When In Rome – Or In This Case Nashville

Peter and I, along with our daughter and son-in-law, spent the week of Christmas in Nashville with Peter’s family.

This time, rather than staying in a hotel in the suburbs, we searched VRBO and found a downtown condo to rent.

Welcome to Nashville

Our plan was to take advantage of the location to enjoy all that The Music City had to offer. We had heard time and time again about all of the great music venues, bars and clubs for live music but never taken the opportunity to experience the abundant talent.

The condo, though a bit quirky (who needs a closet or a dresser?!), was in the perfect location at 2nd Ave. and Church, just two blocks from Broadway. As advertised, there were dozens of places within walking distance for us to enjoy a nightcap and some live music.

Our first night we were pooped from the travel so we tucked in early. The next night, Christmas Eve, we had a late dinner with the family then returned to our condo all revved up and ready to go out to explore our neighborhood.

Because Nashville calls itself “Nash-Vegas” we had assumed that, even on Christmas Eve there would be some action on Broadway. But, as my son Walt says, you know what happens when you assume… Sometimes you are wrong.

Nash Vegas

From blog.teamcocktail.com

We walked for about six blocks and literally the only other people on the street were four tourists from Japan who were obviously as surprised as we were that none of the music venues were open.

On the way back to our condo we heard, coming from a whole in the wall, dive bar nearby, some music! It was Christmas carols on the jukebox but still, it WAS music.

As soon as we walked in, it was quite apparent that we were the only non-regulars there. We had crashed their Christmas Eve party.

“Bar closes at midnight!”, shouted the two very happy bar tending gals.

Yeah, right. The obvious subtext was, “At midnight we get rid of these tourists, then the REAL fun begins!”

Message received. We each enjoyed one beer and a few festive tunes then called it a night.

Christmas Day was spent hanging out at the homes of the local family members. It was a wonderful day of great food, lots of laughs and catching up.

By now we were in full Nashville swing.

Did you know that The Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson’s home, is in Nashville? At The Hermitage, visitors can stroll the beautiful grounds, tour the late President’s grand home and watch a video that dances around the subject of slavery in a very clumsy manner.

“Andrew Jackson was a good slave owner.”

So does that mean on Jeopardy if the answer is “Andrew Jackson” the question is “What is an oxymoron?”

That night a bunch of us went to the famous Broadway hotspot, The Stage. We sat through two live bands and a couple of hours of epic people watching.  At one point we were parked on some bar stools in a corner near the stage. A woman tapped Peter on the shoulder, pointed to a door behind us and said, “Last time I was here Keith Urban came out of that door.” Be still my heart!

The Stage Nashville

Alas, no celebrity sightings for us.

Our ultimate “When In Rome Nashville” activity, however, was our visit to The Country Music Hall of Fame. Seriously, how could we stay in The Music City within walking distance of The Hall of Fame and not go?

True confession, I am not much of a country music fan. But two things in particular drew me to the exhibits.

Grammy Award trophies and Taylor Swift.

I don’t know why but I get a huge thrill from the opportunity to see, in person, trophies that I watch being given out on TV.  In addition to the dozens and dozens of Grammys on display, imagine my excitement at seeing – live and in person – The Mirror Ball Trophy awarded to Kellie Pickler on Dancing With The Stars!

Kellie Pickler Mirror Ball trophy

I am a devoted and unapologetic Taylor Swift fan. She is a talented and generous artist. Case in point: Tay-Sway (as I like to call her) donated a cool $4 million dollars to The Country Music Hall Of Fame, including the establishment of an education center in the building.

Girl puts her money where her heart is.

Taylor Swift guitar

Tay-Sway’s beautiful guitar

Another unexpected treat at The Hall Of Fame was the opportunity to see the work of the Hatch Show Print poster company.  The iconic posters created by this company are still printed using moveable typeset and a hand-cranked press.

Giant windows allow visitors to peek in as the work is being done. A small press is set up in the gift shop to demonstrate the process. It was fascinating and mesmerizing.

