If you ask me, there's no better time to be a Tennessean than autumn: The balmy afternoons giving way to the breezy evenings. The roar of crowds filling the SEC stadiums on Saturday afternoons, then spilling out onto the streets (and into the bars) once the game-goers team won (or lost). The pumpkin patches creating swaths of orange across the countryside. The apple-picking season meaning apple pie is on every restaurant menu. I mean, what's not to love?
If you're looking to get out and about to soak up Middle Tennessee in all its fall glory, we've got a few ideas laid out for you.
Take a drive through the foliage.
You could head three hours east to the Smokies during peak foliage time or you can observe the beauty of Middle Tennessee's own lush spots, such as Radnor Lake, Montgomery Bell, Tim's Ford or Fall Creek Falls. Looking for a longer drive? Try the Promised Land Trail or the Natchez Trace Parkway.
Pick a pumpkin (or two).
(Credit: Walden Farm)
For a lazy Saturday spent outdoors, there's nowhere better to be than a pumpkin patch, filling your wagon with Jack-o-lantern fodder aplenty. The sprawling Walden Farm in Smyrna doesn't just offer pumpkins, though; it also has gourds, Indian corn and other seasonal harvest items for picking, as well as plenty of kid-friendly activities like a hay ride and a 40-foot slide.
Try your hand at a corn maze. At Gentry's Farm, a working farm open to the public on weekends, you can test your wits (and your smarts) by navigating the four-acre cornfield maze. When you've successfully found your way out of the natural labyrinth, take a hayride, hike one of the many nature trails and embrace your inner child on the tire swings.
(Credit: Southern Thrift)
Go thrifting for a Halloween costume. Nashville is full of vintage stores, many of which like Southern Thrift Store are chock full of quirky finds that make for creative costume party ensembles.
(Credit: Caitlin Harris)
Wander through the rows of scarecrows at Cheekwood. Nashville's own botanical garden is worth a visit no matter the season, but come late September each year, it morphs into a fall fantasyland with its annual Scarecrows exhibit, each one sponsored by a different organization from the community. In addition to the unique straw creations, there's also 5,000 mums on display, pumpkin decorating, model trains and more, all of which make up Cheekwood Harvest.
(Credit: Caitlin Harris)