seasonal fresh products that are grown in a garden a short walk from the Barn.
Sarah Steffan, Executive Chef at the Dogwood, has more than 10 years of experience and opened the Main House at Blackberry Farm. She has spent years working at other Relais & Chateaux kitchens including The Point and Fearrington House. Josh Feathers, corporate Chef is an east Tennessee native that grew up with an appreciation for the region. As sous chef for the Commander in Chief of Southern Forces in Europe, he has prepared formal dinners for numerous dignitaries.
Under the leadership of Andy Chabot, Sommelier and Food and Beverage Director, the Blackberry wine cellar grew from 17,000 bottles to 166,000. In 2014, the Barn at Blackberry Farm received the James Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Program. Andy has been featured in Imbibe Magazine, Wine Spectator Magazine, Food and Wine and The Today Show.
Blackberry Farms bought a shooting range offsite about 30 minutes from the property. We were given an informative lesson on shooting clay pigeons and learned the basics of firing rifles. The next morning we went on a horseback riding adventure through the mountains and streams. To top off our stay, we went hunting with the truffle dog. The dog scoured the property in search of the most luscious truffles.
Photography by David Christopher Lee.