On our second day in Nashville, we got out of the city on a day trip to see President Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage and the Belle Meade Plantation.
Andrew Jackson was the 7th president of the US (something I now care about thanks to Hamilton). Andrew Jackson and his wife Rachel lived in a log cabin from 1804 to 1821. But Rachel wasn’t content with a cabin, and so they built a more refined house, and turned the original log cabin into two structures for their slaves.
The house was completed in 1821, however in 1834 a chimney fire seriously damaged the house. This prompted him to build the current 13-room Greek Revival structure two years later. The house is filled with as many originals as possible, and if it wasn’t from the house it was from the same time period.
They wouldn’t allow pictures inside as the wallpaper was original, but it was pretty cool. Rachel custom ordered hand printed wallpaper from France that depicted scenes from The Odyssey and I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. But as cool as the house was, the gardens were my favourite spot.
After a break at the Hermitage Smorgasbord for some classic Southern food we made our way to the Belle Meade Plantation.
You heard of Seabiscuit and Secretariat (and every horse to race in the Kentucky Derby since 2003)? All their bloodlines can be traced back to Belle Meade.
Founded in 1807 by John Harding, what started as a log cabin grew into 250 acre mansion and one of the largest thoroughbred horse farm in the south covering 5400 acres.
We got to see the original cabin (1807), the dairy (1884), slave cabins (1830), the mausoleum (1839), the gardener’s house (1820), the smokehouse (1826), and a massive carriage house and stables (1892)(now housing a collection of carriages). And of course we got a guided tour of the mansion (1853).
If I had to choose one house to live in, the Belle Meade Plantation Mansion was more to my liking. But that wallpaper in the Hermitage was to die for.
When we got back to the hotel, 7 hours later, I thought we were done for the night. We’d get some food and just relax. Instead, we came across a music festival right down the street from our hotel and mom insisted we go.
We found a good place on the grass, and watched the first act. There was a break in between performances, so we took a stroll through the food trucks and got some ice cream. Of course, there were too many people to get back to where we were on the grass, but we were lucky enough to find a free table at the far end of the lawn, so that’s where we stayed for the next performance.
We left just before the third performer came on (c’mon we had a long day), but I was glad my mom forced me to stay up and have this experience. It was a good time.