Cheekwood Harvest officially marks the start of fall

Nashville’s autumnal festival opens for another year of stunning nature and fun fall attractions.


Nikki Weitzenhoffer

Photo depicting one of three pumpkin houses featured at Cheekwood Harvest, as photographed on Oct. 1, 2022. (Hustler Staff/Nikki Weitzenhoffer)

Nikki Weitzenhoffer

Nothing says fall like Nashville’s annual autumnal festival, Cheekwood Harvest. Located at the scenic Cheekwood Estate and Botanical Gardens, the festival began on Sept. 17 and runs until Oct. 30. The beautiful red and orange trees are guaranteed to put anyone in a fall mood despite the somewhat summery weather that Nashville still insists on giving us.

Every flower bed, signpost and display is adorned with multi-colored pumpkins, which will have you  ready to sprint to Starbucks for a pumpkin spice latte. The Beer Garden slightly off to the entrance to the festival features a live band. Grab a meal from the seasonal food and drink trucks, and sit on the picnic tables and blankets strewn across the grass for a perfect afternoon with friends and family. 

Photo depicting a scarecrow dressed as singer Willie Nelson, as photographed on Oct. 1, 2022. (Hustler Staff/Nikki Weitzenhoffer).

A beautiful wooded path lined with uniquely dressed scarecrows with names like “Willow Nelson” add a touch of fun to Cheekwood’s aura of serenity. The best part is that the path leads to the largest model train set I have ever seen. Moving trains aboard elevated tracks wound around tree stubs, vivid green shrubbery and little houses shaped like mushrooms, rendering the feeling of being transported into a fairytale. Fountains with water spurting elegantly out of beautifully carved ducks’ mouths also add to the sense of walking through a storybook. Although my friend and I seemed to be the only two adults there without toddler-aged children, seeing the kids completely lose their minds over the attraction was so endearing that it restored the childlike wonder in our jaded college student minds.    

Photo depicting a balcony view in the historic Cheekwood mansion, as photographed on Oct 1, 2022. (Hustler Staff/Nikki Weitzenhoffer).

Another attraction that cannot be missed is the mansion. With classic-inspired stonework intertwined with elements of nature, the building seems to inhabit a world of its own. A balcony with a vine-wrapped roof overlooks a landscape of hills, dense forestry and a rectangular reflecting pool that gleams in the afternoon sun. The beauty of the view paired with the stunning architecture almost made me forget that I was in Nashville. Instead, I felt like a tourist in a castle somewhere in Vienna, Austria.

Perhaps the most popular attraction is the Pumpkin Village featuring three pumpkin houses. Although quite literally mobbed by children, the bright orange and yellow of the pumpkins pop out, making it a perfect spot for a cute fall-themed photo shoot. A Japanese garden filled with bamboo trees off to the side of the estate is a nice, peaceful place to cozy up with a book.  

Providing a wholesome way to experience the delights of fall, Cheekwood Harvest’s beauty and playful atmosphere might just restore your inner child. If you’re looking for a way to decrease the stress of college life or escape the Vanderbilt bubble, Cheekwood is the place for you.