Music City, U.S.A
While neither Russ or I are huge music buffs, we have still always wanted to check out the sights & sounds of Nashville. When planning our trip from Campbellsville, KY to Palm Harbor, FL we studied a few different routes and while Nashville appeared to be just a bit out of the way, it really only added about 15 minutes to the trip. We decided a quick 2-day stay in the Music City would give us a good idea of things we may want to come back to visit. This really only gave us one day to look around the area before continue our trek South. We decided on a bus tour to give a good rundown of all Nashville has to offer. Actually locating a coupon for BOGO free on the Old Town Trolley tour is what made us decide on the bus tour. We probably wouldn’t have selected this option at full price.
We fueled up with a lovely brunch at AMOT Eatery (more on that coming soon) before heading downtown to grab our trolley tickets. We found a fairly decently priced parking lot near Stop #1, purchased our tickets, and boarded the trolley that was waiting. The Old Town Trolley had fifteen stops all of which gave you the option to “hop on or hop off”. That was conveient as there were a couple of places we were hoping to check out in more detail. The trolley guides were knowledgable of the city and were able to give us history, background info, and fun facts that we wouldn’t have picked up on just walking around on our own. We stopped for a quick visit at the Nashville Farmer's Market which had advertised a winter market on Wednesday. It certainly didn’t appear to be going on but that could have been due to the holidays. I would recommend checking it out during the summer months and it also would be a great place to grab lunch while touring the city. To our Philly readers - think Reading Terminal Market where you can find something for everyone.
In a quest for coffee, we strolled the streets of Nashville enjoying the view of the Tennessee Capitol Building which we learned is one of very few without a dome. We continued our walk by the Musician’s Hall of Fame & Museum. On a more lengthy visit to Nashville, both of these places would be good to tour and learn more about. Starbucks in hand, we walked back to the Old Town Trolley stop to continue our “Hop On, Hop Off” tour.
Knowing we would regret not “hopping off” at Marathon Motors Village, we did it anyway. We had snagged great seats alongside an open window on a bus with a wonderful tour guide. We didn’t want to sacrifice our seats so decided to pass on this stop. This is one we would definitely explore on our next trip through town as it is the home of the store from the “American Pickers” TV show as well as a four-block complex of cultural offerings from restaurants to recording studios to a distillery.
While we thought about just snapping a photo of the Nashville Parthenon, we ended up being on the wrong side of the bus. It was pretty cool to see the impressive Greek-style architecture up close and personal. The building and the Athena statue are both full-scale replicas of the Grecian originals. It was originally built for the 1897 Centennial Exposition and now serves as one of Nashville’s art museums. The weather warmed up and it was a lovely time of day to be out strolling around and snapping some photos.
We finished up the bus tour back at Stop #1 and decided to stroll around the streets of Nashville for a bit longer. In honor of Russ’ sister, Ceil & her family, we checked out the Goo Goo store. Goo Goo Cluster’s are an iconic candy born in Nashville featuring real milk chocolate, caramel, peanuts, and marshmallow nougat, also available in a peanut butter or pecan version. However, we walked out empty handed and drooling when we found out all three version contained gluten. Sad story, but be happy as that means more for all our gluten-loving friends! They have been around for over a century, so you know they must be delicious.
We also did what you do in Nashville and tried on cowboy boots. Yee-Haw! A bit pricey, but surprisingly comfortable. I think we’ve decided to save our cowboy boot purchases for a visit to Texas. With or without boots, we walked a beautiful pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland River from downtown to Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans. This concluded our downtown tour of Nashville and we have added to the list of things we would investigate next time - Music City Walk of Fame, Johnny Cash Museum, Ryman Auditorium, Nashville Sounds Ball Park, Marathon Motor Works, Belmont Masion, a walk on Music Row, and Hattie B’s Hot Chicken!
Our campground was about 3 miles from the Grand Ole Opry. While we were originally thinking we would do a tour there, we “cheaped” out. We may save that for another trip to Nashville. However, we did visit the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center which is located right by the Grand Ole Opry. We had heard that it was a good place to walk around, which seems funny since you typically don’t go “walk” around a hotel. It was an impressive place with 9-acres of indoor gardens. There is a small “river” that runs through the hotel with flat bottom boats. The place was decked out for the holidays with millions of lights, trees, wreaths, poinsettas, the whole nine yards. Since we hadn’t done any “Christmas excursions” it was a nice way to finish up the holiday season. However, Russ and I both agreed that we would have preferred to see the gardens in their normal decor. We can’t fail to mention the parking tip we had read from several other bloggers to park next door in the Opry Mills mall lot to save on the steep $18 parking fee at the resort. Cha-ching!
If you happen to be in Nashville around the Christmas holiday and need your fix of Christmas lights, we would also recommend the Dancing Lights of Christmas, which is Middle Tennessee’s largest drive-thru light and music show located at the Jellystone Campground that was right next door to ours. It was impressive, but we enjoyed our free show rather than the price tag of $25/car. Make sure to check for coupons because we did find out that you could purchase tickets at Ronald McDonald house for $15/car. We opted for the free show as we could open the blinds in our bedroom and watch the lights while lying in bed.
Our quick stop in Nashville was pleasant, but our timing wasn’t the best. The town was getting ready for both the Music City Bowl on Friday and the New Year’s Eve Note Drop on Saturday night. Streets were closed and workers were busy preparing for the festivities. Thanks, Nashville and keep playing until you come up on our playlist again.