Nashville Y’all

Another update … spent a week in a great airbnb in Music Row Nashville. Great location and free parking. This was our third visit to Nashville and it will not be our last. You can probably look through this blog and find earlier comments and pictures. Why do we keep going back – well, it’s my kind of town. Laid back, relaxed, great food, new things to discover, plenty of beer and all types of music – country and western (and other stuff too).

It’s pretty easy to get around, driving, uber, free bus in certain places and there is plenty to see and do. But don’t get stuck downtown where the honky tonks and people are – get out into the neighbourhoods such as East Nashville and Germantown, and make sure you visit the Vanderbilt area (walking from where we stayed), Music Row which is where all the music is made, and the Gulch which has some great places, including Lucchese boots where Jim was tempted but didn’t want to lay out about $1000 for a pair of boots – but I did get a great shirt with pearl buttons. Caroline, well she bought some more boots.

We hit the honky tonks for one night to catch a guy we have seen before – Joshua Hadley – great show. The honky tonks are great fun, cheap beer and music – and busy. Broadway is a party place where you walk the streets going from bar to bar and when a beer costs about $5 you can’t go wrong.

Also caught some music at Station Inn, which is one of THE places you should visit. It’s old and very original. Great band whose name escapes me but the fill-in guitarist for the night is blind and he was amazing.

We had some great food – three highlights: Hattie B’s hot chicken – how can chicken taste so good; Husk, which is more the fine dining and a top rated restaurant and also very good; and a new BBQ (for us at least) Martin’s and this was damn good BBQ, well worth the half hour or so in the queue.

Jim also had a few bucket lists in Nashville – cut a single at Third Man Records (Jack White’s label) and got on stage (for a photo) at the Ryman.

We also managed to catch up with a few work associates who were in Nashville for the special olympics torch run conference – this meet up also included getting into a free BBQ, drinks and music – great free night.

Nashville has not seen the last of me.

USA … again

Okay, so we’re off on another trip… and to the USA … again. Why do you ask – well, why not. We always find it enjoyable, interesting and lots of relaxing things to do. Relaxing if you call BBQ, beer, music and sights relaxing. We already have a few places booked – for instance Chicago we are booked in to see Hamilton; St Louis Jim has another conference and dinner booked for one night; Nashville we are going to Pilgrimage festival and dinner booked at Husk; Charlotte tickets booked for Jason Isbell. See, everything just falls into place.

Predators

Another four nights in Nashville, this time we stayed around the corner from our first Nashville stop (Aloft) at Embassy Suites. If you’re ever looking for hotels, Embassy Suites have larger rooms (suites, i.e. a bedroom and lounge), this one had microwave and fridge but best of all they have complimentary breakfast and cooked to order omelettes (and fried eggs and waffles) plus heaps of other breakfast goodies. I enjoy breakfast in America but having complimentary can be a money and time saver (most of our hotels on the down-leg had this option). The other thing you should look for is parking as this can be quite expensive (here was a cheaper option of $18 a night to self-park).

breakfast breakfast 2
However, this time around this hotel was also very busy. It is at the Vanderbilt University end of town (about half hour walk from Broadway and other such stuff) and they were playing football that weekend, there was also ice hockey (we went), the Titans were playing (American football) and conferences and it was weekend and Nashville is mad on a weekend. But the location for this hotel is a winner, they also have a free shuttle that will take you downtown or other places and we made use of that to get to the ice hockey.

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Nashville in October

An early morning trip from our downtown Dallas Hotel to the airport. Dallas airport is big – you gotta know which terminal to get dropped at. We wanted terminal E, unfortunately an Australian E sounds too much like an American A – or an American A means a few more dollars when all along it was American E. Learning experience, taxis and airports = money. This extra few minutes also added to what we thought would be ample time at the airport to “why don’t you have more people checking bags”. Our we would have time to grab some breakfast at the airport ended up being no time for nothing. The flight out of Dallas was fine with AA, except as we are not their frequent flyers we get whatever seat allocation is left which means I was close to the front and Caroline was in the last row. Not too much of a problem except we again had no time for nothing at our interchange at Charlotte and our terminal being nowhere near the one we landed at. Again a very nice flight this time on American Eagle.

Landed at the very peaceful, laid back, relaxed Nashville and yes, went for the taxi + airport, which was actually very good. We were staying in the Vanderbilt area, which is about half an hour walk from what Nashville is renown for – honky tonk bars and country music. We’d done Nashville before so didn’t need to hit the bars – we could stay up our end of town, which is the university end of town so plenty of bars of its own. Our hotel was the Aloft which is a hipster kind of place and very nice – that nice the maid did not even take our tip. But the barmaid did add a couple of beers to our tab which I’d already paid cash for – she was very apologetic and the jack daniels pour made up for it.

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Back to the Ratings – Nashville

Nashville was a must do this trip and we weren’t disappointed. We were there only a few days but could quite easily have stayed a few more. We never used the car because there was enough by foot but this city deserves another check-in.

On the short drive from Memphis we decided to turn this into a long drive by taking a detour to the Shiloh National Military Park, which was covered in an earlier post. Again, the side-stop was worth it. We enjoyed this part of our trip – even the shuffling from one country station to the next on the radio (although Caroline had reached the stage of switching off Toby Keith).

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Honky Tonk Blues

Did I mention that there is music in Nashville. Bourbon Street New Orleans has its clubs and bars (although giving it a miss this trip), Memphis has its Beale Street (where we frequented mainly as it was where we stayed), and Nashville has it honky tonk bars (also just around the corner from where we stayed – funny about that).

Out of the three – Nashville wins hands down. It’s not seedy, locals go there, there are no cover charges, and drinks are priced as they should be ($4 for a stubby or cheaper). The street is wide and not blocked off and you can’t buy an alcoholic slurpee from a window in the street or as they called it in Memphis – a big-assed-beer.

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And There are Museums in Nashville

Another must see is a visit to the Ryman Auditorium where the Grand Old Opry originated. It’s quite an interesting history built in 1892 by Captain Tom Ryman whose original intention was to run the preacher out of town because he was affecting his business of alcohol and gambling but instead listened to one his sermons that influenced him so greatly he built the preacher a tabernacle instead.

We did the backstage tour of the auditorium which is still used for performances and was voted as the best music venue in the world for accoustics. Really interesting history, particularly the part where they were going to pull it down but instead it was sold to Gaylord Industries who restored it for $10,000,000.

You can’t go to Nashville without a visit and it would be a great venue to see someone perform so if you do decide to visit, check online to see who and when (tickets sell-out almost as soon as they go on sale).

The guitar and clothes are Johnny Cash’s and June Carter’s – Caroline would not allow me to get on stage for a bit of Johnny Cash Karaoke.

There’s More to Nashville Than Music

Well, there isn’t actually too much more to Nashville than music. However, if you don’t like all types of music – country and western – then maybe this is not your place. But if you have the slightest liking, then again, another highly recommended location.

Jacks BBQ NashvilleAnd not only is there music everywhere, even at the traffic lights where music is piped, we found another great BBQ place – Jack’s BBQ. The ribs are getting better. Jacks is on honky-tonk row and is one of those more traditional BBQ joints where you line up, order what you want, pay, grab your sauces then grab a seat. And cheap.

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