A Nashville-ish Long Weekend

Old Jul 14th, 2021, 12:09 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,786
Received 26 Likes on 5 Posts
A Nashville-ish Long Weekend

As a chaser to our recent outstanding Kentucky road trip the month prior, and despite my disdain for I-40, a city break in Music City, U.S.A. was penciled in for mid-June. A luxury Airbnb steps from Honky Tonk Row was booked for the full tourist experience. The Thule was loaded and off we set.

Full Confession. We’re not heel-toe, do-si-do, two-stepping Country music fans. Our favorite joke about the genre goes something like, “What do you get when you play a country music song backwards?” The answer? “You get your dog back, your truck back, your girl back…” You get the idea. That written, I’ll listen to Top 40 Country now and again; some of the lyrics and song titles make me laugh. We’ve watched the Ken Burns “Country Music” series and have visited the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, enjoying both. I think we have a decent appreciation for the role country music has played in the American music scene. But not enough appreciation to spend a long weekend running from one Country Music venue to another, so the itinerary was roughed out with that in mind.

Anyway, back to the story. Departing Knoxville in the late morning, our first stop was Lebanon, Tennessee to tour Fiddler’s Grove Historic Village. If you’re not into living museums this would be a pass-right-on-by; we happen to enjoy them for the occasional eccentric history we’ll learn. On this weekend Fiddler’s Grove was also hosting a classic car event; not really our “thing” but it was still fun to be part of the lively atmosphere. For DD there was also the small thrill of eating a Funnel Cake, something she had not done in more than a decade.

Among the eccentricities of Fiddler’s Grove:

The Bay’s Southern Bread Company. Peggy Bay learned to bake Sourdough Bread from her Grandmother, and transformed her baking prowess into a bakery…whose Sourdough is now served at every Cracker Barrel in the United States. The family donated the original structure to the Historic Village in the ‘90s.




Sam Houston first hung his Lawyer shingle out in Lebanon, Tennessee. By the by he became the state’s governor. A few years later he resigned and moved to Texas, where he was also elected governor, making him the only person to serve as governor of two states.




Motoring along, our second stop was the third most visited President’s home in America, Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage. (The first two most visited are Mt. Vernon and Monticello.) If we were of the betting type, our money for the third place ribbon would have gone to either Lincoln, FDR, or maybe even Clinton. Touring these homes is like touring palaces throughout Europe—you pretty much know what to expect, Versailles and The (Other) Hermitage (St. Petersburg) among the standout exceptions, so we took a pass on the house tour and instead enjoyed the closer-in gardens. Lovely, though we all did comment on how Jackson’s memorial looked a wee bit like Jefferson’s in the D.C. Tidal Basin.



Next stop, Nashville. We opened the door to our flat, complete with exposed brick and in full industrial chic style, just as the housekeeper was departing. Perfect timing. DDog settled onto the sofa while the three of us hit Honky Tonk Row to see what all the fuss was about.

Good. Grief. Nashville’s bachelorette party scene has nearly consumed the host organism. Oh so many livers that would be begging for mercy by the weekend’s end.





No worries about overindulging at any of the Lower Broadway lounges for we three, though. My $15 Honky Tonk Mule, or whatever it was named, was $14.98 Ginger Beer and $0.02 Vodka. But no matter. The people-watching from our second floor, open window perch was worth two Mules. And the Fried Pickle Fries? We are serious purveyors of the fried pickle, and Lucky Bastard’s offering may very well be our gold standard.

After a spectacular long afternoon observing the humanity along Broadway, it was time to retreat to the urban loft and indulge in a Hot Chicken High. “The Plan” was to pit Hattie B’s against Prince’s as the bookends to our personal Nashville Hot Chicken War. We placed three orders of Hot! (“Feel the Heat”) Chicken from Hattie B’s to be delivered for dinner.

