Two weekends ago the Hubs and I took a quick trip to Nashville for his birthday. I mentioned wanting to take a weekend trip for his birthday (on me of course) since we don’t get to do any fun vacations out of town until we go to New Zealand and Australia in October. All but one day of my alloted vacation time has been spoken for through the end of the year, so we had to chose somewhere relatively close that we could drive to after work on Friday. That meant places like Nashville, Memphis, Kansas City or Chicago. He nixed Memphis and KC instantly, and wanted to see a concert in one of the other two cities that were still up in the air. So when I saw that Band of Horses were going to be playing at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, it was settled.
Turns out we picked quite the weekend to go—hotel prices were all sorts of jacked up (thank goodness for hotel rewards points!). After doing some research, I found out that the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half was that weekend (and the starting line just so happen to be a block from the hotel we ended up staying at), along with a Jimmy Buffet concert downtown the same night as our show. Talk about a busy weekend to go down. Oh, and a rainy weekend—it seriously rained almost the whole weekend.
Friday night we went downtown and were originally going to meet up with a couple of my friends that happen to be in Nashville that same weekend for a wedding, but after several cab company fails, they weren’t able to make it downtown. So the Hubs and I just walked along the strips there and went in to a few of the honky tonk bars. I’m normally not much for bar hopping, but I actually had a fun time that night. We started at the Full Moon Saloon, moved to the Whiskey Bent Saloon and ended the night at The Second Fiddle. Each bar had their own band playing a variety of country and classic rock. People watching was great at the last two places.
Saturday morning we drove an hour and half south to Lynchburg to visit the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. I think this was a highlight of the trip for both of us. Lynchburg only has roughly 300 people living there and it felt like the town was basically surviving off tourism from the distillery. It’s a cute, little town though. And the few people we talked to were very nice and seemed welcoming. We signed up for the tasting tour at the distillery and had just over and hour to kill so we walked across a footbridge that connects the distillery to the town square to explore a bit. The town square had a few places to eat, a Harley Davidson, a huge JD gift shop and a few other shops.
The distillery tour was actually pretty interesting. It was like taking the tour at the Budweiser Brewery, but better. It wasn’t as rushed, we got to learn more history behind the company and name, and of course how the whiskey is made. We even got to smell the whiskey at different stages (the sour mash stage isn’t the best thing to smell when you’re recovering from going out the night before), see the cave spring water source used to make the whiskey, barrel houses, and then taste different whiskeys at the end. We actually tasted the whiskey and went over each of the three’s color, smell and flavor profiles like you would with wine. I had never even though to do that with whiskey, so that was neat.
Pictures weren’t allowed inside any of the buildings, but check out these black trees around the distillery. Apparently there’s a type of mold that clings to some of the trees, plants and buildings. It didn’t seem to harm anything from the outside, but it was odd to see black bushes with green leaves and flowers.
We headed back to Nashville early afternoon and had a dry spot between rain/storm systems so we made a pit stop in Centennial Park by our hotel to see the Parthenon. It’s a replica of the one in Greece—it was pretty sweet. And huge.
Saturday night we hailed a cab downtown, and holy cow it was busy. Between the Band of Horses concert, the Jimmy Buffet concert and another free concert/festival going on in the middle of Broadway, there were tons and tons of people. We headed straight for the Ryman Auditorium so we could take a look around before the show. It’s such a neat venue. We ended up having an obstructed view thanks to a support pillar, which we were upset about because there wasn’t a note about the obstructed views when we bought the tickets. Oh well…we were still able to see enough of the show.
After the show is when our night got interesting… To make a long story short: being outside + downpour rain/storm (complete with thunder and lightning) + all bars were to their max capacity + started walking out of downtown after not being able to get a cab for over an hour. Even though I had an umbrella and Tim had his rain jacket on, we were soaked. We were eventually picked up by a cab just a few blocks out of downtown, and it had stopped raining at that point. We were originally planning on going to a bar or two in the Vanderbilt area, but after that whole fiasco we just went back to the hotel. Bummer.
We ended the weekend on a high note with great food at Fido (though the amount of time we waited in line to order was a bit ridiculous), which is where we stopped for brunch before leaving town Sunday. We would love to go back with some friends, but perhaps on a less busy weekend. Any takers? Chelsea? 🙂