Old Town Trolley and Belmont Mansion Combo
Nashville, Tennessee, USA
- Belmont Mansion tour: This 20,000-square-foot Italianate villa, completed in 1853, was the lavish summer home (and party palace) for Nashville socialite Adelicia Acklen. You'll learn how she amassed her wealth, and see the splendor it built.
- Sightsee the city: Stay aboard for the trolley's full 12-mile loop around town to see over 100 highlights and hear colorful narration that ties them all together. It's a wide-ranging Nashville intro in under two hours.
- Hop on and off all day: With 15 stops, you can jump off wherever your interests lead you, then simply hop back on to continue exploring; trolleys roll by each stop every 20 minutes or so.
- Enjoy the attractions: Explore Broadway, Music Row, Centennial and Bicentennial parks, Ryman Auditorium, Musicians Hall of Fame, Farmer's Market, Marathon Motor Works, Union Station, The Gulch, 12 South, Vanderbilt U, the Johnny Cash Museum, the Parthenon, and more.
About This Nashville Tour
Originally named "Belle Monte" by its owners, Belmont sits at the top of a tall hill some two miles into "the country" from what was the center of antebellum Nashville.
It sat deep in the land of cotton, but this was no plantation – not a single cash crop ever grew on this acreage. No need; the Acklens already had more money that they knew what to do with from the seven Louisiana plantations Adelicia inherited from her first marriage.
So here at Belmont, she and her husband Joseph could use the 177 acre grounds for less utilitarian purposes. Like lavish gardens, conservatories brimming with tropical fruit and flowers, an aviary chirping with song birds, and a zoo stocked with bears, monkeys, peacocks, alligators, and deer. A 105-foot water tower and five cast-iron gazebos added to the landscape of privilege.
Surrounding buildings once held a bath house, an ice house, a glass-roofed gallery for Adelicia's growing art collection, and something every aspiring Southern aristocrat needs: a bowling alley.
But it was inside the mansion proper that things got really glamorous – and remain so today despite the many years and transitions this grand 36-room villa has withstood.
Gilded mirrors still hang over imposing mantels. Important marbles and elaborate gaslight chandeliers still adorn elegantly furnished parlors. Original Venetian glass still fills windows, doors, and transoms. And architectural historians still call the Grand Salon the most elaborate domestic interior in all of antebellum Tennessee.
Laid out by the same architect who designed the Tennessee State Capitol, this house has seen a lot of life march by. Including 13,000 occupying Union troops who camped here in the winter of 1864, ahead of a key Civil War battle. It did not go well for the Rebs.
Adelicia the Great
Don't let her lady-of-leisure lifestyle fool you. Adelicia Acklen was no demure Nashville hostess. A survivor of multiple marriages and turbulent times, she knew a thing or two about business and wealth-amassing. Widowed in the midst of the Civil War, she engineered secret agreements with both sides that enabled her to sell her cotton to England. She was presented at the Court of Napoleon III. And the horse she rode, Bucephalus, shared a name with the famous charger Alexander the Great often rode into battle.
Please make your way to the Trolley Booth located at 201 Broadway (nearest intersection 2nd Ave. & Broadway). The Belmont Mansion's GPS address is 1700 Acklen Ave. (nearest intersection Wedgewood Ave. & Acklen Ave.).
You can Hop On and Hop Off during the day as you please and walking is at your discretion. One loop, without hopping on and off, is approximately 1.75 hours.
The Belmont Mansion is open Monday-Saturday 10:00am- 4:00pm, Sunday 1:00pm-4:00pm and is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Easter and Independence Day. Food and beverages are not permitted during the Belmont Mansion tour.
Walking is at your personal discretion, and you do have to step on and off the trolley. The upstairs portion of Belmont Mansion is not wheelchair accessible.
Bus Tour, Cultural, Family Friendly, Scenic
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated mild. To participate fully, you may be required to walk over primarily even surfaces at a leisurely pace. You may encounter a limited number of steps, cobblestones, or uneven surfaces, and you may have to stand for extended periods of time.
Suitable for all ages. Children ages 3 years and younger participate free of charge.
Trolleys run every 20-30 minutes. Hours of operation: November 27 – February 26: 9:00 – 4:00pm; February 27 – November 25: 9:00 – 5:00pm. Black-out Dates: Closed July 4th, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
Non-refundable if canceled within 24 hours of requested services.
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