Well. The Hot Chicken Gods seemed to have conspired against us, or something, and…90 minutes later, a GrubHub driver appeared on the street of our building, her child in the backseat happily munching fried chicken while handing us what turned out to be a large bag of (cold) plain fried chicken. Nary a shaker of spice, or even a salt crystal, seemed to have been added to the fried fowl. Marginally crisp after some time in the oven, but overall a total zero heat disappointment. We have enjoyed far spicier “Knoxville Hot” that would totally have kicked this Faux Hot Chicken butt. A sad ending to an otherwise fab day.
fourfortravel is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2021, 02:02 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 17,406
Received 83 Likes on 5 Posts
Along for the faux hot chicken ride...
Melnq8 is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2021, 03:18 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 5,487
Received 12 Likes on 7 Posts
Many places around us have stopped using grub hub as the orders are always wrong and cold. I think the restaurants got tired of angry customers.
We went to Nashville a couple of years ago to see U2. I will say the drug molly was in use as people were half naked pleasuring themselves on the steps of the grand old opry. I still haven't got that image out of my head. It was hen party central our weekend also. We had the best uber driver, an Afganistan man that was an interpreter for the Army, They sent him and his family to Nashville. He had a master's degree from an American university but no one would hire him. He got a big cash tip from us. Were there still a lot of homeless there?
Macross is offline  
Old Jul 15th, 2021, 06:00 AM
  #4  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,786
Received 26 Likes on 5 Posts
Two of us woke around sunrise (neither of “us” would be the 20-something) and walked DDog around Fort Nashboro, the log-cabin outpost park and foundational site of Nashville that lies along the Cumberland River. A lovely morning walk, though Nashville might want to step up and better manage the many overnight dwellers we encountered. On the way back to the loft, I dropped into an open restaurant to gather breakfast while DH and DDog headed back: three orders of Biscuits and Gravy, of course, from a little place touting both homemade sausage and homemade gravy. Grits, potatoes, and eggs-your-way were the sides; and with the French Press coffee DH had prepped at the flat, we were fueled for the busy day ahead.

Fun Fact: Fort Nashboro was once named French Lick; it was the post at which traders came to sell their buckskins. Each buckskin was worth $1 (in its time); and that is how a "Buck" became equivalent to a dollar!



Before we knew it, time to dash! We had 0900 timed-entry tickets for the Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry and otherwise the Mother Church for country music. An excellent self-guided experience; the short movie that begins the tour a perfect opener, too. Really, one on the “Should Not Miss” when in Nashville.




Walking back to collect the wagon for our next timed-entry outing, a nod to the “Grey-Eyed Man of Destiny.”




To the leafy 'burbs we drove for the LEGO Exhibit at Cheekwood, Nashville’s equivalent, more or less, to DC’s Hillwood. Or, for those not familiar with either, a grand country home for a prominent wealthy family now turned museum. Cheekwood’s gardens and trails are quite spectacular; if I lived in Nashville I would certainly have an annual pass.

The LEGO Exhibit included more than 30 sculptures, composed of 800,000 bricks (!) scattered around the near-in garden spaces. Near each piece was an informational sign listing the number of LEGO pieces used, and the number of hours required to construct each sculpture. What absolute fun to follow the trail and admire both the technique and the creations, all in an equally delightful setting.






In my research for this getaway I discovered that the largest population of Iraqi-Kurds in the U.S. is in Nashville. They immigrated at first during the Iraqi-Kurd wars of the 1970s, with later waves a result of Saddam Hussein’s regime and then the ongoing Syrian war. There is a “Little Kurdistan” in South Nashville, decidedly off the tourist-beaten path (translation: opportunity for excellentfood), so with time before our final timed-entry activity of the day we motored over to collect take-away to enjoy later in the evening.

It being a Sunday afternoon, as well as Father’s Day the restaurant we chose was crowded with family groups and a steady stream of take-away patrons. We had purposely eaten just a light lunch at Cheekwood in anticipation of this glorious feast, and the aromas wafting about were inciting hangries in all of us. (Spoiler: every bite was better than the previous.)

Our dinner safely tucked into the refrigerator back in the loft, it was time for the Frist Museum of Art. Housed in a stunning art deco former post-office (on the NRHP) the museum satisfied my inner Goldilocks. If a museum is too small I tend to feel I’ve “wasted” my time; and if it's too large I simply make them “just right” by only looking at what interests me. The Frist was “just right” all on its own, the building itself a bonus.

The long day was also a scorcher, even for summertime in the South. With our energy waning and thunderstorms approaching we returned to the loft to chill, watching the eternal queue across the street at Legendairy, the famous milkshake bardwindle to nothing with the first downpours. Dinner, as mentioned above, so very much satisfied our tastebuds. Cool and tangy Haydari; Sigar Boregi as light and flaky as I remember from shops in Vienna; and a couple of perfectly-grilled Kebab and Sis dishes. And of course, Paqlava, that I may or may not have sampled a piece of on the return to the loft earlier in the day.

