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History, Horses and Hospitality

By Linda Tancs

Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee, is the land of history, horses and hospitality. Historically, native tribes used the woodlands and meadows as a place to hunt wild game, carving a trail over time that was eventually known as the old Natchez road by European settlers. John Harding, a skilled farmer and businessman, purchased some of those hunting grounds in 1806 for farming and thoroughbred breeding, calling the property Belle Meade (beautiful meadow). Harding expanded the family home in 1853, introducing the Greek Revival style mansion seen today. In its heyday, the old Southern plantation was a popular destination for luminaries like President and Mrs. Grover Cleveland, Robert Todd Lincoln, General U.S. Grant, General William T. Sherman and Adlai E. Stevenson. Belle Meade Plantation is open daily, with mansion tours starting every 30 to 45 minutes.

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