As our working vacation adventure continued, our next stop was the Two Rivers Campground in Nashville, Tennessee. I thought this would be my last blog for this trip, but we did so much in Nashville, it deserved its own post!
On our way from Pigeon Forge, we were reminded that we were entering another time zone, thus arriving at our destination an hour earlier than expected! Fortunately, our site was ready, and we were able to get set up. Our site was at the back of the campground, in a corner, and quite peaceful.
When we checked in, we were told that the best way to get to downtown Nashville was by way of one of two shuttles serving the campgrounds and hotels in the area. For only $10/roundtrip per person, they deliver you right in front of the Country Music Hall of Fame and a block away from Broadway. Definitely worth it!
If you’re like us and have never been to Nashville, about the only way to describe Broadway is that it’s kind of like Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras! Sensory overload, to say the least. We were in search of a place to eat, but the options were numerous and overwhelming.
Broadway is where all the bars and restaurants are located, in approximately a five-block area. This was Sunday afternoon, and every place and sidewalk was packed with people looking for a good time drinking and listening to country music. Most every establishment had live entertainment. Mike looked at our Four Square app to see if there were any highly recommended spots. Ole Red (which we would soon learn is owned by Blake Shelton) came highly recommended, so we walked there.
Upon entering, the first thing we noticed was that there was live music. The second was that the atmosphere was not so loud that you couldn’t carry on a conversation. Perfect spot for us. We had about a half-hour wait, so we gave the hostess my cell number to text when our table was ready and headed upstairs to the rooftop deck and bar. The view was spectacular!
Once we received the text and were seated at our table, our lunchtime entertainment was J.D. Shelburne. We hadn’t heard of him, but he was very good. The food was awesome. Ole Red is known for the fried chicken and biscuits served in a Budweiser bucket, so Mike got that. I chose the hamburger and homemade tater tots. Both meals were delicious, and we would highly recommend them.
Once we were sufficiently full, we headed out into the chaos on the street. Nashville is quickly becoming the bachelor/bachelorette party capital, and we could see why! There were “party wagons”, which were bars on wheels pedaled by party-goers having a great time while a bartender served them drinks. (We later found out that these companies charge $35/person, and beverages are provided by the party participants.) The sidewalks were packed with people seeing the sights, and having a good time.
We walked a block over from the main drag and found Printers Alley, a famous alley in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, between Third and Fourth Avenues, running from Union Street to Commerce Street. The portion of the alley between Union and Church Street is the home of a nightclub district that dates back to the 1940s. The architecture of the buildings is worth the walk. We also saw the Ryman Auditorium but chose not to do the tour since we would be going to the Grand Ole Opry the next day.
We walked down along the Cumberland River to the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. Walking across this bridge, you can look back over Nashville, and also across to the Nissan Stadium, where the Tennessee Titans play. After taking photos, we headed back to the Hall of Fame to await the shuttle back to the campground.
Monday morning we decided to do the backstage tour at the Grand Ole Opry – money well spent! We truly enjoyed seeing how the show worked, the dressing rooms, and even the television studio where Hee Haw was filmed! We had our picture taken on stage in the famed six-foot wood circle that came from the original Opry stage at the Ryman. The tour guide told of how the Opry had flooded in 2010, but this section of the stage had been saved. I would highly recommend this tour, country music fan or not!
Monday afternoon, we headed back into Nashville to Marathon Village located in the old Marathon Automobile car factory building. Most notable in this space is Antique Archaeology, the retail store for the show “American Pickers.” It was a really cool shop, and we even remembered seeing some of the items from the show. Throughout the building were items from the original car factory, giving the place an even more historic feel.
Not far from this is Bicentennial Park and the Tennessee State Capitol. Just blocks from the craziness from Broadway, this is a quiet oasis in the middle of a busy city. We arrived later in the day, but if you go earlier, there is a great farmers market with parking nearby.
Tuesday morning was bike riding day. Mike found the Music City Trail, which led to the Percy Priest Dam, which we had seen on our way into town. We decided to start at Two Rivers Park, and after about three miles of going up and down, and then up hills, I decided making it to the Dam was just not in my legs that day. I told Mike to go on ahead and I made my way back to the truck. One of these “little” hills was a 10% grade! Not the flat rail trails I’m used to riding.
Mike took the obligatory photo of the dam and headed back.
We knew that just down the hill going the other direction was another bridge that crossed the Cumberland River. I’d had a sufficient amount of rest, so we headed down the hill and across the bridge. It was worth the climb on the way back.
Tuesday afternoon we spent some time at the camper relaxing the getting ready for the next day. Wednesday morning, we were off to Paducah, Kentucky! Couldn’t wait to see the National Quilt Museum! More on that next week!
Jennifer Skinnell is the author of the Hope Springs Romance Series available on her Amazon Author Page.