From touring a country star's home to an aerial adventure, this Whites Creek destination has something for everyone. BY RYAN TILLMAN for "Summer in the City"
The former home of country music legend Barbara Mandrell is one of the Nashville area’s landmark attractions located just “three songs from downtown” in Whites Creek. Fontanel offers a host of activities for everyone. The fun includes tours of the Mandrell mansion, murder mystery dinners, live music events, wine nights and zip line tours with Adventureworks.
THE MANSION TOUR
Personable staff offer guided tours through the Fontanel mansion daily. Our guide, Steven, made it a priority to learn everyone’s name on our tour of more than 20. The aspiring musician even picked a few chords of two original tunes in the Great Room, where B.B. King’s guitar, “Lucille,” Jerry Lee Louis’ piano and multitudes of other music memorabilia reside.
With Luke Bryan signed guitars, original prints of Kenny Chesney’s college days and records from Country Music Hall of Fame group Alabama, country music junkies are sure to get geeky here.
While you’ll enjoy seeing a lot of different artifacts from various country music stars, the main attraction is the mansion itself. It’s a lot of fun strolling room by room in the ornate log mansion built by Mandrell’s husband, Ken. You’ll hear stories about how the country queen and her family lived during the heyday of her career. The detail of each room is jaw-dropping to say the least.
MORE FONTANEL ATTRACTIONS
Natchez Hills Winery at Fontanel is a satellite tasting venue that features occasional live music and a continual welcoming, homey atmosphere. Sitting on the porch or the lawn will have you wondering how this beautiful piece of country property is only 12 miles north of Broadway’s neon lights.
Once a month, the winery hosts Fontanel’s Murder Mystery nights. These unique dinner events feature a group of actors role-playing a fictional drama, eliciting audience involvement. The acting company arrests each guest’s attention with an unexplained murder, similar to a giant game of Clue. Attendees make their best prediction as to who the murderer is for a chance to win tickets to future shows.
The perfect summer evening can be capped off with a concert on Fontanel’s Back Porch. These kid-friendly outdoor music shows are held every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. through Sept. 28. Lawn games, food trucks and frequent antique car shows are a staple.
The Woods Amphitheater hosts a variety of live concerts and events throughout the year. Be sure to check the Fontanel website regularly to stay in the loop on what’s coming down the pike.
Hungry? Pop into Cafe Fontanella offering both Italian and American options. Next door, you can shop for fun gift items, too.
Last but certainly not least, Adventureworks provides the opportunity to strap on a harness and helmet and soar through the Fontanel forest on multiple zip lines. Led by fun and engaging guides, this tour is Nashville Parent tested and approved. You and your kids (ages 6 and older) are sure to love the thrill of soaring through air zipping past the trees. It’s an exhilarating experience that you won’t soon forget.
IF YOU GO:
4125 Whites Creek Pike
Nashville, TN 37189
Mansion tours: $24 adults, $14 ages 6 – 15, free ages 5 & younger
Adventureworks zipline tours: $59 adults, $48 youth
Call or visit the website for other attraction fees
Featured picture: The carved bear sculptures outside the Fontanel mansion echo a similar theme inside the home. The three bears represent the Mandrell children Jaime, Matthew and Nathan.