Published: September 2nd 2010November 12th 2009
This place is amazing!
What's not to love about this city?
I firmly believe that real
female bonding is a necessary component to the survival or at least sanity in a woman's life. Now let me define real female bonding
: "The close friendship that develops between two or more women, often as a result of intense experiences, as those shared in long drunken weekends with minimal exposure to testosterone that could interrupt this celebration of companionship." Now that's my definition, but I truly feel there are needs that woman have that can only be understood and met by other women. Don't get me wrong...I love men...straight men, gay men, transgendered men. It doesn't matter. Yet the bond between close girlfriends is a sisterhood that seriously should not be f#!@ed with! A group of women on a mission is a force stronger than anything in the universe and I know very few intelligent men (I could just stop there but that wouldn't be nice) that would disagree with this. In fact, a smart man knows that it is to his benefit to let his significant other partake in "real female bonding," otherwise the wrath lays solely upon his shoulders (or some other part of his
anatomy). No man wants that so it's only logical to make sure that we ladies get our GIRLS TRIPS to guarantee our hapiness and the security of their testicles!
Nashville is the perfect city for a long ladies weekend! I wrote this entry before the floods of 2010 which nearly decimated some of the most amazing landmarks of this city. I realized this was even more reason to promote a trip to the country music capital of the world. The best way to support a community that has been through something so terrible is to go spend your money there. We went one month after the tragedy and everything you would want to see was up and running!
There is a group of my aunts, cousins, and girlfriends that have gotten together a few years in a row for some serious bonding during Fan Fair (now called the CMA Music Festival) in Nashville, Tennessee. It's usually the first full week in June and typically the weather is amazing that time of year. Being from Northern Illinois we are still trying to break into the 70's in early June but Nashville is full-throttle summer by then and that's
the best part of the trip for me!
Nashville is an extremely dynamic metropolis and most know it as the place were country music stars are made. I was astounded by it's big city charisma in conjunction with it's welcoming down-home charm. There is so much to see and do there if you love country music, but I'm definitely not the biggest fan and still always have a blast! In fact, I couldn't name more than five country music stars that became famous after the Oak Ridge Boys and Dolly Parton but Nashville is a riot anyhow.
Many times we have stayed out by the airport. It's nice getting to your destination quickly and definitely way less expensive than staying downtown, but what you pay in cab fare getting to and from the Riverwalk (Where most of the CMA stuff is) would probably pay the difference of a hotel closer to where you are headed most of the time. Before you book your hotel find out if they have a shuttle. I suppose it depends though, because the attractions are really spread out so even if you stayed in the heart of the city you would still have
to cab it to see everything.
You absolutely can not miss the Grand Old Opry. If you are old enough to remember Hee Haw and Minnie Pearl you will love it. Because I do not consider myself a contemporary country music fan, I have to admit that I am always surprised to be reminded how much of our culture has been influenced by the genre. I kept hearing songs that I knew, names that were familiar, and was always engrossed by the impact the city has on so many people. I just kept thinking how surreal it would have been to see Elvis Presley or Johnny Cash on that stage. The Gaylord Opryland hotel next to the venue is unbelievable. It is one of the most beautiful resorts I have ever seen and definitely not to be missed even if you don't stay there (it's quite pricey but fun to have a drink at). There's a mall right next to it if you want to do some shopping and grab a last minute outfit.
Our group usually will hang out (take over) the pool at our hotel during the day. It's a good way to burn the alcohol
out of your system from the night before. We went to a local Wal-mart and bought groceries for breakfast and lunch to save on time and money. That's when much of the "real bonding" takes place. Relaxing by a pool, reminiscing about the night before, and getting excited about the upcoming evening! The best part about nightlife in Nashville is that you can be as glitzy and glamorous as you want or wear jeans and a t-shirt. Either way you will never feel out of place. It's so much fun to sparkle with your sisters and get dressed up like a Hollywood entourage! We we're all calling it Nash-Vegas and we definitely dressed the part!
Last year we stayed in the Vanderbilt University area a couple of miles away from the Riverwalk (downtown). Being that it's a college area it has an animated nightlife all its own. A friend of mine was in a restaurant in that area and he said that Kenney Chesney sat down at a piano and gave an impromptu performance for like a dozen people. How amazing would that be? That's the kind of mentality you see all the time in Nashville. Southern hospitality prevails
and the stars feel comfortable enough to fit right in with everyone else...no one bothers them. Because of this, spectacular performances like that can happen at any moment. Even if you don't see any country music legends-which is highly unlikely- the song-writers who made them famous with their real life stories will always be playing at some venue. These appearances are just as cool, and sometimes even more so, than the big events that are headlined around the city. Sitting in an intimite atmosphere listening to an artist pour his heart out about something that provoked him to put it to music is profound to say the least. Every one of the girls I go to Nashville with agree this is always the best part of our trip. There was a "storytellers" performance of songwriters every night in our hotel bar and we all went to bed smiling (or crying) afterwards!
You must hit Printer's Alley and Main Street but you'll never be able to drink in all the bars there. Have fun trying though...we sure did! This is a Karaoke singers paradise and you just know you will be discovered by every agent in town before the strike
of twelve. Now I don't mean to rip on Nashvilles finest but I laughed my ass off on my birthday watching the cops in Printer's Alley. There happens to also be some exotic dance clubs in this area and the officers are apparently very concerned about "capacity" in these establishments. I'm not sure why, but they don't check on the other bars in quite the same way. HA! Just gettin' a little air!
If you're looking for some country get-up this is also the place to look (not the strip clubs!). My girlfriend got two pair of leather cowgirl boots for the PRICE OF ONE! This happened in the very first store we shopped in only to find out this miraculous deal runs in almost every store in town.
Oh my goodness if fantastic BBQ is on your list of likes, you do not want to miss Jack's on Broadway. The line during the CMA's is ridiculous and worth every second of heat stroke you endure to get in. This place "is a Nashville tradition" (good old Jack himself says that) and even if you don't like BBQ you've gotta' see it. There are so many incredible places
to eat though. Do your research before you go so you can plan your culinary attack.
I can't tell you how much I love this town...you just have to see it for yourself. The reason almost everyone goes to Nashville the first week in June is for the CMA's. Complete and utter chaos is what my girls thrive on so that's why we go at that time. However, if you really want to get to the true essence of this city it would be better sought at just about any other time of the year. World-famous Legends is the most fun when you can pull right up to the bar and grab a beer. If you are a huge country music fan...and I know you are all out there...then this event is definitely worth seeing. If you want to touch that sweaty naked cowboy then this is the party for you! By the way naked cowboy dude, can you please switch the tightie-whities for something a little more risque? Is it your moral compass that dictates your wardrobe choice or is Hanes your sponsor?
Anyhow, I honestly believe that Nashville is worth the trip no matter what time
of year you go. If you get the opportunity then do it. Heck, make the opportunity, don't wait for a reason! And if you're looking for that long ladies weekend to renew your faith in sisterhood then I can assure you this city will achieve that goal. I love all my country gals...Ya'll come back over the rainbow now ya' hear?
There are more photos below