The Queen of Tennessee Plantations has a history as rich as any royalty. Spared the wrath of the Union army in the Civil War, the Belle Meade Plantation once reigned over more than 5,000 acres devoted to farming and breeding thoroughbred horses, most notably Iroquois, the first American thoroughbred to win England's revered Epsom Derby. Now situated on only 30 acres, the mansion and many of the original buildings are well-preserved. Checking out the Belle Meade Plantation is often cited as one of the best things to do in Nashville. As you can imagine, they give a fascinating glimpse into plantation life. The gift shop is well stocked with souvenirs and decorative items that lean heavily on the equestrian theme. The plantation's restaurant, Belle, serves up a winning fusion of French country and deep American Southern cuisines.
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