Well since my last post was in Tennessee I figured I would stay in state for my next one:
Country Music’s Capital
No, it may not be quite as cheap as Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg, but it is definitely one of the more amazing cities I have been to in my life. I lived there for a summer and enjoyed every minute!
It really depends on your price range here. There are a variety of hotels to choose from in the area. Since I lived there I stayed in an apartment but was actually in Nashville’s neighbor city of Brentwood, which is also beautiful, by the way. If you have a lot of money… and I mean a LOT to spend on your hotel check out Gaylord Opryland hotel. The place is basically a little indoor village. The rooms have balconies that overlook the indoor gardens that include a river with a boat tour. There are all sorts of shows, restaurants, and stores, right inside your hotel. It’s kind of like the epcot of Nashville. The catch is that it is $25 a day to park. I just went to visit a friend staying there for a day but it is a gorgeous place.. but WAY outside my price range.
Where to start? Head downtown to Broadway and walk the strip. See the Ryman Auditorium, formerly the Opry House. Visit the various country music themed stores including Earnest Tubb’s Record Shop, The Opry Store, and many, many more. Broadway is going to be your main point of interest in this city.
You really need to be 21 to get the full experience of Nashville. There are very few places who will allow underage kids in after about 9 at night. There are a lot of bars with live music in every one of them. Some are nice resturant-bar styles, and some are your typical hole in the wall bar. None of the ones on the main strip are “trashy” though.
But they can be a LOT of fun. Go see them all, listen to the music and enjoy the essence of Nashville! Just be careful, take a trolley to avoid drinking and driving! And tip the musicians! They work hard!
In June you can attend the CMAFest on broadway as well. It’s really a blast. I went and simply paid for parking and saw about 4 concerts (Kip Moore, Lonestar, The Farm, Casey James, etc.) on the riverfront, played lots of games, won some free memorabilia, and altogether had a fantastic time.
Also in “Opryland” you can enjoy the Opryland Mills mall or catch a show at the Opry. Every now and then the Opry returns for to the Ryman too!
Away from the downtown area you can go to a Different Earnest Tubb record shop, attend the midnight Jamboree there (A Live radio show) and visit in the old fashioned record store.
Just outside of Nashville, right by the Loveless Cafe’ is the Country Musc Roots building. There is always live roots music there.. kind of like the opry but for some good ol’ appalachian roots music.
Yes, there are typical restuarants like margaritaville, applebees, Fridays, etc. My suggestion? Go LOCAL! On Fanklin ave between Nashville and Brentwood are two FANTASTIC little restaurants.
FIRST: Arnold’s. Yes it looks like a little hole in the wall and it is only open for lunch I believe. This is not a place to go if you want a fancy pants restaurant, but these people cook some of the best southern style meals every. And it’s not all too expensive.
A Fantastic little Greek restaurant almost directly across from Arnold’s! Inexpensive and their baklava is fantastic!
The Loveless Cafe
This one sits outside of Nashville. Down home style cooking (Better than any cracker barrel). Everything is home made right down to their Jellies and Jams. Its moderately priced, but for the insane amount of food you will get it is well worth it! Not to mention thousands of famous people, country singers and more, have dined here. There are also little mom and pop shops all around it.
Whether its Judge Beans in Brentwood, or Jack’s on Broadwa, all of the local barbeque is amazing. I prefer judge beans. ; )
Nashville is really a place you have to adventure for yourself. Its such a great combination of country and big city living. There country music (EVERYWHERE) and bright lights and night life. Go visit and enjoy!
Every Summer my family takes a wonderful week long trip out to Pigeon Forge, Tennesse. I’m starting here because this is probably my favorite adventure of all time. We have been going for 7 years now and it never fails to be the BEST week of the year. BUT it gets better. Its not expensive at all in comparison to going to some kind of resort style vacation. Here is what we do:
Well first, We rent a cabin. it sounds expensive, but its not. We usually rent a two bedroom with a loft and they generally sleep 8+ people with sofa beds and futons and what not. not to mention THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL. They can range anywhere really from 100 to maybe 500 a night depending on what you want. I am estimating about 500 but we have never spent that much. Ours is around 280 per night and we stay the week.
What else is there to do?
Where do I start? The views are absolutely beautiful so personally, I could sit on the porch with a glass of tea and stare at the mountains all day. haha. But for those of you with different tastes? Well there’s soo much to do honestly.
I will start with the Smokey Mountain State Park.
Here there are so many gorgeous hiking trails, horse riding trails, and views that could blow your mind. We have hiked Cling Man’s dome several times as well as Chimney Tops, Laurel falls, and Grotto Falls. There are many trails and they range from easy and paved to unpaved and difficult. Laurel falls is pretty easy, Grotto is about intermediate, Chimneys is pretty hard involving some rock climbing at the top. Each has a beautiful destination, usually including waterfalls and mountain views. If you’re lucky, you might see some alpacas on your way! If you aren’t interested in hiking, you can drive the the base of Chimney tops and swim in natural pools and falls on a warm day.
Well, there’s a lot of those. But we generally go to Douglas Lake, where for a small fee (about $70-$100 most places) you can rent a pontoon boat from anywhere from 2-8 hours! We get them for about 6 hours, pack a lunch and some beverages and spend the day boating, fishing, and swimming.
When it comes time to eat on vacation, I like to try the local places. Yes they do have some chain restaurants as all places do but the local hole-in-the-wall places are always the best! Our favorite? Bennett’s Barbeque in downtown Pigeon Forge. There’s always the thousands of dinner theaters there as well (Dixie Stampede, for example).
Amazing. Downtown Pigeon forge has several authentic western stores, gift shops, and more. There are also a few different outlet malls there. But for a wonderfully Tacky shopping adventure go to downtown Gatlinburg. Now I only say tacky because of the ridiculous amounts of novelty shops and Ripley’s attractions. But there are some nice stores there. For some “of Age” fun we prefer the Ole Smokey Moonshine Distillery in Gatlinburg. They’ve got gifts, salsas, dips, snacks, and of course! several types of (legal) moonshine! They will even let you try it there before you buy it! They also have a Wine shop a few stores down.
Endless. From hokey western shows, to history lessons, thrill rides, Dinner Theaters, Comedy, Music, and Elvis Impersonators, trust me its there just drive down the main strip.
Rides, Great food, adorable shops, Museums, a vintage section, and you get to tour Dolly’s tour bus.. Something for everyone so no its not just for kids, but it is great for them. My first time there I was 16 with no younger siblings and I loved it.
So as you can see, this is definitely a worth while trip to take. There’s a lot to do and see here and its probably one of the most relaxing vacations ever if you make it such! Check back soon for some pictures and an overview of my adventures in Nashville, TN!
Hey guys check out my Cafepress storefront to Get apparel and gifts custom made for Country Folks!
Learn to take criticism. Not everyone is going to like you or what you do. So don’t take it personally. Don’t quit because one person says they don’t like it. Keep on truckin.