Nancy & Marie
at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

    We entered Tennessee and the 1st thing we heard about was the “Predators.”  Not being hockey fans we quickly learned that Nashville has a professional hockey team and they are doing very well in the playoffs.  The games are on in every establishment with a TV so we started watching.  Since we were in Tennessee for a month…well…GO PREDS!
Kimbro's Cafe in Franklin, TN is an unusual
music/bar venue.

     Our first stop in Tennessee was Franklin, the home of a beautiful, upscale downtown as well as the location of another famous civil war battle.  Our goal was to find scenery by day and music by night. On our first night we discovered “Music City Roots Live From The Factory.”  This is a live PBS radio show broadcast from Franklin and we were there for the performance.  The performers were John Carter Cash (Johnny Cash’s son), Colter Wall, Dori Freeman, and The Great American Taxi. What a great show and our best Franklin experience.
Puckett's Restaurant in Leiper's Fork, TN.
Puckett's has several popular restaurant's in
Franklin and Nashville.

     Next it was on to Nashville where Marie and Tom joined us.  Marie has been Nancy’s best friend since high school and it is always a great time when we are together.  In fact, this is their 4th visit since we have been on the road and all 4 times were a blast.  Tom is an excellent musician with an encyclopedic knowledge of music so Nashville was the place for him.  Needless to say he had a lengthy itinerary which kept us busy every day.  Our time in Nashville was full of highlights.  The Country Music Hall of Fame is an obvious “must do” while in town and it did not disappoint.   

Country Music Hall of Fame

     In my opinion, the Ryman Auditorium was the star of all the Nashville attractions.  It is one of the most revered stages for performers in the USA.  The Ryman was built in 1892 as The Union Gospel Tabernacle and was renamed in 1904 after Thomas Ryman who financed the original construction of the building.  In 1904 Lula C. Naff, a widow and mother, took control of the venue and began scheduling all the top acts of the time until her retirement in 1955.  In 1943 the Ryman became the home of The Grand Ole Opry.  Although the Grand Ole Opry moved to a new location in 1974, the Ryman continued to book top entertainment and the performers are very vocal about expressing their honor and gratitude to be standing on this great stage.
Looking out from backstage at the Ryman.
The lighter color wood is part of the original stage.

Part of the original Ryman stage.

The Ryman Auditorium.

     We were fortunate to see "Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors" at the Ryman.  The band is sort of a country rock/folk band classified under the genre of "Americana.”  The performance was fantastic and they are now one of my favorite bands. 
Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors
at the Ryman.

     Also, the Ryman is considered the birthplace of “bluegrass” music.  In 1945 Bill Monroe stepped on stage at the Ryman with his band which included Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt.  Bill was looking for an new “sound” which would make his band standout from other music of the time.  So on came the new bluegrass sound and it took-off from there.  In fact, we are eagerly looking forward to attending the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in the Catskills, NY this July.  

     There is no better town in the USA for live music than Nashville and we took maximum advantage.  Starting around 11 a.m. Broadway Street becomes so filled with bars and free music that you can't walk more than 30 steps before falling into another venue jam-packed with people and great bands.  It seems everybody in Nashville is looking to be discovered, so the talent level is off the chart.

A couple of bars on Broadway in Nashville.
     After almost a week in Nashville, Marie and Tom decided to visit Memphis.  While they were away, we decided to chill a bit at an Army Corps of Engineers campground on Old Hickory Lake 40 minutes from downtown.  The campground was so beautiful and the weather was so perfect that we decided to just hang out and enjoy.  After Memphis, Marie and Tom returned and stayed with us for 2 more nights. So we all got in a little beach time and Nancy and Marie took a long kayak trip on the lake.
Nancy hanging out at the beach on Old Hickory Lake.
Nancy & Marie at The Parthenon in Nashville.
This is an exact, full-scale replica of The Parthenon in Athens.

The Parthenon is home to this 42'
statue of Athena.
     The day Marie and Tom left we received new guests Lorri and Alex, Nancy's sister and brother-in-law.  Once again everybody wanted to hang out on the lake.  Fortunately, a local marina, walking distance from our campsite, was featuring an interesting band that night so off we went for a fun evening listening to music under the stars.  
Me, Lorri, Alex & Nancy

     Of course, we had to visit downtown with our new guests so the next day off we went back to Nashville on a rainy Saturday night.  Once again we had a blast splashing through the puddles to get to the next bar.  It turned out that the best band of the evening was a bluegrass band named "The Rische Sisters” who performed at Layla’s.
The Rische Sisters at Layla's.

     Next we all decided to travel to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky.  Mammoth Cave is a special place for us as it was here that we first met our close friends Dick & Gaila Mallery in 1978. We only had a couple of days to spend in the park with Lorri & Alex but we made the most of it.  We did 2 cave tours, did some above ground hiking, and had some fun evenings together.

Mammoth Cave National Park

     Before Lorri and Alex had to depart, we decided to head over to the Lexinton, KY area to check out Frankfort (Kentucky's State Capital) as well as make a stop on The Bourbon Trail.  So Alex and I went off seeking high times at the "Four Roses Distillery."  This was a cool historic distillery which produces some excellent bourbon.  I never tried straight bourbon, but after a couple of samples at the end of the tour, I decided to buy a bottle and give it a try.  Whats the worse that can happen?!!!

Four Roses Distillery.
Thanks you Alex for the photos.

     The next day Lorri & Alex had to depart leaving us without guests for the first time in 16 days. We love having guests and we enjoyed every minute of their visits.  We can't wait for the next time somebody stops by.
RV humor.



  1. We have yet to get to Tennessee but now we have a great guide when we do finally make it there!

  2. Interesting post except for that Go Preds part. It is all GOOOOO PENS here.


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