Just north of Nashville is the Fontanel Mansion, former home of Barbara Mandrell a Country Music Hall of Fame member. It is called Fontanel, named after the soft spot on a baby's head. Barbara picked this name because she wanted this home to be the soft spot for the family and would always bring them together. This is where she and her husband Ken Dudney raised their family. The mansion is a three story, 27,000 square foot log home that sits on 136 acres.
Barbara Mandrell sold the home and land and in June 7, 2010 it opened to the public. This is the only place that you can tour a Country Music Stars home. The Fontanel Mansion is only minutes from downtown Nashville and is the biggest log home in the world.
There are over 20 rooms with six bedrooms and thirteen bathrooms. It has five fireplaces, two kitchens, an indoor pool atrium with a clear floor cover that converts the pool to a dance floor. Downstairs is a 2 lane, 50 foot shooting range. The Great room has a 35 foot ceiling with fireplace, game tables, piano, and library. Off of it is a songwriters room where many artists have written hit songs.
I took this tour and it last about two hours. We got on a tour bus at the front of the property and was taken down a windy road that led to the mansion. We would be instructed of any rules entertained with information about the estate. Once we left the bus, we were met by our tour guide.
The guide was well versed and was very professional about the tour. The guide played guitar and sang in areas where we would walk around some of the larger rooms. Another item was that Barbara Mandrell's daughter, Jaime Dudney, came in close to the end of the tour and talked about her family and answered questions.
Fontanel was used in the hit movie Country Strong. Also several videos and photo shoots were shot here. It was also a hangout for Country Music Stars.
The Fontanel Mansion grounds has a park with a two mile intermediate-level trail. The walking and bike trail is open to the public, but if you bring your pet it must be on a leash.
The Woods Outdoor Ampitheater is located on the grounds. It holds 4500 guests with VIP seats cut into the hillside for a great view of the stage. The amphitheater is equiped with a state of the art sound system. Concerts of top music stars are held regularly.
The Studio Gallery at the estate is a 5,000 square foot studio space designed to be used for multipurpose events. It has state of the art equipment for TV and video productions. It is used for a Dinner Theater called the Music City Stage. Exhibits of art and memorabilia, are rotated for an ever changing view.
The Farm House Restaurant serves southern home cooked meals supplied by local farmers. A stage called the Gibson Tunesmith Stage entertains you while you eat.
Other attractions are the Stone House Gift Shop, and a dairy barn that was original to the farm. The Dairy has historical value because it was the first dairy to produce pasteurized milk.
There are free shuttles from Bridgestone Arena every hour from 9am to 4:30pm from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Fontanel is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and closed on mondays.