Stephanie Ford Photographer and Writer

Nashville, the country music mecca of the South with history as thick as a Tennessee accent. Music fills the air every night of the week from the downtown districts to the surrounding Smokey Mountain hilltops. Upon our arrival, I realized that we hit the Homeaway jackpot with our booked downtown loft and we found ourselves in the middle of it all. We were just blocks away from Music Row and Broadway, Printers Alley, Ryman Odditorium, Johnny Cash Museum, and the Musicians Hall of Fame. It was a non-stop adventure from day one. After getting settled for a mere 30 minutes, I was ready to hit the pavement and explore the neon jungle of Broadway Street aka Music Row. First Stop, Acme Feed and Seed. Built in 1890, it has seen many faces and had originally opened as a grocery store turned farm supply store and is currently, a restaurant/bar/music venue. The restorative efforts of the current owners have completely nailed the essence of Nashville’s history and I was whisked away into a time warp. Next stop: Music Row. Lined with bars and honky-tonks, we had landed in Nashville’s musical core, hitting at least a dozen clubs on the way including the rowdy, Nashville Crossroads. Inside, we sat in awe watching the set and energy of Benny Carl (Benny the tip) as he back-bended, air-kicked, and pranced all over the stage like a long-haired, tatted, rock-and-roll devil in the middle of country music heaven. The next day ensued slowly after the nursing of a hellacious hangover with some hot chicken eating at the fantastic Hattie-B’s, a tour of the Johnny Cash Museum, and Nashville’s very own Greek replica of the Parthenon in the middle of Centennial Park. Strangely interesting, indeed. On our last day, we ventured out to Music Valley and toured Cooters place, museum to the 1970s-80s TV show The Dukes of Hazard. Inside, it was filled with the cast’s memorabilia and a replica of the Duke boy’s General Lee. Next door, we finished out the day at the legendary Nashville Palace, where Randy Travis got his start as a dishwasher (not joking) and we also managed to catch Mel Tillis Jr. and his band playing a matinee set. I mean, Come on! Mel Tillis Jr.? We had caught a glimpse of Country music’s royal blood line, all by chance. At night we headed down to one of the most anticipated exploring spots in Nashville, Printers Alley, with its throwback Prohibition Era hidden alley bars like the posh Skull’s Rainbow Room and basement bar, Alley Taps. What a fantastic ending to our adventure time in music city. Although, I’m not your typical Country music fan, I sure left as one. Nashville is hands down the music capital of the south filled with cowboy boots, neon lights, plucking guitars, hair bands, and more. I felt right at home with my southern rooted senses electrified and I can’t wait to get back for more!

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