Although the weather isn’t cool yet, the leaves will soon be turning, and fall activities in Middle Tennessee are already underway. Local Realtor, civic leader, and longtime Middle Tennessee resident Annette Bratcher offers a list offers a list of 10 of her favorite autumn activities.
Traveller’s Rest, the 1799 home of Judge John Overton, is the oldest historic house open to the public in Nashville. The house and museum feature several programs during the fall, including Twisted Tennessee, which allows participants to determine who the good guys and bad guys are in several Tennessee tales.
Goblins and Giggles
The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center features a Goblins and Giggles event. The event includes an overnight stay and family-friendly activities such as a Halloween-themed scavenger hunt, trick or treating, and a flatboat ride.
Tennessee state parks offer free access year-round, although they sometimes charge fees for particular activities. They provide excellent opportunities for outdoor relaxation and fun, Annette Bratcher says. For example, Montgomery Bell offers cabins and camping opportunities and various outdoor activities such as hiking, golfing, biking, and fishing. Radnor Lake includes an aviary center, natural refuge, wildlife viewing opportunities, hiking, and jogging. Both also offer excellent opportunities to see the fall foliage, she says.
Pumpkin Patches and Corn Mazes
Several local farms offer corn mazes and pumpkin patches. One, Lucky Ladd Farms in Eagleville, offers a Family Fun Festival through October. A corn maze and pumpkin patch are two seasonal features, in addition to the playground, slides, and tractor rides that are available. Another, Fiddle Dee Farms in Greenbrier, offers Shuckle’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch. The farm also features a hayride and a Wild Kingdom visit with animals.
The fall is the perfect time to take a ghost tour, which visits the most haunted locations in Nashville. Different walking tours are offered. One takes visitors to some notorious spots; another takes visitors on a spooky pub crawl.
The Heritage Foundation of Williamson County will be the host of the 36th Annual Pumpkinfest in Downtown Franklin. It is Middle Tennessee’s largest family festival. Visitors can eat and drink, listen to live music and participate in costume contests for humans and pets. They also can visit arts and crafts booths and participate in children’s activities. After dark, tours of historic cemeteries tell “behind-the-grave” stories.
Beer, Wine, and Shine
The state’s Beer, Wine, and Shine Festival is held annually in October at Two Rivers Mansion, about 15 minutes from downtown Nashville. It features live music, artisan booths, and four-ounce samples of beer, one-ounce samples of wine, and one-ounce samples of moonshine. About 100 different beers and 90 different wines are available.
Boo At the Zoo
On several evenings in October, the Nashville Zoo will open for Boo At the Zoo. Boo At the Zoo is a walkthrough event. Participants can see various late-night species such as bears, tigers, and flamingoes and visit ten trick-or-treat stations. Food and drink are available; however, participants also may bring their own refreshments to save money. The zoo says that both adults and children are encouraged to dress in costume; however, adult costumers should be merry but not scary. The event is “scare-free.” A haunted farm has been part of the event in the past, but is no longer, says Annette Bratcher.
Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Art Museum
The Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Art Museum are year-round attractions in Nashville and offer a special Cheekwood Harvest during the fall. Oaks, maples, and other deciduous trees show their colors. Pumpkins add interest to the gardens, and two 11-foot pumpkin houses delight children of all ages, says Annette Bratcher. Pumpkin carving and painting activities, live music, and food trucks also are part of the Harvest Festival. Artist scarecrows greet walkers on their way to the train exhibit.
The Tennessee Central Railway Museum in Nashville offers several round-trip excursions based around specific themes. Fall foliage, Oktoberfest, and NorthPole Expresses are a few of the most popular, she says.
Annette Bratcher has lived, worked, and volunteered in Middle Tennessee since 1995.