Posted on February 25, 2019 by Janet Steinberg
Nashville,Tennessee:  A

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE: A“NASH-IONAL” TREASURE                                                                            By Janet Steinberg 

Music City, U.S.A....that's where it’s. 

Nashville's heart beats to music.  Folk music that crossed the Smokies with early settlers…toe-tapping fiddle and banjo music…mournful hill ballads.  The music of America…tunes that grew into down home "hillbilly" music that filled the barns and the countryside. 

With the advent of The Grand Ole Opry and television, that music grew into a gentle, more sophisticated, country-western sound.  Known as "The Nashville Sound", this music is loved throughout the world and earned Nashville its name: Music City, U.S.A.    

Nashville, the progressive vital city with a colorful past and an exciting future, has something for everyone.  From stately historical mansions and cultural landmarks to stark skyscrapers; from a mega-million dollar music industry to rolling hills and rambling horse farms; from Capitol Hill to 17 college campuses; from greens 'n hawg jawls to knishes , latkes , and filet mignon; from the Nashville Symphony and Ballet to the Grand Ole  Opry.

 

 

FROM STARK SKYSCRAPERS TO HONKY-TONK HEAVEN IN DOWNTOWN NASHVILLE

         

 "The Grand Ole Opry is as simple as sunshine," said George D. Hay, 'The Solemn Old Judge' and founder of the Grand Ole Opry.  "It has a universal appeal because it is built upon good will, and with folk music expresses the heart-beat of a large percentage of Americans who labor for a living."  

 On November 28, 1925, Uncle Jimmy Thompson, who claimed he could "fiddle the bugs off a 'tater vine," stepped up to the microphone and struck the first lively notes of the "WSM Barn Dance". 

Two years later, 'The Solemn Old Judge' accidently gave the show its permanent name.  He opened the WSM Country Music Show, which followed a program of classical music, with his now-famous ad-libbed words: "For the past hour you've been listening to Grand Opera.   Now we will present Grand Ole Opry!"  That was the beginning of the world's oldest continuing radio program in existence.       

 Hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world travel to Music City U.S.A. to see The Opry in the world's largest broadcasting studio.  The Grand Ole Opry House seats 4000 people in air-conditioned comfort, with standing room available for an additional 200 fans.  On March 16, 1974, The Grand Ole Opry House was dedicated as the home of American Music by then-President Richard M. Nixon.     

 

 

THE GRAND OLE OPRY HOUSE

 

The Opry entertains America with a spontaneous, unpretentious happening.  Its down-to-earth music is telling life's harsh story.  It is true that no single Grand Ole Opry performance ever happens twice.  But it is not true that the show has not been carefully programmed or well planned.  A dedicated staff spends long exacting hours making sure the world's greatest country music show flows smoothly 52 weeks of the year.

Each Grand Ole Opry show is unique and spontaneous, but each show is also steeped in tradition.  The brown circle of wood in the center of the stage was taken from the Opry's former home, the Ryman Auditorium.  And every star can stand in the same spot as Opry stars have done for so many years. 

Ryman Auditorium, dubbed the "Mother Church of Country Music" was the home of the Grand Ole Opry from 1941-1974.  The large red brick structure was built in 1891 as the Union Gospel Tabernacle for religious revival meetings.  After a multi-million dollar renovation, this Nashville landmark has once again taken center stage as a premier performance facility.

 

 

RYMAN AUDITORIUM

 In 2001, The Country Music Hall Of Fame moved into a symbolic building with architectural and structural elements that tell a musical story.  Windows resemble piano keys; the Rotunda tower is a replica of the WSM radio tower; disc-shaped tiers of the Rotunda’s roof evoke the evolution of recording media; and stone bars on the outside wall symbolize the musical notes of the classic Carter Family song “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”.  

 

 

COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM

         

For culture of a different nature you can visit the Hermitage, President Andrew Jackson's former home; the Parthenon, a full-size replica of the ancient Parthenon in Greece; Cheekwood, the 1920's Georgian mansion that is now the Museum of Art; and Belle Meade Plantationthe "Queen of Tennessee Plantations”.

 

 

NASHVILLE’S REPLICA OF THE GREEK PARTHENON IN CENTENNIAL PARK

 

Opryland Hotel, built in 1977 and containing approximately 3000 rooms is an attraction in and of itself.  Born to a grand tradition, the hotel recreates an old Southern lodging.  The Grand Lobby, with its huge staircase, golden chandelier and wood-burning twin fireplaces, welcomes you to Tennessee hospitality at its finest. 

In June 1996, Opryland Hotel introduced a 4.5-acre interiorscape called "The Delta" complete with a river system with guided boats, shops, and approximately 20 dining and drinking options. Today there are 9 acres of lush, indoor gardens and cascading waterfalls. Opening on December 1, 2018 is SoundWaves, an upscale water experience featuring 4 acres of combined indoor & outdoor water attractions. 

 

 

INDOOR GARDENS AND CASCADING WATERFALLS WITHIN OPRYLAND HOTEL

  

If you care to dine outside the confines of this humongous compound, try some unbridled barbeque at the 66,000 square-foot Wildhorse Saloon. This mecca of Country Dance in America literally began with a stampede of wild horses through the streets of Music City on June 1, 1994.  Two must-see stops are the renowned Bluebird Cafe and Tootsies’ Orchid Lounge.

 

 

THE RENOWNED BLUEBIRD  CAFE

 

The Bluebird Cafe, a Nashville classic, is where young star-seeking songwriters tout their tunes as you dine. Willie Nelson received his first songwriting gig after singing at Tootsies, the 58-year old honky-tonk bar in downtown Nashville.      

 

 

TOOTSIES ORCHID LOUNGE

  

If shopping is an integral part of your travels, you'll have fun in Nashville.  Items associated with Music City, such as vintage records, cowboy boots and musical instruments, are plentiful.

 

 

FOR GUITARS FOR EVERY TASTE AND POCKET BOOK

  

However, no one should leave Nashville without buying some chocolate-covered, peanut-caramel Goo Goo Clusters.  Made in Nashville since 1912, they are part of the Music City experience.  Legend has it that the candy was named Goo Goo because it’s the first thing a baby says, and this Southern treat is so good people will ask for it from birth. 

Good music, good food, good shopping, good people and good times are all in abundance in Music City, U.S.A.  As a confirmed “Nash-ionalist”, I recommend y'all try it.  You'll have a Goo Goo good time!

 

JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer, and International Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY in CINCINNATI, OHIO.  She is the winner of 47 national Travel Writing Awards.

TEXT AND PHOTOS BY JANET STEINBERG

Recent Posts

Trending

Archives