Welcome to Nashville: Where Crazytown is Crazy Good, Honkytonk is King, and You Can Fry Anything!
Updated: Mar 17, 2020
Dear Friends and Family,
WOW, WOW, WOW, what a wonderful time in Nashville! This place is outta control. In fact, I would say ya gotta go NOW NOW NOW - Crazytown is crazy good!
First stop was a Walk Eat Nashville Tour of East Nashville where my tour guide Lindsay, head dresser for the Rolling Stones, swapped stories about Mick and the boys and what they are wearing, or not wearing, these days. The Rolling Stones seem to be a pervasive theme for me on my travels. You may remember that when I was in Maui, I met Rudy Mater, the creator of the Rolling Stones lips and teeth logo? Who knows, maybe this means I’ll actually meet the Stones in person someday. I’m going to try manifesting that - stay tuned!
East Nashville is a gem with fantastic architecture, restaurants, and hip stops and shops including the famous Woodlands recording studio and I Dream of Weenie; an East Nashville Institution serving charcoal grilled hotdogs in a converted VW van. Legend has it that the idea to open a hotdog stand inside a VW came to the original owner in a dream; hence one of the most famous hotdogs stands in America was born.
After a lovely dinner at Merchant, I headed out with friends to the High Watt Lounge on Cannery Row to see musician Cas Haley. Cas did not disappoint and taught us you can countrify anything, even reggae! We were about to call it a night so we could “ease into our weekend” when we discovered Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. Tootsie’s first floor is as big as a matchbox, but has the biggest reputation for the best bands on Broadway. It costs $20.00 to request a song and $40.00 to get a song stopped. The music never stopped that night and neither did we; we were having so much fun we didn’t make it back to our hotel until 3:30am, the next day. So much for taking it easy…
On Day two I woke up (literally), to music. There was a band playing somewhere outside my hotel and it was fabulous. That’s the great thing about Nashville; the music NEVER stops. You can hit a Honkytonk bar 24/7 and listen to a terrific band playing not just country, but any kind of music. To help us recover from our awesome first night, and beat the 35-degree heat, we lounged by the rooftop pool all day at Holston House. Holston House is a beautiful boutique hotel with unique rooms and a wonderful vibe. Plus, who knew you could tan in Nashville in October? That night my group visited the Wild Horse Saloon; the super bowl of country music. We learned how to Line Dance, and watched in wonder as hundreds of strangers fell into step and flowed to the music without missing a beat. After the Wildhorse we hit the bar next to Tootsie’s and danced the night away to the band 10:30; aptly named because they got their start opening Honkytonk bars for the breakfast crowd at 10:30am.
The next day we helped the Grand Ole Opry celebrate its 94th birthday in concert with Canadian country music legend Terri Clark. Down to earth and extremely humble, Terri put on a fabulous, high energy show that got us revved up for a little retail therapy at the Grand Ole Opry Store. It was here my Nashville sisters and I found our magic cowboy hats that got us on the Jumbo Tron and Nashville TV at the Predators game. After, at Florida Georgia Line (FDL), that hat also got me an invite from a very persistent 22-year-old fellow from Nashville to run away together. Thank goodness my agent stepped in to save the day; he told the kid that unless he was prepared relocate to Canada it was a no-go. After all, I have universal healthcare.
On my final day I went to the House of Cash (the awesome Johnny Cash museum), and spent Sunday afternoon with Sal, our Pedal Tavern driver, who was truly super awesome too. If you’ve never been on a Pedal Tavern tour you have to do this. A Pedal Tavern is a moving bar where you sit with your friends on bicycle seats, at a bar, and peddle around town. When you hit a red light that’s called a Red Light Social, and you of course are social and have a beverage. All is well as you are not driving; Sal is at helm steering the bike and spinning the tunes. The only thing you have to watch out for is stranger danger; tourists who want to run up and touch the bike, or your drink, and be social too. My Nashville sisters and I peddled and chair danced our way around town, with our hats on of course, and I’m sure ended up in a lot of tourist videos. After that we were winners where we opened, and closed, Losers bar with 3 hours of dancing.
After four days, 96 hours, and approximately 18 hours sleep, I am forever a country music fan and done and dusted in Nashville. Thanks for hanging in there with me; stay tuned for the west coast and my adventures with online dating!
Stay, Play, Dine and Shop in Nashville...
118 7th Ave. N. Nashville TN 37203
Holston House is a beautiful art deco boutique hotel with unique rooms and a wonderful vibe. The rooftop bar TENN and pool is a great way to lounge away the day and recover, or get ready, for your super awesome night. A perfect location within walking distance to Broadway, Bridgestone arena, and local attractions, Holston House is great for couples, groups, or business travelers.
