Saturday, 14 May 2016

48 hours in Nashville

On our recent road trip to the American 'deep South', we took in New Orleans, Memphis and the last stop was Nashville. 


Nashville, is the capital of Tennessee and primarily known for its music, especially country music. It's a place with a happening vibe (whatever that is!), and has live music bars everywhere, playing mainly country, but also blues, and rock and roll. This is our 48 hours in Nashville.




Day 1

We arrived at the Loews Vanderbilt hotel in the morning and as our room was ready we settled in and unpacked. Then we decided to walk to Broadway.  This is where all the live music 'honky tonk' bars are. Big mistake, it was just that bit too far, so we came back and took a taxi down. After exploring some of the souvenir shops we decided to visit the Johnny Cash museum.




The Johnny Cash museum is a great tribute to 'The Man In Black'. Packed full of memorabilia, it tells the story of Johnny's life and really is an excellent but compact museum. From classics like 'I Walk The Line' to 'Ring of Fire', his deep voice and rebellious nature appealed to many and some say he became a bigger star now after his death.  

My father loved Johnny Cash and my husband does too, so recently I have been listening to his music more and more. Walking through the museum, listening to his music and watching his videos, I felt quite emotional. He really was an amazing song writer and watching his videos in the museum, especially his cover of the 9 Inch Nails song Hurt, had me on the verge of tears. 



He had a strong relationship with his wife June Carter Cash, and seeing the poem he wrote for her at her funeral and the heart he laid at her grave was another emotional point. Highly recommended.




After the Johnny Cash museum we stopped at one of the bars on Broadway for lunch. There are lots of well known bars here like Tootsies, Legends Corner and the Tin Roof. All the bars play excellent music day and night and the singers really are of a high standard. Working for tips you can imagine how good they are. We ate at The Tin Roof. Food was simple but perfect - a great burger, and fabulous hot chicken - moist chicken in a really spicy hot chicken coating for which Nashville is known. 



After lunch we thought about visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame or The Ryman Auditorium. We decided on the Ryman Auditorium as we couldn't pack both in, in the time we had. 




The Ryman Auditorium is a historic live music venue in the centre of Nashville. Formally a tabernacle church, it was made famous as being the venue for the Grand Ole Opry, a live country music show that has become a Nashville institution. The show is still held her on selected nights in the Winter, whilst the rest of the time is held at a purpose built theatre at Opryland. The history of the building is incredibly interesting and if you pay for the tour you are shown a presentation of how it became an iconic building, the lady that managed it for years, the stars that have played there and how it became the official birthplace of bluegrass music.

After the tour we returned to the hotel for a rest. 

That evening we decided to stay in one of the restaurants close to the hotel as there was a big basketball tournament on. As we were staying slightly out of the centre in the Vanderbilt area, we decided on eating at Maggiano's. This great Italian chain restaurant is always super value and we can never fault the food, as we have also ate at their Orlando branch. What I like is that it is always full of families enjoying the food, giving it an excellent vibe, and they also do smaller portions of the mains and desserts so you never feel stuffed.

Day 2

On day two we woke up refreshed and excited about our second day. After a lovely breakfast in the club lounge we decided to visit the Parthenon.  Yes, you heard correctly, Nashville has a replica of the Parthenon from Athens in their Centennial Park, 10 minute walk from our hotel.




The building was originally built for Tennessee's 1897 Centennial Exposition, and serves as a monument to what is considered the pinnacle of classical architecture. The Parthenon has a small entry charge and also serves as Nashville's art museum which is interesting to walk around. 





The highlight of the Parthenon for me was the huge statue of Athena at its centre. This was finished as recently at 1990 but stood plain white until 2002 when it was beautifully gilded to be much closer to the ancient Athena Parthenos. It's a massive surprise to see this statue and in Nashville of all places.



Live music at The Tin Roof

After the Parthenon we went down to Broadway to listen to some music in the bars again. Tin Roof was fast becoming a favourite of ours now but there are so many music bars you are spoilt for choice. I would have like to have gone to Roberts Western World as they has line dancing classes but as there was a huge college basketball tournament on we couldn't get in. It's easy to spend a good few hours having food, a drink and listening to music, so we did!


After returning to our hotel late afternoon we got ready for the highlight of our trip as we had tickets to The Grand Ole Opry. Unfortunately our taxi drive took three times the normal length we were stuck in traffic for what seemed like forever. The taxi driver said it was normally bad at rush hour but it was exceptionally so that night. So fair warning here, allow yourself plenty of time if you are travelling to the Opryland area for food before a show.

