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Monday, July 20, 2020

Nashville, TN - FL To NM Road Trip - Stop 8


Nashville, TN has been one of the top destinations on our bucket list for a very long time.   This was the last stop of our Florida to New Mexico and back road trip, besides for a quick overnight in Georgia.  Did we save the best for last?  We would soon find out.  

Cedars of Lebanon State Park would be where we would park our trailer and ourselves for the next three nights.  It was conveniently located 12 minutes off of I-40, the highway we traveled 6 hours on to get from Arkansas to Tennessee.

(Please read more about this campground in our State Park Camping Guide coming soon!)

It was raining when we pulled into our campsite but we were able to set up our trailer.  The internet worked well here so we watched TV and relaxed our first night in Tennessee.

It was still raining the next morning, our first full day in Nashville,  The "must-see" for the day was the Grand Ole Opry.  You can't think of Nashville without thinking about the Opry!  We decided a good way to get out of rain for awhile would be to spend the $34.00 each to do the Opry Daytime Backstage Tour.   It was definitely worth the price of admission!  We are so glad we did it!  We walked away from the tour with a great understanding of why this place is so respected and how important it is for country music.  


The tour started off with us and our group being led into a theater.   We were shown a documentary hosted by Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood.  The clips of country music stars being surprised by a peer and member of the Opry and asked if they themselves would like to be a member brought tears to my eyes.  The new members were so honored to be asked and most of them ended up crying.


After the presentation, our tour guide led us around to see what goes on backstage at the Opry. There were lots of pictures and huge posters of some of the biggest stars throughout.  


It was fun to see the themed dressing rooms.  Our tour guide told us how some stars will ask for a particular room every time they come to perform but most performers just get assigned a random room.


There was a wall of small plaques with the names of each member of the Opry.  We were surprised that we recognized a lot of them since we are not fans of country music.  But that changed a bit while we were in Nashville.  I decided that we needed to listen to country music while we were here so that when we heard the tunes as we walked along Broadway in downtown Nashville, we might recognize a few of the songs.  Because of that, one of my favorite songs right now is More Hearts Than Mine by Ingrid Andress!


And finally, the highlight of the tour was when we walked onto the stage and got to stand on the "X" and have our picture taken.  It was a pretty amazing feeling after hearing about how people dream their whole lives about being on that "X" and singing in front of the Opry audience.  


The next time we pass this way again, we will definitely be buying tickets to see a concert here.  Even now that months have passed since we visited, every once in awhile we put on our local country music station. This tour, and Nashville, made us fans!

Our second stop of the day was Marathon Village.  Our friend from NY, Justin, who has been calling Nashville home for the past couple of years, mentioned that his Dad liked going to the former Marathon Motor Works factory when he is in town.  You will see plenty of tools and automobile parts, saved from the days when this factory produced cars, on display throughout the halls of this building that now is filled with event spaces, work studios and unique shops. 


One of the most unique shops here is Antique Archaeology.  This is where the American Pickers sell their finds.   Their store was full of stuff that  reminded me of things you would find in someones (or my) messy garage or shed but we could only imagine the joy, from watching the show, that Mike and Frank would experience from finding this junk...I mean treasures!


Next on our list was to take a very quick visit to Broadway, Nashville's lively area of bars and honky tonks. We would be going back the following day to really have a look around but thought we would run into the Goo Goo shop to get some chocolate souvenirs.  It was only a 20 minute walk from Marathon Village and the restaurant we wanted to have dinner at was right in between the two stops.  We decided to leave the car and walk.  This turned out to be a very bad idea.  Between getting lost, walking next to major roads on narrow sidewalks and in isolated areas in the dark...let's just say I am thankful that we made it back safe and sound!  We did make it to the Goo Goo shop, though, which sells Nashville's unique chocolate and bought a bunch to take home.   


And we found Central BBQ easily because we passed it on our way to the candy store.


We decided to eat dinner here because of a recommendation made by son Joe and DIL Nicole.  Central BBQ calls their barbeque slow smoked Memphis style.  Lucky for us, this Nashville location is their first restaurant outside of Memphis.   Soko ordered the meat platter and selected pulled pork, beef brisket and smoked turkey.  The chef came out to tell Soko that they ran out of the smoked turkey and asked if he could substitute pulled chicken.  When we were almost finished eating the chef came out again with a plate full of smoked turkey and apologized for not seeing it.   The service was as good as the food was.


