I tried posting with my i-pad but didn’t have any luck. So here is what happened.
I’m not a big sports fan. I like individual sports teams, usually local or college teams. Wooooo Pig. Sooooie! Goo Lady Bears! It wasn’t until the day before we left for Nashville that I found out the NFL draft was in Nashville the same time we would be. Oops. Fortunately we’d made reservations for the hotel and had our tickets to the Gatlin Brothers at the Ryman. The only real issue would be traffic and parking.
It was raining when we left Willard (cue country music background). Uneventful trip and check in at motel. Wednesday we toured the Carnton house and the adjoining Confederate cemetery, as well as the Carter house. This battle could have been avoided and included a charge even larger than Pickett’s charge at Gettysburg. 10,000 casualties were the final result. After all the touring and listening to stories of the families involved during and after the battle we ate at South 55. I had their Memphis hot chicken sandwich. It was almost too spicy but I managed to eat it all. My dad said it was the best chicken sandwich he ever had.
Thursday morning we headed to Nashville. The area around the Nissan Arena (where the NFL draft was happening that evening) was blocked to traffic for several blocks in each direction. We found a parking garage near the Ryman and paid the $30 event fee to be there all day. There were big screen TV’s everywhere and bands playing in almost every establishment. Fans were dressed to show their team pride. Not quite Mardi Gras but a similar atmosphere. We checked out the Johnny Cash museum. Did you know Leonard Nimoy sang “walk the line” ? You can check it out on you tube. There was a whole wall of famous people who recorded their versions of Johnny Cash songs. We ate a sandwich and the coffee bar inside the Johnny Cash museum. For dessert Dennis and I shared a GooGoo Cluster. They were advertised on the Grand Ole Opry back when Dennis watched it on TV. They started making the candy in 1912. GooGoo clusters are also good. Next we went to the Patsy Cline Museum Also fun but not as large as the Johnny Cash museum and was very personal. We then spent several hours at the Country Music Hall of fame before ending the evening at the Ryman Theater. The Gatlin brothers were good, but Ashley Campbell was amazing. She’s the daughter of Glen Campbell and my first thought was she was up there on her daddy’s name. I was wrong. The show opened with Tony Jackson in his first time at the Ryman. I’d never heard of him before but I bet everyone will soon know his name.
We finished up the backstage tour just as the fireworks were going off over the Nissan Arena. Crazy traffic but we made it to the hotel without incident.
Our next big tour was the Biltmore. It’s technically in N. Carolina, but we drove there from TN. We grabbed a bite to eat and hit the road early. We arrived about 10 AM and were hungry. They were serving breakfast items at The Bake Shop. I had a savory scone and coffee. It was the biggest scone I’ve ever seen and so good I managed to eat it all.
Our house tour was scheduled for 1 PM, so we walked around the gardens first. It was sunny but not too hot. The roses weren’t blooming but there were plenty of other flowers that were. The size and varieties of orchids in the Conservatory were mind boggling. How could one family afford to hire that many people to care for those acres and acres of gardens? The house tour was even more jaw-dropping. Fortunately for my mom, the original house had an elevator which is still working and anyone unable to get to the second floor can use it. It requires an operator to run it–no automatic push buttons. There was also a pool in the basement as well as a gym, servants quarters, the kitchen and pantry. I just can’t describe the oppulence of the place, so I’ll just tell everyone to go visit.
We walked around downtown Gatlinburg, stopping to check out the shops and people watch. We also went up to Anakeesta, which recently opened. It’s still being developed but the views are amazing. You can still see areas of damage from the fire 3 years ago. There is a memorial garden walk (up to the best viewing area) and a canopy walk–a safer and more stable (but it still has some bounce) rope bridge type walkway down under the trees. I was a bit disappointed, but it’s still being developed and will probably continue getting better and better.
Of course we couldn’t leave without seeing Dolly Parton’s Stampede. It’s been years since I’ve been to the one in Branson and Dennis had never gone, so we had to do it. It is still eat with your hands and the food is good. The show is similar, with a contest between the North and the South. We ended up on the North side and they won the contest. It’s a bit more politically correct and in the end there is a big display of all the riders in red, white and blue lighted shirts and the American flag. I’m glad we went but probably won’t go back for a couple years…and then I want to take Jax & Zane to see it.
There was bad weather in the Springfield area the night before we came home. There was a confirmed tornado in Willard, but it was to the east of our place. We had branches down but no damage.
Now I am in “catch up” mode.