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Posts Tagged ‘Tenn.’

The Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tenn., was among the victims of the devastating Nashville flood in May of 2010. It wasn’t until Dec., 2010 that it reopened. There is a plaque titled RESURGENCE. It read “Flowers are our companions throughout life’s journey, our inspiring and faithfully returning friends. This exuberant creation’s infinite colors and shapes, representing a range from buds to full blossoms, paralled the unlimited resurgence and rebirth of the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. LUKEK  HROCK.

Several years ago we were fortunate to be able to stay there for a few days. Our room had a balcony that overlooked the inside courtyard. There was such an abundance of foliage and a wonderful waterfall that we could view that it was hard to believe this was really all inside the hotel. Since we were driving through Nashville, in April 2011,we decided to stop and see how things have changed since the flood.

Once inside the hotel it was hard to believe it was a victim of the flood. There was no longer any evidence of it and once again it felt like you were walking through a botanical garden. We spent a few hours just walking around looking at all the plantings and waterfalls.

At dinner we asked the waiter about the flood and he said everything we saw was new except for a few large trees. He pointed to a spot on a post and said the water was up to there. It was about 6 or 7 feet high. Sitting there admiring all the plants and decorations it was hard to imagine that all of this would have been under water.

It is a hotel that I consider a tourist attraction.  There is so much to see there. Around every corner you encounter something different. There are winding rivers, rushing waterfalls, shops galore and enough variety of plants that you would think you were in some wonderful garden. All of this indoors.  In one place you can walk through a tunnel behind the waterfall and see the backside of water. (If you have ever been on the jungle cruise at Disney World you know what I am talking about.)

BACK SIDE OF WATER

BACK SIDE OF WATER

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We have just returned from a trip south where we went to a practice round at the Masters Golf Tournament and then on to Savannah and stopped at sights along the way down and back home.  I will be writing about them over the next several blogs.

I always think it is interesting when you learn about the origin of a name. The name Cheekwood comes from the owner of the property, Leslie Cheek, and Mrs. Cheek’s maiden name was Wood.  It is also the house that coffee built.

Leslie Cheek’s brother Joel developed a superior blend of coffee called Cheek-Neal Coffee.  Leslie and members of the Cheek family invested in Cheek-Neal Coffee.  Joel convinced the best hotel in Nashville, the MAXWELL HOUSE, to carry his coffee exclusively, thus the new name of the coffee.  He went on to sell his brand to Postum, which is now General Foods, in 1928.  Leslie Cheek then traded his Postum shares for IBM stock.  Thereby securing his fortune.  Then he and his wife built their dream home known as Cheekwood. We should all make such good investments.

CHEEKWOOD

CHEEKWOOD

 Passing through the main gates gives the impression that this is going to be something very special.

ENTRANCE GATES TO CHEEKWOOD GARDENS

ENTRANCE GATES TO CHEEKWOOD GARDENS

  This 55-acre property and 36- room, Georgian Revival mansion, was completed in 1932.  It was surrounded by luxurious gardens and fountains. 

CHEEKWOOD GARDENS

CHEEKWOOD GARDENS

 The house and garden suffered somewhat from the ravages of time.  The home was lived in into the 1950’s when it was offered as a site for a botanical garden and art museum.  Changes were made and now it is a four season garden, with plants blooming throughout the year.

 The Museum of Art is housed in the mansion and includes world-class collections of American and contemporary paintings and sculpture, English and American decorative arts, and traveling exhibitions. You can get an idea of how graciously they must have lived by viewing some of their collections of silver and dinnerware.  Beautiful spiral staircases take you upstairs to what would have been bedrooms.

SPIRAL STAIRCASE AT CHEEKWOOD

SPIRAL STAIRCASE AT CHEEKWOOD

  What a life this family must have had. To look out one of the mansion windows and think, this is all my land.

It really felt like I had just walked into spring as we walked through the various gardens. 

SPRING FLOWERS AT CHEEKWOOD

SPRING FLOWERS AT CHEEKWOOD

Everything had that beautiful color of spring when the plants are clean and fresh.  On the grounds there were many different gardens such as the wildflower garden and the Japanese garden.

JAPANESE GARDEN

JAPANESE GARDEN

Our next stop was the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, which I will write about in the next blog.

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