I had the ribs sampler which was fall off the bone tender.  The fun part, for me, of the experience at Central BBQ was the condiment bar where you helped yourself to four kinds of barbeque sauce.  The choices were mustard, vinegar, mild or hot.  I got the mild which was a not too thick, sweet and slightly vinegary sauce which I really enjoyed.


By the time we finished eating, it was just starting to get dark.  By the time we got back to Marathon Village and our car, it was very dark out!  We were so relieved when we finally got back to our car and headed back to the campground.  


We had another fun day planned for our second full day in Nashville.  Our first stop would be for lunch.  Princes Hot Chicken was where Nashville's hot chicken originated.  There are a few restaurants that serve this staple of Nashville, but we decided on Princes, mostly because it was recommended by our son Joe and DIL Nicole but also because it is where hot chicken was born.


Justin, who has a couple of years of experience eating hot chicken, warned us to get one degree of heat lower than what we usually order when we get spicy chicken.  I usually get mild so there was no lower to go.  It was hot!  I needed to cool down my chicken with ranch dressing and then it was delicious.  The crunchy texture of the light coating on the chicken was amazing and the chicken was moist and cooked perfectly.


We were glad we had Cheekwood Estates and Gardens next on our list of things to do because we needed to work off the big lunch we just had and a walk around the gardens would help.


The timing of our trip to these gardens was not the best as there were renovations going on all over the park.  The highlight here was the Cheekwood Estates anyway.  We were able to get into these gardens with our pass but the $20 fee to get to see gardens and tour the gorgeous mansion was worth it and will be a bargain when the gardens are finished.


The art gallery on the top floor of the estates include paintings and other art collected by the Cheeks and art added to the collection since Cheekwood Estates opened to the public in 1960.


This was the fourth and final gardens we visited during our road trip.  We were glad to know that our Bok Tower Garden annual membership was well worth the $75.00 we paid for it.

After the gardens it was time to go to Broadway, to check out the bars, music and everything else we envisioned when we dreamed about going to Nashville one day.   The Walk of Fame Park was just a couple of blocks away from Broadway so we went there first.  It was fun looking for names we recognized on the stars that lined the street.


We were really surprised to see Peter Frampton's star here.  We had no idea that his genre of music was country.  Maybe we have been country music fans after all!


Broadway was pretty much what we pictured it would be.  Bar after bar of live music streaming out of almost every one of them.   We were surprised to hear music other than country though but would say if we were hearing not hearing country we were hearing rock.  


We enjoyed the music of a band as we passed by a bar and listened until we walked too far and their sound faded away but by then we were in front of the next bar listening to the band in that one.  We did have to stop in front of Kid Rock's bar when I heard their band belting out one of my favorite songs of all time, Sweet Child O' Mine by Guns and Roses.


Our last stop in Nashville was Nashville Underground where we were meeting Justin for a couple of drinks and snacks and more importantly to catch up with him. 


The stage behind Soko didn't stay empty too long and was soon occupied by a really good band.  We found out from Justin that the bands that play in the bars on Broadway don't get paid by the bars they play at but perform in hopes to get a following and get noticed.  Before we left the bar we made a donation to the band's tip jar.


It was great seeing Justin and we had a wonderful time in Nashville.  We definitely want to go back one day.   By the time we get back there Justin will be married to his beautiful fiance Kristen!


After enjoying great drinks, food and company, it was time to call it a night and get ready for our last stop, Jackson, Georgia.


We stayed at High Falls State Park hoping to see some high falls and we did.

(Please read more about this campground in our State Park Camping Guide coming soon!)

We were only staying one day here just because we needed to stop because we couldn't make it all the way from Nashville to Florida in one trip.  We didn't have any plans for our day here, except to relax, until I discovered that there were outlets only 10 minutes from the campground.

                    

If you ask me, this was a perfect way to end a perfect road trip.  If you ask Soko, he might have a different opinion!!

32 comments:

  1. Wow what a full trip you had in Nashville. So many great places, sights and food to be enjoyed. I found your page over at Sharon's link up.
    Dawn aka Spatulas On Parade
    https://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/2020/07/noccalula-falls-alabama-mosaic-monday.html

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    1. We squeezed in as much as we could but need to go back to do things we missed! Thanks for stopping by!!

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  2. I have been to Nashville twice and enjoyed it tremendously both times! It's such a fun city with so much to see and do.

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    1. I am thinking I will have to do Nashville twice also!!

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  3. What a fabulous trip. I also had no idea Peter Frampton was country! The Grand Ole Oprey...goosbumps...#SeniSal

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    1. I am still scratching my head over Peter Frampton's star!!

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  4. I love Nashville. It's two hours from here and I've been there lots! Glad you got to go!

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    1. You are so lucky to be living only 2 hours from Nashville!!

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  5. Sounds exciting! I love traveling. It has been so many years since I have been to Nashville, but I thoroughly enjoyed it back in college.

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  6. I have never been to Nashville but it's been on my list for a long time! I so enjoyed this 'virtual tour' and seeing the photographs of your adventures. Thank you for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party community! Take care and have a good week!

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    1. I hope you get a chance to go someday. I think you would have a fun time. Thank you for hosting every week!

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  7. Were you in Nashville before or after the riots? I see you're dressed for cold weather so I'm assuming it was before. We went to Nashville a few years ago and although I found it interesting it wasn't one of my favorite places. We saw so many intoxicated homeless people lying about the street, and I had a bad encounter with a street musician. So now every time I think of Nashville it is ruined by that experience. What we did love was the river walk...that is gorgeous (even though sections of that was filled with drunks too) and we also love the state capitol building...that is probably the best capitol building I have ever seen in my life. What a shame when rioters vandalized it. Anyway, because I was there several years ago and sensed a lot of danger, I can understand why you were afraid to walk to your car in the dark. I never knew about the Hall of Fame park. I would have liked to have seen that when I was there. We went to Andrew Jacksons house & plantation when we were there. That was a really great experience to learn about history. I wanted to go to Cheekwood to, but we could only visit one and we though the home of a prior president would be more interesting.

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    1. We were on our road trip right before the US discovered covid in the country so it was this past February. That might be why we didn't see any homeless on the streets. It was pretty cold. I can see why you wouldn't want to go back to Nashville when you had a bad experience there. I feel the same about New Orleans!

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  8. There seems to be so much to see and do in Nashville! I sadly never visited that city. I remember watching the Grand Old Opry shows on TV when I was a child--Minnie Pearl was often an entertainer

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    1. That's right! I forgot all about that. She wore the hat with the price tag still attached!

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  9. You have definitely had a wonderful trip across the country. So glad you made Nashville a big stop. Thanks for sharing the adventure with us at #HomeMattersParty

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  10. music and foods seem identic to Nashville, TN....great shots

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  11. What a fun trip you and your husband had traveling on vacation. I enjoyed looking at the photos of your trip. The food looks great and I would love to visit Nashville some time. I can't wait to travel when everything is safe again.
    Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog post on Costco finds. Hope you have a nice week. :)

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    1. I hope you get a chance to go to Nashville one day!

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  12. Good for you being able to do what you like to do in your early retirement! Thanks so much for stopping by and for commenting on my Early Retirement post!!
    Stay safe, healthy and happy!!
    Hugs,
    Debbie

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    1. I loved reading your post. Thank you for stopping by!

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  13. Me again! Thanks for visiting once again!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!
    Hugs,
    Deb

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  14. I lived in Nashville decades ago - it is a fun place to visit - great photos

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    1. You were lucky to have been able to live there. We can't wait to visit again one day!!

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  15. Interesting post. We live about 2 hours from Nashville, and love the city! We go to the CMA music festival every June, if we're around. It is free and we love the music, even though we're not country music fans.

    If you come this way again, stop by Chattanooga. It's a lovely small city with lots of outdoor activities (water sports and hiking) and Civil War history.

    I wasn't impressed with Cheekwood. Your Bok Tower membership might have reciprocal with Atlanta Botanical Garden, which is so much better!

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    1. Thank you so much! We really do appreciate any and all travel related suggestions!! I put CMA music festival and Chattanooga on our bucket list. (We were disappointed with Cheekwood also :(

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    2. I got some tips from this post too - Central BBQ and Antique Archaeology. I've seen American Pickers, but didn't know they sell their stuff here in Nashville.

      Incidentally, there are a lot of campgrounds in the Chattanooga area too. At least 3 near me (Hales Bar Marina, Shellmound Campground and Marion County Park in Jasper, TN. All overlooking the scenic TN River.

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    3. I hope you will get a chance to go to Central BBQ and Antique Archaeology the next time you are in Nashville.
      We just came back from a couple of days in Murphy, NC. I saw a map and found out that Chattanooga wasn't that far from where we were so very doable for us! Don't be surprised to see a post about this area on our blog one day soon!

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