I remember the day Roy Orbison died. I was riding in my dad’s little red Toyota truck. Tan vinyl interior. Windows ya had to crank. Stick shift. No air conditioning. It had a radio though, and over that radio came the news. I was only eight years old but I remember it making my dad sad.
The soundtrack of my childhood was made up of every record my dad owned, and he played them a lot. Willie Nelson. Merle Haggard. Charlie Pride. Tom T. Hall. Patsy Cline. Loretta Lynn. Johnny Cash. George Jones. Waylon Jennings. Roy Orbison. Their songs, those voices, take me right back to my roots and are like a warm blanket around my shoulders.
We spent this past weekend in Nashville. It was not my first time to the city, but it was my first time downtown. My first time to take in the sights and sounds of Music City. The first time I got to stand in those sacred spots those country music icons stood. And, it was our first time away from our kids for a full weekend in the history of our eleven year marriage. It was long overdue.
My husband and I, along with our good friends, who we simply refer to as “the neighbors” since they live right next door to us, headed down on Friday morning and arrived at the Gaylord Opryland Resort that afternoon. It’s just over a five hour drive from our house. If you have not stayed at that place before, DO IT. It is overwhelming, in all the best ways.
So. Many. Plants. Especially in the Garden Conservatory area. You feel like you are in the middle of the jungle. A very safe and happy jungle. With no wildlife that could jump out and attack you. Oh and lots of little nooks and crannies to grab a drink, or appetizer or full on meal. The Cascade area has waterfalls, inside, so there’s that fun and amazing feature too. There’s also shopping, a boat ride, miles of pathways and bridges to explore. And the lights. That place, at night, an absolute fairy tale.
Friday night we ate at the the Jack Daniels restaurant at the resort. Cozy atmosphere. Delicious fried pickles. Warm, buttery rolls. Cheeseburger was good. Ribs were excellent. We stopped in that same place the following night, super late, but just got the pickles and ribs that time for “dinner” and added the Mississippi Mud Pie for dessert. That did not disappoint.
We all like the show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, so on Saturday we went to Martin’s Bar-B-Que in downtown Nashville for lunch. Scott and I got the Redneck Taco. Basically a cornbread pancake, called a hoecake, is topped with their pulled pork and then coleslaw on top of that. Favorite meal of the whole trip and totally worth standing in a little bit of a line for. Plus, my mom’s maiden name was Martin and that whole family LOVES a good bar-b-que joint, so I felt right at home.
After lunch we headed to Broadway Street. I was not prepared for that. People. People everywhere. Packed on the sidewalks. Packed in the bars. I am a people person. The epitome of an extrovert. That was overwhelming even to me. We stopped in a few bars, grabbed drinks, listened to music. We ended up spending the evening at Wildhorse Saloon. Great band, huge dance floor and a super fun atmosphere without feeling suffocated and claustrophobic.
The highlight of the entire trip for me though, was the heart and soul of Nasville itself. The Mother Church of Country Music. The Ryman Auditorium. We took the self-guided tour and it was worth every penny of the $24.95 (each) that we spent. Oh the history. The pews. The stained glass. The wood floors. The stage. The music. The place where all of those legends I listened to as a little girl, have stood and sang. My only regret is that we didn’t get to watch a show. Next time.
We loved our weekend in Nashville. We loved the food. The company. The music. We loved the atmosphere, even if it was a little too peopley at times. We loved, after a long day of walking, loud music and all those people, stepping back into the oasis of the Opryland Resort. The sound of the waterfalls. The twinkling lights. It was a perfect little get-away. Grateful for it and can’t wait to go back. So many things still on the to do list!
As always, thanks for reading!