Exploring the sprawling gardens and extensive art collection at Cheekwood is a must for Nashville visitors. Built by the Cheek family, owners of Maxwell House Coffee in 1932, the historic limestone mansion and formal gardens are closely tied to Nashville history. A visit to the gardens and galleries offers an intriguing peek at grand, Southern lifestyles during the early 20 th century.
From the lovely gardens to the extensive art collections, Cheekwood supplies indoor and outdoor fun. Start with the art galleries, which include the courtyard gallery, Carrell Woodson sculpture trail, video installation galleries and the permanent collection. The newest exhibit, “Permanent Residents: Artists From Cheekwood’s Collection” will open on March 31. Noted for an impressive assortment of American art, Cheekwood will display selected works from 19th Century American artists. The sculpture trail was my particular favorite, with “One Line Horizontal Floating -Twenty Feet” a fascinating piece that reminded me of a javelin soaring through the air, a standout art work. This moving line of metal blends with nature creating a range of ever evolving images. The 55-acre gardens includes pools, fountains and stunning views of the Tennessee Hills. Meander through the herb garden, color garden, water garden, Japanese garden, two perennial gardens and a wildflower garden. After all that exploring, relax in the friendly atmosphere of The Frothy Monkey Coffeehouse. This charming neighborhood cafe offers an array of locally produced and sustainably-produced food, including corn crusted trout with quinoa and blackened shrimp over cheese grits.
Photos by Rosalind Cummings-Yeates