My adventures in Nashville on Saturday were awesome, from sightseeing in Centennial Park, Vanderbilt University, and Music Row to eating a delicious gluten free dinner at AMOT Eatery. But my visit wasn’t over yet. On Sunday, my friend Lauren and I had a morning of food, flowers and fun in Nashville before my flight back. We kicked things off with breakfast around 9am at the Frothy Monkey, a coffee shop/restaurant/bar hybrid that wouldn’t be out of place in Brooklyn or Berkeley (or any other classic hipsterville, take your pick!) There are a few outposts of the Frothy Monkey, one near Music Row on 5th Avenue that we had seen Saturday, one on 12th Avenue, a bit further out from downtown Nashville, and one in the suburb of Franklin. We decided to head to the Frothy Monkey on 12th Avenue, thinking it might be a little less crowded than the one on 5th Avenue. It may have been, but it was plenty full, with a line out the door!
We decided to tag team. I waited in line to order while Lauren found us a table, and she looked over the menu and texted me what she wanted for breakfast. It was one of those places where you order and take a number, then find a seat, and it was clear that not everyone in line was going to find themselves a place to eat their food! I ordered the Architect Omelet with ham, provolone cheese, kale, and mushrooms, with gluten free bread on the side with butter and jam. I’d heard people in line gushing about their gluten free muffins, but sadly that morning’s flavor was chocolate walnut, a no-no with my tree nut allergy! My omelet was delicious, as was the homemade bread and jam, and Lauren’s waffle with fruit and syrup looked amazing too.
We were both absolutely stuffed after cleaning our plates, but I did not regret one bite. My omelet was fluffy and piled high inside with a good 4-6 ounces of ham, cheese, and veggies. The bread tasted homemade and was perfect lightly toasted and topped with a dollop of butter and jam. I’d highly recommend checking out a Frothy Monkey location for anyone in Nashville, as their lunch and dinner menus also looked good and very gluten free friendly. At around $25 including tax and tip for a brunch for two people, it was reasonably priced, something that makes me happy whenever I’m outside NYC. And it was great fuel for our next stop of the morning, a visit to Cheekwood Art & Gardens.
Cheekwood is a beautiful, Georgian-style home built in the 1930s by wealthy Nashville businessman Leslie Cheek and his wife, Mabel Wood Cheek. Their daughter offered the house and surrounding land to the city of Nashville as a site for an art museum and botanical gardens in the 1950s, and it officially opened to the public in 1960. Now, the home is a museum filled with European art and furnishings as well as Colonial American silver and portraiture bought by the Cheek family. In addition, the Carell Woodland Sculpture Trail is an outdoor walking path along which modern sculptures are interspersed in changing installations, and exhibitions are featured in the outdoor gardens.
Lauren and I spent several hours walking around the grounds before taking a tour of the house. Being late September, many of the flowers you’d expect to see were no longer in bloom, but I imagine the daffodil garden in particular is gorgeous in the spring. And we still got to see the perennials and all the seasonal decorations, from pumpkins and gourds to scarecrows surrounding the herb garden made by local elementary and middle school classes. Some were quite creative!
The little touches around the toy train exhibit were also well done. As the late morning turned into early afternoon more families arrived and we saw children delighting in all that Cheekwood had to offer. I imagine it’s a great place to bring little ones, as they had lots of activities scheduled with an autumn harvest theme.
As for the house, I love history and learning about how places came to be, so I really enjoyed the tour. I actually had a little sense of deja vu walking around, because some of the sculptures in the garden immediately below the house, as well as in the airy outer drawing room, are in the Classical style, and it reminded me of the Getty Villa. Excuse my nerdiness, but I actually spent some time at Oxford studying the influence of Classical culture on early national American politics and culture, so it makes sense to me that in a city fancying itself the Athens of the South, prominent citizens would carry a liking for Classical objects with them in the ensuing decades and even centuries.
It was really a lovely place to spend the morning, and Lauren and I had so much fun exploring as we continued to savor the time we were able to spend together after almost a year of FaceTiming our friendship. But all good things must come to an end, and around 2pm we had to leave to head to the airport for my flight home. If you get the chance to visit Cheekwood, by all means go in the morning and plan to stay for the entire day – I was sad to miss a reading hosted by Parnassus Books, a bookstore in Nashville I would love to visit if I get to return to the city, as well as live music and other festivities that would take place later in the afternoon. Something I didn’t realize about the region until this visit was how it had so many opportunities both for active, outdoorsy types, and arts and music lovers, which is my idea of a great place 🙂 Until next time, Nashville!
Do you enjoy visiting art museums in other cities?
Which tops your list – outdoor activities like hiking, art, and/or live music?
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