Nashville had some big shoes to fill in this mind of mine.
I envisioned a place with the best kind of food that tasted like it took days to cook, people who oozed good manners with “yes m’aam” and “yessir” rolling off their tongues, and being able to live out my dream of being surrounded by everything country.
And boy was I was right.
We headed into town for five days to visit family and do some sightseeing. Fox decided to get his second tooth on the airplane ride there (unbelievable!) and all hell broke loose. It’s a special kind of hell when your kid won’t stop crying and the seat belt sign just won’t turn off. Experienced flight attendants usually take that as a cue to swing by and slip a tiny bottle of liquor or cold can of beer into our hands with a wink and a smile. They know what’s up.
Unfortunately people tend to frown upon partying it up while your child is losing his gourd on your lap, so most of those tokens of pity fall to the wayside as we try and figure out the exact rhythm Fox is requesting to be bounced at, whether or not he wants us to make eye contact, or if he hates his favorite toy at the moment or can’t live without it. Babies are weird.
Luckily he is cute and we didn’t get a single eyeball, only smiles. Regardless, I’m not even going to pretend that flight went well.
The next day we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame. But first let me mention that I turned into Alex Mack (’90s TV, anyone?) on the street out front first.
Taylor Swift played two shows in Nashville and her 9+ trailers lined the street. Fox and I fangirled (and boyed) on corner for longer than I’d like to admit and then walked inside where we realized this museum really loves TS too.
Later on I found out that one of Taylor’s surprise guests was Mick Jagger. At this point I was not a puddle on the sidewalk, I was the sidewalk. Mine and Tyler’s first dance at our wedding was to Moonlight Mile by the Rolling Stones. I first heard the song watching the movie Moonlight Mile starring Ellen Pompeo. Ellen Pompeo plays Dr. Meredith Grey in Grey’s Anatomy. Taylor Swift has a cat named Dr. Meredith Gray. So Taylor Swift and I are basically sisters. Is that how that works?
Somehow I feel like my whole post about my Nashville trip just turned into an article about Taylor Swift. Moving on.
The Country Music Hall of Fame was filled with a lot of memorabilia that mostly included a lot of shiny things like awards, cars, and sequins. But it also contained a lot of damn good music. I know I’m considered a “yankee” by New York default, but I have to admit that country music is my favorite genre ever.
I’m late to the game and a bit embarrassed to admit that it took flipping channels the summer before my freshman year of high school and stopping dead when I saw some pretty blue eyes on CMT to get me into country music. It was Blake Shelton singing “Austin” and I haven’t stopped listening to country music ever since.
This place has one of the coolest interactive exhibits I’ve seen. You participate in a series of trivia questions and tasks in order to “go gold” and create your own album. You can record and take your own album cover photo. Here’s Fox’s:
Can you handle it? Because I can’t. Such a ham!
Here’s Goo and Papa recording together:
Still teething. Yay.
Then Fox and Tyler went down his first slide ever. He’s very excited as you can tell. I’ve never seen a child so emotionless going flying down a piece of playground equipment made to look like a guitar in my life.
Afterwards we went to Hatch Show Print and stopped for fried pickles and fried green tomatoes.
The rest of the trip flew by. Fox refuses naps while we are out and would only sleep in the car for 10-20 minute stretches. We figured out halfway through the trip that we were just going to have to deal with driving to a fast food place and eating while the baby slept. Tyler got his fill of Zaxby’s so he was a-okay.
We spent a great deal of time with family, but when we headed out sightseeing we tried to do as much as possible.
We went to Andrew Jackson’s former home, The Hermitage, and took the tour where a series of guides in period clothing asked to hold him. Guys, everyone in the South wants to hold babies ALL. THE. TIME. And these people just happened to be on a plantation wearing clothes fashioned to look like they were from the early 1800s.
We also headed to Belle Meade, another plantation, where we skipped the tour and instead picnicked in the Groom’s Garden out back. By picnicked I actually mean that we ate a whole block of cheese and some apple cinnamon baby puffs. We are so fancy!
The Johnny Cash Museum had so many neat things inside and across the street we found the Goo Goo Shop that sells the famous chocolate treat. We stopped in since Fox’s nickname is Goo but walked out with a new favorite confection.
Then we bee-lined it to Third Man Records, Jack White’s record store. I should mention that back in 2010 I went to Lollapalooza in Chicago and on my way to the park I saw Jack White standing outside of his hotel. He was ethereal. He had a very tall hat on and his skin was so porcelain it looked holographic. I don’t know why, but he sure was fascinating!
We decided that this would be where Fox got his first record. We chose a 45 of Johnny Cash. And then we left it in the rental car and realized when we got to our gate (and paid a fortune to get it back). The girls at the counter of Third Man Records were so sweet and gave Fox a care package filled with a puzzle, coloring book and crayons, and stickers.
Our last two stops were Antique Archaeology, one of the shops owned by the American Pickers guys, and the Gaylord Opryland Resort for lunch and strolling.
We did so many other neat things on the trip that I did not note – I am truly only scraping the surface of the awesomeness we experienced in Nashville.
Have you ever been? What was your experience there?