This has been such a great trip – good music, food with soul and one warm welcome after another.  It may seem like an unlikely destination for a honeymoon, but it is definitely where I would have chosen to spend mine!

I never had much time for history at school, but I really enjoyed seeing modern history being brought to life in the Deep South and appreciated how important it is to an understanding of the world we live in today.

When to go:  April is definitely a good time to go.  The Summers are hot, humid and mosquito ridden.  The winters are cold and dark.

With hindsight: I would definitely have allowed more time in Nashville and planned Memphis much more carefully in advance (it was very frenetic trying to cram everything in).  New Orleans to Nashville is definitely the best way round to do this trip, in my view – save the best until last.

Highlights:  Too many to list – always the sign of a really great holiday.  They are all in the blog.

Lowlights:  There were one or two uncomfortable incidents with panhandlers etc. – particularly in Memphis.  You do need to take care here, particularly at night.

Photos I wished I had taken :

The three little boys dancing their hearts out at the front the movie show at the Country Music Hall of Fame.  One was a lot better than the other two and there was some very amusing stiff rivalry going on between them.  They never missed a beat.  Great exercise – the film lasted 20 minutes!

The all American family out for the day at the Nashville Draft.  The two little kids (brother and sister) both sported large cowboy hats and the cutest little cowboy boots you can imagine.  Happiness is …!

The Hermitage hotel by day – there is a painting in the lobby I would have liked to have replicated, but trees are all in the way of the view now and you just can’t get far back enough to do it justice.

The Country Music Hall of Fame all lit up at night.

Wish I had seen:  An alligator.

Foodie First Regrets:   I never got to try Ooey Gooey

and now for The Awards:

Best Hotel: The Hermitage, Nashville
Best Cocktail: The Smoked Old Fashioned, Etch, Nashville
Best Breakfast:  Sunday Brunch  – The Hermitage Hotel, Nashville
Best Lunch : Lunchbox Eats, Memphis
Best Dinner: Etch, Nashville
Best Experience: Stephanie Layne – Sweet Magnolia Tours, Nashville
2nd Best Tour: New Orleans School of Cooking (too good to leave out of the awards!)

Final Reflections:
The Deep South has suffered so much – from the slavery days, through the Civil War, the bitter struggles for civil rights and votes for women and World War.  The power of music to excite, soothe, entertain and unite people has pulled all these threads of history together over the years and is still very much what this area is all about today.

Many thanks to Alice Young at Audley Travel for putting together such a memorable trip for us – it was perfect.  #The AudleyWay

What I missed most:  My family:  Becky (for the breakfasts and the cooking school), Tom (for the BBQs and the football) and Nicky (shopping for boots and the cocktails).  Oh – and a nice cup of English tea!

“Bye y’all – Keep Safe”
Next trip:  Picos de Europa – searching for Spring/Summer wildflowers in the mountains …

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