Best Vacation Spots in the USA: Nashville, TN
Looking for a weekend getaway? Music City might just be the perfect getaway.
The Long Version
Earlier this pring while visiting my mom, I was having dinner with my oldest girlfriend when she casually mentioned she was going to be planning a girls weekend to Nashville and wanted to know if I wanted to come (“Oldest” as in we go back the longest, not “oldest” as in her age. I had to clarify or she would disown me.). I don’t think she expected the quickness and certainty with which my answer came. I’ve been spending way too much time at my desk and needed to unplug for a weekend with the girls. So #NashBash was born.
TOP 12 THINGS TO DO IN NASHVILLE, TN
Now, everyone knows that Nashville has a million things to do. The list of top twelve things to do in Nashville, according to reviews on Trip Advisor :
Grand Ole Opry : For those who have been living under a rock and DON'T know what the Grand Ole Opry is, The Grand Ole Opry is a "weekly American country music stage concert in Nashville, Tennessee, founded on November 28, 1925, by George D. Hay as a one-hour radio "barn dance" on WSM. Currently owned and operated by Opry Entertainment, it is the longest-running radio broadcast in US history." (Thanks for the definition Wikipedia- )
Ryman Auditorium: According to its website, the Ryman is “hallowed ground. This is the exact spot where bluegrass was born—where Johnny Cash met June Carter, where souls were saved and a slice of history was nearly lost. It was right here that country music found an audience beyond its own back porch, and countless careers took off as deals were signed on napkins and paper scraps backstage. This is a building where anything is possible: a soul can find redemption, a crumbling building can find salvation, and an unknown kid with a guitar can find his or her name in lights.”
Country Music Hall of Fame : Dubbed The Custodians of Country Music, this houses many exhibits and artifacts for the diverse audiences of country music fans.
Belle Meade: According to their website, Belle Meade “began in 1807 with a log cabin and 250 acres. Over time, with the dedication of the Harding and Jackson families and the hard-working laborers who lived here before and after emancipation, this site became one of the largest thoroughbred horse farms in the South. We are committed to tell the story. The full story."
Hermitage: This popular attraction was Home of President Andrew Jackson- The People’s President. The mansion and grounds at the Hermitage offer plenty to do including over 1000 acres of beautiful scenery and Jackson's tomb.
Downtown Nashville : Wish we’d found this website BEFORE we went LOL
Johnny Cash Museum: This was number 9 on the Trip Advisor Reviews. I think this one Is self explanatory :-)
RCA studio B: Rounding out the top ten reviewed places in Nashville is RCA Studio B: "Built in 1957, RCA Studio B became known as the birthplace for the “Nashville Sound,” a style characterized by background vocals and strings that helped establish Nashville as an international recording center."
Opryland Gardens :We stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Resort which houses many things to do in and of itself such as the Gardens. Here’s a few things you can ONLY do at the Gaylord Opryland Resort…
Musician Hall of Fame and Museum: Here you get to " Discover the Stories Behind Session Musicians, Engineers and Producers"
Green Brier Distillery : You can find the story of Tennessee Whiskey here and our favorite part of most any website, is the recipe section.
Parthenon : “What’s this,” you might be thinking. I thought you might ask, so I came prepared.
“The Parthenon in Nashville is the world’s only exact-size and detail replica of the original temple in Athens, Greece. When Tennessee celebrated its hundredth year of statehood with the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, Nashville took advantage of its nickname “Athens of the South” and built the art building as a copy of Athens’ most famous building and the epitome of Greek classical architecture.”
Gotta admit guys, I didn’t even know there was a such a thing in the States. Not my proudest moment but there it is. And its one of the top rated things to do in Nashville at that, not exactly a big secret. I just totally missed this.
WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO?
With this impressive list of “things to do” you’d think we
A- couldn’t decide what to do and what to leave out since we were only there for a weekend then….
B- when we finally hammered out a plan, had a jam packed weekend where we bounced from one fabulous site to the next that led to…
C- constructing a plan that was executed with a strategic precision that would’ve made Napoleon jealous
We did none of those things. Not one of them.
We slept late, shopped, ate and took in a little bit of the nightlife. The end. So I digress, we did do one of the things on the list, Downtown Nashville. But I will get to that.
