My first visit to Nashville, TN– Music City, USA
It’s the home of country music. Otherwise known as “Music City.” Nashville.
It’s a city so full of intrigue that they made a whole television series based on its incredible drama.
And I got to see it! (I know this post is a little late. But better late than never right?)
Two weeks ago, I visited my friend, Kristen, who is going to school at Vanderbilt. I used some of my dad’s frequent flyer miles and got there for all of $35. A short weekend, but totally worth it.
The Nashville trip was wonderful. I hadn’t seen my friend since Christmas and we had lots to catch up on. Not to mention I love country music, I grew up on Garth Brooks, the Dixie Chicks, and Mary Chapin Carpenter, and I’m pretty much obsessed with the new hit show Nashville on ABC. I was so excited to visit this home of country that I could hardly contain myself.
I arrived at about 9 PM, Nashville-time, Friday night. (I was amazed to find that Nashville is an hour ahead of Pittsburgh. All this time I’d talked to Kristen on the phone and texted, I had never actually noticed and she’d never mentioned it. Shows my lack of knowledge about U.S. geography.) We only really had time to go out for a few drinks at a bar near her apartment that night, but that was perfect. We chatted until they closed the dining room and our server was trying to leave. Then we headed back to get some sleep before our big touring day.
Saturday morning Kristen took me out to breakfast and we started our day with mimosas and biscuits. (She said biscuits are a must in the south and I agreed. Delish!) We walked past a few shops where she said celebrities have been seen drinking coffee and such. Unfortunately we didn’t see any singers or celebrities but it was still fun to imagine.
The Parthenon in Nashville, TN
After breakfast, we visited the replica of the Parthenon. I’m not sure why there is a replica of the Parthenon in Nashville. I mean, there is a story behind it, it was supposed to be a temporary exhibit and then people loved it, blah blah… but it’s still so random. And people are there walking through it and taking pictures in front of it (myself included) as if it were the real Parthenon. Except it’s not. So it was weird. But pretty. It was located in this beautiful park and luckily it was a gorgeous day and the trees and flowers were blooming. But still…the Parthenon in Nashville? Whatever.
Outside the Grand Ole Opry
So after that we went to see the Grand Ole Opry. We took some fabulous pictures of ourselves in front of the humongous guitars outside the theater and then we walked around the gift shop. We didn’t actually go into the Grand Ole Opry because tours were a little pricy and we had better things to see.
We drove back into the city to visit the much-anticipated Country Music Hall of Fame. For this, we actually did buy the tour tickets and walked through the whole thing. I hadn’t realized there would be so much country music and so many singers that I didn’t know and had never heard of. We looked through these exhibits kind of quickly, not wanting to read every little word about every single singer, so that we could get to the more modern country music.
(Side note: Kristen lost the back of her earring on the second floor of the museum. We saw it, unreachable, next to Webb Pierce’s 1962 Bonneville. Unless they’ve swept the floors back there since then, Kristen’s earring-back is currently preserved in the Hall of Fame.)
I took pictures of all the country stars’ exhibits that I know and love. It felt a little awkward taking pictures of one old guitar after another, old boots and million-dollar dresses that were probably only worn once. I don’t think those will be the pictures I’ll cherish from the trip. But for some reason I still felt the need to have photos of the things that once belonged to my idols.
Taylor Swift’s guitar in the Country Music Hall of Fame
Of course the crowd around Taylor Swift’s flashy rhinestone-studded guitar was large, but we managed to get pictures with her belongings as well. They even had an exhibit for the TV show, Nashville, with Rayna’s and Juliet’s dresses (weird because those are not actually real people) and the original script signed by all the cast members.
After the Hall of Fame we headed to the pedestrian bridge, where they shoot the intimate, heart-felt scenes with Rayna and Deacon. Then it was on to Broadway! Now this street was magical, for someone who loves country music. It was 2:30 in the afternoon and country music is just spilling onto the street from every window and doorway. People are singing along, dancing in cowboy boots and drinking beer. So that’s exactly what we did, making our way from one bar to the next, stopping at a few souvenir stores along the way. We had dinner reservations at Pucketts and ordered their famous barbecue pulled pork. We walked past the Ryman Auditorium on the way but didn’t have time to stop in.
The famous Bluebird Cafe
After dinner, we headed to the Bluebird Cafe. I expected this grand bar, but it was awkwardly situated in a strip mall next to a hair salon, a dry-cleaners and a children’s store. Unfortunately, we didn’t have reservations there and the stand-by line was too long to waste our time waiting in it. But I got some pretty great pictures outside!
Later that night, we went back to Broadway to enjoy more drinks and music with the late-night crowd. We went to Honkytonk Central and danced on the stage at The Stage. We made some friends and had a ball.
The next day, we slept in and relaxed, watching movies before I caught my flight back to my boring hometown of Pittsburgh.
Pedestrian bridge in Nashville