Monday, June 8, 2015

Nashville by Trolley

Hop On/Off Trolley

Our second attempt at the city of Nashville went much more smoothly.  We found a parking lot near the train station, parked the car (still 20 bucks for the day, but what can you do?) and bought a ticket for the Music City Trolley Hop On/Off Tour.  It's actually a Gray Line guided tour trolley that stops at multiple sites throughout the city all day long with the option for you to get off and on at the venues of your choosing. We chose to ride the entire loop in the beginning, which took about 1 1/4 hours, and got lots of fun and interesting information about the city. By the last stop of the tour, we knew where we wanted to get off and how to get to the places we wanted for a closer look.

Old and new in Riverfront Park. In addition to the train/trolley station, the attractions along the river include the original Fort Nashborough (under renovation, so I couldn't get any pictures) to the stadium where the Tennessee Titans play.

Original industrial buildings line the riverfront and all have been re-purposed to provide all manners of entertainment and shopping.

These bike kiosks are all over the downtown.  By purchasing memberships, you can borrow a bike in one place and return it to another spot in the city.

Not a great picture, but a block long line of food trucks appear over the lunch hour in downtown.  The line for one serving grilled cheese sandwiches was over a half a block long!

After giving up on the food trucks, we decided to eat at the Nashville Farmer's Market food court.  Many of the food truck vendors also have shops here.  It was too early in the season for much of anything to be sold at the market itself, unfortunately.

Bicentennial Park was modeled after the mall in Washington , D.C. with the state capitol at one end and a huge fountain at the other. It's a huge green space in the middle of the city and has historical events inscribed on monuments all around the perimeter.

The State Capitol.  The oldest used capitol building in the country, it sits on a very high hill with no parking around it.  In spite of wanting to tour the building, by the time we got here, we didn't have it in us to climb the hill!
The AT&T Building (aka the Batman Building) is the most visible building on the Nashville skyline.  It also makes a great navigational landmark for getting around the city!

Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Grand Ole Opry.  I've been to the new (1972!) venue in Opryland years ago, but we didn't have a chance to catch a show this time around.  But this building is where it all started.

Honky Tonk Row, also known as Broadway, is about 4 blocks full of live music venues in the heart of downtown.  Aspiring artists come to Nashville and begin by setting up on a street corner and playing their music for tips.  When one of the honky tonks needs a new musician, a club manager will give someone he hears on the street an opportunity to move into a club to play for FREE!  The artist does this hoping he or she will be discovered in the club.  This is the way all these venues can offer free entertainment all day, every day for tourists and residents alike.  The music we heard as we walked past was amazing and I could have stayed here for days!

No visit to Nashville is complete without a visit to the Parthenon.  The only full-size reproduction of the historical landmark in Athens, Greece, it was built in 1897 in part because of Nashville's nickname as the "Athens of the South."

Lots of neon signs and signs painted on the side of buildings.  I love the graphic nature and the bright colors.

Finally, this was on Honky Tonk Row.  I shouldn't have been surprised as we've seen them in nearly every city we've visited so far on this trip.  I've never been to one and I'm holding out until we hit the original in Key West!

Of course, we saw a lot more of Nashville than I can interestingly document here.  Suffice it to say, one day in the city is nowhere near enough time to see all the sights, learn all the history and, of course, hear all the music in Music City, USA!

Until next time...

No comments: