Day 5 (continued): Nashville
We arrived in town absolutely starving so we headed straight to lunch before even dropping our bags at the hotel. When we pulled up to Hattie B’s Hot Chicken and saw the line down the street the boys were ready to bail. BUT, we rallied them and got ourselves in the queue right away.
The line moved rather quickly and Honey popped in to get us drinks while we waited. Before we knew it we were inside! Having time to see what everyone else in the restaurant seemed to be ordering, we knew by the time we got to the register that we were all having the Tenders plate done “mild”.
Oh.My.Goodness. it was all SOOOO amazing!! This was our number one meal in the state of Tennessee!! We loved our chicken and literally swooned over the pimento mac & cheese and homemade cole slaw. The sweet tea and lemonade were both PERFECT. And, on a whim, we ended our meal with the banana pudding. It was the very best I’ve had outside of Back in the Day Bakery in Savannah. I really cannot convey how much we loved this meal. We do have a Hattie B’s coming to Atlanta soon and we can’t wait to see how it compares.
We relaxed for the rest of the afternoon at our hotel (the Hermitage… more on that tomorrow) before heading out to our big night at the Grand Ole Opry!
Seeing a show at the Opry has been something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was little and listened to their broadcast on the radio. Visiting country music’s most famous stage and seeing the performers in that famous “circle” was surreal! It was a wonderful show with stars from all decades and genres of country music.
John Conlee kicked off the show. I loved that he ended with Rose Colored Glasses. If you aren’t a country music fan, this song is about as old as me :-)
Caitlyn Smith was new to me but I loved her This Town is Killing Me song. She has composed songs for and with everyone from Dolly Parton to Garth Brooks to Meghan Trainor, and it was really awesome to see her excitement to take the Opry stage herself, performing her own songs.
Comedian Henry Cho was absolutely hysterical. Honey and I could really identify with his season in life (marriage, kids, work, balancing it all) and thoroughly enjoyed him.
Eason Corbin was the “headliner” for me. I think he’s adorable, enjoy his music and feel like he kind of embodies new country.
After intermission, Jeannie Seely took the stage. She’s another old country star. I wasn’t familiar with her at all.
Dailey & Vincent were next up and man, we really enjoyed them. They had such a fun mix of bluegrass and gospel and absolutely incredible voices. I even won a signed CD during the show after posting a pic to Instagram!
Finally, our show wrapped up with the incredibly energetic and FUN Chris Janson. I did know him going in after his big “Buy Me a Boat” hit. He was amazing on the harmonica and inspired Whit to buy his own :-)
Speaking of Whit, he was enthralled by the show. We had front and center balcony seats and he sat like this the entire time that he wasn’t clapping or foot stomping or singing along.
We had a wonderful and memorable night at the Opry. We purchased our tickets six months in advance in order to get these amazing seats and I would recommend doing so. The place was sold out! I know that my best chance at having the boys engaged (and thus ensuring a FUN night for the adults) was making sure they could see. We had no clue who we would even see when we bought the tickets, which was kind of a lot of fun.
Day 6: Nashville
We started our sixth day bright and early in The Gulch part of town. Our first stop was breakfast at Biscuit Love. We had heard that a line wrapped around the building is not unheard of, but I guess we lucked out early enough on a weekday that there were only a few people in front of us.
At the suggestion of readers on Instagram, we started with the bonuts. They were ahhh-mazing! My boys didn’t love them which was perfect. All for Honey and me :-) They DID love the biscuits, as did we. They weren’t what I was expecting but they were insanely yummy for sure.
We stumbled upon the What Lifts You angel mural while looking for the restaurant so I had to walk back that way after breakfast. One thing I noticed – and loved – about Nashville was how so many buildings were painted with impressive murals.
This is one of my favorite pictures from the whole trip. We saw so many things, ate so many things, experienced so many things on our Tour of Tennessee. It was all smiles for every mile of our adventure. <3
After breakfast we headed to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. I was really excited about this outing but I didn’t know how well it would go over with the boys. Let me just say right up front that they did a marvelous job and making the museum interactive and engaging for everyone.
Right from the get-go there were scavenger hunt guides and thought starters to help little fans understand the process of conceptualizing, writing and recording music.
With the costume scavenger hunts in hand, we were set to explore the exhibits as a family. Whit was beside himself with excitement when the first band we happened on was Zac Brown. He went to preschool with John Hopkins’ daughter Grace AND has played baseball with and swam on swim team with Jimmy De Martini’s son James. With wide eyes he said “WAIT. Hold on. Grace’s daddy and James’ daddy are… um… FAMOUS?” HAHAHAHA. Yes buddy they sure are. :-) As an aside, they act like completely normal families and you’d never know. Truly.
There is a huge variety of country music memorabilia in the museum. From costumes to instruments to boots to cars (like Elvis’ Solid Gold Cadillac) and even Hee Haw props. :-)
Throughout the museum there were interactive exhibits for the kids (and adults too). This was one of our favorite things about the experience.
We just happened to be at the museum on the day the 2017 Hall of Fame inductees were announced. There was a big press to-do and I even caught a glimpse of Alan Jackson. I can’t tell you how many years I spent boot-scootin to his tunes. :-)
Finishing up our tour of the Hall of Fame and Museum, we boarded a bus to tour the historic RCA Studio B. The only way to see the studio is in conjunction with your Country Music Hall of Fame ticket.
The studio was a short drive away and our incredibly knowledgeable and well spoken guide talked to us the whole way there. She very obviously had a deep love of country music and knew a tremendous amount about Nashville as well.
The humble little RCA Studio B was the recording home of musicians such as Elvis, Chet Atkins, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson and the Everly Brothers. Our tour started off by grounding us in its history and taking us on a walk down memory lane. As our guide pointed out highlights through the years, we would pause and listen to snippets of music from the artists themselves. Snippets recorded right there where we were standing. It was a really cool experience.
She even talked about Jerry Reed who was one of three who received the Country Music Hall of Fame nomination that very morning when we were there!
We saw some of the original recording equipment from the studio back in the 1960s and 1970s. Not only is this studio the “home of 1,000 hits”, but it also is home to countless innovations in recording practices.
At the end of our tour we got to step inside the actual Studio-B and take a seat at the original piano where so very many country music songs were played and recorded. This, in fact, was Elvis’ favorite piano. He didn’t own it, but it is said it was his favorite to play.
The “x” marked the sweet spot where the vocalist stood in order to get the perfect mix in recording.
And, at the very end, we all took seats around the small studio and our guide turned out the lights. She asked us to let ourselves be transported back in time. She turned out Elvis’ Are You Lonesome Tonight, recorded right in this very room and it sent a chill up my spine. If only these walls could talk…
Our bus delivered us back to the Country Music Hall of Fame and our final stop at the facility was the historic Hatch Show Print!
This historic letterpress print shop opened in Nashville in 1875. The golden age of Hatch ran from the 1920s-1950s and coincided with a golden era for country music as well. Located right behind the Ryman Auditorium for years, Hatch has been hand printing country music show prints for almost 100 years. But their repertoire isn’t limited to music – the shop walls are literally wallpapered in signs for everything under the sun. Hatch Show Print is now part of the Country Music Hall Fame and is located in the very same building.
This fully operational shop still designs and prints posters, food packaging, and even postage stamps. I particularly enjoyed seeing the letter pressed posters roll of the presses and learning about the process. Each of the blocks were hand carved back in the day and, since they served no purpose after the run, the owners would turn them into bookshelves and storage cabinets! When the shop moved from its original location, they unearthed all sorts of treasures literally built into the walls.
It was just the four of us on the tour and after learning about the shop we were taken to a classroom.
Our guides taught us about the history of letterpress printing and gave us a lot of insight into different projects and pieces created over the years. It was fascinating!
While Honey and I were engaged in that conversation – and it was truly more of a conversation than a lesson – the boys were given coloring books printed right there in the shop.
But the highlight of the tour was getting to make our very own prints! We rolled on the ink…
Ran our posters through the press…
And each got to take home our own print!
I loved this souvenir and can’t wait to find a place for at least one of them at home :-) There was also a fabulous retail shop of prints pressed right there in the shop. We picked out one for each of the boys to add to the gallery walls in their bedrooms. They were all inexpensive – I think the two I chose were $8 and $10 – and I LOVE that we got to bring this little piece of Nashville home with us.
I’ll pick up tomorrow with the rest of our time in Nashville, including the Wildhorse Saloon and shopping in the 12 South neighborhood.
Part 5 – a quick morning in the city
DIXIE DELIGHTS DELIVERED