Saturday, July 13, 2013

Nashville
















We spent a few days visiting some relatives in Indiana before heading onward to Nashville, TN. No one in my family is a big country fan but none of us had ever been before, so off we went to the City of Music. The city itself is an odd mish-mash of urban/downtown/big city with a definite country feel. The very air breathed of music - there was hardly a building we passed that wasn't either playing country music or had a musician playing country music, even in the morning. Broadway Street, the main tourist destination, in particular was full of guitar twangs and cowboy boots.

We arrived on Sunday and visited the Gaylord Opryland Resort that evening. It's fairly new - it was built in the 1990s after the Opryland amusement park was torn down. The resort covers the entire area that the park was in, so it's a massive building (picture all of Disney's MGM Studios contained in a single building). It was a bit like Disney World on the inside as well - there was a river running through it with boat rides, various levels of walkways that housed shops and restaurants, waterfalls, gardens, pavilions - it was insane. Unfortunately I didn't take my camera with me so I don't have any pictures, but if you google it, you'll get an idea of how amazing this place is.

Throughout the week, we visited the top Nashville tourist spots:

  • Country Music Hall of Fame - I'm not a country music fan so I didn't know who most of the people memorialised were. But it was still a cool experience seeing how the genre has impacted the entertainment world. My favourite part was the Carrie Underwood exhibition, which housed all her outfits from her Blown Away Tour last year.
  • Ryman Auditorium - I was pretty excited to visit this place because I actually knew what it was before going - my favourite Robert Earl Keen album was recorded there. The venue has an amazing history and I'd love to see a show there someday.
  • Parthenon - It wasn't quite what I was expecting... All my knowledge of it came from watching Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief, so I was surprised to find that the real statue of Athena looked nothing like the one in the movie. Other than that, it was a cool place to visit.
  • Opry House - This was tied with the Ryman as my favourite place we visited because we took the backstage tour. I've never been backstage at a venue before, so I was geeking out over the dressing rooms and studios.
  • Belle Meade Plantation - I had never heard of this place until we went, but I enjoy history so it was a fun place to visit. The plantation raised thoroughbred horses in the 1800s and so wasn't much affected by the Civil War. Many of the original house items were still there and our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable, so overall I enjoyed it.

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