This is for all of you who find yourself in Music City with a day off and time on your hands. I thought I'd share with you some off the "off the beaten path" things Nashville and the surrounding area has to offer you.
First, for those avid nature lovers who love to hike, get away, and commune with nature, there are a couple places I can definitely recommend.
Fans of hiking should check out Percy Warner Park -- it has 2,680 acres of trails and
several picnic areas with grills. In addition, there are places where you can usually find a
soccer or volleyball game to join into.
Right around the corner from Percy Warner Park is the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and
Nature Center. Here, you'll find a botanical garden and an art museum on a 55-acre piece of
property that at one time was residence to the Cheekwood family. For rates and time of operation call 615-356-8000.
Another piece of paradise in Nashville is Radnor Lake and Nature Center located on Otter Creek Road -- just off Granny White Road. There are five different trailheads available -- ranging from two miles to less -- with minimal to strenuous degrees of difficulty. The lake itself is 85 acres and there is no swimming, boating or fishing there. Wild life is abundant, especially for bird fans. You are allowed to have dogs on leashes on the paved road that's also a foot trail. However you may not take your dogs into the woods -- so this destination is a little limiting if traveling with "mans best friend".
OK, now to the wet and wild places near Nashville. There are several lakes in the area that do
allow all the fun things that water brings -- water-sports, fishing, hiking and actually camping. The
closest of those to Nashville is Nashville Shores (615-889-7050) located less than 10 miles from downtown, where you can rent everything from camp sites to cabins, jet skis to pontoon boats and spend a hot summer day in the water. Percy Priest Lake is also in the Nashville area, and offers a 14,000-acre water paradise complete with foot trails, camping, boating and the like.
For those rainy days off, one of my favorite places to visit is The Parthenon located in
Centennial Park off West End Avenue. This Nashville landmark is the only exact replica of the
Greek temple in existence. It houses an art museum and a 42-ft. statue of the Greek goddess
Athena holding Nike. It is quiet meditative "vortex" and perfect if you need to get away and
If museums are your thing, you might also want to take in the Frist Center for the Arts, a brand new visual arts center located in the downtown area on Broadway. Housed in its 125,000 square foot space is approximately 24,000 square feet of gallery space. To visit, call 615-244-3340 to find out what exhibits are showing and the hours of operation.
Every city has its "hip drag" -- that couple blocks in which there are several things to do. From getting your shoes shined to sitting with a cup of coffee writing all those long over due postcards -- in Nashville that place is Hillsboro Village on 21st Avenue. Here you will find a French bakery (Provence) where the soups are yummy and the fresh bread selections pure pleasure. There are several gift and clothing stores, an art house movie theater, a microbrewery, a guitar store, two art galleries, several good restaurants, a salon to get your hair cut, and a place to get those shoes and boots shined or the rip in that leather jacket repaired.
So, for all of you who thought Nashville was just about country music and cowboys, I hope these diversions bring you hours of fun and relaxation. Above all remember the three most important keys to downtime - breathe, drink lots of water, and have fun!!!!