Nashville, TN

Another state to check off the list

I’ve wanted to go to Nashville for years – my uncle used to do work in Nashville and Memphis, so it always just sounded like an exciting place to go

Besides music, I had no idea what was there, so that was all I cared about

This year alone, I must have checked flights at least ten times

So, finally, it was time

The Approach

I was already getting excited as we were driving along the motorway, seeing billboards for cowboy boots – buy one get two free!

And then arriving to see the skyline at sunset (somewhat smaller and less impressive than New York, but skyline none the less)

When we got off the bus and started heading to the hostel we past what looked like a power box, that was playing country music

In hindsight there may have been a car somewhere behind it that I didn’t notice  that was playing music. But I decided the power box was a speaker and got very excited and decided I already loved Nashville.

Nashville Downtown Hostel

I have been looking at this place for a little while – I wanted to go in August and stay there for my birthday, but the crip leg stopped me

Although it is quite expensive for a hostel – $42, per person, per night, to stay in a dorm of either 4, 6 or 8 people – so are most in America

But when we arrived, we pretty quickly realised it was worth the expense, especially when hotels were about $160 minimum per night

The staff were all very friendly, making jokes about people from Glasgow when I said I was from Scotland, “so you’re not from Glasgow, since you didn’t go to headbutt me as you said Scotland” – always a good way to break the ice

There was a large common area on the first floor, with a kitchen, seating area, board games, sofas and a pool table – I was later reminded by Jack of how shit I am at checkers and pool, to the point that I played a round of checkers just to see how quickly all my little guys could be eaten, and then played pool by myself just to see if it was at all possible for me to pot something

The rooms and bathrooms were really clean and there was a box of “free stuff” for things people had left in case you needed any extra toiletries – this kept my shampoo well stocked up, unfortunately we lost a tub of hair goop to it

Nightlife

Broadway

The nightlife centre of Nashville, the obvious go-to

Full of bright lights, musicians, beer, moonshine cocktails and drunks

We arrived on Paddy’s day and Broadway was definitely in full swing

We did a little bar crawl, just following the cheap drinks and the bands along the road, over excited by all the bright lights, people dressed in green, cowboy boots and Stetsons

[Benchmark, Whiskey Bent Saloon, Tin Roof, Honky Tonk Central, Robert’s Western World]

Tin Roof and Robert’s were probably my favourite’s – especially watching the fiddle player in Robert’s jump up on a stool in the middle of the crowd and start pulling on someone beard while she played, and dancing with an Albert Einstein look-alike

The next two nights I wasn’t quite as blown away by it, I think that was mostly down to being full of hot chicken and being exhausted

It’s a crazy little place, everywhere is peaceful, and then you get to Broadway and at any time of day it is mental, with country music blaring from every angle

The nice thing about Nashville nightlife is that it isn’t exclusive to young people, more often than not I saw older people (60’s/70’s) up at the front dancing along to bands, and I made friends with an couple on the street that said they’d been coming to Nashville for the last 10 years

Printer’s Alley

Bourbon Street’s Blues and Boogie Bar was another favourite of mine, with a couple of older men playing guitar and bass, singing the blues and talking about life

While I sat with a big bowl of delicious gumbo

Station Inn and Bluebird Café

These two were on the list, but being the weekend, the idea of traveling to stand in a long line was a bit of a deterrent

So next time, Nashville, I will head to these two first!

Food

The Row

Based on a recommendation from my uncle and some good Yelp reviews, we headed up to Music Row for some hot chicken – the other option was Mattie B’s, which we discovered the next day had a line down the street – but we opted for the one with guaranteed live music

We had to wait about 45 minutes for a table, and then a long time for food, with average service. But the food and music were good.

There was a check-in give away on Yelp, that if you checked in you got some free fried pickles, which had a lot of good reviews. But that turned out that if you checked in, you got them the next time you were in – and the waitress wasn’t making any exceptions for us leaving the next day

The Pancake Pantry

Again, based on a recommendation, we headed up to the Hillsboro district for some pancakes

Standing in a line for 45 minutes to get in the building (in the damn cold) we figured that it must be good – plus every picture of the building inside had a queue

I went for the traditional pancakes and a side of hash browns, and Jack went for the traditional and a side of sugar glazed ham. Both were great. (But I was too hungry to wait to take a picture, so I realised before I had my last one)

I don’t know what it is with restaurants in America and there being so many lines for food!

B.A.D – Back Alley Diner

Everywhere had a really long wait time and this had good reviews, so we thought we’d give it a try

If we didn’t get mugged in the alley, it would be a winner

$2 PBR’s on a Saturday and 50c wings

We went for burgers that were pretty good, but nothing spectacular. Mine had mushrooms, bacon and cheese. Jack’s was described as a ‘knife and fork’ burger as the chilli would go everywhere, not quite the case, but still went down well.

Explorers

Country Music Hall of Fame

When in Nashville, it seems only right to go to the Hall of Fame museum

$25 or round about for an adult, $22.50 when you remember you have a student card in your purse

Going round the museum, you start at the top and work your way through the timeline to the bottom

This gives you information about the changes in country music through the years and the change in perception of Nashville as a city

Famous faces like Jonny Cash, Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Big and Rich, were all featured heavily throughout

For a long time, many people wouldn’t go to Nashville, and then Bob Dylan went to start recording and changed the face of the city, bringing recording artists back in and resurrecting the music scene

Vanderbilt University

After pancakes this was a nice – chilly – way to walk to the Parthenon

We walked through the recreation centre and saw people playing lacrosse and football in some of the many stadiums

Parthenon

I made the error of thinking this was the Pantheon in Rome, not the Parthenon in Athens – same thing!

Totally random building to have in Nashville, but was still worth checking out

Inside is an art gallery, but we just wanted to go up and have a walk around the outside

Capitol Hill

Trying to distract ourselves from the cold we went up to Capitol Hill for an explore and tried to sneak into the fancy old buildings, but they were all locked

So instead, Jack just tried to ring a huge bell in the courtyard

As he said “I don’t really want to crawl inside in case it makes a big noise” he hit it way harder than expect and nearly crapped his pants

A moment I really wish I’d been quick enough to capture on video

Cyaaaa Nashville

It was a treat

Here’s hoping the next stops aren’t so cold, because I have no warm clothes and this was tricky!

Absolutely loved it here and will definitely be back!

Next stop, Beale Street, Memphis here I come!

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