A Travellerspoint blog

Nashville

March 17th to 24th

More music all the time is why they call Nashville ‘Music City’. In Nashville, it starts with a song and a stage. Nashville is home to the Country Music Hall of Fame, Johnny Cash Museum and the Grand Ole Opry…..not to mention a replica of the Greek Parthenon.
Firstly, let’s just start off by saying we didn’t see Keith, Nicole, Dolly, Tim, Garth or Taylor, but we did see the largest southern style mansions/houses we have ever seen in one place. Turns out most of Nashville’s celebrities live on the South side of town, right near our accommodation for the week.

Broadway to Nashville is as Bourbon is to New Orleans and Beale is to Memphis. However, what we can say about Broadway is it is exactly as you would expect of a city they call ‘Music City’. As we took a leisurely stroll down Broadway Street in Downtown Nashville, you could hear country music, bluegrass and honkytonk filtering out of the bars, pubs, shops and restaurants. They even pipe music from large speakers situation randomly along the street.

Just off Broadway you can find the Ryman Auditorium. Even though we aren’t huge country music fans we toured the Ryman, known as the ‘Mother Church of Country Music’. When you walk into the Ryman Auditorium, you can feel the history of country music. It is a place where you not only see and feel the history, but also learn a little about the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, a weekly country music stage show broadcast live on radio that commenced in 1925 and has unearthed some the biggest stars of country music. We can only imagine how the acoustics would be given the décor and positioning of the wooden pews, and can only assume that when artists play here, their audiences would have been sitting wide eyed and open mouthed at the awesome sounds they would have heard. We only did the self-guided tour and now wish we had of done the backstage tour, but still found the visit well worth it. Oh, and the big acts still play here as they appreciate its history and the acoustics the old building provides.

On the Saturday morning we decided to take the short 20 mile drive to Franklin, somewhat an outer suburb of Nashville but also a small town in its own right. Upon entering Franklin we noticed a couple of Men’s softball games were being played so we stopped by for an hour or so to watch some of the action…and to try and figure out the rules. It appeared to be an Over 30’s tournament, with games timed for 60 minutes, no fast pitches and a home run is counted as an out (a little similar to backyard cricket when over the fence is out). Franklin is the site of one of the American Civil Wars bloodiest battles where 37,000 men fought over a 2 mile stretch of Franklin’s outskirts. Only a few of the historic homes are still standing from this era. On the way back we stopped by the Loveless Café, known for its biscuits (a type of scone), fruit preserves and country ham.

The Parthenon, yes a replica from Athens built in 1897 for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. The full scale copy of the 438 BC original now houses an art museum and a 42 ft statue of the Greek god Athena.

On Sunday morning when we woke up decided to go for a hike. After researching ‘Best hikes in Nashville’ we hit the top rated trail, a mere 5 minutes drive from our accommodation. The Radnor Lake trail is only 1.5 miles long, but in a wonderful area and very popular, in fact we had to park about a half mile from the carpark it was that busy.

Later that afternoon, we thought we might swing past the infamous Bluebird Café. We had read that going to the Bluebird Café is like going to a jam session with 100 of your closest friends. It is usually packed and is often very hard to get in. Reservations are required during the week (and usually sell out within minutes), so we decided to venture over on a Sunday night (open mic night) and snag entry to what is affectionately known as the ‘listening room’. Why do they call it the listening room? Apparently if you go to the Bluebird with the intention of making small talk with your dinner guests, you are mistaken. Even the waitresses will Shhhh! you. When you go to the Bluebird, you go to listen. Anyway, we jumped in the car and arrived at 4:15pm because the doors open at 5:00pm – FAT CHANCE! Now remember…this is a little place that fits only about 100 of your closest friends (closest friends because even 100 people are like a tin of sardines), the line was close to 80-90 deep. Now the show doesn’t commence until 6pm and they only serve snacks, so we were kinda glad we didn’t hang around.

The current location of the Grand Ole Opry lies on the outskirts of town and is surrounded by OpryLand, a large commercial area of shopping centres, resorts and theme parks. The new Opry was opened in 1974 by President Richard Nixon and to carry on the tradition of the show’s run at the Ryman, a 6 foot circle of oak was cut from the corner of the Ryman’s stage and inlaid into centre stage at the new venue. The artists on stage usually stand on the circle as they perform.

How did we view Nashville overall? Very clean, modern and laid back with a great vibe. Certainly a place where you could easily live. We understand why Keith and Nicole have decided to raise their girls in Nashville. They are quoted as saying it reminds them of where they grew up in Australia. We concur.

Posted by V3USA 12:08

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