Hatch Poster print shop

If you visit Nashville and The Country Music Hall Of Fame, don’t miss the opportunity to see the artists at work in the print shop.

On Saturday night we celebrated Peter’s mom’s 80th birthday with a big bash the Del Webb Community clubhouse, hosted by Peter’s sister and brother-in-law.

Big surprise – we brought the wine.

We wrapped up the trip with a night at B. B. King’s Club on 2nd Avenue. The B. B. King All Star Band put on an amazing show. The music was much more our type – blues/rock rather than country/pop (Taylor Swift being the obvious exception – she is perfect and crosses over all genre).

BB King Club Nashville

The week was a smashing success. Wonderful time spent with family, great southern barbecue and Tennessee Whiskey, and music in The Music City.

All in all, a pretty darn good job of Rome-ing Nashville.

Do you have any favorite spots in Nash-Vegas? Any spots we should put on our list for the next time?

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  1. You didn’t go to the Grand Ole Opry, or was it not open? The times I have been we stayed at Opryland hotel and we did make a side trip to the Grand Ole Opry but we were there to visit the fabric shops in the area. This was back when I made almost all of Caroline’s clothes and smocked most of her church dresses! My mother had relatives that performed at and were members of the Opry!

  2. Hubby and I took a trip to Nashville last summer and had a great time. Sounds like we stayed in a condo not too far from where you were!
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  3. I was there for a convention a long time ago but for very short…we never left the hotel. Someday I would love to see the sights!
    Michelle recently posted…#AskAwayFriday with Nellie from Brooklyn Active MamaMy Profile

  4. I love Nashville. I’m not big into Country Music at all, but we lived there for 12 years. I didn’t ever get to the Country Music Hall of Fame, but I loved the Pancake Pantry, The Bluebird Cafe, and the Ryman Auditorium. (And although I don’t like whiskey, visiting the Jack Daniel’s Distillery outside of Nashville is a HOOT). One of the greatest things about living in Nashville is seeing stars out and about (I was behind Billy Rae Cyrus in line at the pharmacy once. Try not to be jealous.). You also see “stars” at little bars and things before they hit it big. It’s always fun to be able to say “I saw her before she was big”!

    I didn’t know you were such a Tay-Sway fan! I am, too! I LOVE HER!! –Lisa
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    • We had hoped to make it to the Jack Daniels Distillery but ran out of time. We did make it to The Pancake Pantry – yummmmmm!!! Didn’t even have to wait too long in line! We hoped that some of the local celebs would be out and about but no luck. But I’m terrible at recognizing stars out in public so who knows, I may have been enjoying pancakes at the table next to Alan Jackson and not even known it!
      Mo Lux recently posted…Did I Mention We’re Building A Wine Cellar?My Profile

  5. Sounds like you had an awesome time! I just have this picture of ya’ll walking into that bar and the music screeching to a halt and everyone turning toward you with their drinks in mid-air. LOL.
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  6. Nashville has been tops on my list of places to go for ages now. Someday very soon I am determined to go. Going to bookmark this post for that time 🙂
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  7. All this and you managed to post your PIAPT posts on time! Super impressed Mo. Love that vision of you crashing the juke box party. I’ve never been to Nashville. As to that mirror ball trophy – does each winner get their own or do they have to hand it back like most trophies in exchange for sadder, smaller versions?
    Kelly L McKenzie recently posted…Perhaps It’s Get OrganisedMy Profile

  8. This is so AWESOME! I’ve always wanted to go to Nashville. My husband and I have talked about taking a drive up there to see the sights. I hope we’ll be able to make the trip soon!
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  9. I’ve never been to Nashville, so I enjoyed visiting vicariously through your post, Mo. I’m not a country music fan either, but it sounds like there is a lot to do there even if you’re not.
    Dana recently posted…As if I’d actually ever win the lotteryMy Profile

  10. you are so much fun! i’ve never been to nashville, but i would love to check it out. i say i’m not a country fan either, but whenever i hear it live, i always get into it. i don’t really seek it out, but when i do hear live music (regardless of what type it is), it makes me happy 🙂
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