Belle Meade was built in 1853 after this plantation had become famous as a stud farm that produced some of the best racehorses in the South. Today, the Greek Revival mansion is the centerpiece of the affluent Belle Meade region of Nashville and is surrounded by 30 acres of manicured lawns and shade trees. A long driveway leads uphill to the mansion, which is fronted by six columns and a wide veranda. Inside, the restored building has been furnished with 19th-century antiques that hint at the elegance and wealth that the Southern gentility enjoyed in the late 1800s.
Tours led by costumed guides follow a theme (for example, holidays, aspects of plantation life, and so on) that changes every 3 months. These themed tours provide fascinating glimpses into the lives of the people who once lived at Belle Meade. Also on the grounds are a large carriage house and stable that were built in 1890 and that now house a large collection of antique carriages. During your visit, you can also have a look inside a log cabin, a smokehouse, and a creamery that are here on the grounds. Belle Meade's parklike grounds make it a popular site for festivals throughout the year.
In addition, Martha's at the Plantation (tel. 615/353-2828), a simple yet stylish restaurant above the gift shop, is drawing raves for chef Martha Stamp's American/Southern dishes such as chicken salad, crawfish, quiches, and caramel cakes. A best-selling cookbook author, Stamp has also been featured in Southern Living and Victorian magazines, as well as on the TV show Martha Stewart Living. Sunday brunch is among the locals' favorites at Martha's at the Plantation, open daily 11am to 2pm. Allow a full morning or afternoon to soak up everything here.
- © Frommer's 2013
- Highly Recommended 2010