Rock Castle

Step back in time with a trip to Historic Rock Castle.

Rock Castle is located in Hendersonville, TN on Old Hickory Lake.  The home was built by Daniel Smith on a parcel of land he was given in recognition of his service in the Revolutionary War.  Construction began in 1784 but was not completed until 1791.  Guess what held up the progress?  Indian attacks!  You can’t tell by looking at the property today but, in the late 1700’s , this was the frontier.  It was a dangerous place to build a home and raise a family.

To begin a tour of this home, start at the visitor center.  When you enter the grounds of Rock Castle, the parking area will be obvious.  Unless there is a special event going on, you should have no trouble finding a spot.  Make your way into the visitor center where guides will get you booked for a tour.  If you are not able to tour immediately, you can take the time to wander around the property. The view of the lake from the grounds at Rock Castle is spectacular.  (It also makes a great backdrop for an outdoor wedding if you are interested.)  One of the neat things you will learn on your tour of Rock Castle is how the lake view was created.  This area was landlocked when Daniel Smith built the home.  The lake came much later! As we wandered around the property, we were lucky enough to meet a volunteer working in the herb garden.  She gave us lots of information about the different items in the garden.  One of our favorites was a plant with huge furry leaves that they used as bandages during the civil war.  That’s the kind of history lesson your kids will never learn in school.

The tour of the home begins at the back.  The home has been retrofitted with central heat and air conditioning so you will be comfortable no matter what time of year you tour Rock Castle.  Our guide led us through the rooms of the home and kept up a narrative about the original inhabitants of the house.  This was no dry, monotone lecture folks.  If you have a child over the age of seven, they will be thoroughly entertained by all there is to see and learn.  And if you have a teenage daughter, she will love the story of the romantic elopement that occurred at Rock Castle.  I won’t tell you the story but I will tell you that it involves Andrew Jackson, a midnight ride and forbidden love!

Unfortunately, no photography is allowed inside Rock Castle.  So I can’t show you any of the cool things you will encounter on your tour.  But trust me.  If you have any interest in Revolutionary War era America, this tour will not disappoint.

Once your house tour is complete, you can finish touring the grounds.  There is lots of open space to play in case you have little ones who need to run around a bit.  If you walk back toward the visitor center, you will find a nice picnic area. Pack a lunch and spend the afternoon at this local treasure!

Family Fun Facts

Rock Castle (Map)

Hours:  Open March – December

  • Tuesday through Saturday 10AM, 11:30AM & 1:30PM
  • Sunday 1:30PM & 3PM

Cost : Adults – $7
Seniors – $6
Children 6-12 – $5

Rachel headshot

Rachel is a Middle Tennessee native, born and raised in the Nashville area and having lived in Hendersonville, Murfreesboro, and Mount Juliet. She is mom to 3, step mom to 4 and Grandma to one (so far!)

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