I was on a self-planned road trip, driving mainly up the East coast of the USA, and after stops in Miami, Orlando, Savannah and Charleston, we had started to venture in land, visiting the city of Atlanta, Georgia and were now heading for a 2-night stop in Nashville, Tennessee.
I’d been a fan of Nashville ever since our brief stop in Nashville on my coast to coast Trek America Southern States tour. That time, a winter storm had delayed our arrival in the city giving us just a couple of hours to explore before line dancing the night away.
My second visit, also part of a Trek America tour, this time of the Deep South, had given me a bit more time in the city – enough to briefly stop by the famous Blue Bird Cafe, visit Nashville’s Farmer’s Market and spend the afternoon at the Country Music Hall of Fame before our night out on Broadway but one night was again not long enough and there were still things I wanted to do and see there.
Leaving our overnight motel in Alabama state, we crossed the border into the state of Tennessee and drove towards our first stop of the day in the city of Lynchburg, home of the Jack Daniels Distillery.
The distillery offers various tours all offering slightly different extras depending on how much time you have to spend, how much you want to pay and how much you like Jack Daniels!!
We opted for the most basic option, a guided tour which took about an hour. The tour talked through the history of the drink and the factory and gave us an insight into the distillery process.
After our tour, we walked the short distance to Lynchburg Square, having dinner at one of the diners before continuing our journey to Nashville.
Our stay in the city happened to fall on a busy event weekend meaning many of the city hotels were sold out or out of our price range.
We had been forced to split our stay across 2 hotels, spending our first night at the Clarion, just outside of the main city but with a free regular shuttle service offered to Broadway and back. After arriving late afternoon, we got ready for a night out before catching the shuttle into the city and heading straight to our favourite Nashville venue, The Wild Horse Saloon.
Here, we had dinner while enjoying the live country music then line-danced the night away, not leaving until the early hours. As the hotel shuttle was no longer running by the time we left the venue, we had to get an Uber back to the hotel but we managed to find some wifi and order one without too many problems.
The next morning, we checked out of the Clarion ready to move to our second hotel near the Grand Old Opry, but first, we planned to spend a bit more time in the city and after catching the shuttle back in, we took a walk along the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, enjoying the views over the Cumberland River and the city.
Then, we strolled along Broadway before taking a self-guided tour of the Ryman Auditorium, a famous country music venue.
While my knowledge of country music is basic at best, it is a genre I’ve become a lot more familiar with the more I’ve travelled in the USA and as I’d recently watched the Nashville TV show, it was interesting to look around one of the venues frequently mentioned featured in the show.
After our tour, we had a bit of time to spare before the next shuttle back to our hotel left so we decided to pay a fleeting visit back to the Wild Horse Saloon as it was open for line-dancing all afternoon and free to enter.
We went straight to the floor to line dance to a couple of songs one last time then left to get back to our hotel and pick up our luggage, driving out towards the Grand Ole Opry for our second night in the city.
We had a tour of the iconic country music venue booked for that afternoon so after checking in to our motel, we took a stroll across to the grounds. Situated on a large entertainment complex with a mall, cinema, restaurants and a huge nearby luxury hotel, it took a while to find where we needed to be to check in for our tour. After exchanging our confirmation emails for timed entry tickets, we took photos in the ground while we waited for our group to be called and were then taken through the backstage corridors and rooms of the theatre before walking out into the auditorium where the weekly Grand Ole Opry Show takes place.
Despite being just a casual country music fan and not even recognising the names of some of the many artists mentioned along the way, the tour was still interesting and I was glad to finally tick it off my Nashville ‘to do’ list!
After our tour, we wandered back to our motel, later walking to the nearby Cracker Barrel for dinner.
It had been another fun trip to Nashville. The city has a great atmosphere about it and I always leave wanting more. But the next morning it was time to move on once again as we got back on the road to our next stop in Tennessee state, Gatlinburg for a trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park!