help with First Time to Tennessee-ROAD TRIP

Old Jan 9th, 2024, 12:13 PM
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help with First Time to Tennessee-ROAD TRIP

Hi everyone! I am about to ask a pretty big question. Myself and 2 girlfriends are driving from Ontario Canada and have 11 days, leaving April 25 and heading back May 5. WIl drive straight through to Nashville. . Not sure where to start but planning on doing Nashville for 2-3 nights the heading to possibly Pigeon Forge or Galtinburg and using this as a launch point for the rest of the trip. Now one girl is thinking Memphis and I think its too much.
Context- we love road trips, history, music and not big drinkers. Wont be going out to bars to drink at night but love good music. I want some amazing BBQ and its my 50th bday.
Some questions
- with limited time in Nashville- what are some must sees and tours?
-should we make the trip to Memphis?
-any must sees in any part i should be aware of?
-any resources/websites i could check out?
If you have made it this far, thanks for taking the time. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

CaperBrat74 is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2024, 09:17 AM
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Memphis is only three hours away from Nashville, so take an excursion to that city. Memphis claims it is the birthplace of the Blues, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Soul. Go to famous Beale Street and ride on the historic trolley and hear the Blues (may not be safe alone at night); visit Shelby Farms, a 4,500-acre park with lakes, gardens, bison herd; stroll through Audubon Park with large botanical garden; check out historic Peabody Hotel which has a resident flock of ducks and is where many famous people stayed including Jimmy Carter, Robert E. Lee, Priscilla Presley, Michael Jordan and Oprah Winfrey. Eat at Vous--Memphis is famous for barbecue; have a drink at the historic Green Beetle tavern where BB King, Hank Williams, Elvis, and Bennie Goodman hung out; Stax Museum of American Soul Music—self-proclaimed birthplace of Soul music and Sun Studios—self-proclaimed birthplace of Rock n’ Roll.
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Old Jan 10th, 2024, 12:01 PM
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Welcome, CaperBrat74. I agree with what Prairie above wrote. Here's my TR for Nashville for ideas:

Chasing Sargent in Nashville

Looking forward to hearing about your trip!

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Old Jan 12th, 2024, 12:15 PM
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I love visiting Memphis, but it depends on what you will take away time from. What do you plan on doing in Pigeon Forge?
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Old Jan 13th, 2024, 01:13 AM
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Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge as jump off for rest of trip? What are the plans for that? These two towns are "jump offs" for the Great Smoky Mountain National Park as well as being the Queens of kitsch in the Smokies. They are HIGHLY commercialized towns with little "soul". Are you going to go into the mountains/park and do trails and hiking or what?
You have a good amount of time--do go to Memphis and Nashville before heading for east Tennessee.
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Old Jan 13th, 2024, 08:31 PM
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Thanks for your input, as I am feeling a bit lost and indecisive. I honestly didn't know where to start. Memphis was originally on my list then I saw some comments about safety and i took it off the list. Graceland has always been somewhere I wanted to visit and my other friend LOVES blues music.
I'm rethinking I would start in Memphis (12.5 hr drive from where I live in Canada) and stay a couple of nights, then to Nashville for 3 nights and finish off in East TN. I am more of a laid back person and want to spend some time in the mountains, waterfalls etc. check out Knoxville and some really great towns..... so ANY advice is greatly appreciated
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Old Jan 14th, 2024, 08:47 PM
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Memphis and Nashville are two very different cities. There was a Yellow Fever epidemic in Memphis following the Civil War that killed 25% of the population - and it killed only white people. Black people were immune. This changed the history of Memphis and why it became the home of soul, blues and it's progeny, rock n roll. Nashville which remained white became the home of country music.

I think it's important to visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, and you can also visit Slavehaven, a stop on the Underground Railroad. Though it's a place that you'd have to find out about how to visit as it's not always open. It's worth investigating. We got a very personal tour at a tiem when it was not normally open.

I suppose you already know that Elvis only won Grammy Awards for his Gospel music, not for rock n roll. What makes Gracelend unique among America's famous home is that Elvis do not have it built for him. It was simply a doctor's house. He saw it and bought it. That was Elvis. He went shopping in Memphis, and folks would see him riding around town on his bike. Everything he did, he did it with Memphis taste. He was a home grown original.

On your way down to Memphis I recommend stopping to see Shakertown, KY a preserved Shaker village, as well as Mammoth Cave National Park. Both awesome, and there is some fine above-ground hiking at Mammoth Cave as well. On your way back from Memphis, certainly visit Nashville and you can also spend time at the Big South Fork National Recreation Area. There is a ladder trail there which is world-class. You can stay at the Charit Creek Lodge within the park, but I think it is hike-in only. The historic village of Rugby is nearby:

https://historicrugby.org/

Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg are only ok to visit Dollywood, a wonderful theme park, but it sounds to me like that's not your thing. Otherwise, they are a bit repulsive.
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Old Jan 15th, 2024, 10:32 AM
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I second the recommendation to visit the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. It is at the site of the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was killed
https://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/
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