When we first moved to our home in Tennessee I’ll admit I was a bit nervous. I’m a person that gathers inspiration from being out in the world. Whether I’m in nature (that’s where I find inspiration to settle in, get quiet and connect to the creativity inside of me) or in the kinetic energy of a city (that’s where I find inspiration for new ideas) I am the type that looks outward before stepping into the process of creating. My nervousness came from the fact that as a resident of New Orleans I was able to access both of those inspiration types just moments outside of my doorstep on any given day. So two years ago, as I made that move to Tennessee I felt a tinge of concern that I wouldn’t find that creative flow quite as easily.
We moved into our house here in the hills outside of Nashville exactly 2 years ago this month. Even though it’s been that long I truly still feel like a bit of a newbie at times because the reality is - lately I’ve traveled so much that when I’m at home, I’ve spent less time exploring and more time getting caught up on the day to day things. However! I committed to changing that over the last several weeks.
I get asked about things to do in Nashville alllll the time! While I’ve written several blog posts about things to do in the city (I’ve linked those at the end of this post and there’s quite a list in my book too), I hadn’t, until now, shared a list of outdoorsy things to do.
So here we are - I spent the last several weeks exploring Nashville’s natural wonders, and I can say with all honesty that the opportunity for inspiration sourcing in Nashville is truly found in the outdoors. From waterfalls, to flower farms, rocky hikes and day long drives - no matter which direction you venture out from the city center there’s inspiration to be found.
For the Flower Child
Natchez Glen Flower Farm - The farm is located in Franklin and visits are by reservation only. When we pulled into the driveway we were greeted by Flower Farmer Steve. Steve has planted one of the largest gardens in the United States growing over five thousand dahlias, hundreds of roses, and rare trees from around the world on the property in which he and his family live. You’ll cut your own dream bouquet and leave with so much knowledge on the process of growing as well.
Bluebird Loop Trail - This is an easy one (and free!) to visit and absolutely gorgeous for taking photos too. The Bluebird Loop is a part of the Harpeth River State Park. There’s bluebird houses and a stunning wildflower meadow. We came across this area by chance and literally smiled ear to ear the entire time we explored.
Cheekwood Botanical Gardens - Visiting Cheekwood can be a bit more costly than the other options and the hikes I’ve listed below, however, if you plan to spend a day there or go for one of the many events hosted at the Gardens it’s 1000% worth it. There’s flower gardens, herb gardens, perennial gardens and seasonal gardens. I absolutely love visiting and go several times each year.
For the Waterfall Chaser
Cummins Falls - this hike is my favorite place to kick off the summer, maybe because it’s the first hike Ben took me on on my first Nashville visit, or maybe because the mile hike into the gorge is completely awesome and opens up into a waterfall and swimming hole that’s as big as a football field.
Greeter Falls and the Blue Hole - located within the South Cumberland State Park on our visit we had much of this place to ourselves; there’s limestone creeks, wooded hiking areas, and a massive waterfall with a swimming hole below. We hung out in both areas, the base of the falls and the area up top. Be sure to experience both when you go.
Fall Creek Falls - the falls here are thunderous; it’s the highest single plunge falls east of the Mississippi, the hike is fairly easy and the falls at the end is so worth it.
Rock Island - this park has falls (which powered a still standing 19th century cotton mill) , limestone paths to hike, and places to canoe or hangout waterside.
For the Views
Narrows of the Harpeth - go to canoe or kayak, hike to the tunnel or - my favorite part- scramble up the hiking path to the rock formations up top.
Stone Door and Laurel Falls - with incredible cliff views, the Great Stone Door is a part of the Savage Gulf Natural Area (also where Greeter Falls is). To get to the falls follow the 400-foot stair-stepped spur trail directly behind the Ranger Station Falls.
I’ll close this by saying that truly, there’s so many beautiful options in Nashville. With a few more weeks of what looks like warm weather upon us, get outside while you can! For those of you that might be visiting my new home here in the future, save this post for later and as always share your experiences with me, I love hearing from you all.