There’s more to Nashville than Country Music

Wow what a surprise Nashville turned out to be. We had an expectation of street lined with bars and lots of music but not much else.

They do have music row and the honky tonk district, yes we saw the bar where Keith Urban got his break, but there is so much more to Nashville. History culture, pretty parks and gardens all go with the music and the bar to make Nashville a very interesting place to visit.

We purchased on the Trolley tour (audio failed on trolley) and due to a false start became a bus tour our guide was sensational and gave us so much information. I wish I could remember all the facts he told us during this very informative and very the entertaining 2 hour tour. Thanks Kevin you were worth waiting for.

Some of what we learned:
Nashville is the capital of the U.S. state of Tennessee I always thought Memphis was the capital. The city is a center for the health care, publishing, banking and transportation industries, and is home to a large number of colleges and universities. It is most notably known as a center of the music industry, earning it the nickname “Music City”.

Re-creation of Parthenon

We  destinations include Fort Nashborough being a reconstruction of the original settlement, the latter being a semi-restored Civil War battle fort; theTennessee State Museum; and The Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens. The Tennessee State Capitol is one of the oldest working state capitol buildings in the nation, while The Hermitage is one of the older presidential homes open to the public.

Nashville is often labeled the “Athens of the South” due to the many colleges and universities in the city and metropolitan area.

Numerous music clubs and honky tonk bars can be found in downtown Nashville, especially the area encompassing Lower Broadway, Second Avenue, and Printer’s Alley, which is often referred to as “the District”

The bells play on the hour

Civil War history is important to the city’s tourism industry. 
View up to Capitol Building
Sites pertaining to the Battle of Nashville and the nearby Battle of Franklin and Battle of Stones River can be seen, along with several well-preserved antebellum plantation houses such as Belle Meade Plantation, Carnton plantation in Franklin, and Belmont Mansion

We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Nashville and it would be a great city to spend more time in. After lunch at Demos (recommended by our trusty tour guide Kev) we set sail for Louisville Kentucky. 
Keith Urban made his break
playing in the corner of this bar
We are going to stay 3 nights in Louisville and have a rest day tomorrow. Looking forward to visiting Churchill Downs
Picture from the drive……

Home for the next 3 days

Corkys and the King

 

Up early next morning and a quick bright side breakfast at the hotel the back in the car to find parking in Downtown, it was so easy to find somewhere. We parked in the Peabody hotel parking lot but could have taken our pick of several lots will loads of spaces. Unlike Sydney where at 9am on any given day you would have no hope of a park in the city and if you happened to fluke one you would need a bank loan to pay for the pleasure. Our parking was $10 easy to use and access straight into the Peabody.

Do you know what the Peabody is famous for? More on that later.

We spent a couple of hours walking the downtown area and watching it come to life, no early starts here. After checking out the area we visited the cotton museum which was very fantastic. The guide told us that lots of Australian cotton growers visit Memphis for industry workshops and conferences.

She had a good understanding of the cotton industry in Australia and the information she provided us on the cotton exchange was very interesting.

As it was nearing 11am we headed back to the Peabody to watch the Peabody duck march. A large crowd had gathered in the hotel foyer and waited for the ducks. This was fun and the story behind the march is interesting the link above will give more in the story.

After the Peabody, we headed back to main to catch the trolley for a roundtrip ride around Downtown. It was good to sit down for a while after all the walking in the humidity. We enjoyed the ride and had worked up a good appetite by the time we alighted from the trolley.

 

Decided to go to the Flying Fish for lunch. We had shrimp cocktails and shared a dozen oysters. Oyster not like ours but delicious just the same.

We enjoyed an hour sitting in the cool before we headed back to the river via Beale St.

Beale Street is a street in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee, which runs from the Mississippi River to East Street, a distance of approximately 1.8 miles (2.9 km). It is a significant location in the city’s history, as well as in the history of the blues. Today, the blues clubs and restaurants that line Beale Street are major tourist attractions in Memphis.

We caught the trolley again back down to the river to board the Island Queen for a riverboat ride on the Mississippi.

Cruising up and down the Mississippi was made really special by the informative tour guide who kept everyone entertained for the entire two and a half hours with interesting facts and history.

Mississippi Facts:-

“To Thick to Drink and Too Thin to Plough”

The Mississippi River is the second longest river in the United States and the largest by volume. The longest is the Missouri River.  In Memphis, the river is both an attraction and a thoroughfare for commerce and transportation.
The Mississippi River acts as the western border of Memphis. In downtown, it runs adjacent to Riverside Drive.

Approximately 2,300 miles long
20 feet – 4 miles wide
3 – 200 feet deep
0 – 1,475 feet above sea level
Flows 1.2 – 3 miles per hour

Each day, a steady stream of barges can be seen traveling up and down the Mississippi. These cargo bearing vessels carry sixty percent of all grain exported from the United States. Other products being shipped via the river include petroleum and petroleum products, iron and steel, grain, rubber, paper and wood, coffee, coal, chemicals, and edible oils.

After disembarking from the Island Queen we head back to the car and home…No dinner needed we were tired.

Sun Studios Memphis

On the way home we passed Sun Studio where rock-and-roll, country music, and rockabilly artists, including Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Charlie Feathers, Ray Harris, Warren Smith, Charlie Rich, and Jerry Lee Lewis, recorded there throughout the mid to late 1950s until the studio outgrew its Union Avenue location.

 

Front Graceland

 

Back of house

Up and at ’em again next morning and even with the GPS deciding to freeze up we managed to locate Graceland. We paid the $35 a head to take the tour which was well done. Even for non-Elvis fans (like me), it was worth doing as the tour was well managed and gave what seemed like an accurate account of Elvis’ life at Graceland. Facts I didn’t know and now do Elvis had a twin that died as a baby and Graceland was a 13 acres farm about 9 miles (14.5 km) from Downtown and less than four miles (6 km) north of the Mississippi border.

Elvis’ Grave

 

One of Elvis’ many cars. Cut in two
with the table added for the diner

 

 

Family Graves in Meditation Garden
On the road again for the 4-hour drive to Nashville. Another uneventful drive with not much to see from the interstate. Dinner at Cracker Barrel hard luck Sarah I had the chicken fried chicken and gravy again.

Texarkana to Memphis

Texarkana to Memphis  277 miles 41/2 hours

Another driving day with a stop off in Little Rock Arkansas for a break. Driving was the best place to be as it was again over 100 degrees.

We enjoyed our break in Little Rock famous resident Bill Clinton 42nd US President. We visited the historical district, River Markets and took a trolley ride to see the sights in the short time we were here. Very clean and pleasant place to visit. On the road again we pushed on to Memphis arriving about 5pm.

After checking in we headed out for our first BBQ since returning to the US. Now the question is Tennessee BBQ as good as Texas BBQ? It was sensational but the jury still out until we get back to Texas to compare. We went to Corky’s BBQ and started with a half onion loaf and shared the ribs for two.

Almost had to crawl home we had eaten so much and Tony our waiter took great care of us and even got some of Sharpie’s jokes and fired back with some of his own.

Tomorrow: A day spent seeing the sites of Memphis

Memphis Facts: A city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers. Memphis has an estimated population of 646,889, making it the biggest city in the state of Tennessee, the third largest in the theSoutheastern United States, and the 19th largest in the United States.