When Mr. Leslie Cheek’s family coffee business (known as Maxwell House because it was served at that historic downtown hotel) was sold to Postum/General Foods, he invested his share of the proceeds in a lovely 100-acre tract of land, and hired a renowned architect to design a country house and gardens. The resulting estate, Cheekwood, was completed in 1932 – and has stood in West Nashville as a showplace of our city’s hospitality, grace and beauty ever since. In 1960, the donated estate was opened to the public.
In truth, there is something going on in the gardens at Cheekwood year-round. Their
springtime display boasts more than 100,000 tulips, along with daffodils, dogwood, redbud and magnolias. In the fall, the bright blue sky provides a perfect backdrop to a magnificent leaf display. And, new in 2015, the grounds are lit up so that visitors can walk through a breathtaking holiday lights display.
Like Nashville, Cheekwood really shines in the summertime, with all types of activities and festivities. Families with children will appreciate the Summer Camp series, and each Thursday in June and July, families can enjoy Family Night Out music and activities in the gardens. The upper-crust of Nashville society traditionally takes over the house and grounds one Saturday in early June for the Swan Ball, Cheekwood’s annual white-tie fundraiser gala. A more casual event, Highballs and Hydrangeas, follows shortly thereafter.
This summer, Cheekwood also hosts two interesting exhibits with broad appeal – Steve Tobin’s “Southern Roots” exhibit brings monumental sculptures which are displayed in the house and in the gardens. Also, there is an appealing display of International Playhouses, designed by area architects and designers and selected by a juried panel.
And, if all of this isn’t enough to draw you to Cheekwood in summer 2016, you should know that the house at Cheekwood will undergo extensive renovation in 2017, so programs may be scaled back to accommodate.
Daily admission to Cheekwood is $16 for adults. Parking is $5 per car.(Daily admission and parking are both free for members with ID.) Admission to events at Cheekwood varies by event, but members get discounted admission for many events. Membership starts at $55 per year (for a single member). Members receive reciprocal admission privileges to nearly 200 botanical gardens nationwide and over 60 museums in the Southeast.
What are you looking forward to doing at Cheekwood this summer?