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Five rustic retreats worth a splurge

By Sarah LeTrent, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Explore these five resorts, where all the roots are planted for the ultimate rustic retreat
  • Gibb's Farm is a working farm, and 90% of the food served is grown on the property
  • Palmlea Farms operates on solar energy and fresh water from the nearby mountain

(CNN) -- Vacation is a time to relax, revert to simpler times, disconnect from our 18 electronic devices and get back to the basics, but not so much that it means waking up to the rooster's crow at the break of dawn or shelling field peas all day.

So, we're taking you around the world to five resorts where all the roots are planted for the ultimate rustic retreat without getting your hands too dirty.

Blackberry Farm
Walland, Tennessee

This luxurious Rocky Top retreat is just 25 minutes from Knoxville.

The 4,200-acre Relais & Châteaux member since 1994 is located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, and recently ranked as the No. 1 hotel in the United States and Canada in Travel + Leisure's annual World's Best Awards.

Spend a misty Tennessee morning fly fishing or gardening before an afternoon of cheese making, horseback riding, cycling or kayaking. Or you could simply laze the day away on a rocking chair with handcrafted whiskey if that's more your speed.

Close out each night in The Barn as Executive Chef Joseph Lenn and his team prepare multicourse menus of "foothills cuisine" from the farm's bakery, butcher, creamery and 8,000-square-foot wine cellar.

Rates start at $890 a night.

Gibb's Farm
Karatu, Tanzania

This working farm built in 1929 is on the slopes of the Ngorongoro Forest Reserve.

Explore Tanzania's national parks during the day before retreating to the veranda to watch the African sunset over the sweeping coffee fields from the main farmhouse.

The 20 guest cottages are situated on a working dairy and pig farm, and 90% of the food served at Gibb's Farm is grown on the property, whether from the 10-acre organic fruit and vegetable garden or 5-acre flower and herb garden. Even the organic coffee served with breakfast is grown and roasted on site.

Relax after an afternoon safari or hike to the nearby waterfall with a floral foot soak, coffee scrub or one of the other healing traditions of the Maasai in The African Living Spa. Or let horticulturist Lazaro Msasi Gwandu take you on a guided tour of the eight formal English gardens.

Rates start at $367.

Romaneira Quinta dos Sonhos
Cotas, Portugal

You will be hard-pressed to find fault with anything that means "house of dreams," Quinta dos Sonhos, in Portuguese.

The nearly 1,000-acre villa estate sits on a vineyard on the banks of the River Douro, a World Heritage Site.

Be prepared to completely unplug during your stay at the Relais & Châteaux property as there are no telephones, televisions or even reception. You won't even need to decide what or where you want to eat as the chef decides on the menu daily, and each meal is set on a different part of the estate each day.

Bask in the Portuguese sun by the L-shaped pool overlooking the Douro, enjoy a rustic picnic under the olive trees or a boat excursion through the grassy banks before retreating to your guest room for a glass of evening port from one of the old cellars.

And for the chocolate lovers, there is a chocolate factory on site for your daily antioxidant fix.

Rates start around $670, including meals.

Palmlea Farms Lodges and Bures
Labasa, Fiji

When one thinks "green acres," the tropical destination of Fiji probably doesn't spring to mind, but Palmlea Farms nestled on Vanua Levu is a new breed of eco-agritourism.

The eco-resort overlooking the spectacular Great Sea Reef operates on solar energy and fresh water from the nearby mountain. They also grow much of their own food on the farm using organic processes, and support local growers and north shore fishermen at The Lodge Restaurant on site.

Surfing, snorkeling and lagoon swimming are just some of the aquatic activities to take advantage of during your stay. Or for the more manual labor-inclined, try your hand at farming, learning tropical techniques, or crabbing with a local guide.

Rates start at approximately $120, including breakfast.

The Farm at Cape Kidnappers
Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

Talk about a cliff-hanger: The 6,000 acre working sheep and cattle farm sits atop green cliffs with breathtaking views of Hawke's Bay.

The world-renowned golf course designed by Tom Doak offers another dose of green (or bunkers depending on your handicap).

Embrace your own Kiwi sense of adventure rafting, fishing, horseback riding or four-wheel drive along a private beach.

The lodge situated in Hawke's Bay Wine Country makes it the perfect getaway to discover the best estates that New Zealand has to offer.

Rates start around $910 a night.