Monday, August 9, 2010

Off to Nashville for a great weekend

Kathy has been working in Nashville for two years.  Her husband, Kenn, and I have been best friends since 1958 and he is retired, spending about half his time in Nashville, while keeping the home place in Westfield, MA going.  Kathy is ending her job in Nashville, and moving back next weekend, so this would be our last time to see K&K while they are in the South.  We went down on Aug 6, came back Aug 8, and had a great weekend with them, and touring Nashville, as well as spending time in the city by ourselves.

On Friday, Kathy was working, so Kenn took us downtown to Centennial Park, where there is an exact, full-sized replica of the Parthenon in Athens.  Nashville is known as the "Athens of the South", so it's appropriate.  We toured the building and its enclosed art museum, noting they had, among others, a Winslow Homer there (y'all can take the boy out of Maine, but y'all can't take Maine out of the boy)!

Then we did a driving tour of the southern suburbs of Nashville, the "ritzy" neighborhood, and past homes of many country music stars.  Such beautiful homes, and such woodland preserved only a few miles from downtown Nashville, a city of nearly 500,000 people.

We picked Kathy up at work, then went out for dinner at a little hole-in-the-wall place called "The Yellow Porch."  It was one of the best meals I've ever had.  I ordered the pompano, a southern whitefish, which was sweet, tender, flaky, and mild.  Never had it before, but I hope I can have it again.

After dinner, we went back to their apartment, and headed for bed.  The next day was going to be a touristy one.

On Saturday, we went into town, drove in by the Franklin Pike, lined on both sides with multi-million dollar homes.  We parked in Bicentennial Park and walked around before it got really hot.  In the floods of May, this whole area was under water, and even in August, repairs are still being made.

They took us to Big River Grill and Brewing Works for lunch, which was very good, reasonable prices, and substantial quantity.  Whoa, seems all we do when we travel is EAT!  Well, YEAH~!

After lunch, we said our good-byes, and began wandering all over downtown Nashville.  We'd been there before, in 2004 I think, but this time, after having Kenn take us around town, we felt we had a better feel of where things were.  We wandered down by the Cumberland River, looked over LP Field, home of the football Tennessee Titans, then up along First Street, turned left, and left again down Second Street, and browsed the touristy shops.  Then it was right on Broadway, which has more bars and music clubs than anyplace else on earth!

We wandered into a couple of them, and actually had a beer or two, before heading for Legends Corner, THE country singer's launch pad, so to speak.  Nearly everyone who is famous in any form of country music got a start here, or sang here.  I've never heard so many good voices as I did this weekend.  The Stage on Broadway was another great country bar.  In some bars, the music is just too loud for my aging ears, but Legends and The Stage were just fine.

We passed the Ryman Auditorium, original home of the Grand Ole Opry, and still a hopping musical venue.  We passed by right as a Kris Kristofferson concert was ending.  Too bad we didn't have tickets though.

After being sure we were able to drive, we headed out of town to our motel, about 5 miles north.  We checked in, relaxed awhile, then headed back into town to OUR favorite restaurant -- Demo's.  It's rated #4 of all the 785 restaurants in Nashville.

While waiting, we stopped at the bar for a drink.  The bartender was a delight, and we could have spent all evening just talking with her.  But alas, our table was ready, so off we went to enjoy some of the best steaks in Nashville.  Erin, our server, was also a delight, friendly, attentive, yet unobtrusive.  I ordered the Kansas City Strip Steak, and Barry ordered the huge Ribeye.  Neither of us were disappointed -- as with the last time we were in Demos.

After dinner, we wandered around Broadway some more, stopped into a few more country venues, and in general had a great time.  The high temps of the day had moderated, and it was just comfortably warm this evening.  We went back to the motel, having enjoyed Nashville to the fullest, considering the time we had there.

And to realize it's only about 3 hours away, about from Waterville to Boston.  We WILL go back.

After we go to Cincinnati.

And Key West.

And ???