Traveling to Nashville numerous times, we often did the typical tourist visits with the Grand Ole Opry (this is still a must on every trip), hitting the music scene downtown, Ryman Theater and the Country Music Hall of Fame. Don’t get me wrong, these are great tour stops, but we’ve been there, done that and have the closest full of t-shirts. On this trip we were looking for something different.
We had heard from other RV’ers that Belle Meade Plantation was a must see and on this trip we added the plantation to our tour stops. What a treat. We planned on a stop over of an hour or so, but found the plantation offered much more than just a guided tour.
The plantation started with humble beginnings in 1806 with the purchase of 200 acres by John Harding. Over time, the plantation became a major enterprise with the additions of substantial land holdings, a blacksmith shop, a cotton gin, a grist mill and saw mill. Before and after the Civil War, the plantation was known world wide for its thoroughbred race horses. The plantation’s heyday ended after the Civil War and the following depression and much of the holdings were sold to pay mounting debts.
When you arrive, you are given a timeslot for a tour led by a trained and costumed guide through the plantation’s beautiful Greek-Revival mansion commissioned by John Harding in 1845. Our tour guide was amazing, a virtual encyclopedia in human form that not only knew more than we could possibly retain about the mansion, but interesting facts about the family, guests and much more. He was warm, engaging, encouraged questions and humorous. The tour was worth the admission price alone. I wish I could have taken pictures to share, but photography was not allowed in the home. No restrictions were in place for the outside grounds and I’ve provided a number at the bottom of this post.
Joan and I continued our tour of the grounds first with a wine tasting then continued to the stables viewing a wide selection of house drawn carriages and buggies from the era. We also visited the original log home from the early 1800’s along with restored slave quarters containing artifacts from the era plus a gift shop. The site also has a restaurant, but we didn’t visit on this stop.
We thoroughly enjoyed our half day. Belle Meade Plantation is a great Nashville treasure and young and old will enjoy this walk though a piece of history and we are very fortunate it has been retained and restored to the glory of it’s day.
As always, I love RV Life. Jerry