Nashville Music City, USA
Considering your next vacation? Planning a group reunion or convention? Why not head south to the great state of Tennessee? When it comes to music, entertainment and fun, Nashville is a top tourist destination worldwide.
How do I get there?
Southwest offers great prices on airfare. You can arrive in less than four hours, compared to an 18-hour drive from the Capital Region.
Once there, you’ll want to rent a car, to see and do as much as time will allow. Sure, you might get lost, but Tennesseans have the reputation for genuine friendliness.
When should I go?
Spring: March through May. Daytime highs average 61-77. Even before March, Tennessee’s state flower, the iris, is first to welcome springtime. Although April is the rainiest month, conditions vary.
Summer: Temps average 80s-90s, with high humidity; more bearable than you think, because central air is prevalent indoors.
Fall: September through November. Daytime highs average upper 70s until November, which still has moderate weather conditions. This is a favorite season for people who love a lingering Indian summer.
Winter: December through February. Daytime highs average 35-45. However, it can dip into the teens and single digits, too. In Middle Tennessee, light snow accumulation is most often swept, not shoveled. How much precipitation? Even minimal amounts of ice, sleet and snow can create havoc on the roads.
How did Tennessee, our 16th state of the union, get its’ name? It was derived from the Cherokee village, Tansai. Middle Tennessee was once a hunting ground for Chickasaw, Shawnee and Cherokee Indians.
In 1710, French fur traders were the first Europeans to arrive, establishing trading posts in the dense woods. By the late 1700s, word spread to the Carolinas that this region was a prime settlement area. A group of pioneers led by James Robertson arrived at what we now know as Nashville. They settled in cabins along the Cumberland River and christened the area Fort Nashborough after the American Revolution general, Francis Nash.
Nashville became the permanent state capital in 1843 and transformed into a busy river port, shipping cotton. All the qualities that made Nashville experience growth made it the strategic location during the Civil War. The railroads and river made the efforts of Union Troops most effective between 1861 and 1864.
After the war, Nashville became a leader in the printing industry. Most significantly, it earned prestige in the advancement of academics. Both Vanderbilt and Fisk Universities were established in 1873. When Nashville approached its’ 100th anniversary in 1895, a full scale replica of the Greek Parthenon was built to commemorate the occasion. Greek revival architecture became a distinct style associated with this era, making Nashville known as “Athens of the South”.
The Beautiful Tennessee Waltz
Early on, Nashville was destined to make a difference in the world, using the universal appeal of music. Even local Davy Crockett played his fiddle from Nashville all the way to the Alamo.
Since 1925, The Grand Ole Opry has been the longest running live radio show in the country. While being aired on WSM Radio each weekend, entertainers perform at the Opry before a live audience. Traditional country and blue grass legends, as well as the biggest names in county music today, make the show exciting and unique. If you visit Nashville, advance purchase of tickets will ensure your admission. For more information visit www.grandoleopry.com.
Where can you walk among nine acres of indoor gardens and lush waterfalls, take passage on a Delta flatboat floating along an indoor river, then go to your hotel room? It’s an exclusive experience at Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Even with 2,881 rooms and suites, the massive hotel and convention center sells out frequently. Each November and December, the property celebrates “Country Christmas”. Spectacular holiday decorations, dinner show packages and festive music make this an unforgettable holiday event for everyone in the family. Visit www.christmasatgaylordopryland.com.
Opry Mills – Now that’s “shoppertainment!” This is what happens when you combine over 200 stores with restaurants, several entertainment venues and a movie theater complex that includes an I-max theater.
Visit the massive Bass Pro-Shop, complete with a fresh-water tank full of fish. Remember that famous group, Alabama? Take a lunch break in the Alabama Bar and Grill. Born to be wild? Test your skills in a NASCAR racing simulator.
Warning: If you stop to watch the bakers preparing desserts in the window of the Apple Barn, the fresh smell of cinnamon and apples will pull you through the door like a vortex. You may want to stall the kids with a bribe to have lunch at Rainforest Caf, if they agree to let you shop ’til you drop! Reward their efforts and take them by Stingray Reef, where they can feed and pet real stingrays in a shallow pool. Yes, it’s all in the mall!
Relive the history of America’s 7th US president, Andrew Jackson, at The Hermitage. Tour the mansion and museum (www.thehermitage.com). Visit the grave, where nearly 10,000 people paid their respects in 1845.
James J. Polk, 11th US president, is buried on the grounds of the State Capitol Building in Nashville.
Andrew Johnson, 17th president is buried in Greenville, Tennessee.
Famous residents seen and heard
The late great Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash
The late Conway Twitty
Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban
Vince Gill & Amy Grant
Miley Cyrus – AKA Hannah Montana
Lee Greenwood, Willie Nelson, Shania Twain, Reese Witherspoon, Reba McIntire, Hank Williams, Crystal Gayle, Michael W Smith and lots more.
Nashville was once my home, too. Although not famous, I’m blessed with 14 wonderful years of living in Music City USA. For more information visit www.visitmusiccity.com.
Linda McClain, CTA, is owner of Capital Region based Linda McClain Travel Services “From The Islands To The Highlands, No Dream Is Too Far From Here!” For more information call 372.7657 or visit www.lindamcclaintravel.net. I invite you to contact me for travel assistance to your favorite travel destination.