Pub Crawls, BBQ and Sweet Tea - Tennessee ROCKS!!!

Trip Start Aug 18, 2008
Trip End Aug 27, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Sunday, August 24, 2008

Another fine day in Tennessee! We lucked out with the weather today, almost ninety degrees, partial blue skies and not too muggy.
We got a late start this morning as we were resting up and we headed out to Opryland (right up the street from our hotel) around 11:30am. The Opryland complex is huge and there is so much to see and do and our time was limited in order to cram it all in. We found out that Martina McBride among many others were at Opryland last night... dangit! Tickets to watch the shows live are only about $40 and you get to see 5-10 bands and usually one to three are pretty big names in country music.  There is NO doubt that Nashville is the home of country music, CMT has a large building downtown and it's playing loud every where you go.
Just outside of the Opryland complex are two museums we couldn't pass up! Willie Nelson and Friends and the Dukes of Hazard museum called Cooter's. We cruised through Willie Nelsons place, picked up some souvenirs and then went to go check out the General Lee. We paid $5 to have our pictures taken inside and with the cars (see pics and video) SO cool.
Next we were off to Hermitage where we had lunch at Famous Dave's BBQ. Again we ordered a variety of items in order to experience the array available in this region. Our lunch included brisket, Cajun catfish fingers, smoked salmon spread on flat bread (seems out of place, but oh so right), cornbread muffins and home made potato salad. Dave's has 5 award winning BBQ sauces and they bring you a mini plate of tater wedges and an empty plate to test them all out before your food comes. This place has 200 trophies. Not THE best we've ever had but it's pretty good.
Before going to visit our 7th president's home (Andrew Jackson) and plantation up the road, called The Hermitage (her-ma-tij) we dropped into a Walgreen's to pick up some scrapbooking supplies. I received 3 compliments on my Lynard Skynard shirt and sparked some great conversations with the locals. I'm sure glad I saved this thrift store find for wearing IN Nashville.
The Hermitage is a 1300-acre working plantation and museum. After a short video with a brief history of this amazing man, the most decorated president we've had, as he was a General in the south prior to being nominated into office. The grounds are absolutely beautiful with meandering paths and orchards. We toured the mansion, the gardens, his family tomb and graveyard, learned about all the slaves and the workings of the plantation and took a full tour of the cotton fields and slave homes. (see pics and video).
It was nearly 5pm and we missed out on going to the Country Music hall of fame as they close early on Sundays and we were really enjoying the plantation. We headed downtown to visit the Parthenon and surrounding parks. (see pics). Then we made a quick reservation for the Haunted Pub Crawl. We met our group at 6pm sharp and Past Perfects pub. We were greeted by Brian the tour guide and met up with the other 4 tourists. They make no claims that we will see any paranormal activity and Brian explained that it's mostly a pub crawl with ghost stories and a tour of cool downtown bars. We were provided time at each location to grab a drink in the beginning and close out our tab in the end. The tour also included some Trivia at each bar. Destiny and I came in Second place so we missed out on winning the souvenir shot glass. Darn. We were bummed not to see any activity or catch any Orbs on our camera's but we got some great stories and a tour of downtown.
By now it was 8pm and we were hungry and were dying to see some live country music in this bustling part of town. We were drawn to the Crazy Horse Saloon by the smell of smoky BBQ and the twang creeping out the front door. This place is way cool and very grand inside. The live music was an awesome addition to our dinner. We ordered more Fried Pickles, as we CANNOT get enough of these things! These were by far our favorite. Then came the platter piled high with ribs, pulled pork and brisket. We didn't even make a dent in that plate. But this was way better BBQ than lunch.
We decided to check out a few bars down on Broadway and were so happy we did. We were rockin' out to local musicians singing country classics and weaving in their own tunes. There is so much energy down there and everyone is having a great time. We encountered a young man (like 14 maybe?) playing banjo on the corner with an old man doing a little tap/soft-shoe (see video). It seems that everywhere you look people are walking around with guitar cases down the street and musicians playing acoustic on empty corners.
At our last bar I discovered Sweet Tea vodka!!! Right up my alley, served with a wedge of lime. Destiny named it for me: The Ireland Sweet Tea. At the Second Fiddle I ran into another gal wearing a Lynard Skynard shirt and HAD to take a picture with her. We had a blast and we were rocking out to the classics while singing along and stomping our feet.
We have another long day ahead of us tomorrow. We only have one more night out on the road in Ohio before we land in our final destination of Destiny's new hometown, Sanborn, NY. We are sad to think that we are leaving this glorious state tomorrow morning. We have fallen in love with Tennessee, the people, the southern charm, the music, the scenery (not a big fan of the huge bugs and muggy weather) but this is definitely a place we will both return to again and again down the road.
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