If you’ve ever decided to take the back roads, you’re no stranger to the iconic scene of cows grazing in pastures along rolling hills. You might have even pulled over to get a closer look at these giant creatures.
If you did, you would see animals that are so huge you would imagine them to be nothing but clumsy and overpowering. However, they’re delicate and just calmly graze on the lush grass.
The Gentle Barn is the perfect tale of this enigma. There’s no better place to get up close to the animals you’ve always wanted to. It’s a family-owned farm only a quick drive outside of Nashville. From cows to goats to pigs, they’ve got it all.
Now, this isn’t a farm like you’ve seen before. The animals aren’t there for milking or food or just to be observed; they are there to be pet and hugged.
For an entrance fee of $20, you can actually cross the gate that always separates you from all the animals. Right when you walk in, you’ll find a pasture with a handful of cows who might be enjoying some back rubs or ear scratches or chomping on some grass.
The volunteers are more than willing to tell you the background stories for all the animals, but fair warning that some are pretty heart-breaking. One that stood out to me was the story of Lolli, a young goat that lives with her parents at the farm.
Lolli was rescued from a neglect situation that left her frostbitten and caused the loss of her back legs. Now, she lives happily at the Gentle Barn and gets around much quicker than expected with her wheelchair.
You might even need to watch your toes as she zooms around her field looking for people willing to pet her.
It’s amazing to watch chickens be held or running around with goats and humans. The way that the Gentle Barn allows people to interact with animals in a loving way is an experience like no other.
Towards the end, past the stables, you’ll find several pigs probably napping or playing in the mud. They will gladly accept belly rubs and pats from everyone. It’s shocking to see animals that weigh about 1000 pounds roll over for affection.
Every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the farm is open to the public. It’s the perfect way to wrap up a weekend and enjoy a day surrounded by animals and nature.
If you want to learn more about the barn or the animals and maybe sponsor one of them, you can visit their site here.
The Gentle Barn is a place that deserves at least one visit during anyone’s time in or around Nashville.
Photo courtesy of The Gentle Barn.