We ate in a restaurant close to the show which I admit wasn't the best so I will gloss over that, and then managed to get to the show with minutes to spare.

Chris Janson at The Grand Ole Opry

The Grand Ole Opry is the longest running live radio show in the world, and runs twice a week. The show features all country music artists and there is usually 6-8 on the bill. That night we saw The Gatlin Brothers, The Oakridge Boys and Chris Janson amongst others. 

Before we went we researched the artists online, and I would highly recommend you doing that if you are going to the show as we recognised some of the songs that played instantly. I had heard of the Gatlin brothers before but none of the other artists. 

There were 8 singers and bands so you have a lot of choice if you don't like one but they were all excellent. As it's a live music  show they have adverts in between and that was funny to see the host talk through the sponsors and adverts as the show was on stage. We really enjoyed the Grand Ole Opry, it was excellent and a real taste of country style America. My husband laughed at me when I heard the Gatlin brothers song "An American with a Remington", as I thought they meant a Remington shaver not a gun! One of the main sponsors was an American homestyle restaurant chain and after listening to their advert, I must admit I really want to go to Cracker Barrel now.



That was the end of our Nashville trip, and our tour of the deep South of the USA. The next day we would be visiting the Jack Daniel's Distillery at Lynchburg on our way back to the airport to take our flight home.

Taking a trip to Nashville has really made me into a fan of country music. If you like music at all especially county, you really have to visit one day. A brilliant weekend, just brilliant.

Wander Mum

Dragons and Fairy Dust
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54 comments

  1. This would be absolute heaven for me, I absolutely love the look of Nashville and am quite obsessed with the TV Programme and would love to visit the Opry x

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    1. I forgot to mention the programme, will have to amend the post!

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  2. Oh wow what an amazing place to get to explore, you managed to fit so much into the 48 hours as well! x

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  3. I am so jealous, I would love to go to the Opry! I am also a massive lover of Johnny Cash, the movie Walk the Line about his life is one of my absolute favourites and if you've never seen it I would highly recommend it xx

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    1. The Opry was amazeballs as they say :)

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  4. I never knew that Nashville had a "Parthenon." It's cool that they made it like what the original was supposedly on the insides. Would be interesting to compare the two

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    1. The inside was quite sparse but then there was the huge statue of Athena.

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  5. oh wow I want to go to Nashville so bad, even more so now! x

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  6. I was born near Nashville but have never spent much time in the area. I know how hip and amazing it's supposed to be these days, and I really, really need to go back. Especially to see the Parthenon, which I've never seen before today and am still a little in shock by!

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    1. I can't quite believe that building is in Nashville.

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  7. Oh wow, I've never been to the deep south of the US, I really want to one day, it sounds so cool and lots of history there from your photos! x

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  8. As an avid roadtripper and southerner, I love learning more about cities across the American South. I have been to Nashville, but it was many years ago. I have friends there, and I need to get back and visit many of the places you mentioned in this post. I did get to go backstage at the Grand Ole Opry where I saw Roy Acuff. I am a longtime fan of the Gatlins, and I have seen them in concert many times!

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    1. The Gatlin brothers were so cool. Hope you get the chance to visit again one day.

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  9. Ah wow. I have never visited there before but it looks lovely. The museum sounds like somewhere I would love to visit

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  10. I do quite like country music so it would be a great idea to visit too. You did quite a bit in such a short space of time.

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    1. We did spend a little more time there but we like to pack it all in!

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  11. Aaaahh oh my gosh Nashville is somewhere I've always wanted to visit, from these pictures it looks like it doesn't disappoint! xx

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    1. It is a such a cool place, I would highly recommend visiting.

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  12. I've always heard such great things about Nashville and I really want to go. Looks like you had a great time x

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  13. I have always wanted to sneak away to Nashville for a date weekend. I am a big fan of Johnny Cash and would really enjoy visiting the museum to learn more about the man behind the music.

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    1. The museum was excellent. It's not big but it is really good.

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  14. Looks like you packed a lot in during your short time in Nashville. Definitely one of the most unique cities in the US.

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  15. I am a huge Johnny cash fan so that would be like a dream come true for me! I really need to get saving so I can make an awesome trip like that X

    Miss Kitty Kaos - Adventures Of A Riot Grrrl

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  16. This sounds totally amazing! I am not really a fan of these artists BUT I think the culture of this kind of trip is enthralling!

