John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, Nashville

Brentwood, Tennessee Native and Broadway Star Ginna Claire Mason of "Wicked" Shares Her Tennessee Stops

"Wicked" star Ginna Claire Mason shares her favorite Tennessee stops.

It’s no surprise Tennessee has star-studded talent within its borders: Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Tina Turner, B.B. King, Kings of Leon, Paramore, and Judah & the Lion are just some of the artists who were made in Tennessee. But what about Broadway stars? For Ginna Claire Mason, who plays Glinda on tour in the Tony Award-winning musical Wicked, you could say Tennessee was her springboard.

Ginna Claire Mason, Tennessee native, as Glinda in "Wicked"
Ginna Claire Mason plays Glinda on tour in "Wicked" currently at Tennessee Performing Arts Center through April 22. 

“I love telling this beautiful story of friendship! Glinda is dynamic, earnest, and witty. And, oh my goodness, the gorgeous costumes are a lot of fun, too!”

Originally from Brentwood about 20 minutes south of Nashville, Tennessee, Ginna Claire grew up on “The Sound of Music,” “My Fair Lady” and “Annie” soundtracks. She performed with the Star Bright Players of the Williamson County Parks and Recreation Department; took voice lessons at Franklin Brentwood Arts Academy and dance lessons at Franklin School of Performing Arts.

Now, the Brentwood-native-turned-Broadway star is on tour with Wicked, playing in Nashville now through April 22. Even though she travels to many places while on tour, Tennessee holds a special place in her heart: “I love that people are so considerate and friendly. The air and the tea are sweetest here in Tennessee.”

Before going into the spotlight, Ginna Claire told us about some of her top spots when visiting Tennessee.

Meridee’s Breadbasket – Franklin

Meridee's Breadbasket, Franklin
Have a delicious meal at Meridee's Breadbasket in Franklin. Photo credit: Meridee's Breadbasket

Homemade comfort food made from scratch is at the forefront of Meridee’s Breadbasket’s operations, which a good reason why it’s one of Ginna Claire’s go-to restaurants. “My favorite place to eat is Meridee’s in downtown Franklin! I always order the same thing: chicken salad sandwich on egg bread, frozen fruit side, and fruit tea (and one of their delicious, fresh turnovers, if I want a dessert)!” Your sweet tooth will be silenced when you order the fresh cheese bearclaw, cinnamon raisin roll, fruit turnover, and snickerdoodle and peanut butter cookies. Meridee’s is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Wednesdays and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays to Saturdays.

Puffy Muffin – Brentwood

Puffy Muffin in Brentwood
Keep the sweet tooth craving at bay with a sampling of Puffy Muffin's baked goods. Photo credit: Puffy Muffin

Ginna Claire frequents the Brentwood area when she’s home and one of her favorite local spots is Puffy Muffin. “I love the poppy seed chicken casserole at Puffy Muffin in Brentwood.” Shredded chicken in a Parmesan cream sauce tossed with poppy seeds and cracker crumbs with rice, cranberry salad and a fresh roll – this dish may soon become your favorite as well. Puffy Muffin also offers a gluten-free menu, fresh salads and salivating bakery options like molasses cookies, crème Brulee and chocolate frosted brownies.

Downtown Nashville

When Ginna Claire is in downtown Nashville, her advice for first-timers is simple: “...Go line dancing at Wildhorse Saloon and walk across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge to take in the gorgeous view of the Cumberland River and city skyline.” At Wildhorse Saloon, you can enjoy songwriter acoustic performances, DJ music, full band performances and even free line dance lessons in the 66,000-square-foot, three-floor entertainment facility. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays to Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Gabby’s Burgers & Fries – Nashville

Ginna Claire recommends ordering the Coreen Burger from Gabby’s Burgers & Fries. Black beans, beets, oats and brown rice are used for the patty and is topped with barbecue sauce and Swiss cheese. It’s a great vegan option, just don’t add cheese. Add a side of fries, a cup or bowl of chili, or even a strawberry, vanilla or chocolate milkshake as perfect additions to your perfectly-assembled burger. Grass-fed beef is used for the meat-based burgers. They even have a secret menu and kid’s menu, so all ages are satisfied. 

Crockett Park – Brentwood

Head to Crockett Park, one of Ginna Claire’s favorite place to reconnect with nature. With more than 164 acres of open fields, you have plenty of places to run and explore in Brentwood’s second largest park. A nature trail, open meadows, paved walking paths and bike ways along with an amphitheater that hosts special performances, Crockett Park is a nature lover’s hidden gem in Brentwood.

Green Acres Farm – Milan

Green Acres Farm, Milan
Buy strawberries in the spring, pumpkins in the fall at Green Acres Farm. Photo credit: Green Acres Farm

If you want fresh produce and a fun farm day in the springtime or fall months, Ginna Claire suggests a visit to Green Acres Farm. The chandler strawberries are usually available to purchase April 15-June 15. When the weather gets cooler and pumpkins make their appearance, Green Acres can be your one-stop farm shop for pumpkins, gourds, cornstalks and corn. Try your luck in the corn maze and enjoy photo ops with the various harvest decorations throughout the farm.

To see Tennessee’s Broadway star, Ginna Claire Mason, grab tickets to see Wicked playing at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center now through April 22.

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