the wonderful world of veena.

21 August 2014

veen on the road: the belmont mansion.

I began my recent road trip in Nashville. While I have been to Nashville many times in the last 4 years, I have not really spent much time exploring the city. Between catching up with friends - and spending time with baby Evelyn in more recent months - there's not been much time for sightseeing, so I made sure to find time on this trip.

As luck would have it a friend of mine from Rhodes, Lauren Winkates Ingwersen, had recently moved back to the city and had also not seen too many of the sights. Number one on my list was the Belmont Mansion, and since neither of us had been there before, we decided to check it out.

Nestled right in the heart of the university center of the city close to downtown, Belmont was the home of Adelicia Acklen and her family. During the tour you learn about Adelicia's life, her three marriages, and her business savvy that saw her oversee the Louisiana plantations she inherited upon her first husband's death.

The home itself would be considered large but not imposing by today's standards, but the interiors are pretty stunning. Many of the rooms have original furniture in them, and much of the wallpaper has been recreated using photographs and samples of the originals. One of my favourite rooms was the dining room, where you learn about the multi-course meals Adelicia served - anywhere from 7 to 17 courses! - as well as her love of china -- over the course of her lifetime she collected 7 full china sets, comprising over 3,500 pieces!

When the house was completed in the 1850s, it sat on a hill overlooking the city, and the observation tower on the house would have allowed an unobstructed view for miles and miles in any direction. As the city developed over the years, the family's property was sectioned off and sold, and at one point the mansion was actually used as a girls' school and dormitory. Eventually the university was founded and grew and developed around the mansion, and in the late 20th century the mansion became a historical site and was transformed into a museum to preserve the history of both the home and the family who lived there.

[me and winkates in front of the house]
Both Winkates and I really enjoyed our visit to the Belmont, and I would recommend checking it out if you've got an hour in Nashville and are looking for something to do.

Belmont Mansion
1700 Acklen Avenue
Nashville, TN 37212

  • Photography is not allowed inside the house, but there are plenty of great pictures you can get in front of the house and on the grounds in front.
  • Tours are circular, so there is only one tour running at a time. Depending on what time you arrive, you may be added to an ongoing tour and then restart with the next group.
  • Admission is $12, but there are available discounts for senior citizens, active military, and AAA members.
  • Hours -- 10am-4pm Monday through Saturday; 1-4pm on Sunday
  • There is a small parking lot just next to the house for visitors; additional street parking is available as well.
I'm a sucker for history and pretty houses, so this was a pretty great way to kick off the road trip.

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