Aug 28

Nashville – Music and MUCH More

fla-michYou’ll see from our travel map that we hadn’t moved that far north by the time we got to Nashville … in fact; we’ve been zigzagging around the South for almost a
month! It’s been fun and we figure we’ve got plenty of time to make it to Michigan to enjoy the cooler weather and the 90th Birthday Party.

The campground we chose was located about 25 minutes east of Nashville on I-60 and our trusty GPS took us straight from there to the Visitor’s Bureau where we found nearby parking in the newly opened garage for the Convention Center. It was enormous … and almost empty! From there we could easily walk to two of the attractions.

If you’ve been avoiding Nashville because you think it’s just about Country & Western music, we think we can change your mind! The problem with Nashville is that there is SO much to do and see that making a decision is very difficult. We finally settled on two Music attractions, a Mansion and a Presidential Home. We bought a Total Access pass for $50 each which gave us entry to the four attractions (there were 16 to choose from) at a savings of $15 each. We could have saved much more had we chosen “The Redneck Comedy Bus Tour” and a “Hick Chick Tour” instead!

Grand Ole OpryWe decided to visit Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry, rather than the current venue. We were not disappointed. Built in 1892 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle, it was renamed Ryman Auditorium in 1904 in honor of the man who built it. For the next 39 years, the Ryman featured performances by the top stars of the day, including Rudolph Valentino, Katherine Hepburn, Charlie Chaplin and Bob Hope. The Ryman became known as “Carnegie Hall of the South” due to the talented performers and amazing acoustics.

From 1943–74 the Ryman was home to the Grand Ole Opry where musicians such as Patsy Cline and Hank Williams performed to a full house and helped shape the country music scene. After the Grand Ole Opry moved to its new location, the future of the Ryman was in jeopardy and there was talk about demolishing the building. Fortunately, this didn’t occur and ten years later, after a major renovation, costing $8.5 million, the Ryman Auditorium reopened in all its original glory. Named as a National Historic Landmark in 2001, the Ryman Auditorium continues to host superstars including Cold Play, Keith Urban and Sheryl Crow as well as the Grand Ole Opry during the winter months.

Hall of FameWe took a break for lunch at a burger joint and were entertained by the sounds of live C&W music then walked a couple of blocks to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This impressive building houses what must be the most comprehensive and awe-inspiring collection of C&W history and music on earth! According to the website, “The mission of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum is to identify and preserve the evolving history and traditions of country music and to educate its audiences.” In our opinion the Museum does that and more.

Inside CHF

The exhibition takes you from the folk roots of the music through its evolution in the 1960s and on to today. We were captivated by the hundreds of photographs, archival videos, original recordings and interviews with the artists that made Country and Western music what it is today. We learned how the war years impacted country music and also how the music migrated west during the Depression with those who traveled Route 66 to California. Even the C&W aficionado can learn something here! You could easily spend most of a day here so fortunately there are benches and video viewing areas along the way so you can sit for a while.

So far, so good … our two Musical choices had surpassed our expectations!


By now you’ve probably gathered that Bill checks every one of our locations for Car Collections and Events! In Nashville he found the Lane Motor Museum advertised as featuring “Unique Cars from around the World”. This “museum” is actually more a collection of one man’s passion … mostly European cars in various stages of restoration. Jeff Lane’s interest in cars started in his teens when he restored his first car – a 1955 MG TF. In 2002 he opened his collection to the public in what was the former 132,000 square-foot Sunbeam Bakery established in 1951. Lane carsSome of the original characteristics of the building remain, such as the high ceilings and hand crafted brick and maple floors and there’s plenty of space to display the cars.

The whole experience was very low key and, although you could understand the owner’s interest, the collection did not excite Bill the way others have. However, he left there with information stored in his memory banks and pictures of cars he had never seen before. No doubt along the way we’ll run into other more interesting car venues but for now it was time to continue our exploration of Nashville.






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