Driving in to Nashville, our first stop just had to be at Loretta Lynn’s Kitchen for a full country buffet, at lunch! It was actually quite good. Loretta’s Ranch is about 6 miles down the road, but we didn’t go.
We got set up at a nice RV park near the Nashville Airport, called Nashville Shores and our site backed on to the lake 👍 Then we had to hurry to make it to The Grand Ole Opry as we had tickets for the Friday Night show.
When we purchased the tickets, we knew that Charlie Daniels was one of the performers, so we were thrilled to see that Vince Gill was added to the roster! We really liked the format of each group performing 2 songs – it gives such a great variety of artists in a short time. A Canadian group from Alberta – High Valley – were great. Of course, for us the highlight was Vince Gill and 82 year old Charlie Daniels!! And yes, he did end with The Devil Went Down to Georgia 🎉 It was awesome! Our seats were up really, really high, but they had huge screens so we could see well. It was amazing so much fun!
Saturday, we toured the plantation home of the seventh president of the United States, Andrew Jackson. Completed in 1819, the main house is a two-story Greek Revival, brick mansion. The interior was beautiful, and the wallpaper, hardwood flooring, carpet and most of the furniture was original. The property itself was stunning and in Andrew Jackson’s time had been a cotton plantation. We also were able to witness a duel – defend your honor!
President Jackson’s legacy is quite controversial. On one hand, he challenged the political establishment and tried to transfer power to the common man, and encouraged exploration and American expansion. Jackson is considered so influential that his face is on the front of the $20 bill. On the other hand, his harsh treatment of enslaved workers and his forced removal of Native Americans from their ancestral lands, the Indian Removal Act (also known as the Trail of Tears), gave him the nickname ‘Jack the Devil’.
Off to the Parthenon, in Nashville, of course! It was built for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition in 1897 and is a full scale replica of the original Parthenon. In 1990 they unveiled the Athena statue. She’s almost 42 feet tall and again, a replica of the original. The lower level serves as an art gallery.
We sure enjoyed the Honky-tonk Hop! – gotta love Broadway 🤠 It’s so cool to go from one bar to the next, and each floor in every bar has live music! You work your way up, floor by floor, to the rooftop deck and just listen and dance and have fun! 🍺 Fabulous and talented musicians everywhere! We started off in Alan Jackson’s Good Time Bar and stopped in on each of the 4 floors! We ended up Honky-tonk hopping into several bars and really enjoyed the atmosphere and music!
Sunday, we toured the Ryman Auditorium, which was once the home of the Grand Ole Opry. It was originally the Union Gospel Tabernacle and opened in 1892. Its construction was spearheaded by a wealthy riverboat captain, Thomas Ryman, who also owned several saloons. He had gone to a tent revival to heckle the preacher, Samuel Porter Jones, and ended up being ‘saved’, so made it his mission to build a large auditorium for church service. When Thomas passed away, Samuel Jones felt the auditorium should be named after him.
Even though the building was designed for worship, in order to pay off debts, it started to be leased out for non-religious events. Eventually the local country radio program, known as the Grand Ole Opry, was needing a new place to host its programs so they had their first broadcast from the Ryman on June 5, 1943, and originated there every week for nearly 31 years thereafter. Every show sold out, and hundreds of fans were often turned away. That’s how the building became known as the Grand Ole Opry. In 1974 it moved to its new location, but they did cut a circle out of the old stage and placed it in the new building on the new stage, so the circle wouldn’t be broken.
The old building fell in disrepair and was almost demolished, but several groups and individuals banded together and funded the project to have the old Ryman restored to its former glory.
We also toured the Country Music Hall of Fame, which was pretty interesting. Lots of history about the country music industry and memorabilia to look at. We spent several hours wandering around and taking it all in.
Easy bike ride, he said. 20 miles round trip, he said. Oops, he said!
We cycled from our campsite to the Music City BikeWay, or so we thought, which goes along the Stones River and joins on to the Cumberland River.
It was at this point we realized the bike path was on the other side of the river 😮
Yes, Henry did leave his bike at the top of the hill and run down to get Joanne’s, and climb back up the hill again 😉 It was pretty funny!
We finally got on the Music City BikeWay, which turned out to be really, really hilly, but no problem for an e-bike, or Henry 😜 It was a beautiful paved path that meandered along the rivers and worked its way into downtown Nashville, however, the path was closed near downtown for bridge repair, so we didn’t make it all the way, but it was a fabulous day, riding 29, not 20, miles round trip!
This is a view from our campsite at Nashville Shores 👍
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Nashville – loved the music, atmosphere and people 🤠 Seriously, some of the nicest and friendliest folk we’ve met so far.