With Mother Nature lullaby-ing us with a summer storm, and the rain streaking the floor-to-ceiling windows in pop-art style, we drifted off to sleep.
fourfortravel is offline  
Old Jul 15th, 2021, 06:23 AM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,786
Received 26 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Macross View Post
Many places around us have stopped using grub hub as the orders are always wrong and cold. I think the restaurants got tired of angry customers.
We went to Nashville a couple of years ago to see U2. I will say the drug molly was in use as people were half naked pleasuring themselves on the steps of the grand old opry. I still haven't got that image out of my head. It was hen party central our weekend also. We had the best uber driver, an Afganistan man that was an interpreter for the Army, They sent him and his family to Nashville. He had a master's degree from an American university but no one would hire him. He got a big cash tip from us. Were there still a lot of homeless there?
Come to think of it, it was GrubHub that delivered our cold and sad Hattie B's.

A handful of guys were sleeping in the fort itself; and a dozen or so other persons had camped overnight in the park. I don't have a basis for comparison.
fourfortravel is offline  
Old Jul 15th, 2021, 06:23 AM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,786
Received 26 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Melnq8 View Post
Along for the faux hot chicken ride...
Thanks. The chicken ride ends on a fiery note.
fourfortravel is offline  
Old Jul 16th, 2021, 07:03 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,786
Received 26 Likes on 5 Posts
On our final day we set out for the surrounds, driving along picturesque country roads, the gorgeous homes we passed likely decoys for the manses of Dolly, Reba, Tay-Tay and others tucked into the trees. Our destination: Franklin, "14 miles and 100 years from Nashville," where DH QC-ed the benches of this National Register of Historic Places extensively restored downtown while DD, DDog and I wandered in and out of the so-dog-friendly shops that were it not for the lilting drawl of Southern-accented English greeting us I could have been convinced we were in Vienna.

From Franklin we aimed for (historic) Leipers Fork for lunch. Alas, my travel planning wires got crossed and the famed establishment, Puckett's, was closed on Mondays. Back to Franklin it was, where we settled on the porch of a modern Southern Taphouse for a lunch of thick-sliced country ham biscuits with fig jam, forcing ourselves to eat light in advance of a most-anticipated dinner...Nashville Hot from the Mother Ship, Prince's.

En route to the loft after lunch we touched on a couple of “postcard” items, like the Parthenon and some murals. One final wander around Broadway, as well, considerably quieter on this weekday evening but still people-watching worthy. We missed a few museums due to timing and timed-entry tickets being sold out; had to drive by a couple of wineries not open on Mondays; and would have liked more time to explore the food scene. But that’s how it goes.

FINALLY it was Hot Chicken Time. Would our holiday in Nashville be bookended by inferior fowl? Prince's is an institution. The story goes that Prince was a womanizer (hard to believe about a man married five times, right?); and as an act of revenge a girlfriend doused the fried chicken she prepared for him with hot sauce. But Prince had the last laugh. He liked the chicken so much that he and his brothers opened their first shack in 1945 near the Ryman Auditorium.


Prince's and its outposts remain managed by now the fourth-generation of the family. And unlike so many iconic eats, they have not let being awarded by the James Beard Foundation and their numerous travel cable-channel shout-outs ruin their success.

We collected three boxes, one each of "Hot" "XHot," and "XXHot" for our farewell-to-Nashville meal. The boxes were not labeled, so we had to rely on the flame level rising from each to rate the heat. Our verdict?You know, it was damned good chicken, the XXHot bringing watery-eyes-of-joy to me and to DD, fiery food fiends that we are.

And that was that. The following morning we reloaded the Thule and pointed the wagon eastward, capping what is likely our final Tennessee road trip in the series. The winds of change had begun to blow for us again…

Thank you for reading.




fourfortravel is offline  
Old Aug 20th, 2021, 10:01 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,919
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the report. It sounds like a fun trip.
For more than 20 years I lived walking distance to Cheekwood. You brought back some nice memories.

