It's about a 15 hour drive, if you include bathroom/lunch stops. I was appointed the navigator and only got us lost a few times. Apparently I have trouble with left vs. right under pressure. Detours due to construction are also not my friend.
With only 4 days of shopping/sightseeing we weren't able to see everything we wanted to, but we tried to hit the main points. Definitely the highlight for me was going to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night. It was a really great lineup - Maren Morris, Ray Scott, Exile, Mountain Heart, and Carrie Underwood among others. I loved every minute of it. We were way up in the nosebleed section, but the sound was still fantastic.
It poured rain on our first day in town so we spent a good deal of time at an antique mall that my sister was dying to see. I didn't really see anything I wanted (that would fit in the car), but I had a great time taking pictures of every weird and wonderful item that caught my eye.
Looking back, I think I should have bought this. It would have looked good in our basement tv room (that hasn't been built yet). There was also a game board for "Finance", a precursor to Monopoly.
This papier-mâché baby is just the stuff of nightmares. I think it was $50. And it said "handmade". Thank goodness there's only one of them in the world!
I wanted this pendant light very much. But I think it's too rustic for our house. I bet I could make one though if I change my mind.
Everyone needs a shirt (dress?) made of bottle caps, right? And it was a steal at only $13.
This vendor had all kinds of assemble-it-yourself birdhouses. They come on one flat sheet that you punch out like paper dolls and put together. Too bad he didn't have any more of this one.
So, yeah. Not much to say about this. Maybe it would be less scary without the eyeballs? Nope, still scary.
Before heading off to shop one day I made everyone stop at the Dukes of Hazzard museum (Cooter's Place) first. The best man at our wedding made a joke that my husband (a mechanic) used to look like Cooter until I got my hands on him...and then he looked like Chandler Bing. So true.
They had the General Lee there, hooked up to Cooter's tow truck, so of course I had to get my picture taken in it. If you can't be a dork on vacation, when can you be?
When we drove up to the place there was a lineup halfway around the building. We thought that it was the line to get in and almost left right away, but it turned out that Tom Wopat (Luke Duke) was there signing autographs. Crazy. It would have been cool to get an autograph for my husband - and to gloat about meeting Tom Wopat - but no way was I standing in that line. And I think my family would have left me there if I'd suggested it.
On Sunday my sister and I headed downtown to do all that touristy stuff on Lower Broad. This is where all the honky-tonks and souvenir shops are. I think my sister is addicted to $10 or less shops because she dragged me into every one - especially for photo ops. Don't we look awesome?
We hit both candy shops in the area as I had to find my beloved Cow Tales - the best caramel candy ever made, and sadly not available in Canada. My favourite was Savannah's Candy Kitchen - heaven for sugar lovers. And they make so much of their product right there. You can watch them make gophers and chocolate dipped apples when you first walk in - they even make their ice cream on site.
I may have bought some huge gophers, and a pecan log roll, and ice cream cone gummies...it's probably a good thing that the store is 800 miles away.
We wandered all over the place, up side streets, and over the pedestrian bridge. We even hung out the window of Rippy's Bar & Grill to get shots of the entire street. I couldn't stop taking pictures of the buildings - they're my thing.
And of course we went to see the Ryman. No music though, just a comedy-fest going on.
On our last day we went to Belle Meade Plantation. What a gorgeous place. In its heyday, the plantation was 5400 acres - now there are only 30 acres remaining. It was renowned for horse breeding, with today's Kentucky Derby winners still able to trace their bloodlines to Belle Meade horses.
How can I condense 100+ years of history into just a few lines? I don't think I can do it justice so I'll just leave you with this link. We toured the mansion and had the most wonderful tour guide, Kate. She relayed the history of the plantation from start to finish as we worked our way through the rooms, keeping it interesting with little anecdotes here and there. You could tell that she was very passionate about the subject.
I appreciated that the guides don't gloss over some of the uglier portions of the plantation's history - for example, that the owners were slave traders/slave owners and at one time owned 136 slaves. The plantation is a constant work in progress as items are discovered and donated and as more history is revealed. Right now the historical society is working hard to restore/recreate the slave areas of the plantation, but it is slow-going as so little of the history was written down.
Avocado Quinoa Salad at Harding House - Belle Meade Plantation
Bistro Steak with French Potato Salad at Marche Artisan Foods