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Amy Jun 16th, 2019 05:49 PM

One Day in Nashville (a {brief} trip report)
Why only one day? Well, one day was all that I had, and I had a flight voucher due to expire. It was enough for me to fly to Nashville, so lo, I did. (I flew in Thursday night and out Saturday morning.)

The flight was late so I just missed the last 18 bus from the airport into the downtown area. I saw it pulling away, which is a sad way to begin a trip, but Lyft was quick and the driver was great. I had chosen to stay at the Nashville Riverfront Lofts the location seemed ideal for getting the most out of a brief time. The unit was modern and comfortable, and really quiet for being right on the honky-tonk of 2nd street near Broadway. Access was by key pad and I didn't actually encounter anyone from the agency during my brief time there. You do pay extra for cleaning, and I have to say that it was quite clean. In general, downtown hotels and rentals are pretty pricey and this wasn't cheap (for me) but all in all definitely served my purpose just fine.

I started my day at the nearby Sun Diner, sitting at one of the wooden counters that undulate through the first level. The pork belly hash browns with sunny side up eggs were good and fulfilled that traditional Southern breakfast idea, so that I didn't need to order a burger served on some of the Krispy Kremes that arrived in multiple boxes while I was there. It is perhaps a mite touristy, but then, so is most of the area, and I was a tourist, after all. (But not one of the multiple tourists tooling around in pretty much whatever could be put on wheels and have people drinking, gotta say, or on the ubiquitous scooters that are causing a bit of a rumpus.)

My first stop was the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. I got there before the opening at nine, so had some time to check out the building itself with its piano architecture and the guitar-like convention center next door. I had to take the museum ticket in order to go on the Studio B tour, so I did some walking around and was actually a little touched seeing some of the artifacts on the third floor, like Ira's mandolin and Charlie's guitar (the Louvin brothers) and Mother Maybelle's autoharp. There are some interactive displays and videos, but in general it gets a bit repetitive with its displays of costumes and instruments, although there is certainly a treasure-trove of country music memorabilia. There's a large round area with the "hall of fame" plaques--interestingly caricatured relief sculptures on most of them--and it was there that I was fully struck with the realization that this was some mayonnaise wearing Dockers listening to TSwift and eating strawberry jello pretzel salad level of stuff.

Amy Jun 16th, 2019 06:08 PM

The Studio B Tour, though, was pretty awesome. It was short (about an hour including the bus ride there and back) but then, there's not a lot there, but there really was something pretty evocative and magical about being in the place where so much great music was recorded. A lot of the tour consisted of hearing some of that music, which was fitting and proper. The guide was good although of course with the number of tours done per day he sounded a bit rehearsed, but with enthusiasm and good patter. There were a lot of Elvis vibes there, which makes me happy.

From there I walked to the Hermitage Hotel, going a bit beyond it to see the classical Greek facade of the Capitol building. I went to the (quite gorgeous) Hermitage Hotel lobby to meet up with my food tour for the afternoon, Walk Eat Nashville. The guide, a travel writer who had lived all over the world, was informative and funny and the tour features the chefs/managers/etc. at the various stops giving information about the food, which is a nice touch on the food tours. We started in the Hermitage itself, with some fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, and a deviled egg. The stops differ day to day on the tour, but we had an interesting assortment of food including a charcuterie tray with a bleu cheese that I'm still dreaming about. (Other things included such tasty items as a pickle-brined chicken sandwich and a beef taco.) Our final stop was the Goo Goo shop; Goo Goo's were the first composite candy bar, and I have to say that a fresh Goo Goo is pretty dang heavenly. (I had previously only had the pre-packaged variety, which do not do them justice.) A lovely young man there explained all about the history and variety of the candies, and there we ended our tour, which had taken about three hours. It was beautiful day to walk around Nashville, with a high of 80 degrees, low humidity, and a nice breeze, but we didn't really do excessive amounts of walking, as this was the "SoBro" tour and downtown Nashville is pretty compact.

Amy Jun 17th, 2019 01:55 AM

Time for a photo link to my day!

emalloy Jun 17th, 2019 03:23 AM

Sounds like a great one day trip, thanks for the TR.

Amy Jun 17th, 2019 12:33 PM

It really was a fun day!

Right across from the Goo Goo Store is the Johnny Cash Museum, which is open until 7PM. (Its upper floor is Patsy Cline, mad respect, but a different company thus separate ticket so I didn't go there.) The Johnny Cash Museum is a varied collection of memorabilia and artifacts, interspersed with videos (Johnny was on the Simpsons!) and album covers and the like. It's not very large, and it is pretty crowded, but it was a must for me. Seeing the music video of "Hurt" with the chair and other items from it right there was powerful; that song as done by Mr. Cash is an amazing closing act. Legend. Ary.

