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Whites Creek, TN (August 30th) Fontanel Mansion – the impressive 27,000 square foot historic log cabin and former home of Country Music Hall of Fame member Barbara Mandrell – is one of Middle Tennessee’s most famous landmarks and welcomes tens of thousands of guests each year. The sprawling 136 acre property, which features two 1/2 pristine miles of wooded trails, The Woods Amphitheater, The Pepsi Studio Gallery, and Cafe Fontanella, a rustic Italian kitchen and wine bar, is proud to announce the addition of Barbara Mandrell’s tour bus, which is now available for guided tours.
The Hemphill Brothers-built 1993 Eagle coach cost over a half-million dollars to complete, making it at the time, one of the most expensive tour buses ever built. Besides its famous country music pedigree, the tour bus also features the first use of granite floors and countertops for a coach, and includes a full kitchen and pantry, additional refrigerator and freezer storage under the bus, and all three bunks have TVs, while the bunk of Barbara’s son featured a vintage 90′s Nintendo game system.
When it came to its design, Barbara chose black and gold because of her love for Vanderbilt’s colors. The tour bus for the band and husband Ken’s helicopter were painted simultaneously to match the bus. Inside, Barbara and her designer and best friend, John Ferrari, decorated the bus. Over its career, the tour bus would carry Barbara an average of 100,000 miles a year, totaling almost three million miles on the road! Prior to its construction, Barbara owned several smaller coaches. Before 1970, she and the band traveled by van and a trailer.
After her retirement in 1997, Barbara knew she would miss two things the most when she retired, interacting with the fans and this bus, which is why she kept it for eight years after retiring as a personal RV, taking her, Ken and their cat and two dogs on road trips. Ultimately, the last trip Barbara took on the bus was to see Aretha Franklin in concert in Tunica, MS.
In 2005, the Barlow Girls purchased the bus from Barbara., who used it as their own tour bus. Huge fans of Barbara, the Barlow Girls meticulously left the coach in its original condition, leaving everything the way Barbara and John Ferrari originally decorated it, right down to the original floor mats. The bus is still owned by Barlow Girls today and they have been kind enough to display their bus at Fontanel for guided tours. Tickets are $5 a person and are available for purchase at The Silo Gift Shop adjacent to Cafe Fontanella.
Fontanel Mansion is Nashville’s only country music mansion tour, giving visitors a sneak peek into the lives of country music greats. With its Woods Amphitheater concert series, events and activities at the Pepsi Studio Gallery, the Italian kitchen and wine bar at Cafe Fontanella, family friendly atmosphere, and free activities like Frisbee golf and two miles of beautiful walking trails, Fontanel is truly the hidden gem of the South, and is located just minutes from downtown Nashville. For more information or to book a private event visit www.fontanelmansion.com or call 615/724-1600.