Since first stumbling upon them as a child in Colorado, Susan Russell has been enthralled with rocks and fossils. The law offices she found herself in for the first 23 years of adulthood, however, were a far cry from the natural surroundings that first catalyzed her imaginative passion. "I wanted to get back to doing something more creative with the remainder of my years," she told The Tennessean in 2010, which is why she supplemented her daytime gig with classes in metalworking, silversmithing, and repurposing tin cans into airplane propellers. By congregating jewelry designers, glass blowers, potters, and painters, Susan has fulfilled her creative ambition at Atelier, where the artisanal ensemble handcrafts original, oft-customized jewelry and art from real gemstones, exotic pearls, and hand-forged sterling, silver, and gold. Each craftsperson builds their designs around the natural materials personally selected by Susan, ensuring that their pieces emphasize the color and attributes of their coral, fossil, tiger eye, or Peruvian opal centers. The store, voted Nashville's Best Jewelry Store by Nashville Scene readers in 2011, ships every creation in a covered and cotton-filled box that you can gift without additional wrapping to an important person or mannequin in your life.
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.
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.
As a Sugar Creek Carriages horse, Flint attends so many weddings he might as well be standing on a cake. The charming percheron draft horse sports a fair complexion and snowy mane that match traditionally white wedding dresses and the wedding carriages he often tows. He is one of 10 well-groomed, mannerly horses and ponies that provide the horsepower for an array of stylish buggies. Additionally, the animals make appearances at festivals, reenactments, and kids' pony parties. Sugar Creek Carriages also networks with the entertainment industry, a connection that recently led pop singer Justin Bieber to rent a carriage while he was in Nashville and his unicorn-drawn chariot was in the shop.
The sights and sounds of the fictional Hazzard county surround visitors of Cooter's Place, a museum and shop dedicated to the hit television show the Dukes of Hazzard. Ben "Cooter" Jones, the show's famous mechanic, founded the multi-leveled facility and filled every nook and cranny with props, costumes, pictures, and memorabilia from the show. Upstairs, players attempt precise putts around an 18-hole mini-golf course that resembles the Dukes of Hazzard set with fake plants, a wooden cabin, and a massive crew filming everything. The indoor go-kart track gives drivers a chance to chase one-another around a smooth oval in karts made to resemble the series' iconic vehicles.
Being branded ?Roseanne Barr meets Jack Black? might be considered a slight to some, but Hick Chick Tours? guide Christy Eidson wears it as a badge of honor. The standup comedienne keeps her pub crawls, brewery tours, and bus tours light and irreverent with tongue-in-cheek asides. But since she?s a Tennessee native, there?s are also plenty of interesting historical information woven into her sassy narratives.