Cheekwood's botanical gardens and museum of art offer cultivated beauty and elegance far from the busy streets of downtown Nashville. A carefully restored neo-Georgian mansion houses an impressive art collection, which ranges from the classic to contemporary. The 55-acre (22-hectare) estate is adorned with 11 formal gardens and a woodland sculpture trail.
Lose yourself in the winding paths of the gardens, designed to evoke different moods and activate the senses. The 11 specialty gardens include a Japanese garden, herb garden and an award-winning wildflower garden. From tulips in springtime, to snow-laden pine trees in the winter, the gardens offer a spectacle no matter what the season. If gazing at flora isn't your thing, there are plenty of spots to sit down with a good book and forget about the world.
The art museum is housed in the limestone mansion built by the Cheek family in 1932. The 30,000 square foot (2,787 square meter) home is kept cool in order to preserve the permanent and traveling art collections that include paintings, prints, photographs and sculptures. The permanent collection features over 600 pieces of American art, including contemporary pieces by Larry Rivers and Andy Warhol. Cheekwood is a magnet for William Edmondson fans, as the residence houses the largest collection of his sculptures in the world.
Set aside at least two hours to cover all that Cheekwood has to offer. If you have time, stay for the day and enjoy lunch at the estate’s Pineapple Room restaurant. The staff will even pack up your lunch so you can make a picnic out of it.
The garden and museum are closed most Mondays, and on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. Admission is paid and there is a small fee for parking.