Friday, July 12

vacation recap: Nashville at last!

When I found out that we were going to Tennessee for vacation, I immediately started campaigning for a day trip to Nashville, especially since the city is only about 120 miles from the resort where we were staying.  My sister-in-law, who is a musician and country fan, was easy to convince, and Mr. Q was happy to come along for the ride to a new city.  Not to get all mushy-gushy on you, but I love discovering new places with my husband by my side.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Before our day trip, I downloaded two Nashville visitor's guides.  They were really helpful in figuring out where the attractions we most wanted to visit were located - it would be easy to spend a whole week in Nashville, but we only had a half day!  We decided to zero in on the SoBro (South of Broadway) neighborhood and Lower Broadway, where most of the country music attractions are.  When we arrived in Nashville last Friday morning, we saw a blue sky for the first time in days and made the regrettable decision to leave our raincoats in the car.  Our first stop was the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

The museum's collections include items from classic country songwriters and stars like Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Elvis Presley (gold piano, anyone?)...

And continues through the timeline of country music to today's stars, including Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley, and Keith Urban.

Taylor Swift's glittering guitar and Jenny Packham dress, 
Miranda Lambert's "Fastest Girl in Town" costume and pink guitar

The self-guided tour ends with the building's rotunda, which houses the Hall of Fame members' plaques.  We were glad we got there early because when we left there were long lines to get tickets!  The Hall of Fame had a pretty awesome gift shop including some Hatch Show Print t-shirts and items - I am a design nerd when it comes to Hatch, but they didn't have anything I couldn't live without.

For lunch, we visited the Flying Saucer, which was recommended by our waiter back at the resort.  It's a cool, quirky gastropub with a four-page beer menu.  Mr. Q was in craft brew heaven.

Walk the Line shooting script

After lunch, it had begun to rain, but we started walking south anyway.  By the time we got back to Broadway, it was pouring.  It was still cool to walk by the restaurants and bars, like the famous Tootsie's Orchid Lounge, and hear live music coming through every doorway.  Our destination was the brand-new Johnny Cash Museum.  I could probably write an essay about how much I love Johnny Cash - Johnny and June's story of love, devotion, redemption and grace gets me every time.  The small museum contains interactive exhibits (they used iPads really creatively) and artifacts from Johnny's whole life including handwritten song lyrics, letters, and poems.  I think my favorite item was Johnny's personal copy of the shooting script for Walk the Line (under the working title Cash) because if not for that biopic I might not have gotten into Johnny Cash's music and life story.  I got tears in my eyes several times in the museum, seeing Johnny's personality come through in his journal writing following his stroke, his handwritten poem written after June's funeral, and all of the awards he won for his last hit, "Hurt."

The view from the Ryman Auditorium stage

From the Johnny Cash Museum, it was on to the Ryman Auditorium, which is nicknamed the "mother church of country music."  The building started its life as an actual church, built to amplify a preacher's voice with its perfect acoustics, but found fame as the home of the Grand Ole Opry.  Though the Opry has moved on, the Ryman is where most of the artists associated with classic country music got their start.  Johnny and June met backstage!

An unexpected highlight of our Ryman tour was the gallery of signed Hatch Show Print posters that have advertised shows in recent years.  So many of my favorites!

David Gray's inscription sums up how I feel about my trip to Nashville

We LOVED Nashville and hope to visit again someday - hopefully in better weather!


  1. Nashville is my favorite city in the world!!

    1. I can understand why - there is so much to do!