In late April, a car load of Yankees made a road trip to Nashville. We returned to Michigan with new cowboy boots, a slight hangover and an eagerness to return.
Nashville Road Trip
Birthdays are a big deal in our circle of friends. You may remember Chuck’s 50th Birthday when we ran a 50K? Or when we traveled to Switzerland to celebrate my birthday? This year Jeff asked if we’d make a road trip to Nashville, Tennessee to celebrate his birthday. In the interest of full disclosure, visiting the capital of Tennessee wasn’t on my bucket list. When I’d mention to others our travel plans, they would say things like, “You’ll love it! There is so much to do! You’ve got to check out the Ryman. The HOT chicken is a must. OMG the music scene is crazy! Don’t miss Tootsies on the strip. It’s a super famous Honky Tonk with a secret passage into the Ryman. And you’ve got to see the men’s bathroom in the Hermitage Hotel.” So perhaps, Nashville was bucket list worthy.
Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry and Nashville are interchangeable. You can’t really think of one without thinking of the other. We didn’t see a show, unfortunately. However, we did get tickets for a tour and the tour guide was a first rate entertainer. She even sang “Happy Birthday” to Jeff while we were standing backstage. This tour gives you a behind the scenes look at the Grand Ole Opry and a wealth of history.
If you love country music, you’ve got to visit Ryman Auditorium. We couldn’t take pictures backstage or of the dressing rooms, but we have a few to provide a taste. The Ryman was the longest running home for the Grand Ole Opry before a permanent home was built. Be sure to check out the short film at the Ryman which gives some insight into the rich history of this building.
I’ll admit I’m not a bridge person, maybe covered bridges. The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge is definitely not covered, obviously. But I rather enjoyed this bridge. A couple of fun facts: 1) its a truss bridge and was admitted into the National Register of Historic Places 2) it is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world 3) the view is awesome, especially at night 4) its fun to take a selfie with Nashville in the background.
Hermitage Hotel Men’s Bathroom
When a colleague told me I had to see the men’s bathroom in the Hermitage Hotel, it definitely piqued my interest. I was in no way prepared. But how do you prepare for a tour of a men’s bathroom? OMG! It is beautiful. (Yes, it is ok. Ladies are allowed.) It is a little tricky to find. Just ask for directions, the hotel staff don’t mind providing them.
Tennessee State Capitol
While touring the Tennessee State Capitol I broke out in song, “Born on a mountain top in Tennessee, raised in the woods so he knew every tree, Davy, Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier!” Apparently my friends didn’t learn this little ditty when they were kids. They looked at me like I’d lost my mind. I’m also a terrible singer, which may have also contributed to their look of horror.
Hatch Show Print
Established in 1879, the Hatch Show Print is still going strong. Entertainers from around the world are still using Hatch Show Print to design and print posters. Tours are available, but we didn’t take one. We were a little “pressed” for time. Hahaha, I crack myself up sometimes. If we’d had more time, I’d have signed us up. You can pull your own keepsake print.
Hot Chicken and Bull Rides
Finally, it was time for the famous “Hot Chicken!” Our Uber driver arrived at the Bluebird Cafe parking lot more than an hour before the show. He was a speedy driver! It didn’t take us long to locate a bar which was also serving “Hot Chicken.” Perfect!
We were warned, “Just be careful, don’t go too HOT!” Ask Chuck the next time you see him about “The HOT Chicken.” He definitely figured out how hot, is too HOT. Oh, and while you’re at it, ask him about the bull ride at the Wild Beaver Saloon. Both kicked his butt.
The Bluebird Cafe is not your typical venue. This should be underlined and in bold. All I knew prior to arriving was: 1) Tickets were hard to purchase. I experienced a mild panic attack while buying our tickets online. Angie said she’d buy the tickets. About 15 minutes before we could buy tickets she texted me in a panic. The site wasn’t working for her. Good Lord, that ten minutes is worthy of a comedy/horror short story. And 2) Angie was over the top excited about the show. Apparently the Bluebird Cafe is key to the plotline of the ABC “Nashville.” Maybe they should give me a call and I can give them the rights to my comedy/horror short story?
Taken from Bluebird Cafe website:
The Bluebird Cafe is one of the world’s preeminent listening rooms and the venue has gained worldwide recognition as a songwriter’s performance space where the “heroes behind the hits” perform their own songs; songs that have been recorded by chart-topping artists in all genres of music.
A typical nightly performance consists of three or four songwriters seated in the center of the room, taking turns playing their songs and accompanying each other instrumentally and with harmony vocals. It is an experience that few forget, and one that reflects why Nashville is known as Music City.
Our experience will not be forgotten. Craig Carothers, Don Henry, Michael Logen and Kim Richey played in the round. The songs and stories these great musicians shared were priceless. To top off this fine evening, we also got to hear the legendary Joe Brown.
If you’d like to avoid the hustle and bustle of Broadway Street, “Printers Alley” is a perfect.
We’ve all done it, contacted friends you’ve not talked to for years for suggestions of what to see while you are in their “neck of the woods.” Lucky for me, my friends responded to my text message and threw out a suggestion or two. Mike said, “I have some friends playing Friday night at the Bourbon St. Boogie Bar. The band is called Big Shoes. They do a lot of Little Feat type music.”
Thanks Mike! It was a great show.
Elvis is Alive and Well
Broadway – Eye of Sauron
Only a Lord of the Rings fan will get this reference.
Side Trip to Franklin, Tennessee
Towards the end of our adventure we were itching for a side trip. Angie had read “The Widow of the South” and suggested that we visit the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, Tennessee. After we had a brief discussion, mostly about directions, we were on our way.
If you are in the area, definitely stop. The museum is well done and the tour guide was top notch. She had two rules: 1) no pictures inside the house 2) you can go anywhere there is grass, Chuck took full advantage.
Before leaving Franklin we had dinner at Grays on Main St and beer at Mantra Brewing. We’d definitely suggest both.
Drop into our gallery for more pictures from our Nashville road trip.
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