The downtown honky-tonk area is purely for tourists. I find the mobile drinking parties sad and obnoxious.
Songdoc is offline  
Old Aug 22nd, 2021, 04:43 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 25,916
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Good one, 44travel! The Frist is Goldilocks indeed.
TDudette is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2021, 05:16 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,786
Received 26 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by Songdoc View Post
The downtown honky-tonk area is purely for tourists. I find the mobile drinking parties sad and obnoxious.
Glad you enjoyed the report. Yes, the honky-tonk was entirely touristy; that was part of the fun!

fourfortravel is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2021, 05:22 AM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,786
Received 26 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by TDudette View Post
Good one, 44travel! The Frist is Goldilocks indeed.
Thank you, TDudette. We are once again living in your general neck-of-the-woods. The powers that be lured DH back , and once we find our bearings (it's been a dramatic month), I will be seeking out the DC versions of Goldilock museums to help me repatriate. Any suggestions? Hillwood, Kreeger and Phillips are on the list, and I'm certain there are more.
fourfortravel is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2021, 08:36 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 25,916
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Phillips and Hillwood are great goldilocks faves. I'm trying to remember our (art group) trip to Kreeger but I never returned so that may say something. I'll sit down and do a list. DH and I honey mooned in DC and with FOTA (group) visited a scad of places.
TDudette is offline  
Old Aug 23rd, 2021, 05:45 PM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 1,010
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
It’s part of the Smithsonian but don’t overlook the Freer. A visit to DC for me isn’t complete without some quiet minutes in the Peacock Room.
k_marie is online now  
Old Aug 24th, 2021, 05:04 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,786
Received 26 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by k_marie View Post
It’s part of the Smithsonian but don’t overlook the Freer. A visit to DC for me isn’t complete without some quiet minutes in the Peacock Room.
A favorite of mine, as well. When we lived overseas and would visit DC on home leave I made a point to view the Peacock Room; and it was my first outing on our return this month, even before we finished unpacking.
fourfortravel is offline  
Old Aug 24th, 2021, 09:13 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 25,916
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
fourfortravel, after I wrote this, I remembered that you said you are returning to the area so these are probably well-known to you. I only listed one Smithsonian but they are all wonder (and big!). Obviously, double-check what's going on these days. If you click on my name, there are a few TRs about DC. I'm sure to think of other DC places.

DC Museums

Smithsonian American Art Museum (I saw a great Norman Rockwell exhibit there).
https://americanart.si.edu/

Building Museum
https://www.nbm.org/

Phillips Collection
https://nmwa.org/

National Portrait Gallery
https://npg.si.edu/

Museum of Women in the Arts
https://nmwa.org/

National Geographic
https://www.nationalgeographic.org/events/visit/

The Mint (DH and I went there on our honeymoon in 1978--I have no idea about it these days but we were fascinated)
https://www.usmint.gov/

Lincoln’s Summer Cottage
https://www.lincolncottage.org/

National Cathedral (Wonderful tour, great Tea)
https://cathedral.org/


Further afield:

Newseum
Grounds for Sculpture
Frederick
Old Town Alexandria
Chestertown
Easton








TDudette is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2021, 05:21 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,786
Received 26 Likes on 5 Posts
TDudette, thank you. Indeed, I am familiar with, and have visited most of the museums listed. One of my repatriation tasks is to assemble various maps and events lists so that I spend as little time as possible in our flat during the week; and with DH, even less on the weekends. It's nice being able to just lock the door and go again.
fourfortravel is offline  
Old Aug 26th, 2021, 04:13 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 25,916
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Know you'll enjoy the DC area again. Good you I'd remember more:

Library of Congress
Eastern Market
And how did I forget something I just heard about and posted:

Planet Word Museum

Also du Pont houses in the Wilmington De area.

Last edited by TDudette; Aug 26th, 2021 at 04:17 AM.
TDudette is offline  
Old Aug 26th, 2021, 07:50 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 25,916
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Sorry about the sentence fragment.
TDudette is offline  
Old Aug 26th, 2021, 01:45 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 2,786
Received 26 Likes on 5 Posts
Originally Posted by TDudette View Post
Know you'll enjoy the DC area again. Good you I'd remember more:

Library of Congress
Eastern Market
And how did I forget something I just heard about and posted:

Planet Word Museum

Also du Pont houses in the Wilmington De area.
Thanks again, TDudette. I also noted the Planet Word Museum and am looking forward to visiting--it looks way fun!
fourfortravel is offline  
Related Topics

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:40 PM.