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A log cabin sits huddled in the woods as breezes sway rolling grasses and flowerbeds across the 1,120 acres that surround it. A Federal-style mansion stands tall against the sky, its columns flanking a towering front door and presidential balcony. Carrying on a 200-year tradition, The Hermitage tells the story of the presidential family, its plantation's slave population, and the atmosphere of the time through 32 historic buildings and more than a dozen archaeological sites.
The mansion and visitor center boast 3,000 original objects and 800,000 archaeological artifacts on display, as well as 1,200 printed items, 3,000 photographs, and 800 manuscripts bearing the president's original handwriting and cappuccino stains. The mansion's Greek-revival woodwork and mantels frame original wallpaper, and glass cases hold Andrew Jackson's authentic glasses, slippers, top hats, swords, and canes. Inside the visitor center, the Jacksons' actual private carriage guards a hallway leading to collections of artifacts from the plantation's slave families and communities. Most items in the collections were purchased directly from the Jackson family, though many artifacts were uncovered in the late 1800s by the historic Ladies' Hermitage Association when they broke ground for a new Olympic-sized swimming pool.
On the outdoor grounds, trained guides usher visitors to the first Hermitage, a log cabin where the Jackson family lived while the mansion was being built, and Alfred's Cabin, the preserved 1840s quarters of the former groundskeeper. In the garden, winding trails take visitors past period plants and the Grecian-style tombs of Andrew and Rachel Jackson. The rest of The Hermitage's grounds contain a network of winding walking trails, as well as grassy areas and cabins where museum staffers host events, weddings, and birthday parties. Across the grounds, interpreters in authentic period dress direct visitors to the sites of historic events and often train grade-school students to do the same through the center's special school programs.
Blistering every seat in the house with his scorching wit, actor, comedian, and author Tracy Morgan brings his inimitable act to the historic Ryman Auditorium for a special night of raucous, adult-only hysterics. Beloved for his roles on Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock, and in numerous films, Morgan serves up an obstreperous stand-up act sure to tickle even the most irascible ribs until they weep with joy. Tier 1 tickets (a $69.50 value) allow audience members to ogle the funnyman from front main-floor seats, including the front sides, as well as the front section of the balcony. Tier 2 seating (a $49.50 value) is further back on the main floor and balcony and also includes front and back seats on the extreme sides of the balcony but still provides a good view of the on-stage action. Every ticket comes with a glossy, limited-edition poster (a $15 value) of Tracy Morgan, a souvenir with the potential to turn a house into a home and a home into a stop on local walking tours.
Started as the road-baby brainchild of Jeff Lane from his private collection, the Lane Motor Museum is now 40,000 square feet and displays more than 150 cars and motorcycles in showroom quality or near-original specifications. Specializing in exotic European cars, the collection is arranged by country and showcases vehicles from Europe, Asia, the Galilean moons, and North and South America. Visitors can stroll through the museum, formerly the Sunbeam Bakery, and view microcars, amphibious road swimmers, military machines, alternative fuel vehicles, and yeast cars with biscuit wheels that only run in temperatures more than 100 degrees. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday through Monday, the Lane Motor Museum features an enthusiast-worthy collection of antique, exotic, retro, ethereal, unusual, and sometimes downright bizarre automobiles sure to entertain guests of all ages.
"Chances are, your Nashville guidebook won’t mention this hidden gem..." says Forbes about The Johnny Cash Museum, which only opened in May of 2013, "but it feels like it’s been here forever, with the kind of authenticity that has to be earned." The museum represents an immense labor of love by owner Bill Miller, who considers it an honor to have been a lifelong fan and friend of one of America's most iconic singer-songwriters.
Miller's admiration for The Man in Black adds a warm touch to the museum's memorabilia, which details both the musician's life and illustrious career. Visitors can view such artifacts as Cash's handwritten lyrics to "I Walk the Line," his original 1959 Gibson J-200 guitar, and the suit that he wore when he performed "Hot Cross Buns" for former President and First Lady Nixon at the White House in 1971. More personal items, including love letters between Cash and his wives, are also on display. This rare look into the world of a cultural legend landed the museum on National Geographic's list of Pitch-Perfect Museums, and earned it an AAA Gem rating—an honor only bestowed upon six Nashville attractions.
From country to rock, the Musicians Hall Of Fame & Museum celebrates the achievements of musicians from virtually every decade since the golden era of studio recording, starting in the 1950's and from every corner of the country. Each section of the over 20,000-square-foot museum exhibit space focuses on an important city in the history of American music (including Detroit, Los Angeles, Muscle Shoals, Atlanta, Memphis, and, of course, Nashville) and explores each area's contributions.
Rare and must-see artifacts are everywhere, including one of Jimi Hendrix's guitars, the drums that session musician Hal Blaine used to record with The Beach Boys and Frank Sinatra, and the bass used on Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA." Most importantly, the Musicians Hall Of Fame & Museum is a testament to the musicians themselves, regularly inducting icons from Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Glen Campbell to Booker T. & The M.G.'s, Barbara Mandrell, and Charlie Daniels.