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Published: December 14th 2016
Sorry for the delay in postings to the blog but I was very busy having a great time in my recent stops. First on the list was Nashville which was very special for a country fan like me. Nashville is an amazing place to experience, especially Honky Tonk Row! I stayed in the Grand Ole RV park in Goodlettsville which was about 15 miles from downtown Nashville. The Gray Line Tour buses picked up at the RV park which was convenient. The park also has live music three nights a week in the office and a limited menu café. The owners and staff were very helpful.
My first trip was to the Grand Ole Opry which was remarkable. The performers were Aaron Tippin, Tara Thompson, Steve Wariner, Bill Anderson, Wade Hayes, Kip Moore and Lee Greenwood. Lee Greenwood ended the evening with "Good Bless the USA" to a standing ovation throughout the song. Amazing to think of all the incredible musicians that have stood on that stage.
I then drove downtown Nashville to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame. There is construction on almost every street in the downtown area which made driving and parking interesting. The Hall
of Fame is very interesting. It took me about 2 1/2 hours to go through it and I probably could have spent more time, but I wanted to have lunch before I went on the tour of Studio B. While I was waiting for the tour I ran into a group from the Harmon Center in Yakima. It is truly a small world.
The Studio B tour was interesting but not a lot to see there. The guide was very informative which added to the tour. This was were Elvis recorded most of his records. Over 1000 #1 hits have come from this studio. It is still used today for special projects. When we returned to the Hall of Fame I walked across the street to the Music City Walk of Fame to see the stars in the sidewalk. It was a short walk to the Johnny Cash Museum which has the most memorabilia of the Man in Black.
My next visit was to the mother church of country music, The Ryman Auditorium for the Opry Country Classics show with Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers along with Catie Cofferman, Charlie McCoy and Crystal Gayle. It was great
to experience the performances in both the Ryman and the Opry House. The Ryman is right downtown in Nashville, just a block off of Broadway which is the Honky Tonk Row. When the Opry was over the town was definitely hopping. It took me at least a half hour to get out of the chaos of those few blocks to a main street that headed out of town. I can see why it is sometimes called NashVegas. It was for sure Party City that night! Everyone was doing the Nashville Crawl, as they call it down there.
My next experience was a lunch cruise on the General Jackson Paddle boat down the Cumberland River. I enjoyed great food and great entertainment by the group Nashville Live. After the lunch and show we went up on deck for some more music while we continued the leisure trip down the river with great views of scenery and downtown Nashville. I took in the tour of the Nashville Stars Homes which had a great tour guide who was very knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor. I was disappointed in the views of the homes. Many were hidden by trees or
walled fences and many were in gated subdivisions that did not allow any access. I bought the $10 CD that the tour guide had for sale and got up close photos.
I used the Hop On Hop Off trolley to explore Nashville further and to see some of the parts of the city other than the downtown area. I visited the Belmont Mansion which was built by Adelicia & Joseph Acklen as their summer home beginning in 1849 and finished in 1853. Adelicia owned seven Louisiana cotton plantations and Joseph died there while caring for the plantations during the Civil War. Adelicia was a very bright and resourceful woman, shown by her ability to negotiate secret agreements with both the Union and Confederate forces that allowed her to ship her cotton to Liverpool, England where she sold it for a great deal of money. After the war Adelicia and her children went on a tour of Europe where she purchased many additions to her already large art collection. The mansion is beautiful and very worthwhile for a visit.
I toured the city by trolley at night which is a great way to experience the nightlife and view the
amazing city lit up. Had a very knowledgeable and fun tour guide for the evening. I drove out to Fontanel to visit Barbara Mandrell's log home in the woods. The architecture of the home is amazing but the best part is that people are allowed to touch the home and furnishings, no roped off areas. If you are so inclined, you can lay on Barbara's bed for a photo op with a box of saltine crackers! Our guide was an amazing young man, Steven Whitson who actually sang us one of his songs he had written for his grandmother.
I also drove out to Belle Meade plantation for a tour. It was built I the 1820s by John Harding and then enlarged in 1853 by Gen. William Giles Harding. The plantation was also a Thoroughbred horse breeding and racing operation. Their best known studs were Bonnie Scotland, Enquirer and Iroquois. William Harding's daughter Selene married William Hicks Jackson and they entertained many prominent people including President Cleveland, Robert Todd Lincoln, President Grant, and General Sherman to name a few.
Made a stop at the Bluebird Café made famous by the television show "Nashville" and took a few pictures
as it is very difficult to get tickets for any of the performances there.
I really enjoyed my time in Nashville but it is time to move on to Memphis.
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