Nashville has always been a city on my bucket list to visit, my hesitation on visiting was that accommodations just always seemed to be so expensive no matter the time of year. With people doing less travel during the pandemic, hotel rates and flight prices came down enough to make it more affordable to visit and therefore I was finally able to add Nashville to my travel agenda.
For this trip, I invited my mother to tag along since she has been also wanting to visit Nashville. We made accommodations at the Renaissance Nashville Hotel, conveniently located downtown just around the block from the Ryman Auditorium and the newly opened National Museum of African American Music which I hope to return to visit since it’s opening was delayed while we were there.
After checking into the hotel the first thing I wanted to do was to get my camera ready and locate the welcoming Nashville murals I had seen so many times before on other sites. We ordered a Lyft to take us to the 12 South Neighborhood. Given that it was a holiday, all of the restaurants and shops along 12th Street were closed, but I was able to find each Mural I had wanted to take photos in front of. On another trip, I’ll have to re-explore the 12 South Neighborhood as I’ve read it’s usually buzzing with restaurant goers.
As the sun was going down, we headed back to the hotel to rest awhile before getting ready for our dinner at the Capitol Grille in the historic Hermitage Hotel. We enjoyed the food and the exceptional service. The Hermitage hotel itself was very beautiful inside.
Our second day in Nashville started with breakfast at the Sun Diner which is located on a side street off of Broadway. The food was good and we appreciated the southern hospitality from the staff. I recommend their Creme Brulee French Toast – what a treat!
After breakfast, we took a ride across town for our scheduled tour of the Grande Ole Opry. As they say, one cannot visit Nashville without a visit to the Opry so this was a must do on our agenda. The tour started with a heartfelt film about the history of the Opry theater, and from there we were taken on a backstage tour where we got to peak inside many of the dressing rooms used by the likes of Dolly Parton and other legendary country music stars. One of my favorite parts of the tour was reading through the name plaques of all of the Opry’s inducted members. The tour culminated with us having a photo op on the Opry stage as we stood inside the famous circle! That was such a privilege!
Since the Grand Ole Opry is right next to the massive Opry Mills Mall, of course we had to stop in to indulge in some shopping. The mall was rather crowded, but with everyone wearing a mask we were hoping that germs were kept at bay. Inside of the Opry Mills Mall, I found the tasting room for Amber Falls Winery, one of Tennessee’s finest vineyards. We stopped in to enjoy their tasting and left with a few bottles. I must say that I truly enjoyed all of the wines we had there.
By the time we left the mall, it was nearly time for supper. We ate at a fairly new Black-owned restaurant I had read about called Tacos With A Twist. There was a good selection of tacos to choose from but in my opinion, they were just okay, but I would go back to try different ones.
On the third day of our Nashville trip, we took a Lyft in the morning to the Germantown neighborhood and had breakfast at Monell’s. This place was excellent! The dining experience was unlike any other we’ve experienced. Once you check in, they seat you at an open table with other guests who may have just sat down as well. All of the food on their menu are brought to the table in family style serving dishes to be passed around. Despite us being in the middle of a pandemic, we felt safe with the dining set up. The other guests who sat at our table were from Kentucky and New York City. Everyone was very sociable and friendly. They even allowed me to bless the food. The only awkward moment came when somehow our conversation about the Coronavirus started fielding into politics, at which point, I abruptly changed the subject – lol!
After leaving Monell’s we walked through the Germantown neighborhood admiring some of the architect of the homes. Next, we had a Lyft driver drop us off at the renowned John Seigenthaier Pedestrian Bridge to capture views of the outstanding Nashville skyline. This bridge obviously serves as a popular photo backdrop for professional photographers. There were so many photo shoots going on at the top.
Since the pedestrian bridge is very close to the famous Broadway strip of Nashville we made our way down the block and strolled up and down Broadway popping our heads into bars to listen into the various live music bands playing rock, pop, country and other genres. Walking through Broadway Street, I could understand why Nashville is known as Music City. There was live music being played in nearly every bar!
With it being our last full day in Nashville, I knew I could not leave without having some Nashville hot chicken from one of the most recommended places, Prince’s Hot Chicken. I made my mom walk with me about 20 minutes across town to order the spicy chicken dish from their food truck location. Although I did wait about 45 mins for the hot chicken which I ordered in mild, it was so worth it. Even the mild spice level was hot like fire!
Later in the evening we checked into our reservations at BB King’s Blues Club where we enjoyed a front row table to watch the club’s All Star Band. This band played mostly R&B so it was a break from some of the music that was played in other bars. We really did like the band and were especially entertained by their mashup of Tennessee Whiskey mixed with Etta Jame’s I’d Rather Go Blind.
Before leaving for our late afternoon flight the next day, we had ample time to walk a few blocks from our hotel to have a wonderful cup of coffee at the Frothy Monkey and a full breakfast at Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant. Nearby was the Woolworth restaurant which is known for the sit-ins that occurred during the Civil Rights era. I wish we could have dined there, but the restaurant was temporarily closed at the time.
Using the extra time that we had, we also visited the Walk of Fame Park to see the sidewalk star tributes honoring big name artists who have made major impacts in country music. One of the stars at the top of the Walk of Fame respectfully belongs to the HBCU Fisk University’s Fisk Jubilee Singers. It is declared that Nashville was dubbed the Music City some time after the Fisk Jubilee Singers went on tour and performed in front of Queen Victoria. She was so impressed by their sound, that she proclaimed they must be from a “city of music!” I have to give credit to one of our Lyft drivers for sharing that piece of Nashville history with us during one of our rides.
Our extended weekend in Nashville was so worth the visit. I am so pleased that I finally got to visit one of the cities that I have always wanted to experience even though the local people kept telling us that pre-Covid, it was so much more crowded and energetic. I thought the vibe was just enough for us to still have a wonderful time. Hopefully after the world returns to a more healthy order, I’d be able to return to Nashville for more of a great experience!