Cheekwood Botanical Gardens (Nashville)
I’ve just returned from a business trip to Nashville, one of my favourite American cities. The charm of the city extends well beyond my favorite pockets like The Gulch, Belle Meade, Green Hills, Hillsboro village and 12 Avenue South, to off the radar spots like Franklin and Liepers Fork – a couple of my two favourite haunts. Neighboring the famous Belle Meade Golf and Country Club of Nashville is the Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art. This is the original Cheek family home and estate, of Maxwell House Coffee fame, which is now a public destination. It is serene and picturesque. A good place to spend a morning or full day if you have children.
Christopher Cheek founded a wholesale grocery business in Nashville in the 1880s. His son, Leslie Cheek, joined him as a partner, and by 1915 was president of the family-owned company. Leslie’s wife, Mabel Wood, was a member of a prominent Clarksville family. Meanwhile, Joel Cheek, Leslie’s cousin, had developed an acclaimed blend of coffee that was marketed through Nashville’s finest hotel, the Maxwell House Hotel. Legend has it that Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed the blend “Good to the last drop,” which is still a registered trademark for the product. Cheek’s extended family, including Leslie and Mabel Cheek, were investors. In 1928, the Postum Cereals Company (now General Foods) purchased Maxwell House’s parent company, Cheek-Neal Coffee, for more than $40 million. If you’re planning a trip and considering a visit, check out their Facebook page and website.