Nashville NASH-VULL

It took us most of the day to drive from Memphis to Nashville.  We arrived to discover that the NFL professional draft had just started – Nashville is the base this year.  Well – that wasn’t part of the plan!  Crowds of 300,000 are expected over the next few days, creating pressure on facilities and hotel prices to double.  Very glad we booked this trip up over a year ago!

Nashville

Nashville has a very upmarket feel to it.  It is a booming city with a rising population that is growing fast.  

Tootsie's Nashville NFL 2019
The world famous Orchid Lounge at Tootsie's purple bar serves as the headquarters for the NFL draft

We checked into our hotel and the very helpful concierge there sorted out all the restaurant reservations for the next couple of days for us – a ‘must do’ in view of how busy the city was.

 

Dinner - Etch Nashville

Etch – 303 Demonbreun St.  – is an upscale restaurant offering creative menus that were absolutely delicious.

Etch Nashville
Etch Nashville - Highly recommended

Foodie Firsts

Their roasted cauliflower is one of their signature dishes and is well worth trying.  You can find the recipe by following the link.

Nashville Deep South USA Etch Roasted Cauliflower recipe
Etch Roasted Cauliflower recipe

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Deep South USA Cocktail Trail Smoked Old Fashioned, Etch Restaurant, Nashville

The Smoked Old Fashioned cocktail is also highly recommended.  It is made with Belle Meade bourbon, smoked simple and bitters and garnished with an orange wedge and a cherry. .  

Tour Nashville with A Musician

On our first full day here, we took a tour with Stephanie Layne – a local singer/songwriter.  Despite the crowds in the city, our driver (grand-daughter of an ex manager of the Grand Ole Opry, interestingly) managed to negotiate the throbbing streets (at least – those that weren’t closed off!) very efficiently.  In a 3 hour tour, we learned so much about the city, its history and the music business as a whole.

Stephanie Layne Nashville Bicentennial Park
The very talented Stephanie, pointing out where she lives in Nashville on the huge map in Bicentennial Park.

National Carillon Bells

The grand finale was staged in the centre of the National Carillon Bells in Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.  If you stand on the spot in the middle, the acoustics work to really amplify your voice, so it was a great place for Stephanie to perform two of her songs for us.  Very special – very memorable – nothing beats the real warmth of a live music performance, especially when it is sung just for you in such an atmospheric location.  We were SO lucky to have it to ourselves that day.

Stephanie Layne Nashville
Tim - Ever the gentleman

The bells chime on the quarter hour, half hour and on the hour – Stephanie had a bit of competition at the end of her performance, which made us all laugh.  The tour was organised through Sweet Magnolia Tours.  It was my best tour of the trip.

The Parthenon

We stopped off at The Parthenon en route – the world’s only full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon.  The ornate structure originated as a plaster pavilion in 1897 for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.  It is a structure which sums up what Nashville is all about for me.  Apart from the music, the “Athens of the South” is home to several prestigious educational institutions, hospitals and healthcare companies – a centre of learning and democracy.  

The Parthenon Nashville

Today it serves as an art gallery and home to a gold-gilded towering statue of Athena, the largest sculpture in the Western World.   Amazing that the statue of Victory she holds in her hand is 4 cubits high – the same as the average human being!

Athena Statue Nashville
You get a sense of scale from this photo - AMAZING!
Athena Statue Nashville
Athena Statue Nashville
Athena Statue Nashville
And the victory statue in her hand is the size of a normal human being!

Country Music Hall of Fame

The afternoon passed quickly away visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Although there are some interesting exhibits here, it isn’t really a very exciting tour in my view.  The audio guide for an extra $5 didn’t really add much.  The museum is confusingly laid out in places and it is hard to pick up all the numbers on the route.  It is worth a trip if you are a real country music fan and want to stand and admire all the the gold records in the Hall of Fame though

Country Music Hall of Fame Nashville
Country Music Hall of Fame Nashville

Dinner - Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse

Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse 300 4th Avenue North.   Very attentive service, smart decor (if a little glitzy), but the food was very expensive for what was really a basic steak and fries.  There are better, more wallet friendly options.  Give it a miss.

Nashville Nash-VULL Deep South USA Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse Nashville
Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse Nashville - a bit glitzy for us

What’s on my Playlist

It has to be Dolly Parton – you just have to love her

Learning the Lingo

Meat and three” – Meat and a choice of three vegetables.  Unbelievably enough, Mac ‘n cheese is counted as a vegetable here?!  The best place to try this is apparently Pucketts – 500 Church Street at the intersection with 5th.

Glad I Packed

Denim jeans.  What else do you wear with a pair of cowgirl boots!

Souvenir I am Glad I Bought

My first pair of cowboy boots – from Broadway,  I never realised that boots could have soles that actually make your feet rock – they really make you want to dance along to the beat!

 

Nashville Souvenir Cowboy Boots