Last month, we set off on a road trip with Grammy to Nashville, aka Music City. Admittedly, we’re not huge country music fans, but after planning a wildly successful weekend trip for a dance group, I was intrigued.
We got in Friday evening and immediately set course for dinner at the Wildhorse Saloon. This was such a fun experience for our multi-generational group! The band was enjoyable, blending new and old country songs seamlessly. Grammy often plays Kenny Rogers songs for the kids, so when the band played The Gambler, Stinky and Blinky were thrilled. There were mixed reviews on the food. The boys love BBQ so were in hog heaven. The girls tolerate it and for us it was ok. But everyone loved the Shirley Temples served in life-sized plastic boots. Stinky and Blinky just had to have one. And watching the line dance lessons during dinner was the icing on the cake.
I was determined to learn how to line dance before leaving, but everyone else was chicken. So I headed off to the dance floor by myself, only to be pleasantly surprised to be followed by the DH, Blinky, then Stinky. There were so many sweet memories made on this trip, but this one will always be my favorite!
After dinner, we walked the 2nd Avenue strip taking in the sights and sounds of Nashville at night. We saw numerous party bikes all weekend. I thought this was a pretty cool concept for a city booming with young people looking for cheap entertainment. And we could not resist checking out the various cowboy boot stores. The craftsmanship on them were exceptional. We did a little souvenir shopping then headed to our hotel for a good night’s rest.
Country Music Hall of Fame and Historic RCA Studio B
CMHoF is quite large. Artists are featured for a limited time, with permanent collections in between. We started in the Taylor Swift Education Center, where the kids opted to participate in the scavenger hunt (Stinky with instruments and Blinky with costumes). I have to say, this was probably the most ideal way to go through all of the exhibits with children.
We ended up back at the Taylor Swift Education Center where the five of us made leather bracelets, and Blinky made a puppet.
We always enjoy museums and the CMHoF was no exception. I highly recommend a visit with or without littles.
We ran out of time to visit Hatch Show Print on the ground level, but we did briefly admire the process through the glass doors, and Blinky’s prize from the Scavenger Hunt was a Hatch Show Print poster.
Next we raced over to the Historic RCA Studio B, which is still an active recording studio today. Working with just a few small rooms, the guide did an excellent job of telling the story of the Museum and highlighting the stars who were made there. He used lighting and original recordings which lay the foundation for a journey back in time.
Having visited Graceland in 2016, it was especially meaningful to sit at Elvis’ piano and see the spot where he stood. At the beginning of the tour, the guide asked if there were any musicians. There were several, including one keyboard player. She was the only member of our group given the opportunity to play Elvis’ piano and declined. I couldn’t believe it! Even if I sucked at playing the keyboard, I would have jumped at the chance!
At the end of the tour, the guide complimented us on how well Stinky and Blinky behaved. He’ll never know how much that meant to us. People love to tell parents when their children misbehave. But it’s much more valuable to hear (and for them to hear) when they do behave.
Grand Ole Opry
After the fastest, fast-food lunch ever, we did a quick change and headed to the Grand Ole Opry, the weekly country music concert which is broadcast over the air. We had purchased tickets in advance and had no idea who the performers were. It was a nice surprise. Many of the performances were typical country, but Sarah Darling and Maggie Rose (who is more soul than country to me) stood out for their unique sound and stage presence.
Even if you’re not country music fans, I would definitely recommend adding the Grand Ole Opry to your Nashville itinerary.
On the way back to our hotel, we drove by the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. AH-MAY-ZING! It was not in the budget this trip, but this resort is most certainly on my “places to stay” list.
On our final day, we headed to The Gulch, an urban neighborhood development in downtown Nashville. It’s the perfect blend of quirky and character, with high rise apartments, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and street vendors. But most importantly, its home to the largest What Lifts You mural by Kelsey Montague. As we’re working with Stinky on building his self-esteem, anything that promotes positivity is a must see/must do for us!
It was sorta funny watching tourists (us included) line up around the corner waiting patiently for their turn to take a picture.
We walked around enjoying the sights and sounds of this vibrant district, which seemed like it belonged more on the set of FRIENDS than downtown Nashville.
Adventure Science Center
Next, we visited the Adventure Science Center. As members of the McWane Science Center, this ASTC member museum offered free admission for us. The kids got to frolic among the planets, watch a robot play with Legos, and simulate walking on the moon. I love when learning and fun collide!
Our final destination in Nashville was the Nashville Parthenon. For Stinky and Blinky, after reading the Percy Jackson series, Greek Gods, and Greek Heroes, we couldn’t get there fast enough. For those of you who won’t know, the Nashville Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens. The 40′ statue of Athena at the center, is the largest indoor statue in the western world.
Blinky lamented that she expected the statue of Athena to more closely resemble the description of Athena in the novels, complete with a crown. After thinking about it, I suppose the actual statue in war garb was a little menacing to an eight-year old. Still, what a back-to-school story to tell!
So ended our long weekend in Music City. If you have any questions about the places I’ve visited, please ask in the comments. I’ll be happy to answer them.
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