by Mitch Moore
PIGEON FORGE, Tennessee. -- April 11, 2001 -- Running a bed and breakfast can sometimes be a balancing act. For innkeepers Patrick and Susan Eisert, the challenge was to serve their lodgers an experience imbued with the primitive and tranquil beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains while ensuring that no guest lacked in the creature comforts. The Eiserts' goal was successfully met with the opening of their Berry Springs Lodge late last summer. Perched on a scenic ridge top in the hills east of Pigeon Forge, the lodge is the picture of seclusion and country simplicity. But its recent construction and custom design make for a stay rife with amenities and all the small touches that make life away from home a little more "homey." "Whereas the traditional bed and breakfast was run out of an existing home, we're part of the new generation of B & Bs that were actually built for that use," explains Patrick Eisert. The advantage: a structure that conveys rustic charms without subjecting guests to the frailties and shortcomings of an older building. For example, whirlpool tubs and private balconies are featured in most of the main lodge's nine rooms. Plus, Berry Springs was constructed with a central heat and air system that allows for individual climate control in each room. "That's an advantage we have over most bed and breakfasts-or hotels, for that matter," Eisert says. "In most places, room temperatures depend on the whim of the innkeeper. Or, you have individual wall units that make a lot of noise and provide inconsistent temperature." When it comes to decor, Berry Springs Lodge maintains the balancing act, steadily walking a line that demarcates rustic and luxurious. Each bedroom has its own color and decorating scheme, ranging from the more feminine, soothing yellows of the Sunrise Springs room to the more masculine, southwest motif of the Colorado Springs room. The other rooms are filled in with a spectrum of blues, reds, greens and earth tones. The furnishings and accent pieces are easy on the eyes and far from spartan. From the plush king and queen beds and oversized lounge chairs in the guest rooms to the sofas, fixtures and dining tables in the lodge's common areas, visitors are surrounded by a decorating theme that could best be described as "country elegant." Berry Springs Lodge is located on 33 acres that feature wooded areas, a stream and hiking trails. From the balconies and porches of the massive pine and stone structure, guests are treated to nearly 360-degree views of Smoky Mountains majesty. In the foreground are Shields Mountain and green meadows that are sharply folded into geologically unique terrain; English Mountain and Bluff Mountain are also contrasted against the skies. Those who don't want to stray too far off the beaten path will be pleased to learn that this bed and breakfast is still within a 15-minute drive of most area destinations, including Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. "We're far enough out for guests to feel like they're in the Smokies, but close enough in so that they can get to the things they're looking for," Eisert says.
Other amenities include televisions in each room and a TV and video library in the downstairs living rooms. In addition to the main building, Berry Springs Lodge features a smaller, two-level cabin that can serve as a honeymoon hideaway or a multi-room suite. "Our guests have told us they wanted something to accommodate families or groups," Eisert explains. After living in both upstate New York and Florida, the Eiserts decided to settle down in the moderate climes of East Tennessee two years ago. "Susan and I always used to vacation here and eventually decided this is where we wanted to live," Eisert says. "We looked at purchasing an existing bed and breakfast, but we couldn't find anything to accommodate our family." Heading into their first full season in the Smokies, they have no desire to keep their new mountain home a secret.
Berry Springs Lodge is open year-round, and rates start as low as $129 per night, depending on the season. For more information, visit them on the web at www.berrysprings.com.