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.
As a ballet dancer, David Gensheimer didn't need much help becoming lean, limber, and lithe. But when he found himself recovering from knee surgery, he knew he needed to find something that would keep him strong without compromising his healing process. In addition to physical therapy, he turned to Pilates and was won over by the sport's ability to strengthen core muscles and enhance flexibility. Though he was back to pirouetting in no time, David never lost the Pilates bug and went on to complete his Pilates training while serving as a company member with Ballet Austin and Nashville Ballet and dancing with the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company and Stillpoint.
Today, when he's not busy dancing his way through guest performances around the country, David helms Simply Balanced where he helps others strengthen, rehabilitate, and challenge their bodies through Pilates and yoga classes. Students can also try Gyrotonic classes, which blend elements of gymnastics, yoga, dance, and tai chi, performed on a weight and pulley machine that engages the entire body. Beyond transforming the way visitors look, move, and feel about spandex shorts, the Simply Balanced studio also showers them with feel-good perks such as complimentary beverages, free parking, and access to a team of highly trained massage therapists.
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.
Renowned dance coach Anthony Lewis, who’s mentored many nationally ranked clients, boasts several competition titles, as well as a fourth-place win at the World's Championships himself. His teaching experience spans the country, having overseen studios in Kentucky and California, and his staff of instructors emulates his star quality with their devotion and skill. Yet, for all of their impressive credentials, the teachers at Nashville Ballroom specialize in training adult beginners, deriving fulfillment from transforming two left feet into comfortable twirling tools.
As Nashville Ballroom’s students sashay through the studio's three-step schooling approach—composed of private lessons, group classes, and social practice—they can choose from more than 20 dance styles. Instructors stress that their setting is "not your grandma's ballroom," culling modern steps from Latin, swing, and country-western choreography. Though they do tutor such classical styles as the waltz and foxtrot, lessons typically focus on the modern techniques needed for nightclub outings and wedding receptions in the year 4012.
Operated by the nonprofit Country Music Foundation, this monument to the genre’s local and international history honors inductees—including the inaugural trio of Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams and Fred Rose—with bronze plaques in a vast rotunda. The core permanent exhibit, Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music, traces country from its pre-commercial roots in the 19th century to its current place in the entertainment industry with hallmarks such as photos, original recordings, and 10-gallon hats still filled with whiskey. On the packed event calendar, a quarterly Poets and Prophets series honors legendary songwriters, and weekly instrument demonstrations reveal artists' deft finger work. At the onsite Frist Library and Archive, patrons can explore more than four decades of historical media, from fan-club newsletters to Johnny Cash's amateur photographs of dogs dressed in striped prison jumpsuits.
Four years after he first stepped onto a skeet field, Terry Hetrick joined the All American Team and All State Team at age 17. Two years later he won the Pennsylvania State High Over All championship, one of many state, regional, national, and world titles he’d collect before being inducted into the Pennsylvania Skeet Shooting Hall of Fame in 1996.
Though he continued amassing accolades after relocating to Nashville in 2000 – including eight Tennessee state championships and another hall of fame induction – he decide to chase his lifelong dream of teaching. At Terry Hetrick Shooting School, he’s mentored national and world champions alongside celebs such as Nicole Kidman, who learned how to shoot looks that melt hearts. Along with future champs and famous faces, Terry works with all levels of shooters to impart shotgun and clay target fundamentals, instill safe gun-handling technique, and help his students dispose of of bad habits.