Belle Meade Plantation

My cousin came for the weekend and since she has never been to Tennessee before we decided to show her around. We chose a local historical site, Belle Meade Plantation. We've been there several times but every time I learn something new. The house and grounds are stunning.

The plantation was founded in 1807 by John Harding.

The thoroughbred horse business on the plantation began with the boarding of thoroughbreds as early as 1816, John registered his own racing silks with the Nashville Jockey Club in 1823 and began training horses on the track at his McSpadden's Bend Farm. 
When his son William Giles Harding took over the estate, he focused on breeding and racing the thoroughbreds however the Civil War interrupted both. After the war, the family picked up where they left off and between 1867-1868 General Harding won more races than any man living in the U.S. at the time.

As you step past the bullet-riddled columns (from the American Civil War) on the front porch and through the front door you are greeted by paintings of the Belle Meade's most famous horses. Almost all of the Kentucky Derby winners can track their roots back to Belle Meade. Such horses as Secretariat, Sea Biscuit, Barbero, and Iroquois trace their roots back to this plantation. 

Another view of the dairy

Side Saddle

The plantation is a wonderful place to visit for the entire family. It is a picture of a bygone era that is quickly fading on our ever-changing American landscape. History is so much richer for places like the Belle Meade Plantation.  It is a way to touch, taste and breathe in history in a way to make it a part of you.  One that you will remember for a lifetime. 

The home tour is guided but as you complete the mansion tour you are free to walk the beautiful grounds for the rest of your experience here and tour the rest of the buildings and walk around under the massive trees that grace the grounds of the plantation. 
Dairy again
We had such an incredible experience.  Whether you love history, old buildings or horses this place is a great place to spend an afternoon. Especially if you love the Civil War era or have a pack of homeschooled little ones who love field trips.

Inside The Dairy
Slave Cabin on the Plantation
Harding Family Cabin before building the mansion 
Inside the Harding Cabin
Stone Bench inviting you to sit and stay awhile
Smoke House
Beautiful Garden

Artifacts found on the grounds of Belle Meade

Urns decorate the pathway to the family mausoleum.

1 comment:

Thank you for your comments, we love hearing from you!