The last post finished up in sweet little Lynchburg, the birthplace of Jack Daniels’ Whiskey in Tennessee. The next post, on the other hand, starts where the drinking of Jack Daniels’ tends to begin… Nashville.
I find picking favourites very difficult. I mean, why should you have to – opinions change so regularly, surely from one day to the next they won’t be the same. For me this is the case with most things. Thankfully, not with Nashville…
I last visited here when I was on Trek America – we stayed at a campground outside of the city centre, and so would get a bus directly into the centre of town. This time was different. We stayed at the Sheraton Downtown, and its location and most things about it could not have been better.
Generally chain hotels are bottom of my list when it comes to picking accommodation, but with the prices of places in Nashvegas on a weekend, we didn’t have that much choice.
We managed to get a great deal for the Sheraton, and luckily it was somethin’ else; it was absolutely stunning… The elevator alone was a sight to behold.
Overall I would describe it as as modern and elegant, with a country twist. If you stay in Nashville, contact the hotel and see if you can get yourself a deal to stay here. You’ll see why.
Anyway, enough about the hotel and more about the reason we were there… The amazing city of Nashville.
First thing I want to say is do not think that if you aren’t a lover of country music you won’t have a good time. There’s something for everyone there. It was Dan’s birthday while we were there, and he’s not what you would describe as an avid listener. Or any kind of listener to country really, but he had a great time.
As it was his birthday, we were very much up for a good time (hence the JD). Unfortunately the first night some of us revelled in the alcohol slightly too much, and didn’t make it out of the hotel.
I was not one of those.
We arrived in Nashville when it was already getting dark hence didn’t get to see much of the city at that point, so all I had in the was hazy memories as we walked down to the main strip of bars and restaurants that makes up Broadway.
I remembered going to the Tequila Cowboy once before, so after being served some pizza by a hilariously drunk waitress (she ended up singing at people and falling into them, whilst twirling around the restaurant – that’s what happens when you get a pizza at 1am I guess), we popped in there for some dancing.
It was great fun, but it’s more of a club atmosphere in the Tequila Cowboy (live DJ, dance floor, hen parties) so we wandered up the road and into a few different bars (the names of which I didn’t think to note at the time). This is the amazing thing about Nashville… Pretty much any time, day or night, you can hear live music. And not just any music, really really good stuff. Bands that care about what they’re playing.
And you know what, the audiences are good too (not to big ourselves up…) but people get up and involved. It’s such a good atmosphere and not like anywhere else I’ve been.
If nightlife isn’t your thing, don’t stress, there’s a million more reasons Nashville probably is…
We woke up the next morning a tad* (*exceptionally) hungover (it really wasn’t pretty) BUT we only had one more day of Nashville and good gracious were we making the most of it.
I am a HUGE fan of the TV show Nashville. As in, Take That like weeping may have occurred as a result of hearing the news that it has been cancelled. So I had a solid list of places I wanted us to hit up.
We got ourselves up, grabbed brunch from Another Broken Egg Cafe (we didn’t quite make it up for 6am like the day before) and went on our merry/tentative way.
Well actually you know what… The sun was shining, there was music in the air and it was Dan’s birthday. It was pretty nice.
The first stop was The Ryman Auditorium, which was the original home to the Grand Ole Opry and regular feature on ABC’s Nashville.
I was excited to be there just because of it’s TV fame. I didn’t actually really think about the experience of visiting there, so it could have gone either way.
To go inside, you have to get a ticket for a ‘self guided tour’ which I assumed meant ‘run wild’. It didn’t mean that, in fact it meant, please line up for this performance we’re going to force you to watch.
I wasn’t exactly ecstatic at the idea… Then out of nowhere, the thing they make you watch… Was AMAZING. It was so imaginative, and interesting, I could have watched it for a couple of hours. Yes, the bright colours were a lot for a hangover, but still.
It was all about the history of the Auditorium, and incorporated clips of people playing with animations and the best sound scapes… It’s so hard to describe, you just need to go and see it for yourself.
After the film, you’re allowed to do as you please (/act as you normally would inside what is synonymous with a museum). You can go inside the theatre, stand on the stage, read more about the history, and my favourite, see costumes worn by those that have performed there.
I was impressed by their collection, but it had nothing on our next stop… The Country Music Hall of Fame.
I’ve been to the Rock and Roll hall of fame in Ohio, and I can tell you they’re fairly similar. When I visited the one in Ohio, I thought that I was a pretty big Rock fan. Turns out I was wrong… I know very little about rock. I kind of felt the same way about this one, but in a good way.
There were so many things I realised I didn’t know, but you can see and hear all around you. Basically, whether or not you’re a fan of country music, pop by the hall of fame and experience it.
Alternatively if you’re not a fan, but someone you know is, Hatch Show Print is right next door, so they can always hang out in there looking at all the cool prints (I’m yet to enter a letterpress shop empty handed) and meet you afterwards.
We managed to swing by both the hall of fame, and the print shop, and by this point we were getting pretty hungry…
Nashville is known for its amazing food. Trust me, I spent hours trawling online for the best meals in the city, and spent most of the drooling.
When we were there before we mostly just ate bar food/at the camp site so I didn’t really get to experience it. All I knew was that Mike’s Ice Cream (where I went first time) is the bomb, and so is Savannah’s Candy Kitchen. Neither of those can really be classified as food though.
I’d heard that some of the best food in the city, was the most affordable – they are BIG on cheap eats. So I thought, hey, why not jump on the bandwagon and save some money for our inevitable drinks.
What I did not think about, was that everyone else would do the same. We went to Hattie B’s Chicken, which was roughly a 25 minute walk away from where we were, and somehow queued for AN HOUR before getting in.
I’d heard such good things about this place, and there were so many people in the queue, I could only assume the food was going to be some of the best I’d ever had. I got my hopes up, and got very excited, but really it’s just good chicken. Not exceptional, just pretty good. The main selling point is the price, which is next to nothing.
Long story short, it has amazing reviews, but I wouldn’t particularly rate it myself. Southern food is delicious, but I had better chicken than Hattie B’s in Shenandoah. For roughly the same price… Save yourself the effort of going all the way there and eat closer to the centre of town. You’ll pay more, but won’t have to go through all that hoo-hah.
There was no way we were going to walk the whole way back after that, so we grabbed an Uber to our hotel which was crazy good value, had the remaining drops of drink from the night before (I was driving, so had one alcoholic beverage the entire evening) and hit the strip again.
It was Dan’s birthday, so we dragged him (willingly) to the Tequila Cowboy and got him up on a bucking bronco. And the night continued from there really.
I will always wish I had spent longer in Nashville, but with the time we had, I always think it’s good to be left wanting more. I know that there are so many more places to explore in Nashville – I haven’t even mentioned the amazing fashion there yet, but in this way, I know I’ll be back as soon as I can.
Plus, the next stop on our tour was a pretty exciting one… Chicago. So we weren’t too upset to be leaving the next day.
Have you ever been to Nashville? Are you a country music fan?