415 4th Ave Nashville
Lovely new modern hotel with great amenities, and within walking distance of downtown and the Bridgestone arena. Clean, spacious, well-appointed rooms with refrigerators and microwaves. Great for families, couples, or groups.
When my friends asked me to go to Nashville, I was certainly intrigued. However, I never imagined how much fun this city could be, and that it would end up on my top ten list of cities to visit. Nashville is such a joyful place; music everywhere with happy people, incredible hospitality, and tons to see and do day and night. Below is a smattering of ideas; for a more comprehensive list you can go online to visitmusiccity.com
119 3rd Ave S. Nashville
Located in the heart of downtown Nashville, the Johnny Cash Museum celebrates one of the most beloved musicians and entertainers in America- Johnny Cash. Beautifully curated, and filled with fun, interesting facts, the museum gives you a glimpse into the early days and takes you by timelines through Johnny and June Carter Cash’s life story. A must see!
2804 Opryland Dr. Nashville TN
Located on the outskirts of Nashville, Opryland is the equivalent of Disneyland and a live entertainment phenomenon. Adjacent to the Gaylord Hotel and a mega shopping mall, the Grand Ole Opry is a destination. Although I didn’t shop at the mall, there are great restaurants for lunch and the fabulous Grand Ole Opry Shop where I purchased my magic cowboy hat.
The Mercy Lounge, Cannery Ballroom, and The High Watt are located in Nashville’s historic Cannery Building. Opening its doors in 2003, these clubs have built a reputation for hosting the best in burgeoning bands and local talents. Reservations are recommended.
A must do for groups and anyone 21 years of age and over visiting Nashville, the Pedal Tavern tour is a fun way to navigate the city and a unique way to get a little exercise and have fun with your friends. One bike can carry up to 15 people and for larger groups, multiple bikes can be reserved. Reservations are highly recommended and can be booked online. If you go make sure you request Sal; he is awesome!
With the exception of attending 2010 Olympic hockey in Vancouver, this Nashville Predators game was the best hockey game I have ever been to. Predators hockey is fun, interactive, great for families, groups, couples, or a date night. Advance tickets are a must as most games sell out and experience packages are also offered with pre parties and after parties. You can make your own fun by heading down to Broadway after the game where there is tons of people watching and great music.
The world-famous wild horse saloon is 66,000 square feet of live music and a dance destination offering concerts, free line dancing lessons, event space, and catering on three floors. Great for events and corporate groups, stop in to see the super bowl of country music.
422 Broadway, Nashville TN
Tootsie’s started in the 1960’s and has started many careers including Willie Nelson who got his first singing job after being discovered at Tootsies. Named Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge after a painter painted the walls orchid, Tootsie’s is a must with three floors, and music galore. If you can, save your last call for Tootsie’s rooftop where you will get a bird’s eye view of the city and you can take in the breathtaking neon lights.
Recently named one of the top 15 food tours in America, Walk Eat Nashville is a must do when you come to this city. Working with many of the city’s top-rated restaurants, Walk Eat Nashville takes you through eclectic neighbourhoods giving you the backstory, and a culinary experience, you will not find anywhere else. Tours of downtown, East Nashville, Midtown, and Sobro downtown are available but fill up quickly, so reservations well in advance are highly recommended. Special thanks to Karen and Lindsay who made my visit extra special, and The Soda Parlor for their super awesome Cookie Monster Sundae which I would fly back to Nashville for in a heartbeat.
There is a lot of debate in this town about who has the best Hot Chicken in the city. While I am sure there are many, everyone I spoke with said the most authentic was Prince’s Hot Chicken. Established over 100 years ago, and still family owned, Prince’s sets the standard for Hot Chicken in Nashville.
The forerunner of Nashville’s farm-table movement, Chef Margot McCormack prepares French inspired dishes that change daily using seasonal ingredients and southern flair. Located in a quaint and historic East Nashville historical site, Margot’s is also a stop on the Walk Eat Nashville Tour, and very popular with locals; hence reservations are highly recommended.
To shop Nashville is to shop by neighbourhoods; each eclectic and filled with wonderful unique finds. Although I did not focus on shopping this trip, one of my favourite stores was the Grand Ole Opry Store which had fabulous souvenirs but also some pretty funky clothing and accessories including my magic cowboy hat. Notable Nashville shopping destinations include the Brentwood neighbourhood with unique boutiques, Nashville Flea Market, Belle Meade for upscale retail, and 12th Avenue South. For a more complete listing you can visit 10best.com for the ten-best retail neighbourhoods in Nashville.