Being a music lover, there is never enough Nashville in my life. Thankfully, it is only an hour and half from home on Southwest and since we have earned a companion pass, by husband flies for a minute fee of $11.20 each time I go. My ticket on Southwest was $469. I chose the Wanna Get Away fare which is their cheapest fare. Be sure to book in advance when shopping for this lowest fare. Many flights are full more than a month in advance and the higher fares can be up to twice the price. If you aren’t familiar with Southwest’s pricing, I will be doing a post about the differences between the fares and the rewards at each level. But now, back to Nashville!
We stayed at the Hampton Inn on 4th Ave South. It was our second stay there. If you are interested in the write up of the first stay and more details on this hotel, check out our post “High Priced Hampton Inn.” Like last time the room was adequate but not outstanding. They did not only put out a great breakfast buffet, with biscuits and gravy, sausage and eggs with tortillas, and homemade grits in addition to the usual fruit, waffles, yogurt and pastries but they also put out snacks, tea and lemonade in the afternoons. We arrived on Friday and the afternoon snack was nachos with cheese and chili available as well as jalapeños, sour cream and salsa. On Saturday afternoon the snack was hot dogs with ketchup, mustard and relish available. Both days there were two kinds of cookies for those with a sweet tooth.
As I mentioned in my prior write up, this Hampton Inn is NOT cheap. I thought our room was high last time because the local hockey team, the Nashville Predators, were playing in the Stanley Cup finals. This time the team was playing but it wasn’t a play off game and there wasn’t an event at the Bridgestone Arena or City Winery. Apparently, that is just the going rate for this hotel. Now, I love nachos and my husband loves hot dogs but I am pretty sure we cannot eat enough of them to justify over $400 per night. While we had found other nice touches on our last trip, water in a refrigerator by the door, umbrellas available, that was missing this time. There was also substantial construction so the lobby was often crowded with ladders and spools of wire and cables. Finally, housekeeping missed our friends room altogether and only got to ours at 4:00pm because we called. We had been out of the rooms from 10:30 until almost 3:00pm so, there had been ample time for the rooms to be cleaned. When I called the front desk to inquire, rather than apologizing for the inconvenience the clerk asked if we had left our do not disturb sign on the door. On our next trip, I will probably try the Hilton a few blocks down on 4th Ave S. The prices are about the same and you can get access to the Executive Lounge Monday through Friday with breakfast and afternoon snacks. I wonder if they have hotdogs? There is also a Hilton Garden Inn directly across the street from the Hampton Inn, with rooms from $239 – $339 that is worth a try if the Hilton is full.
We were in Nashville for a concert at the Ryman (check out the post “Resounding Ryman”) but found plenty of other sites and sounds to fill our weekend to say nothing about yummy food and beverages. We started with dinner on Friday at The Southern a few blocks from our hotel on 3rd Ave S. My husband and I had been there on our last trip and this place just keeps getting better. They have a HUGE bar with a wide assortment of bourbon, whiskey and rye and their food is delicious. I had crab cakes as an appetizer. My husband had the gumbo and our friends had the Saffire Steak Biscuits and the BBQ shrimp. Conversation slowed as we all thoroughly enjoyed our first bites. The only thing I will mention is that the BBQ shrimp is listed as being served head on and it was not. While this is a plus for most shrimp eaters my husband and our friend ( let’s just say he has more than a little experience with shrimp) were a bit disappointed. For dinner, the ladies chose the “Bless Your Heart Salad” with romaine, beets, goat cheese, artichoke, hearts of palm, and cauliflower in a balsamic vinaigrette. The men chose heartier dishes: the Steak Frites and the Chicken Fried Chicken. We all enjoyed our meals and my husband who is NOT a mac and cheese fan (no I don’t understand that either) said it was the best thing on the plate.
Believe it or not, we could still walk after all this food so we headed up to Broadway and Legend’s Corner. Legend’s Corner is right next to the Ryman on the corner of 5th Ave N and Broadway. It is definitely one of the premier music spots in Nashville. The walls are adorned with album covers. You can have fun just finding favorites from you past and enjoying the memories they bring up, but you won’t have to amuse yourself. Legend’s has some of the finest musicians on Broadway. With a two tiered layout those wanting to dance can have the area in front of the band and for the slower crowd (like us) there is an area in the back up about 5 stairs that provides seating (if you get there early or are lucky) with a great view of the band.
After a set or two we were ready to see what else Broadway had in store for us. We stopped next that the Second Fiddle just down the street from Legends. The bar was smaller but we were able to find a table and enjoy more great music. The theme here was a little more traditional country, from the beer can pyramid to the Budweiser sign on the wall. Again, we enjoyed a set or two and were then ready to head back. After all we had things to do tomorrow!
The next day after a breakfast in the hotel lobby we headed out to the Country Music Hall of Fame. This is a must do if you are in Nashville. There is so much to see that it deserves its own post. Keep your eye out for that. I will tempt you with a few pictures however.
After a thorough tour of the museum we headed back to the room to get ready for the reason for the trip, Tedeschi Trucks Band at the Ryman. We went to dinner before the concert at Kitchen Notes in the Omni. My husband and I had been there on a previous trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. Unfortunately this time was not up to par. While the biscuits and breads were delicious and the chicken was good (good not great and definitely not made to order as it came out of the kitchen very quickly) the root vegetables were crisp to the point of being almost raw and hard to eat and the rutabaga was bitter. I had the Hoppin’ John and was really looking forward to the red field peas. They were obviously made from dried beans and were still dry and undercooked. Sadly, I think this restaurant is off our rotation since Nashville has so much to offer.
Finally, it was time to go the the concert. Our seats were in the very last row of the balcony. In fact we were the only row not seated in pews. (If you would like to know more about the pews, check out our post on the Ryman.) Even though we were in the last row, our view was good and the sound was beyond compare. Tedeschi Trucks Band had 12 members and their voices and instruments just filled the Ryman with rich tones from Derek Trucks phenomenal guitar skills to Susan Tedeschi’s bluesy voice, it was a treat for the ears. We have seen the Tedeschi Trucks Band several times at different venues but this was by far my favorite. If you haven’t heard of them check out “Midnight in Harlem” or my favorite, Susan Tedeschi’s rendition of “Angel From Montgomery.” You will be a fan I am sure.
The next morning we had one more meal before heading home. We went to brunch at The Farm House, just two blocks from our hotel. This may have been my favorite meal. I had the Biscuit Panzanella, fried biscuit (yes, fried), sausage, eggs, jalapeño, gravy and cheddar. Definitely not a diet dish, but worth every calorie. My husband had the Quail and Waffles and our friends had the Just Bacon and Egg Sandwich, which I was told was anything but “just.” As a matter of fact the potatoes that came along as a side with the house “ketchup” were so good that they were the topic of conversation for a good 5 minutes. The food was fresh. The menu was varied and eccentric without being weird and the wait staff was friendly without being intrusive. I have included pictures not only of the food but the menu as well. If you are ever in Nashville, don’t miss The Farm House!
Just less than 48 hours after we had arrived, it was time to go home. We had a great time and believe it or not, after all the food we had eaten, the jet was able to take off. Don’t miss the posts on the Ryman and the upcoming post on the Country Music Hall of Fame.