Nashville, TN or as one or our RV mechanics in Alabama called it, “Nashvegas” baby! Well, I wouldn’t call this Sin City, but we still had a good time in the home of country music. It was a short trip, but we did get to experience a few Nashville highlights.
As you may know from previous posts, we started our trip from home in Austin, TX and began making our way along the southern US coastline. So what brought us all the way up to Nashville? First, we decided to have some service done in Red Bay, AL the home of Tiffin Motorhomes, which is in northern Alabama. Secondly, going north allowed us to achieve one of the goals that we have for this trip – meeting up with friends and family. On the way to Red Bay we were able to meet up with my Uncle Frank who was on a work contract in Tuscaloosa, AL away from his family. After a fun day hanging out and watching the Superbowl, it was on to Nashville to hang out with Pam’s brother Paul who was in town for a Mac Tools event.
Paul’s work conference was at the Gaylord Opryland and this was our first stop. Anyone who’s ever been to a Gaylord hotel knows that these places are destinations in themselves. The Opryland is a GIANT hotel. It has 17 restaurants inside it, waterfalls and even a river flowing through the middle of it that you can take boat rides on. The best part is the location – it’s right across the street from the Grand Ole Opry and we found an RV park just a mile away. It turned out to be a great venue for Paul’s conference. We even got to attend a ceremony and see him win a performance award!
You can’t go to Nashville and not go the Grand Ole Opry. Am I right?! Pam and I aren’t really even country music fans, but we recognized the deep history behind this place and had to go. The Opry has been going since 1925 and has been broadcast from its current location since 1974. I didn’t really know what to expect but was pleased to find out that the Opry isn’t just country music – it also features acts from bluegrass, folk, gospel, and comedy. On the night we attended we saw Riders In The Sky, Vince Gill, Cece Winans and more. Overall, we weren’t big fans of the Grand Ole Opry, but I would think this would be a real treat for a true country music fanatic.
One unlikely site on this trip was the Parthenon. No, we didn’t suddenly get a craving for Greek architecture and board a plane bound for Athens, Greece. There is a full size exact replica of the Parthenon in Centennial Park in downtown Nashville. It was originally built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in response to Nashville’s nickname, “The Athens of the South”. It wasn’t supposed to be permanent, but was so popular with both visitors and residents that it was rebuilt in permanent form and completed in 1931. It now functions as an art museum and even houses a giant statue of Athena, just like the original Parthenon. It’s amazing the things you can witness and learn when you travel!
Pam and I don’t party or get out for much nightlife when we travel, partly because it’s just not our scene and partly because we have our furbaby that we have to tend to. But we did make it a point to get down to “Lower Broad” during the daylight hours to check out the scene. This is the Broadway Historic District and it starts near the Cumberland River and runs all the way to the Vanderbilt campus. The street is lined with new restaurants, shops, and honky tonk bars as well as historic sites like Ryman Auditorium (original site of the Grand Ole Opry) and the Ernest Tubbs Record Shop which is the site of the second longest running radio show in history, the Midnight Jamboree. Of course we stopped at Savannah Candy to appease Pam’s sweet tooth and then we took a stroll across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge for a close up look at Nissan Stadium and to get some great pics of the whole area. This is really a bustling area of the city.
One highlight of downtown Nashille for us was the historic Hermitage hotel. We love architechure and design and this hotel is well known for it’s Italian Renaissance style lobby and grand ballroom that features walnut walls and an ornate ceiling. Downstairs is the Oak Bar with vaulted ceilings and dark wood paneling that has a real old-school speakeasy feel. It features the largest selection of bourbons in Nashville and when you peak inside this old bar you fully expect to see Don Draper schmoozing with a client at the bar. Not to be outdone, the bar’s famous men’s room is decked out in full art deco featuring green and black tile, terrazzo floors, shoe shine station, and even green fixtures (including green toilets).This restroom is so cool that it has been featured in several music videos and it’s become so popular that everyone that enters the hotel has to take a look – even the women.
We enjoyed our time in Nashville and loved seeing the sites but we also partook of the local cuisine. The highlight for us was the hot chicken. Read about our Hot Chicken Throwdown here!!!