Where and What is Cheekwood ?

A six minute drive from The Cloister, less than 3 miles, takes Bonney and I to one of the hidden jewels of Nashville. It’s easy to notice Belle Meade Plantation because it sits right against Hwy 70, the railroad tracks on one side and the Belle Meade Plantation property on the other side of “70”. Cheekwood is more difficult because it is hidden away.

It’s funny, some of the Nashville Streets can be very confusing. My Garmen calls Hwy 70 next to The Cloister “The Memphis Bristol Highway” because it starts way…way…up in the northeast part of Tennessee (Bristol, TN) and runs 502 miles to the southwest corner of the state (Memphis, TN).

If you start on lower Broadway in downtown Nashville and head west toward Bellevue, the same street changes names from Broadway to West End, to Harding Road to Harding Pike to Memphis Bristol Hwy to Charlotte Pike and back to the Memphis Bristol Highway heading west beyond Bellevue. That is no worst than Briley Parkway changing to White Bridge Pike to Woodmont Blvd to Thompson Lane and then back to being called Briley Parkway!!! So much for my many year’s confusion about Nashville street names. I still don’t know the difference between “Road” and “Pike” when someone says Nolensville Road, Nolensville Pike, Charlotte Road or Charlotte Pike?????

Years ago, when we drove down the Nashville from our home in Kentucky we had no idea that Old Hickory Boulevard appears in all directions around Nashville. We found ourselves east of Nashville near Lebanon when we wanted to go to Bellevue.

Old Hickory crosses I-65 both north of downtown in Madison and south of downtown in Brentwood.

Old Hickory Blvd crosses I-24 up north of downtown near Whites Creek HS but in the south it changes names to Bell Road and crosses I-24 near Hickory Hollow Mall.

Finally Old Hickory crosses I-40 West in Bellevue at Gower School and way out east of downtown on I-40 east of Priest Lake Dam.

Driving can get very confusing in Nashville. After nearly 30 years living in Nashville we are starting to understand getting around the streets of Nashville.

Now, back to my “Hidden Jewel”. The Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum is snuggled against Percy Warner Park and along side the Percy Warner Golf Course and offers a “Bucket List” of wonderful surprises.

Cheekwood has a thirty year history with members of my family. It all started when we first moved to Nashville from Kentucky and my older son got a part-time job working in the kitchen of “The Pineapple Room” at the Cheekwood Gardens. That was the first time I ever heard of Cheekwood. At that time The Pineapple Room was like the old Tearooms where silver-haired ladies met for a lunch of either tuna salad or chicken salad or pimento cheese sandwiches and iced or hot tea. I guess my son diced the celery or pimentos or perhaps washed the dishes and pots and pans.

We have had annual memberships to Cheekwood on and off during our period of living in Nashville. Bonney recently bought a Senior Family membership for $50/year when she joined a local Garden Club. I once took Drawing lessons at the Learning Center. My creations once again proved that either artistic creativity was never mixed into my genes at my conception or whatever I received was undetectable.

There are a number of features and benefits that give Cheekwood membership good value:

  1. Security while walking……there is a gate guard at the entrance.
  2. A museum featuring  American art, American and British decorative arts, and contemporary art.
  3. Studio Art lessons in Clay, Acrylics, Mixed Media, Watercolor, Oil Painting and more at The Frist Learning Center at Cheekwood.
  4. Many varied Gardens connected by walkways.
  5. Plus, Cheekwood membership grants reciprocal privileges to gardens and museums throughout the United States.

Frankly for $50 per year Cheekwood membership is hard to beat.

We are truly rewarded by where we live, surrounded by Percy and Edwin Warner Parks, Belle Meade Plantation and Cheekwood. If you haven’t visited them recently, try them out.


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