If you follow my blog then you know that I was recently in Memphis and Nashville over the holidays and I blogged about my first part of my trip HERE.
Now onto part 2….Nashville!
I have been itching to go to Nashville for so many years I think I have lost count. I LOVE Country music, love love love it and have been listening to it all my life and so to finally to walk in the foot steps of so many musical greats, was such a fantastic thrill for me.
Up first we headed to the famous “Loveless Cafe” where we attempted to get in to eat but was greeted by a 2 hour wait. So instead we wandered around the grounds (which used to be a motel, turned into a cafe and shopping area) for a few moments and then headed onto our next destination.
Next Stop..Grand Ole Opry!!!! Yooza I was like freaking out when I stood on the grounds of the Opry. My husband was laughing so much on how I was ohhh”ing” and awwww “ing” and there really was nothing to see! hahaha I’m such a nerd.
After we wandered around the Opry for a bit we then headed over to the super hotel “Gaylord Opryland“.
Hotel is not really a word I would use for this mega complex of hotel rooms, shopping, eating and playing for kids and adults of all ages. It was a pretty spectacular place with palm trees, giant ponds, bridges etc. all over the complex. It was also very easy to get lost and pretty soon everything started to look the same and we found ourselves stuck a few times in corners..dark corners hahaha. Anyways it was fun to see and maybe one day I will get a chance to stay there.
Note: My iPhone took terrible pictures of the inside of this hotel, so I’m showing you others photos so you have a better idea of what it actually looked like.
The holiday lights were still up when we were there, but since we were there in the day I never got to see how spectacular they looked at night. Now I can (this is just one small area of many areas that had lights, fyi).
After Opryland we were starving so we went and ate at the insanely yummy and totally vintage looking restaurant “Merchants” right on music row (established in 1892). Man for a place in tourist central I have to say they had some of the best food I have EVER eaten. I would go back in a second.
After dinner it was wander around and look for music time and in Nashville you are never hurting for music options. However after hearing Bryan Adams “Summer of 69” being played at 4 or 5 bars we walked by I was beginning to wonder if Nashville had sent the country somewhere else. Finally we found a bar by the suggestion of a Toronto friend called “Layla’s” and settled in for some good honky-tonk country music. The band was great, and played all my favorites but then they were soon done and we found ourselves in the middle of a Rockabilly night. Yay me! Country and Rockabilly on the same night..win! The band was “Hillbilly Casino” and they were absolutely fantastic, one of the most energetic bands I had ever seen. I recommend checking them out if you get a chance.
Day 2 in Nashville, had me nursing a headache so we took the am slow and headed back to Music Row to check out the Johnny Cash Museum, The Ryman (the Original Grand Ole Opry site) and to at least go IN the Country Music Hall of Fame (we had no time to actually do the tour, next trip for sure). All which were really great and I will get back to these items in a minute but I wanted to talk about the fun things we saw on our walk that were NOT planned.
Like this amazing building that housed “The Barbershop Harmony Society“. Yes Nashville has a society for Barber Shop Quartet Singing , you heard me right and I have the proof right here.
The other find on our walk to Music Row was the Gem of the whole entire day, at least for me because I’m a huge fan of vintage history. We happen to come upon this unassuming building, pictured below.
Yes it’s is pretty but nothing that you have not seen before in many different cities. It was called “Union Station” and we figured that it was an old train station laying unused, UNTIL we hit the front of the building and we were very wrong. It is actually a in-use hotel-“Union Station Hotel” that ended up being really nice from the front, so we thought “let’s go inside I’m sure it must be interesting inside”.
I’m not sure if the word “Interesting Inside” can really sum up what we walked in on when we opened those doors. We walked into one of the most stunning buildings I have EVER seen in my travels in North America. This is what we saw……
My jaw was on the floor! Nobody could say anything because we did not expect that.
Turns out that the hotel was a former railroad terminal Opening on Oct. 9, 1900, to great fanfare, the building’s imposing Gothic design – featuring lofty turrets and towers – was a testament to U.S. ingenuity and energy and was meant to serve the passenger operations of the eight railroads then providing passenger service to Nashville,
During railroading’s glory years, the station saw characters such as movie starlet Mae West and Mafia kingpin Al Capone – who was escorted through here on his way to Georgia penitentiary. Other fascinating facts surrounding our historic Nashville hotel include:
** Construction began on Aug. 1, 1898
** Station officially opened on Oct. 9, 1900
** The track level once held two alligator ponds
** The Train Shed was the largest unsupported span in America, housing up to 10 full trains at once
** Officially opened as a hotel in December 1986
** Re-dedicated on October 9, 2007 after an $11 million dollar renovation (source).
Here are some more pictures….
The Front Desk-LOVE THIS! Where do you want to go?
And even one of the banquet rooms looked like a castle from top to bottom.
After we picked our jaws off the floor and vowed to return one day to actually stay in a room we headed to our planned events for the day.
1. The Johnny Cash Museum. Which was really well done, very interesting and totally worth every penny.
2. Visiting the Ryman (at least the outside), as mentioned above it was the original home of the Grand Ole Opry. And In an effort to maintain continuity with the Opry’s storied past, a large circle was cut from the floor of the Ryman stage and inlaid into the center of the new Opry stage (source).
3. And finally the Country Music Hall of Fame. I really love how it looks like piano from the outside.
And that was Nashville friends, at least for this trip. There was so much more to see and next time I will see it all..I hope!
Have you ever been to Nashville? What were your favorite places?