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    1. Yes, I hadn't heard of most of the singers at the Opry but you get carried away by the experience. You don't have to be the biggest country fan to enjoy Nashville, just a lover of music and fun!

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  17. I would love to visit Nashville one day! Looked like you had a fun packed 2 days x

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  18. Wow, what a tour. From reading your post, it seems like you were the perfect visitor to Nashville - So knowledgeable. The Parthenon is incredible! How strange to find the replica in Nashville.

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    1. I know! It was so odd seeing it there, very unexpected.

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  19. There is more to do in Nashville than one imagines. I spent a jam packed weekend a few years ago and was quite impressed. Especially, by the music. We missed the Pantheon...don't even remember seeing it!! Fun town, great post.

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    1. The Parthenon is a couple of miles out of town so you would have to get a taxi there.

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  20. Looks like you hit some great spots. I grew up in Nashville, but I've actually never been to most of the tourist attractions. I need to go back and explore with fresh eyes.

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    1. I think when something is on your doorstep you often don't do the 'touristy' things.

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  21. Nashville is one of those places where you'll sink nicely its history roots and feel like resisting to pull your legs up. Having a lot of guitar-drenched songs in my travelling playlist, I certainly would like to visit all of those places here and feel what its like to be part of the arts.

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  22. You packed such a lot into a couple of days and sounds like so much fun to experience, especially the music.

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    1. It was a really fun trip, loved Nashville and the Opry was brilliant.

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  23. You visit some really awesome places - love the photographs!

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  24. Nashville is high up on my list. I am excited to explore. You did a lot in 2 days! My kinda traveling.

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  25. That must have been a trip of a lifetime. Nashville is such a special place for any music lover x

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  26. Well spent two days in such a lovely place. Hope to visit this soon and use your post as a guide :)

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  27. I had been living in Vancouver, Canada for 7 months and decided I wanted to do a small road trip on the way home so my dad flew over and Nashville was one of the places I wanted to go because I love country music. We had 4 days here so we had plenty of time to see things, only because of the price we had to choose between things, we decided on the country hall of fame instead of the Johnny Cash museum and we also did the Opryland tour rather than the Ryman. I loved the Opry, I'm pretty sad that we never managed to get to see a show there though. Sorry for all the rambling, I loved Nashville though and your photos look awesome. ♥ HWY29

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    1. It's a shame you didn't get to see a show at the Opry. it was so much fun. The host actually talks through the adverts in the break too which was odd. Glad you loved Nashville as much as me. I would certainly go back, I didn't see as much as I wanted.

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    2. I know, I'd defiantly go to a show If I went back there. We did the backstage tour in the day and it was awesome to see the place. ♥

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  28. Sounds like a a amazing couple of days...I had no idea there was a replica Parthenon in Nashville! How random. Although I'm not a huge country fan, I'd love to visit Nashville one day - it has to be done. The Johnny Cash museum sounds brilliant. I loved the biopic Walk The Line. Thanks for linking to #citytripping

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    1. We packed a lot in. Nashville made me love country music, before I like the odd track but this trip really did it for me.

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  29. What a fun-filled 48 hours! I'd love to spent some time in Nashville and have a friend who hails from there. I'd also love to take a roadtrip across the States, it's one of my great dreams. I clicked over from #CityTripping!

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  30. What a fun 48 hours - this is just the perfect break for a music lover, and a great guide for anyone who's not sure where to start. I had no idea there was a Parthenon there as well either! #citytripping

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    1. It is a perfect break for a music lover as you say. It's the sort of place that makes you want to go back to, to explore even more.

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  31. Great post! I was completely surprised to see the Parthenon - and Athena! - in the middle of Nashville. Crazy. You really hit the highlights - that's a pretty great 48 hours!

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  32. We were booked for 5 nights in Nashville plus a trip to Lynchburg in Easter but sadly my hubby fell ill on the day of the flight .Lovely to read about the trip that could have been though x

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    1. Only just seen this, how sad, hop he's ok now.

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  33. Sounds like a wonderful eventful trip. I didn't know there was a replica of Parthenon in Nashville, how fascinating

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  34. I went here years ago. So nice to see it again. You certainly packed lots in on your visit. Thanks for linking to out and about. A new linky is live if you have any more adventures.

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