We all arrived on Thursday and while we are scheduled to all arrive at approximately the same time, Mother Nature interjected and left me sitting on a tarmac for an hour and a half so I was a little behind the others. After a disruptive entrance (pretty sure everyone was close to sleep before I came crashing in) and some room service dinner, we finally called it a night so we could hit the first place on our list, Five Daughters Bakery in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t in a hurry to get there but when we got there we also weren’t in a hurry to leave. This staff was amazing. Just super nice and helpful. This bakery is known for their layered doughnuts. Translation= croissants meet doughnuts. Another star player on their menu is Kouign Amaan. Literally means “cake butter.” I don’t have any words. Which is good because I couldn’t pronounce that anyway. But being gluten free, it’s a moot point for me. But I can attest to the deliciousness of their gluten free doughnut. Seriously. Good stuff guys.
Five Daughters Bakery=Five stars.
We then went over to Green Hills Mall where we shopped and had lunch and then popped over to Hill Center Green Hills. This was an outdoor shopping plaza and more like a shopping district rather than a shopping plaza. I managed to wait too late to get my coffee and had a caffeine withdrawal migraine. I’m not proud of that fact that I am one of those people who, when they don’t have their coffee, get a crushing headache. So I had to fight through that but managed to find some Goody’s powder AND ibuprofen to tackle the headache which put me back in the game.
Friday night we hit Broadway, specifically Kid Rock’s place. With five levels, it was like 4 places in one (the first two levels were open to the main stage ). It was like Spring Break both inside and outside , actually, it was like Spring Break all over Nashville and it was glorious.So nice to know that too much hasn’t changed in the world. That one sleazy guy who hits on every group of girls that come up to the bar? He’s still out there. The bachelorette parties that are tearin’ up the town with their veils and matching outfits? Yep, they made it through 2020 alright too. You can’t keep Americans down for long. And if you try, we will be back and ready to party more than ever as the streets of Nashville can attest.
(I am the one on the far left... :-). )
After hours of dodging “Norm” at the bar, shuffling between the different levels and bands at Kid Rock’s, it was time to go home and we get confirmation on what we all already know…. Uber and Lyft drivers are muuuucchhh more hospitable than cab drivers. We decided to grab a cab because there was one sitting right out front and did I mention that the crowds were insane and we didn’t feel like waiting forever on a Lyft to navigate the non-stop traffic to get to us? I won’t go in to the details here but suffice it to say we had a disagreement with the driver over the charge. This is where the Opryland staff really came through. One of the night managers saw us talking with the cab driver and came immediately to our aid. I can’t say enough nice things about the staff there. I made sure to let the management team on duty know what a rock star that guy was. Truly. Nothing worse than someone trying to take advantage of a group of tourists assuming they don’t know any better. The staff member let the driver know very quickly the charge he was trying to impose wasn’t printed on the side of the van and therefore, we weren’t required to pay it. I don’t know how that ultimately ended but I do know that the staff member told me “You are no longer needed, I will take care of this.” And as I walked away I saw security vehicle pulling up behind this cab. So what did we learn? It’s worth the wait for an Uber or Lyft (usually) and If you do have to take a cab, be sure to read the side of the vehicle to know what the charges are and if its not there, they can’t charge you. At least according to night management at Opyrland Hotel…who are ROCK STARS.
After sleeping in and getting some much needed shut eye, we went back down to Broadway on Saturday morning to walk the area and see what it was like in the day time. We imagined that it was a quite a different crowd than the after-dark crowd. We were right. Much more subdued but still a few bachelorette parties out. Even in the day time. Or maybe they were left over from the night before, who knows? We also popped into Miss Tootsie”s Orchid Lounge on Saturday afternoon as well. We promptly popped back out. It was gross. I get it, its a landmark. And on previous trips I have been in and stayed. But in the broad daylight, you get to see exactly how old, dirty and crowded it is and its just not for me. By walking in and going two steps to the right, I was practically on stage. Also a hard pass. Not a groupie.
Saturday night and back down to Broadway. We grabbed dinner at Blanco, which was delish. We did have to wait over an hour but it was worth it. We did pop over to the Wildhorse Saloon on Saturday but weren’t feeling the line dancing. So back to Kid Rock’s we went. And it didn’t disappoint. Still very much a Spring Break atmosphere both inside and out. I did leave the group as I had an early flight and still had to pack. After I left, my girls got to see Kid Rock’s son in a surprise performance on the main stage (who even knew Kid Rock had a kid?? Not me).
Even though we went for a girl’s weekend, there is truly something for everyone in Nashville and believe me, I think everyone WAS in Nashville that weekend. :-)
The Short Version: