Monday, May 15, 2006

The home of Country

Another bright and early morning, getting ready to spend the day in and around Nashville. Today starts out with Andrew and I exploring Clarksville waiting for Rebekah to get done with work so we can all go down to Nashville. We checked out various parts around Clarksville and visited a rather excellent museum that had a little of everything in it. Of course, the kids exploration area seemed to be the most fun we had, rolling balls along these roller-coaster type tracks, then playing with bubbles. Sometimes it's the simple things. :)

After lunch at Chick-fil-A we met up with Rebekah and headed down to Nashville. Nashville adventures began with the ginormous Opryland Hotel. We parked and walked in like we owned the place, the only way to visit a hotel you're not staying at and not get crazy looks from people. :) First of all, you stick a casino in the basement of this place and it would fit in perfectly on the Las Vegas Strip. Atriums everywhere under huge glass ceilings, waterfalls and rivers through the walkways, and unmistakable southern style. It was pretty hip (and gets quite the photo
dedication in my album).

Following that we got the driving tour of Nashville, driving by the Grand Ole Opry (which is right next to the Opryland Hotel), traversing music row where many of the big record albums are housed, and visiting the Parthenon.

Yes, the Parthenon... straight from Greece to Nashville. Someone had the bright idea to build an exact scale replica of the Parthenon right in Nashville, Tennessee. Why? You know, as much as I read all of the signs and historic information as I was walking around, nobody seemed to answer that simple question. I think the answer is an equally vague: "Why not?" After the Parthenon we dropped over to the Tennessee Capitol area of Nashville and checked out the capitol mall grounds and such. Nice, scenic, but the most interesting part was probably the 95-piece carillon that is at the far end of the mall. This supposedly plays "famous Tennessee songs" every hour on the hour, though we never were able to hear what it sounded like. Surely it was most excellent if it actually played.

Enough sightseeing, time to head downtown. We made it down to 2nd Avenue and Broadway, the music centers of Nashville. Had dinner at a brewery/restaurant that reminded me a lot of the Ram or Rock Bottom, but the food tasted much better. :) Being in the South, I had the obligatory chicken and ribs, which was quite tasty indeed. At least quite a bit tastier than I think I've had in recent memory back home in Seattle. But I also admit, I don't often go around craving barbeque in Seattle. But I digress... after dinner the nightlife of the clubs was starting to pick up, with quite literally live music coming out of every doorway along the street, from the restaurants, to the clubs, to even the ice cream parlor. We dropped by the Nashville Crossroads which is a smallish bar down on Broadway (supposedly pseudo-famous, though I am no country music afficianado, so don't ask me). A country group was playing there, playing a lot of music. Such as I don't regularly listen to country music, I knew few of the songs they were playing, but the music was still good. After an hour or so we hopped down to the ice cream parlor down the street, and had ice cream while listening to a solo guitar singer, who was also quite entertaining. We didn't stay out too late considering we had about an hour drive back to Clarksville, then had to get up early to get on the road again in the morning. Nashville was definitely the only city I came across that actually had things happening after about 5PM... I guess that means something.

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