My Pilgrimage to Music City USA!

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
Trip End May 16, 2008

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Where I stayed
Belmont Mansion

Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Saturday, January 26, 2008

"I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music."
                                            George Eliot (1819 - 1880)
Country - Heart
Jazz/Blues - Soul
Classical - Brain
Rock - Body
This is how I figure I would associate these types of music. This is where music affects me. This might be a reason I enjoy all types of music. Each type is required to sooth the inner source of strength in each.
Yesterday I visited The Grand Old Opry ( As a Country Music fan I had often heard of the Grand of Opry and had watched the Hee Haw Show that was taped there. I never knew the history and that The Grand Old Opry isn't a's actually a Radio & TV Show. What began as a simple radio broadcast in 1925 is today a live-entertainment phenomenon. Dedicated to honouring country music's rich history and dynamic present, the Grand Ole Opry showcases a mix of country legends and the contemporary chart- toppers who have followed in their footsteps.
Through the winter months the Grand Old Opry is performed in the Ryman Auditorium, it's home for 31 years, until it moved to its present location in 1974. Saturday night I have tickets to the performance. Vince Gill and Restless Heart are the 2 artists that I've heard of from the 15 performing this evening. During the winter the Opry House is used by the Radio City Rockettes and for private functions. After that tour I stopped by Cooters Place...a tribute to the Dukes of Hazzards owned by the actor who played Cooter.

I tried visiting the Opryland Museum but it is closed during the winter months. In researching things to see I've noticed that quite a few tourist attractions are closed during the winter months. The reasons are reflected in the local campgrounds I've seen that are mostly empty and the tours I participated in where we were only 3 people instead of the 30 they usually have.

For those of you who don't check my blog regularly might not have seen the brief blog that I wrote when I arrived in Nashville. I didn't write the current blog (the one before this one) until later as I had hurt my back as I was setting up the trailer (I had posted the pictures). Luckily it wasn't a pinched nerve so I wasn't laid up for long, just a pulled muscle in my side. But due to the sore back I slept worse than my usual lousy sleep and kept my touring to a minimum as I was getting tired.  That meant I didn't get to see a few things I would have liked to.

Last night was the National Finals of the Colgate Country Showdown. America's Largest Country Music Talent Search. The show was hosted by LeAnn Rimes and one of the 5 finalists was Trevor Panczak of Magrath Alberta. They were still handing out free tickets when I heard about it on the radio. I decided not to go as I knew I wouldn't last the night. LeAnn Rimes was going to perform.

Today I visited the BelleMeade Plantation ( They don't allow photos to be taken inside the Mansion so I can't show how beautiful it was. The story I do have was at lunch time. In the building that houses the gift shop they have Martha's Restaurant. Of the 50 or so people in the restaurant 4 were male and the other 3 guys were with their spouses. I read somewhere that the prospects are very good for single people in Nashville. Of the 50 in the restaurant there was one group of approximately 30, half were older women and the other half were College age young ladies. It was funny observing them because at the tables the young women were on one side and the older ones on the other. Before leaving I had to ask what the group was. I was told the young ladies were students at this Private College with their mothers. The mothers had also gone to this College. They all did look quite Prim and Proper. The waiter I asked commented that it was "weird", the mother/daughter luncheons in a group...I guess. The south still has certain traditions, or maybe I've never been aware of how High Society still behaves. Do we still have a High Society Class?

My next stop was the Belmont Mansion ( This place was so amazing. Same thing, no interior photos. At some point in the past the property was purchased by the Tennessee Baptist Convention and they used the property as a College. Some of the rooms had been turned into dorm rooms. The property is currently a University Campus with the Mansion mostly returned to its former glory. The history here is that "...the moving spirit of Belmont Mansion was Adelicia Hayes Franklin Acklen Cheatham. Born on March 15, 1817, to an affluent Nashville family, Adelicia's teenage fiance' died before their marriage. At the age of twenty-two, Adelicia married Issac Franklin, a wealthy bachelor twenty-eight years older than she. Seven years after they married, Franklin died, leaving Adelicia one of the wealthiest women in America. In 1849 Adelicia married Joseph Acklen, a young attorney from Alabama, and they immediately began construction on Belle Monte (Belmont.) An Italianate-style villa, it was a summer home escape from the heat at her 8,400 acre Louisiana cotton plantation. The Acklens built, furnished, and landscaped one of the most elaborate antebellum homes in the South, with 36 rooms and 19,000 sq. ft. The estate contained an art gallery, conservatories, lavish gardens, aviary, lake and zoo. Today the gilt frame mirrors hanging over original marble mantels, still reflect the elaborate gasoliers and elegantly furnished parlors. The Grand Salon is considered by architectural historians to be the most elaborate domestic interior built in antebellum Tennessee. The gardens, now maintained as part of the college campus, contain marble statuary and the largest collection of 19th century cast iron garden ornaments in the United States, including five cast iron gazebos."

When I was at BelleMeade I had taken the tour there with a couple from North Carolina. They were one of the couples in the restaurant. They also ended up at Belmont at the same time as me. They had told me at BelleMeade that they were heading to the Ryman then made a last minute change in plans to stop at Belmont.

My final stop of the day was at the Lane Motor Museum ( This Auto Museum features a unique collection of mostly European automobiles, housed in a former 132,000 square foot bakery. The majority of the vehicles were built in the 1950s through 1970s although they also have some as old as the 1920s and as new as 2000. This collection was extremely interesting as you can tell by the photos.

"The Irish gave the bagpipes to the Scots as a joke, but the Scots haven't got the joke yet
."  ~Oliver Herford
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