I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville wife and mother with a passion for family travel, (mostly) healthy cooking, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries with you, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark.
September 5, 2017
Just a short drive away from Nashville, Rutherford County is one of our absolute favorite spots for day trips, fantastic restaurants, and weekend staycations. Whether you’re an antiques lover, outdoor enthusiast, foodie, or history buff, there’s something in Rutherford County for everyone — especially in the fall, when Tennessee’s weather can’t be beat! Here are a few of our favorite fall family activities in Rutherford County — as well as a couple that would make for a great date night away from the kids!
Learn a thing or two about tractors and such at Eagleville’s 30th annual Antique Tractor Show and Pull September 8-9.
If you’re like me, the words ‘tractor pull’ make you go ‘whaaaa…?’ If you’re also like me, the fact that you don’t really know what a tractor pull IS makes you all the more determined to go to one. Add a skillet throw, a wagon backing contest, and a slow tractor race, and this event is pretty much a must-do in my book. THE FERRIERS WILL TOTALLY BE THERE. Will you?
Stand in the geographic center of Tennessee.
The absolute center of Tennessee is marked with a monument and located right by the MTSU campus. You’ll find the marker at 307 Old Lascassas Road in Mufreesboro. It’s a fun spot to take the kids for pictures while you’re in town.
Savor the past with a stay at The Manor at Twin Oaks in Mufreesboro.
Staycations are one of our favorite family activities, and this bed and breakfast just three miles from MTSU is on our shortlist of weekend getaway spots we can’t wait to try out. Built in 1886, this home originally was located in downtown Murfreesboro — It was moved in pieces to its current location in the 1980s. Today, the Manor has five different luxurious bedrooms, as well as 100 acres of walking trails for guests. Reviews for this B&B are STELLAR. Check it out!
Enjoy old-fashioned festival fun at the Old Timers’ Festival in LaVergne on Sept. 9th.
Events kick off at 10am with a parade through town, followed by a traditional Tennessee festival that includes music, arts and crafts, a carnival, and of course, plenty of food. It all happens at Veterans Memorial Park in LaVergne.
Celebrate harvest season at Murfreesboro’s Main Street Market each Saturday from 9am to noon.
Fall is my favorite time for farmers markets, and Murfreesboro has a great one in the downtown square every Saturday morning in September and October. Here, you’ll find fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, prepared foods, baked goods, and more. It’s a great way to start a weekend getaway in Rutherford County!
Ride bikes and check out local arts and crafts at the Greenway Art Festival on September 16th.
Murfreesboro’s Greenway is one of our absolute favorite places to ride bikes — There’s so much to see and do along the paths — and there’s no better day to for a bike ride than Saturday, September 16th. That’s when local artists and craftsmen will set up booths along the greenway trail for the annual Greenway Art Festival! Food vendors will also be there, including Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream and Cousin’s Maine Lobster. Hope your bicycle has a basket- I doubt you’ll be going home empty handed!
Pick a pumpkin at Lucky Ladd Farms.
Families travel from miles around to visit this popular farm located half-way between Franklin and Murfreesboro. That’s because Lucky Ladd’s boasts 70 different family activities for the price of admission, from a pumpkin patch and corn maze to wagon rides, farm animals, mega slides and a whole lot more. The autumn action starts up September 20th and runs through October 29th.
Dare to be different by celebrating Oktoberfest on September 23rd at Oaklands Mansion.
The fact of the matter is, Oaklands Mansion is so entirely awesome that it can actually get away with holding Oktoberfest festivities in September. When you’ve got a stately historic home on fabulous grounds, you can pretty much do what you want and no one will question you, as far as I’m concerned. Hire a babysitter for the kids and an Uber for yourself and head on out to everyone’s favorite Murfreesboro manse — Your $35 admission supports Oaklands Mansion and covers beers from many local craft brewers including Kinship Brews, Mantra Artisan Ales, Mid-State Brewsters, Mid-State Brew Crew, Monkey Farm, Mos Alesley Brewing, Overall Brewing, Panther Creek Brews, Sinking Creek Farms, Smackdab Brewing, Steel Barrel Brewing Company, VonSeitz Theoreticales, Vitruvian Artisan Ales, cider producer Bold Rock and Murfreesboro’s own The Green Dragon Pub and Brewery. Live music and food trucks will round out the experience.
Celebrate a big night out at Marina’s on the Square.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic date night or a special family celebration meal, you can’t go wrong at this highly-regarded Mufreesboro mainstay in the heart of downtown. Diners rave about the lasagna, calzones, and pizza, as well as the cozy atmosphere.
Enjoy the thrills of barrel racing at the IBRA National Barrel Racing Finals in MTSU’s Miller Coliseum September 24-30.
Children and adults from across the nation will compete in this weeklong finals competition at Miller Coliseum — Not only is it free for onlookers, it gets raves from local parents as a fun and inexpensive activity the whole family can enjoy together. Barrel racing is very fast-paced and exciting and your kids would especially love seeing other children do it!
Lose yourself in the state’s largest corn maze at Batey Farms in Mufreesboro.
