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It’s Personal at the Cheekwood Estate and Gardens

A  few months before the birth of our daughter in 2014, my wife, Laura, and I took a “babymoon” trip to Nashville to enjoy one last weekend of freedom before becoming parents. We took it slow, sleeping in late and enjoying brunch at a local hot spot, then spent Saturday afternoon at Cheekwood Estate and Gardens.

Cheekwood was built by the heirs to the Maxwell House fortune in 1928. Today, the Georgian mansion and the surrounding 55-acre gardens are open to the public as an art museum that showcases work by American artists. Both the home and the gardens are used to display art. Indoors, visitors will find paintings by American masters. Outdoors, a 1.25-mile sculpture trail features several large modern statues surrounded by trees and Tennessee wildflowers. Botanical gardens at the estate include a Japanese garden, a water garden, a color garden and other beautiful natural areas.

It was quiet there that afternoon, which was fine with us. It felt like we had the entire mansion to ourselves, strolling slowly through the rooms admiring the art and the architecture. Laura loved it; she said she felt like she was in an episode of “Downton Abbey.”

I’ve traveled to Nashville many times in my career and created many memories. But that afternoon at Cheekwood is one of the sweetest.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.