Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summer Road Trip Day 1: Stop in Nashville, Tennessee

The Hermitage Tennessee

** Disclosure: No compensation was received for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.

Nashville, Tennessee is only about a 7-8 hour drive from the Chicagoland area. Since we have never been to Nashville before and we knew that arriving there would mean we had made a big leap towards our ultimate destination, the city seemed to be the ideal stop on our first evening. Now mind you, Nashville truly deserves much more time for a visit. However, we had a couple of Nashville attractions on our list for quite some time, so we thought we would take advantage.


The Hermitage

Our first stop was The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson. The Hermitage and grounds provided a stunning place to stretch our legs and learn a bit of history. I honestly could have spent the entire day strolling through Rachel's gardens. Even back in the early 1800's when The Hermitage was built, gardens supplied a place for quiet contemplation and relaxation. The flowers were brilliant and teeming with wildlife including hummingbirds. Rachel, Andrew's wife, must have found much peace walking through the gardens. The family was buried towards one corner of the gardens--just a very beautiful place to be laid to rest.

Tennessee Gardens
Vibrant oasis!
Of course, the big star of the site is The Hermitage itself. The home was built between 1819 and 1821. The home suffered a destructive fire in the 1830's and had to be remodeled. Of course, I would have never known that the home had been destroyed unless a guide had told me! Really, a wonderful house!

The columns of The Hermitage.
Lovely Doric Columns!
Tours of the home are fairly quick. I felt in some ways they were a little too quick and the guides unfortunately did not pause to point out as many of the artifacts in the home as I am accustomed to. However, the condition of the home is amazing--especially the original French wallpaper! The spiral staircase is breathtaking and Jackson's office is pretty interesting to look at. To preserve the home, photos are prohibited. However, the site has a sizable gift store where you can purchase post cards are a book. Trust me, after seeing the wall paper, you will probably want some record to bring home!

The Hermitage does have several of the original slave quarters still standing and available for visiting while touring the property. Other slave dwellings are being excavated. The tour incorporates exhibits about the lives of slaves at The Hermitage as well as the lives of particular slaves that lived there. The museum is continually working on expanding the story of the slaves that lived at The Hermitage. I was pretty amazed by the extent that The Hermitage has incorporated the stories of slaves into the tour. While there is still more to learn and more The Hermitage is discovering each day, it was nice to see a historic site go more in depth into the lives of the enslaved people responsible for so much that made The Hermitage.

Slave quarters at The Hermitage.
Slave dwellings at The Hermitage. The 2-story building was actually the Jackson's dwelling until The Hermitage was built. After, it became a slave dwelling.
One thing to note is that an audio tour is used for your tour of the grounds with the exception of the house itself. There are tour guides in the house to show you around. There also are plaques to explain certain spots. When you begin the tour, you watch a short movie about Andrew Jackson and The Hermitage. There also is a small museum that you can either peruse at the beginning or end of your visit. A great advantage of the audio tour is that the stops have numbers corresponding to tracks, so you can skip around.

As you can see, we loved our visit to The Hermitage. If you visit, I recommend spending a couple of hours there. There is a lot to learn plus you can take some time just to enjoy the garden!

Gaylord Opryland Resort

While in Nashville, we also stopped at the impressive Gaylord Opryland Resort. When my grandparents heard that we were going to stop in Nashville, they told us that we had to stop and check out the gardens at the Gaylord Opryland. They were right! The gardens are amazing! The center of the resort is an atrium full of plants, a river, waterfalls, fountains and more. You can walk through the gardens for free. The resort is adjacent to Opryland and a shopping mall. Of course, there are restaurants and shops inside the Gaylord, so you could spend a nice afternoon there! Take a peek:

Waterfall in conservatory at Gaylord Opryland Tennessee

Bridge at Gaylord Opryland Nashville

Look how expansive this resort is:

Map at Gaylord Opryland Nashville Tennesse

Here is a video of one of the waterfalls. You can actually sneak behind for a view from the back!

video

Again, the Gaylord Opryland is a cool place to stop--even if it is just to stretch your legs for a little bit! There definitely is a lot more to uncover in Nashville, but I loved our taste! We will be back for more!

1 comment:

  1. I live in Nashville, so of course had to come over when I saw your picture. I'm glad you enjoyed visiting! #thursdayfavoritethings

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