As I sift through the mound of college brochures, I realize many of them claim to have "one of the most beautiful campuses" in the U.S. But after visiting Belmont University in Nashville, they've got my vote. The architecture of the historic buildings and how they've built the new buildings to harmonize with the old, along with the classic gardens, fountains, courtyards and spring in full bloom had me wishing I could do it all over. Whether or not Happy Girl decides this is the one, my beauty tank got filled with this southern gem's charms!
We were in awe at the imposing, columned buildings as we drove onto the campus. The visitor parking lot sign introduced us to the history of the Belmont mansion and grounds, and refreshed our Minnesota garden-depleted souls with beautiful pink tulips, neighbored by an antique gazebo.
If we hadn't been on a fact-finding mission, it would have been fun to tour the Belmont mansion, which offers tours, but we had plenty of other beautiful buildings to explore. The front door had me wondering what was inside, though.
The admissions greeting room, with it's soaring ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, and view to sculptural gardens and courtyards had me envisioning Scarlet O'Hara and Gone with the Wind scenes. We were definitely in the South...which is kind of fun when you're from the North:)
I love good architecture, and this place satisfied. From the Lincoln Memorial-type columns on all the buildings, to the massive topiary urns filled with trees and spring flowers, to the ornate, iron work, curved stairways and mosaic, granite floors inside. Each building was drop-dead gorgeous, and disguised as to whether it was old or new.
Even their 5000+ stadium that houses their winning sports teams and hosts major concerts and events was classy.
I'm sure our impression was strengthened by the fact that we were visiting on two beautiful spring days, when the sun was shining, and our cold, Minnesota bodies were warmed by the 70 degree weather. Not to mention the pink flowering magnolia and cherry trees, and the pansies, tulips and daffodils everywhere, perfectly manicured.
Belmont is a Christian University and was built with Southern Baptist roots. Currently, it takes a more ecumenical approach, and boasts about it's famous graduates, including Brad Paisley and Tricia Yearwood. The music industry and music performance, in all it's variations, are a major draw for students.
Students told us this is the first year they haven't had major construction on campus. The school has expanded with both buildings and in enrollment exponentially in the last 15 years. The campus was laid out with two rectangles next to each other; the newer buildings centered around a grassy mall with water fountains, and the older square featuring the mansion and the historic 100 year old Bell Tower.
This whole college-shopping experience is not for the faint of heart, but certainly more enjoyable when beautiful buildings and gardens are involved...and a free, all-you can eat meal in a brand new dining center helps the men-folk, too!