Starting September 29th, you can test your maze-running skills in this 14-acre corn labyrinth that’s frankly freaking me out as I look at this picture. Whatever. I like a challenge, especially when it involves vegetables. For EXTREME CORN MAZE enthusiasts, the maze is open after dark — Bring flashlights if you’re planning to try and get through it once the sun’s gone down. After you’ve made your way through the maze, buy yourself a Batey Farms pumpkin to celebrate and enjoy food from the farm’s concession stand! This is another MUST DO on our Ferrier Fall 2017 list!
Celebrate Depot Days in Smyrna on September 30th.
Y’all’ve got to know Smyrna is not going to be left off of Middle Tennessee’s fall festival train. The town’s DEPOT DAYS promise to satisfy your festival cravings with more than 100 vendors, live music, plenty of food, a beer garden, free inflatables and dollar train rides for the kids, and more.
Check out local art and support Murfreesboro businesses at the next Boro Art Crawl on Friday, October 13th.
Boro Art Crawls are held several times each year — The fall Art Crawl is coming up next month. Check out the website for a map showing you which local businesses will be showcasing local art; you can visit the businesses that night in any order you like. Some will have food in addition to local art, others will have live events. Last month’s art crawl included body painting and belly dancing performances, so the night is sure to be lively!
Try pumpkin fudge and a hayride at Walden Farm in Smyrna.
This popular pumpkin farm is a family favorite — It opens September 23rd and includes pumpkins (of course!), gourds, Indian corn and straw for sale, hayrides, farm animals, a play area for kids with a corn maze, hay mountain, and 40-foot slide, and favorite fall foods like roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin fudge, and funnel cake. I’ve heard lots of good things about this farm — Check it out!
Take a Ghost Tour at the Historic Sam Davis Home & Plantation.
I’m a history nerd, so my kids have been dragged along with me on tours of pretty much every historic home in the area. The Sam Davis Home was definitely one of their favorites. They were riveted by the story of the brave young man who died rather than betray a friend, and I have to admit that some of the stories we learned about this home and its inhabitants rivaled anything I’d seen on Downton Abbey.
That said, I can’t wait to take a ghost tour here — Given all that’s happened on these grounds in the past, I think if ghosts are anywhere, they’re going to be here. Ghost Tours will take place at the Sam Davis Home on two weekends in October — Check out the website for more details.
Watch the stirring Battle of the Bands at the Stones River National Battlefield on October 14th.
This event is on my family bucket list — Locals say it’s incredibly moving and will send shivers down your spine. Here’s why — On the night before the great Stones River Battle in December of 1862, 81,000 Confederate and Union soldiers camped on either side of the field, preparing for the next day’s battle. Each side’s band began playing just before sundown to rally their troops, and the sound carried across the field. As one band finished a song, the other side’s band would play another song. This went back and forth for a while until both sides played ‘Home Sweet Home’ together, uniting the two opposing sides in a common longing to be home again for a few short minutes before nightfall. The next day, 23,000 of those soldiers lost their lives.
Today, Civil War re-enactors gather each year on the Stones River Battlefield to recreate the Battle of the Bands for the public. From 4pm until 5:30pm Union and Confederate bands will compete across the field for the audience’s favor before concluding with ‘Home Sweet Home.’ We’ve been told this is an event that’s not to be missed.
Watch top dogs from around the globe compete in the USDAA Cynosport World Games at MTSU’s Miller Coliseum October 25-29.
Dogs from around the WORLD will be coming with their owners to Murfreesboro to compete in this major dog agility competition — and I think my dog-loving daughter and I are going to have to pay a visit to see them vie for championship titles! Admission, from what I can gather, is $10 per car, so bring friends and carpool. This is a major event dog fans will definitely want to see.
Here’s another Halloween Bucket List item for our family — On October 27th from 7pm to 10pm, bring your flashlights and tour Oaklands Mansion in the dark! Along the way, you’ll encounter guides in period mourning attire who will tell you all about creepy superstitions and funeral traditions from Victorian times. This is my favorite kind of family activity — one in which we can learn about local history and have a whole lot of fun at the same time! This is a popular Halloween tradition in Murfreesboro, so buy your tickets in advance ($10 for adults, $5 for kids and students) on the Oaklands Mansion website.
In honor of Halloween, share the spooky (and true!) story of the Human Fly while you’re on the Mufreesboro Square.
Built in 1858, the Murfreesboro Courthouse is one of the oldest courthouses still in operation in the United States, and it has a long and interesting history, including the story of an ill-fated ‘Human Fly,’ who climbed to the top of the courthouse weather vane back in 1923 and subsequently plunged to his death. You can read the tragic tale in its entirety here. Older children (not to mention adults!) will definitely want to hear the strange-but-true tale, which sheds light on what life was like for Murfreesboro residents back in the 1920s.
Feast on burgers and homemade cobbler at Maple Street Grill in Eagleville.
Locals and travelers alike rhapsodize about the food, friendly service, and down home atmosphere at Maple Street Grill on Main Street in Eagleville. Portions are large and patrons keep going back for more — Maple Street Grill is open for lunch and dinner. Be sure and try the rolls while you’re there as well — We hear they’re fantastic.
This post was written in partnership with Ready Set Rutherford.