Starry Night 5

Hendersonville: City with a View by the Lake

Middle Tennessee is known for its beautiful countryside with rolling hills and abundant lakes and rivers. A less obvious feature of the Tennessee aesthetic is the bright night sky. The Nashville skyline is a popular feature of the city and can be seen from Nashville’s several rooftop bars, apartments, hotels and bridges. The view from the Cumberland Bridge looking towards downtown Nashville is unlike any other. The lights of the AT&T Building—locally known as the “Batman Building”—bounce off of the stars and illuminate the whole city. The industrial lights mixing with the night sky is a pleasant sight to see when driving into the city. The Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge is a perfect spot to explore the summer sky against the backdrop of the skyline.

Sanders Ferry Park

From downtown Hendersonville—4.6 miles: Head south on Walton Ferry Road (0.2 miles). Turn left onto Cages Road (0.3 miles). Turn right onto Sanders Ferry Road (3 miles). Turn left to stay on Sanders Ferry Road (0.2 miles).Turn right onto Waters Edge Lane (0.4 miles). Turn left onto Parkwood Lane (410 feet). Parkwood Lane turns right and becomes Sanders Ferry Road (0.4 miles). 

If you prefer to stargaze with a darker and clearer night sky, you can venture outside of the city. Sanders Ferry Park, 513 Sanders Ferry Road in Hendersonville, sits on Old Hickory Lake and offers a stunning view of the water and the sky. The park is open from daylight until 11 p.m., leaving you with plenty of time for an evening of stargazing. Sanders Ferry is also a prime location for picnicking with family and friends or partaking in various outdoor activities. The dock provides the perfect location for a night picnic amongst the stars. According to the Old Hickory Lake website, the park offers seven picnic shelters (each with one grill), several playgrounds, an 18-hole disc golf course, a fishing dock, a model airplane flying field and basketball courts.

Reservations are not required but are highly recommended if you would like to guarantee a spot. You must make the reservation and pay the rental fee at City Hall. Visit the website for more information on the park and how to plan your trip to Sanders Ferry!

Drakes Creek Park

From downtown Hendersonville—2.1 miles: Take Old Shackle Island Road to Hunters Trail (0.2 miles). Continue on Hunters Trail to Johnny Cash Parkway/West Main Street (0.8 miles). Turn left onto Johnny Cash Parkway/West Main Street (0.3 miles). Follow Cherokee Road North to your destination (0.8 miles). 

Not far from Sanders Ferry Park is the Hendersonville Greenway by Saundersville Road. With several hiking, walking and biking trails, Hendersonville Greenway provides another prime location for summer activities amongst the stars. Drakes Creek Park, 120 E. Main St., is close by and offers picnic shelters, playgrounds, baseball fields and trails. Drakes Ferry is open from daylight to 11 p.m. as well. You can visit to learn more.

No. 38 Vintage Marketplace

From downtown Hendersonville—0.2 miles: Head north on Johnny Cash Parkway/West Main Street toward Johnny Cash Parkway/West Main Street (174 feet). Turn right onto Old Shackle Island Road. Destination will be on the left (0.1 miles)

For any picnic, it is important to have the right materials. No. 38 Vintage Marketplace, 157 Old Shackle Island Road in Hendersonville, offers unique vintage items with a touch of farmhouse chic. Co-owners Sarah Thompson and Jeremy Perger opened their doors on July 1, 2016, and currently house 26 vendors at the marketplace. With an antiquated design and hint of whimsical flair, items taken from the shelves of No. 38 Vintage are sure to make your picnic the talk of the town. Cuddle up on the pier and sip coffee from a vintage thermos while watching the sunset and the stars appear or pack an old-fashioned picnic basket with delicious summer treats and retreat to the park. No. 38 Vintage has plenty of options to make your summer outing one of a kind.

Recipes to bring

The following recipes are provided by Lizzy McAvoy, a local singer/ songwriter, producer and baker based in Nashville, and Taylor Riggs a registered dietitian and author of the food blog Simply Taylor, Simply-Taylor.combased in Columbus, Ohio. These recipes are the perfect light fare for a summer picnic or stargazing party.

Sautéed Parsley Parmesan Skillet Corn by Lizzy McAvoy

8 to 10 ears of corn on the cob—yellow, white or bi-colored
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese or Parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped

1. Remove the husks and the silk from the corn and cut the kernels off as close to the husk as possible without removing any of the husks.
2. Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan.
3. Add the minced garlic and sauce for 2 minutes, enough to infuse the butter.
4. Add the corn, salt and pepper and sauté uncovered on medium-low heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Stir in cheese and parsley.
6. Taste for salt and pepper and serve!

McAvoy Ambrosia Salad by Lizzy McAvoy

2 16-ounce cans pineapple, tidbits in juice
2 16-ounce jars maraschino cherries
2 16-ounce cans mandarin oranges
1 cup sour cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1 10-ounce bag mini marshmallows

1. Place the pineapple, maraschino cherries and mandarin oranges in a strainer; drain well, usually 30 mins.
2. In a large bowl, place the drained fruit. Add sour cream and shredded coconut; mix well.
3. Add mini marshmallows and mix till combined.
4. Gently fold the whipped heavy cream into the fruit mixture until just combined.
5. Chill and enjoy!

Honey Coconut Fruit Pops by Taylor Riggs

Yields: 3-5 popsicles

1 can coconut milk, full fat
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup blueberries
3/4 cup strawberries, sliced

1. Combine coconut milk and honey and stir until well combined.
2. Mix in blueberries and strawberries.
3. Pour mixture evenly into Popsicle molds (or plastic cups).
4. Place in freezer for several hours or overnight until completely hardened. If using plastic cups, wait a few hours until mixture is frozen enough to place Popsicle sticks in without them falling, then allow to continue freezing.
5. Once completely frozen, remove from molds and enjoy! (I cut the sides of the plastic cups to remove mine.)