Originally uploaded by Brent and MariLynn
After the Amateur Traveler episode on Travel to Nashville I heard from Teresa who had her own take on what you should see and do in her home town:
I really enjoyed the show on Nashville – it’s always fun to hear what other people enjoy about you hometown! I thought I’d chip in as well with some of my favorite things about Nashville.
As your guest said, Nashville is a great place for live music. There’s a ton of places to go, and east Nashville, just over the river from downtown, has really exploded with venues.
One of my favorites is the Family Wash; they have great food and live music. They do have desserts, although they’re not on the menu; ask what they have and I guarantee you’ll not be disappointed!
There’s also tons of other places in east Nashville with great food, funky atmospheres and live music; the Lipstick Lounge is very hip and fun, although it won’t be for everyone; the music’s great but it is a lesbian bar so some people might start getting uncomfortable later on. My parents (not the wild and crazy type) go there sometimes in the evening before the dancing gets going.
A more traditional, iconic place to go for live music is the Bluebird Cafe. It’s tiny, but the music is top-notch. This is *the* place for up-and-coming writers to get their music heard and the focus is definitely on the music! For classical fans, the Nashville Symphony n outdoor series at Centennial Park in the summer.
Nashville has some great parks. Your guest mentioned the Warner parks in West Nashville, but I’m a fan of Shelby Bottoms which runs along the river from downtown to the Opryland Hotel. There’s miles of paved trails (I did all my marathon training there!) and tons of birds. What’s great about it is that you’re literally in the middle of the city but you feel as though you’re out in the wilderness.
Centennial Park is also a favorite; the Parthenon is there and there always seems to be something going on. Children will love feeding the ducks by the lake. There are even swans sometimes, but I would keep the kids away from them – they’ve got bad tempers! 😉
I also have a couple of things to add to what your guest had to say about the Opryland hotel. It’s fun to wander around at anytime of year, but if you come in the Christmas season, they have a light display that’s fantastic. There’s also a riverboat that runs between the dock there by the hotel and Riverfront Park downtown. Riverfront Park is near all the interesting venues downtown including the Wildhorse Saloon which anyone who likes country linedancing will want to visit.
The Vanderbilt area is nice, with Hillsboro Village running along one side of the campus. The campus itself is beautiful and the village is fun to walk through. The Pancake Pantry is there, as your guest mentioned, but I would recommend Pizza Perfect. It’s been voted best pizza in Nashville many times, and in my opinion lives up to the promise! Barbecue is also big in Nashville – I recommend Hog Heaven by Centennial Park; great barbecue and you can eat in the park.
Cheekwood has lovely gardens and changing exhibits throughout the year; I used to love their Christmas tree displays during the holidays. The kids will also love the Adventure Science Center; they’ve got a planetarium and all sorts of fun stuff for kids to do.
A great da ytrip from Nashville would be to go down to Sewanee; it’s about 90 miles away but definitely worth the journey. Your guest compared the landscape in Nashville to England; that’s true in the west but towards the east it’s all Scottish highlands and going up Sewanee/Monteagle mountain is a great
example of that! The university campus is absolutely gorgeous. There’s a summer music program which is an opportunity to hear some really fantastic music played by young musicians. It’s cooler up on the mountain than in Nashville, which can be an important consideration in July and August!
Anyone interested in the Civil War and the Antebellum south will find plenty to do in Nashville. Besides the battlegrounds, there’s Belle Meade Plantation, Traveller’s Rest, and of course Andrew Jackson’s home Hermitage.
My final recommendation for anyone coming to Nashville would be to pick up a copy of the Nashville Scene as soon after arriving as you can. It’s a free weekly paper and is the best way to find out what’s going on. It’s even more fun if you visit when they’re doing the yearly ‘you’re so Nashville if…’!