Your Groupon grants you aerial access to a Cessna 172 ($49–$50 per half hour, depending on location). As you hop into the cockpit, study the navigational dials and instruments. Firmly grip the yoke. Then see how many witty quips you can squeeze in over the intercom before it's time to fly. Each lesson is copiloted by one of Givens' expert instructors ($20 per half hour). Having logged countless flight hours, your copilot will keep your confidence and nose up as you take in the basics. Though it may be difficult to resist showing off for friends, save the barrel rolling for professional stunt pilots and Donkey Kong.
A captain licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard, Jim Steele’s more than 25 years of boating⎯including time spent at the helm of Opryland’s water taxis⎯comes in handy as he coaxes The Blue Heron, a specially built 40-foot pontoon, about the Cheatham Wildlife Management Area on daily tours. Out on the water amid soothing birdsongs and the burbles of river critters, Captain Jim can be found behind the wheel of the craft, exercising his chops as an entertainer as he regales his passengers with chuckle-inducing anecdotes and factoids about local flora and fauna. With the comfort and safety of his guests always in mind, Captain Jim equipped the Heron with a restroom and keeps the vessel stocked with a comprehensive library of life jackets to fit adults, children, and pet iguanas of all ages and sizes. Hitting an average cruising speed of 5 to 10 miles per hour, the Heron affords its passengers leisurely looks at area wildlife as it embarks upon all manner of tours, from gold-tinged sunset cruises to kids' adventures punctuated by the gleeful laughter of curious youngsters.
Though the staff at Honeysuckle Hill Farm cultivates livestock and crops of seasonal produce, its other chief resource is outdoor adventure. Through their seasonal tours, farm staffers teach adults and children about farm operations, the basics of agriculture, and which fabrics scarecrows find itchy. They also give visitors a chance to work their way through labyrinthine corn mazes. At birthday parties, younger visitors can pet the resident animals, pan for gemstones at an artificial stream, and race each other in pedal-powered carts. Away from the fields, Association for Challenge Course Technology–certified guides and their guests soar down a one-mile zipline course designed and built to ACCT standards. The guides lead tours through the course’s three elevated towers, three canopy-level bridges stretched across Battle Creek, and eight ziplines, which they maintain daily to chase away loitering vigilantes. Along the way, guides showcase their knowledge of the creek’s history while pointing out local flora and fauna.
Tell us about your business.
Christian Way Farm was established to provide a family friendly place to enjoy the experience of a farm and a visit to the country. From picnics to a relaxing afternoon on the front porch of the barn, feeding animals, playing in a corn truck, or now playing through a farm-themed miniature golf course, the farm is intended to be a place to enjoy the outdoors, participate in farm activities and feel the goodness of God—in all that He has created for us to enjoy.
What makes your business stand out?
The farm is gorgeous and has been maintained to keep the natural look. The store is in a barn. The tractors are older. Visitors can touch the animals. They can use the antique equipment. The setting is authentic farm but maintained to accommodate the public.
What inspired you to start this business?
In 1999, Milt was managing a large orchard and we decided he should quit his job there to move our family to Hopkinsville and build a house on the exact location of his grandfather's home on the family farm. Our goal was to begin with a pumpkin patch, but at the time that's all we knew. In the years since our first crop of pumpkins, we have built our business with the idea that planting seeds is important. We knew that we were to invite people to the farm and without "preaching" to share the love of Christ with everyone who comes here. We wanted an agri-tourism experience that made a safe fun place for families to come, but we wanted that atmosphere to be one that means our customers walk away knowing they have been cared for in the best possible way. Planting a seed—that will bring a harvest of good experiences.
What is the best reaction you’ve ever gotten from a customer?
On a regular basis we hear, "Can we just move here? Can we just live with you all here," and on a temporary basis, some move in with us for a while. We often hear from soldiers who said, "I can just really decompress here," and from families where a spouse is about to deploy [and tell us], "We just wanted to enjoy a good family day together before he leaves."
What’s your favorite part about your job?
All of it. Living on the farm, raising [our] family while doing this, and meeting thousands of people.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Staff Size: 2–10 people
Parking: Parking lot
Reservations/Appointments: Not necessary
Most popular offering: Miniature golf, feeding farm animals, and pumpkin patch
Pro Tip: We are located in the country so allow time to travel to here and allow plenty of time to visit.
When visitors walk between the 1853 Greek-revival mansion’s six solid-cut stone pillars, onto the portico, and through the heavy wood door, they might tour the rooms or learn to cook in its original kitchen. Originally founded by John Harding in 1807 for thoroughbred-horse breeding, the rolling grounds of Belle Meade Plantation now welcome seasonal tours and events ranging from book signings to art shows. Knowledgeable guides in period costumes lead tour groups through the building’s parlors and bedrooms and down a long central hallway to ascend the three floors via a circular cherry-wood staircase.
As groups wander the mansion and cross the grounds, guides divulge facts about famous visitors, such as President Cleveland and General Ulysses S. Grant, including the fact that they probably got scared of the dark just like normal people. During special tours, the staff demonstrates Southern cooking techniques and walks visitors through an herb garden or serves them lemonade or hot wassail with desserts. In an on-grounds winery, winemakers hold tastings of red and white varietals made from Tennessee grapes. Visitors can also clink wineglasses over Southern-style cuisine at the Harding House restaurant, located on the plantation grounds.
Decaying skeletons and demonic nannies lurk in the corners of Graves Manor's ghastly family room, dining room, and parlor. Elsewhere, screams echo throughout the Madison Square Mortuary, a space haunted by equally unsettling sights, including a crazed clown, fanged creatures, and stacks of unfinished paperwork. Nashville Nightmare has been named a 2013 Must Haunt by Haunted Attractions Magazine and lauded by Nashville's About.com chapter as one of the city's best haunted houses for its mixture of bloodcurdlingly detailed scenes, animations, special effects, and a dedicated troupe of intense actors.