Sunday, July 31, 2011

Tourin' the South Part 1

(Last summer my mom and I went on a road trip through the South. I wrote this recap on a different blog last year. I thought I'd write it up again, add photos, and share the trip with new readers. Enjoy!)

Mom and I have been planning this trip since last Fall, and by "planning" I mean buying plane tickets, draw an imaginary circle, and mentally taking notes of places we'd like to visit. I've never been to the South, and Mom has been to one or two of these states, so this seemed like a great opportunity. Both of us love history and this of course is a great place to study. We only had a few certain things on our itinerary. Instead, we are winging most of this trip!

Day 1 - Tuesday, June 29th - Our town to San Diego
Mom doesn't want to consider this part of our trip, but since it involved getting up early and traveling, I will consider it. We stopped at David's Bridal in San Diego so I could order a bridesmaid's dress for a September wedding, and made a couple of stops at some stores (where I found shoes for the wedding for $15!), and picked up Nick and Linda at the airport and went out to dinner.

Day 2 - Wednesday, June 30th - San Diego to Nashville, TN
Nick and Linda got up early to take us to the airport. After dropping us off they headed back to Mexico to be the wonderful people they are and help hold down the fort while Mom is away with me :) Our flight was from San Diego to Denver, then Denver to Nashville. It was nice because each flight was only about 2 1/2 hours, and our layover was only an hour. I'm so used to flying Alaska, that it was a little weird to fly a different airline (Frontier), but of course it was fine.

We arrived in Nashville and got our rental car and were on the road by about 6:30. Our hotel was south of town, but flipping through a tour guide for the month of June showed that they were showing "The Wizard of Oz" at a park in Nashville for free, so we headed over there, thinking it started at 7pm. Well, it didn't start at 7, but waiting around for the movie gave us enough time to get some popcorn, strawberry lemonade, and cupcakes bought from a bus. We didn't end up staying for the movie, but we got in plenty of people watching. For me, it was so nice to sit outside on a warm summer evening and not be cold! Mexico can be warm during the day, but at night it gets so chilly - I never sit outside at night without a big sweatshirt and jeans!
We made our way to the hotel, and settled in.

Day 3 - Thursday, July 1st - Nashville, TN
We had scoped out our day to include plantations and music. We stopped first at the Belle Meade Plantation, a plantation built around their thoroughbred horses, one of which is the ancestor of many champion racing horses in America. A beautiful place, we were the first ones there and got our own tour guide through the mansion.
After that we headed into downtown to visit Jack's BBQ on Broadway. We seemed to hit the restaurant just as the Presbyterian convention liberated its people for lunch, so we had to wait a while. When you are waiting for something like this, you always wonder if it's worth the wait. It was. I had a pork shoulder plate with green beans and mac and cheese. Delicious. One thing I enjoyed was the ability to choose your own side of bbq sauce. The highlight of the meal was when Mom got up the courage to pass her cards to a group of Presbyterian pastors. Networking!

Jack's was a recommendation from a friend, as was Hatch Show Print, the famous printing house known for its distinct style. Still in business, Hatch Show Print creates many show posters and announcements that you continue to see around town. They had fun posters to see, and fun souvenirs.

We headed over to the Ryman Auditorium, home to the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 - 1974. We took the tour, which was a nice precursor to the show we were going to see later on in the evening. I knew the Ryman was an important building, but gaining all of the information about the start of country music and the community it influenced was great. They had a small, special exhibit about Johnny and June at the Ryman. It was amazing to know that this was the very stage where so many influential country stars got their start.
After the tour, we meandered around downtown, looking at boots, checking out the river, getting some ice cream.
We were scheduled to see a concert at the Ryman, so we walked back over and were surprised to find that there was a pre-concert concert on the plaza in front of the auditorium. It was a great distraction while we waiting for the doors to open. At 7:30 we got to see Ricky Skaggs and the Kentucky Thunder, a wonderful show included in their Bluegrass Grass Nights at the Ryman series. Seriously, wonderful musicians. It was such a fun show, a great environment, and very inspiring. Ricky's band were so talented, it was just amazing to watch, it (mostly) distracted me from those hard wooden pews!

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