The pedestrian bridge is close by, and it was nice to stroll across and see the views of the Nashville skyline (and the non-pedestrian bridge) from the other side. I really like the cut-out pictures in the...has to be a name for them, guard walls?...along the sides of the bridge. You can also see the old buildings, many of them repurposed into multi-level entertainment extravaganzas: there's a lot of live music going on in Nashville.

My late dinner was at an historic site: Woolworth on 5th, the site of the first Civil Rights movement lunch counter sit-in. (And also the place where John Lewis was arrested for the first of fifty times.) I love that they rehabbed the building, but to me it needs a somewhat stronger identity, more than what is provided by a blurb on the back of the menu, a video screen, and the lunch counter being a glittering bar. It's been gentrified in not a great way, with gloppy cream sauce on potato gnocchi with chicken and naff little votive candles everywhere. Perhaps the lunch menu is better, but it's not a place I'd need to eat dinner again, which is kind of a pity as it's a great space.

Since my flight out was 6:15AM, I scheduled a Lyft for early Saturday morning. This worked well, but I didn't actually know anything until literally one minute before the driver was there, so that was a little nerve-wracking. It was 20ish dollars at that time of day on that day, but the bus doesn't start running again until 6:30 or so. I had breakfast in the airport at O'Charley's, which was okay until a palmetto bug landed on my arm. (RIP, bug. I'm sorry, but it was you or me, and I'm bigger.)

Great time altogether!

aussiedreamer Jul 6th, 2019 05:20 PM

Thoroughly enjoyed reading this and your photos are awesome, thanks .

stokebailey Aug 22nd, 2019 06:38 AM

Great TR, Amy. You packed in quality time.

I'm in the throes of deciding whether to visit in early October with my daughter, who'll be in the US after some years living overseas. Easy drive from St. Louis. Her idea. She wants somewhere very American, the bill of which Nashville very much fits.

Your report makes it more attractive. I no longer listen to county music, since my husband hates it, but I love the old stuff and bluegrass. And she likes to get out and have fun day and night.

I spent a big chunk of yesterday looking at airbnb's, since we require two sleeping areas for snoring reasons, and came away discouraged. For one thing, every apartment seems corporate and to have words on the wall, big ones, like HOWDY YALL or MUSIC CITY, or of course NASHVILLE. For another, prices skyrocket on weekends.

You have inspired me to keep trying.

fourfortravel Aug 22nd, 2019 07:47 AM

A timely report. We are moving to Knoxville next month and I am busy poring over trip reports and other items of interest to compile the lists of day trip/overnight/long weekend ideas. Thank you!

Macross Aug 22nd, 2019 10:17 AM

Great pictures and review. I wish I had gone into the goo goo candy place now.

emalloy Aug 22nd, 2019 10:36 AM

Sounds like a fun, full one day trip. Thanks for the report.

Amy Aug 23rd, 2019 04:45 PM

Stokebailey, it really is a certain type of Americana! If you're driving, maybe extending your area a bit to some of the neighboring communities would work? Lodging is really, really expensive in the city. But I do think it's a great visit, and Studio B is definitely a must if you like the old classics.

Thanks for reading, everyone! I still can't quite believe that I managed to fit this into this summer, but it was a really fun time.

stokebailey Aug 24th, 2019 07:48 AM

Thank you, Amy! After reading your TR, I went back the next day and found a place in East Nashville, non-corporate, still walkable to downtown, and importantly for me, tastefully decorated. Still has words on the wall, but framed and nonintrusive. BIG wall words are a funny local phenomenon, as seen on AirBnb or VRBO. Do the locals do that, too, I wonder?

We will make Studio B a must. Now I'm looking forward to it.

Amy Aug 24th, 2019 03:22 PM

I'm so glad you found a place! I agree with you that decor is important if you're staying for a bit; I was in and out so fast that the fairly utilitarian look of the Riverfront Loft units was just fine. Just a note that Studio B has to be done in conjunction with the Country Music Hall of Fame--there's no way of doing separate tickets. But I guess really if you're gonna be in Nashville a peek into the Hall is pretty much mandatory...

stokebailey Aug 25th, 2019 06:49 AM

Oh, yes, we can't miss Hall of Fame. Thank you! Also the walking tour.

I like to have arbitrary dealbreaker rules for vacation rentals, like Eiffel Tower images when in France, big photos of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly anywhere, and now, wall words in Nashville.

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