Grab Bag: Nashville Vacation

So, as most of you know, I spent a week (well almost a full week 5 days and 4 nights) in Nashville as a result of winning a vacation from my local radio station last October.  I am so glad that I was able to go and that I had such a good time.  There were two downsides to the trip and I will write them first (because then I can gush about what a great time I had).  First, the hotel lost internet after the first night and so I had to go to McDonald’s to check email and such – which did not make me a happy camper at all.  Second, I did not buy tickets to the David Nail concert that I wanted to go to and it sold out, so I was not able to go.  Lessons learned: if I want to do something, I should just do it and my friends will love me for it or decide not to be friends with me anymore.  Also, even though people can be polite, a hotel needs to be more accommodating than saying the weather is the issue in order for me to want to come back.

On our way to Nashville, we stopped in Burlington, KY for a halfway (although it was way more than halfway) to sleep for the night.  On our way to Nashville from there, we decided to stop in Louisville and visit Churchill Downs because we had so much time.  It was so great to go to Churchill Downs.  I had never been and looking at the history, taking a small walk of the grounds, and just experiencing the museum was really great.  It was an unexpected gem that we had not been planning and that worked out really well.  Both me and my friend enjoyed it.

Once we got to Nashville, we showered and relaxed before meeting up with a friend for dinner.  Then, we went back and got some sleep.  On our first full day in Nashville we went to go and ride the Redneck Comedy Bus Tour.  Let me begin by saying that there was almost a small snafu.  I had ordered tickets online and then emailed about it so that I could be sure because it was showing up with only one ticket instead of two.  The people told me that it was fine and they had me down for two tickets.  When we got there, the people told us that they didn’t have us down and that they couldn’t call because I hadn’t left a number (which I hadn’t) and had emailed me (which they didn’t).  We did eventually get on the bus and it was really funny and was definitely worth it.

Thursday night was supposed to be the night of the David Nail concert, well it was the night of the David Nail concert, but we didn’t have tickets.  Instead, we decided to go and do this dinner theatre.  The dinner theatre was not that great.  We paid $40 for a dinner buffet and the dinner.  The singers weren’t great (they were actually probably the worst singers I heard the entire time I was there) and the food wasn’t anything to rave about.  If there was one thing I would have taken out of our trip – it would have been this.  It might have been more fun if they had played more contemporary music or if we had a big group and could have made fun of everyone as it happened or gotten up and danced or something.  It is probably the one thing that I wouldn’t recommend.

Since it was done pretty early, we went and hung out at the Nashville Palace, which was really cool.  The bar was right by our hotel and the music was really good.  We had a beer and enjoyed ourselves before heading back to the room to get a good night’s sleep.

Friday was our day to go downtown.  We parked right near CMT studios (although I stupidly did not get any pictures of it) and walked around before going to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and the RCA Studio B tour.  These are both things that I think everyone should do, although they are hard to describe or put into words.  I’m really glad that we did this and that it was so much fun.  It is a must see for all country music fans.  We found out that Alan Jackson had been there the day before – so we just missed out of maybe seeing a celebrity, but that’s okay.

After doing our sightseeing, we went to the Wildhorse Saloon for dinner and a couple of line dancing lessons.  It was a lot of fun and I’m really glad that we did it and I would totally go and do it again.  Once we were finished there, we went around to a few different places: Whiskey Bent Saloon, Cadillac Ranch, The Stage, Tootsies – just a few different places all around Broadway.  We spent the most time at Whiskey Bent Saloon and actually ended up seeing a guy that was from Albany (our only New Yorker that we saw the entire trip).  He was really good and I’m really glad we stuck around and listened to him for a while.  For our entire day in downtown (probably around 12 hours), we only had to spend $12 for parking.  Sweet!

On Saturday – our last full day – we went to the Parthenon and the Grand Ole Opry.  Both were amazing and I was so glad that we did both of them.  The Parthenon was way bigger and cooler than I thought it was going to be and Steph seemed fairly impressed – and she’s seen the real Parthenon as well.  And the Grand Ole Opry was just fantastic.  I had such a great time there.  I would go back any other time.  I even got to stand in the wooden circle and got a picture.  I haven’t really looked (I actually still have all my pictures on my camera – I know it’s bad), but I hope it’s good.  That night, we went back to the Palace to hang out and it was the perfect end to our trip.

On Sunday, we got up and left fairly early.  On our way home, we played the license plate game.  We saw 3 different Canadian Plates (Ontario, Quebec and P.E.I.) and 40 different US plates (I don’t have my list on me right now, so I can’t tell you the ones we were missing)…but that’s amazing.  43 different license plates in about 13 hours.  Then, on my way home the next morning, I spotted 3 more that we hadn’t seen (Vermont, Connecticut and Delaware).  So, in the end, I was 7 short of seeing all 50 – and we did not see Alaska or Hawaii.

It was a great trip, and I can’t wait to go back again.  I want to plan a time to go back and stay downtown during the CMA music fest.  I definitely want to do this before I am 30 (I mean it is on my 30 before 30 list).  Then, I want to go and stay at the Gaylord Opryland Resort (we did not get into the hotel to explore like we were going to) and see a show at the Opry.  Hopefully, I can make this happen and it’ll be great.  I would recommend a trip to Nashville for everyone.  It really is music city and everyone is very hospitable.  It was a fantastic trip.  Also recommended is getting the All Access Pass as it will save you a ton of money – the only thing we paid for was gas, food, hotel taxes and that dinner theatre (which I do not recommend).

Have you ever been to Nashville?  Did you love it as much as I loved it?  Would you recommend any other trips that I have to take?  Or any other stops that I have to go to when I go back to Nashville?

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