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).
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.
Nashville is friendly, plenty to see and listen to and drink and eat. Get off Broadway, that’s where the tourists stay and those at conferences and those that want to get amongst the action of the honky-tonks. It really is a great place and we like Nashville and will probably go back. Anyways, off-Broadway there are some good music places and restaurants. So we made use of Uber and visited a place called Five Point in East Nashville to catch some country singing at 5 Spot where there were some great originals, dancing and beer. Great atmosphere totally different from the crowded Broadway. Giant pizza afterwards at Five Point Pizza.
Seeing the Nashville Predators playing ice hockey against Toronto Maple Leafs was fun and interesting. Never seen ice hockey live before so it was entertaining and non-stop giving stuff away to the crowd. Other observation with ice hockey, perhaps because it’s cheap there seem to be a lot of rednecks and we were amongst a family of them – good people but it was like an episode of Honey Boo-boo.
Made a trip out to where the American Pickers store is and was so surprised to find this great little niche of craft and eateries. Making such great use of an old car factory. There is so much construction in Nashville it was pleasing to find an original building that rather than being pulled down had been turned into this little area. Very popular with the tourists and American Pickers fans – we just missed Frank as he was around because every shop we went into they were excited that Frank had just called in. Worth the visit even if you don’t know anything about what I’m talking.
We also visited Loveless Cafe a Nashville must-do for some great comfort food. Used to be an old hotel but is now a great restaurant and sells hams and other great goodies worldwide. You need a car to get there but it’s worth the visit. Somewhere where we could have used a car but didn’t mind the walk was to a neighbourhood known as The Gulch. Nice area around here and within walking distance of where we were staying via Music Row where every musician who wants to be will go door knocking all the record producers – at least it’s easy having them all in the same area. Some good history around this area and good to get around for a walk rather than bus trip – or one of those drinking bikes that are quite popular.
And continuing through the Gulch we came across some treasures such as Jackalope Brewing where we had some great beers including a chai flavoured one that was very drinkable. Not far from there (like, just across the road) was a place called Carters Vintage Guitars which is where a lot of very famous people go to buy and sell vintage guitars. This was like a museum and the loveliest people working there – but Jim kept hands in pockets (except for a couple of guitar picks and a great brass slide, now if only Jim could play slide – maybe a slide from Nashville will give me magical fingers). And on the walk back to our hotel (about half an hour – Americans must think we’re crazy) we could not resist but to have some excellent ribs from Peg-Leg Porkers – if you have caught some episodes of BBQ Pitmasters you may have seen this team. Really liked the ribs and this place – I put it down as best of the BBQ this trip. Also had another fine dining experience at Josephine – excellent food. We really ate well on this food themed vacation. And not all of it was easy to get. For instance we (or should I say Jim) decided that he had to have some of Nashville’s famous hot fried chicken at Hattie B’s (almost across the road from our highway) so we queued up for this, in the Nashville sun, with lots of others, for some great fried chicken, for an hour to get our order – but it had to be done. And it was good.
I mentioned about walking, we gave the car back after two days (we were here for four) after clocking some huge number of miles and they didn’t even ask about the red paint from Mr Buffalo Trace’s truck. Best thing about this rental was that by chance it was only a ten-minute walk from our hotel. However, worst thing about walking, well for some unknown reason Nashville drivers turning right (our left) seem not to bother about pedestrians trying to cross the road – gotta be alert round these parts. Another interesting thing about walking in America is that in some places it is not done – but we don’t mind and have never encountered problems, although most of our walking is in populated kind of locations and mostly day. Just be wary and not a problem. For instance my post on Atlanta was linked to an Atlanta blog site because of a comment I made about their roads being like spag-bog. Interestingly, there were some comments from their readers about how we walked where we did as no-one who lived there would – we didn’t see any problems (maybe we don’t look hard enough or maybe Melbourne has worse areas to walk around).
We did venture to honky-tonk world for a few beers after the ice hockey – funny having to produce ID to get in and even at the ice hockey to get a beer. I haven’t been asked for ID for a very long time but it is what is done in Nashville. Not a problem and at 5 Spot when I commented on this, the doorman was pleased to say that at least I was still living the dream.
Another interesting thing we did in Nashville was filling in a day before our flight to LA by visiting this park where they have an exact size replica of Greece’s Parthenon. Built for one of those old world’s fairs, let go to ruin, then turned into a park for the people (a bit like the Vulcan story from Birmingham). And our taxi ride (Nashville taxis are okay and at least we knew they could carry our luggage as some of the Uber’s were not quite large enough) was very interesting as our driver was originally from Iraq where he was an interpreter for the US Army during the wars against Sudam Hussein. Fascinating listening to someone who had lived what we only read about. He mentioned how although Sadam was a terrible person you knew where you stood with him (and if you didn’t agree with what was happening then you wouldn’t be standing anymore).Things were ruined when he invaded Kuwait, which he didn’t have to do as Iraq had enough oil without getting more, and this brought in the US. In ways, our driver regretted the US assistance for his country and removing Sadam as afterwards people had been so used to rigidity they didn’t know how to handle the change and there has been chaos ever since. Fascinating, our taxi ride could’ve gone on for much longer.
But it was time for a five-hour flight on Delta to Los Angeles. Must say, the Delta flight and LAX terminal were very nice compared to our usual American.