From high culture to honky-tonks and hot chicken, Nashville is a greatest hits package only a few other cities can top. Nashville sits in the heart of Tennessee, just a two-hour flight from NYC and a four-hour flight from Los Angeles. This city also sits at the heart of some of the greatest music to ever hit the American airwaves.
From boot-scootin’ boogies to lonesome cowboy blues, Nashville has produced an unending stream of county classics since the early days of vinyl. Today, music lovers and makers of every genre make the pilgrimage to USA’s Music City, hoping to experience the magic of Nashville’s sound.
Nashville’s soundtrack started with the sound of fallen timber and axes at Fort Narborough. Battling fierce winters and displaced Cherokee, there was no time for fiddle-playing. However, Nashville grew into a prosperous city over the decades and embraced the arts.
Nashville’s early prosperity was fueled by the slave trade and the plantation. The historic Travelers Rest is the estate of John Overton, Tennessee founding father. Wander the grounds where the slave’s doleful work songs still hang heavy in the humid air. You can also explore the home where Overton entertained neighbors and friend – Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the US.
A long bumpy ride separated the Travelers Rest from the Hermitage in the 1800s. Today, they are just a short drive away from each other. Hermitage is an opulent plantation home and the final resting place of First Lady Rachel and President Jackson.
Belle Meade is Tennessee’s real queen of plantation. Explore the remaining 30 acres of an estate that once stretched for miles, where the rocking chairs and slave quarters looked as though they were just vacated yesterday. The civil war tore apart the uneasy social fabric of the plantation era. Fort Negley was built by free black men and runaway slaves, this union fort not only helps pave the way to emancipation but also played a crucial role in the Battle of Nashville.
To learn more about Tennessee’s role in the civil war, visit the Tennessee State Museum. While here, you will also learn how it rose from the ashes to become a sophisticated Metropolis.
Head to Cooter’s Place see the most iconic motorcar in the south. Parked outside is one of the few surviving General Lee’s Dodge that was wrecked, rolled, and jumped during the TV show’s 6-year run.
But it wasn’t Nashville’s motor cars that caught the attention of the world but the driving rhythms of its steel guitars and banjos. Step into the Ryman Auditorium, the mother church of country music. A concert or tour at this former downtown Tabernacle is as close to heaven as it gets for country music die-hates. In 1943, the Grand Ole Opry, a one-hour country music show was broadcast live from Ryman, reaching millions of people.
Nashville is more than just the country music world capital. When it comes to plain old good times, style, hospitality, or history, Nashville is home to some of the most enduring and greatest hits of America.
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