Sunday, March 27, 2011

Honky-Tonk Anniversary

Without even trying, I managed to stay within the city limits of Memphis for two whole months.  Good job, Memphis, for keeping me busy and keeping my finances insulated from the rising gas prices.  But when the end of February rolled around, it was time to get out of town.  We did go to a University of Tennessee women's basketball game in Mississippi, but that was only for one day, so the next weekend we packed up for a "holiday" (say in a British accent) in Nashville.  (Side note:  The Lady Vols #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament was well-deserved; they were like a machine.)   

What many people don't realize (we certainly didn't until we moved here) is that Tennessee is an extremely long state.  Memphis is located in the extreme southwest corner, while the state capital (Nashville) is over three hours away; it's another three-plus hours to the Smoky Mountains of eastern Tennessee.  That said, Nashville makes a nice weekend destination.

I had been to Nashville once before, but since we were only in town for approximately 36 hours (for a wedding), we didn't get to really explore.  We got into town late and so after checking into our Union Station hotel (thanks, military discount), we went straight to dinner to celebrate our 3rd "Second Anniversary" on March 4th.  While Jon is accountable for remembering ALL of our anniversaries, this is the main one commemorating our wedding in Bamberg.  

Our anniversary tiramisu tasted as good as it looked

We met up with a good friend the following morning for pancakes at a local hang-out.  It has quite the reputation; despite the constant rain, the line stretched out the door and around the corner.  Since this friend is originally from the Seattle area, it was only fitting that we reunited under those conditions.

Our next destination was the Parthenon.  Since Nashville is the "Athens of the South," they constructed a replica of the Greek landmark.  It was impressive...even if we didn't get the Nashville-Athens connection.

Athena, goddess of war

Our weekend trip coincided with a Teacher Rally at the Capitol, but that will be discussed in a subsequent post.  The perfect place to relax after any kind of political action is, of course, a brewery, so we dried off and warmed up at Yazoo Brewery.  However did Jon manage to find it?!?

They use only the finest ingredients

After a much-needed nap (we were on vacation after all), we connected with our friend again for a night out on Broadway, home of the Nashville honky-tonks.  We started at a BBQ joint--only slightly ironic since we were traveling from Memphis--and then hit up a couple of honky-tonks for drinks and live music.

The next morning we went to Ryman Auditorium, the "Mother Church of Country Music" and original home of the Grand Ole Opry.  I won't pretend to know a lot about country music, but I was very impressed with the history.  Apparently the acoustics of the theater, with its wooden pews, are incredible; I hope we get to go to a show there before we leave Tennessee.

First, and surprisingly only, auto-photo of the trip

On our way out of town, we "snuck" into the Opryland, Hotel.  It was quite the place; if we had stayed there, it's doubtful we would have needed to leave (which I think is their point).  I'm glad we stayed closer to downtown, though.  I'm getting spoiled by living so close to restaurants and entertainment.  I know we didn't cover everything Nashville has to offer, but it was a nice taste.  I'm sure we'll have another opportunity to check it out.

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