Smothered Chicken Fried Steak, A Country Showcase, and So Much More! (Nashville: Day 2)

After a great first day in Nashville and a good night’s sleep, it was time to get up and get ready for the day. It felt so good to sleep in. After we were ready for the day, Ann and I headed out for lunch. We were headed for Acme Feed and Seed as our Auntie had recommended it to us a few weeks before we would leave for Nashville.

We went out the door, turned left, crossed the street, passed the Johnny Cash Museum, and found ourselves at the corner. At the corner, we waited for the light to turn for the pedestrian light. We turned right, crossed the street, to the end of the block, turned right again and walked in the door to Acme Feed and Seed.

The building was a very cool industrial building. Ann and I found a table and hopped up onto our bar stool chairs. After perusing the Menu for a few minutes, Ann and I went to get in line at the front register where we would place our order. We both ordered the Broken Spoke on their menu.

After filling our glasses, Ann and I went back to our table where we waited for our lunch meal to come. Soon the waiter appeared with our beautiful plates of food. On the bottom of the plate was hand-cut fries, on top of the fries was chicken fried steak SMOTHERED in gravy. Next to the chicken fried steak was a small cup of coleslaw and fresh cut tomatoes. We took our forks and dug into our meal. The gravy was so smooth, the steak was scrumptious and the tomatoes were amazing. The juice dribbled down my chin as I took a bite into those amazing tomatoes. But it was a huge meal. Neither of us could completely finish our meals.

Once done with lunch, Ann and I stopped at their little gift shop. After looking for a few minutes, we decided there was nothing that we could not have so we ventured on our way. We decided to cross the street and wind our way over to the river walk. While standing watching the river, Ann’s eye caught the Tennessee Titan stadium on the other side of the river.

We crossed the street back towards downtown Nashville. At the end of the first sidewalk, Ann and I turned right and found our way to the George Jones Museum. We decided it would be fun to tour this museum too so we purchased our tickets. We stood and waited for the elevator to come and then took the elevator to the top floor where the museum was. Inside the museum, we worked our way reading and learning all about George.

Along the way, we spotted a recording studio where you were invited to sing karaoke. Ann and I walked inside, picked a song, and sang along with the music. We jammed out to “High Tech Redneck” with many giggles coming out every few notes as we were trying to video our karaoke to post to Facebook.

We finished singing and then moved along the way. We came around the corner and saw a giant rocking chair. Ann and I both hopped up onto the chair. Then we also each took individual pictures sitting on the chair. We looked like “honey, we shrunk the kids” characters as we sat there.

We continued on our way. Ann was so excited to read and see that George was a huge sports fan including her beloved Dallas Cowboys. At the end of the museum, on the wall, was a giant poster of all the artists that came out for a George tribute concert after he passed away.

We rode the elevator back down to the main floor. We took our picture standing next to the statue of George. Then we spent some time perusing through their gift shop. We found a few items, paid for them, and continued on our way. We walked out the door and turned left. Along the way, as the hot sun beat down on us, we decided to stop at an ice cream shop. Ann and I each chose a smoothie. We finished our smoothies as we walked back to our hotel.

At the hotel, we rode the elevator back up to our room. We turned right out of the elevator doors, then left down the narrow hallway to our door. We slid the key in the door and walked inside. We laid down on our beds and decided to chill out for a few moments.

Later that afternoon, Ann and I headed for 3rd and Lindsley. When we arrived, there was no line so we walked straight inside and found a great table right in front of the stage. As we were waiting, we noticed Allison (the young woman from the Voice) that we met and her mom sitting at a table next to us. She didn’t notice us right away, but after a few moments, she saw us. A smile came across her face. She was so excited to see us. She sat down and chatted with us.

After just a little while, Allison returned to her table. Her mom and her mom’s friend were visiting with a gentleman. After a few moments, Allison introduced him to us. “This is Kat Perkin’s uncle Randi.” Of course, being from ND himself, he was excited to talk to us. He even gave us a copy of his business card.

We ordered some sodas and a small appetizer. Soon Allison and the other artists came onto the stage. There was Emily Minor from American Idol; a young man named Ben Rue and many other young artists. Ben sang a song about being from a small town. The words hit home for both Ann and I. After the concert, Ann and I asked him if we could have our picture taken with him so he did.

After the concert, Ann and I headed back towards our hotel. We were hungry. Earlier in the day, we had talked about having supper at the Wildhorse Saloon, but on our way to the hotel from the concert decided we would save that for another day. An Italian restaurant stood next to our hotel so we decided we would have supper there.

We arrived at the restaurant. We waited a few moments and then we were seated. As we looked over the menu, the price of the food caught both of our eyes. For a few moments, we wondered if we should just get up and leave, but we thought that would be strange since we were already seated. As we looked over the menu, at the expensive meals, I suggested that we get a few appetizers so that is what we ordered. Our appetizers came; four meatballs and four slices of tomatoes with mozeralla. We ate our food and then went on our way.

Ann and I laughed a little as we walked out the door. We said, “We might have to go find some more food a little later.” Soon we were back at our hotel. Once through the door of our room, we shut the door and turned on the television. The Country Music Association Festival was on. It seemed like a fitting way to end our evening. (Earlier Ann thought the festival was happening that night so she was excited that we might get to go. But they tape the show in June!)

Watching the CMA awards, our hunger got the best of us. Ann went downstairs to grab some drinks from the Starbucks in our hotel. I told her to bring us back a treat. She came back with a tea for me, a soda for herself and the most decadent cookies with Reeses Peanut Butter cups on the top. The chocolate and peanut butter melted in our mouths as we enjoyed the awards on television.

Before heading to bed, I looked at my FitBit one last time for the day. We had walked 9,019 steps; 3.88 miles; had burned 2,360 calories; and walked 53 active minutes. Another great day in the books….

Nashville: Day One

The other day I had so much fun recalling the details from the first day of our trip. One of my readers asked if I was going to write about the whole trip. I wasn’t planning on it. But had so much fun writing that post and hearing from all of you, that I have decided to do a weekly (no specific day just when I feel like writing) post on our Nashville Trip.

After a good night’s rest, Ann and I crawled out of bed. We carefully selected the clothes for the day and got ready for our first official day in the great city of Nashville; the city of bright lights and country music. We had reservations for a tour of the Ryman Auditorium for later in the morning.

After we enjoyed a nice continental breakfast at our hotel, Ann and I headed out the door. Along the way, we stopped in some tourist shops. One of the first doors we walked through was a fun little t-shirt shop. Ann spotted a yellow t-shirt with the words Nashville emblazed on it. Yellow is Andrea’s favorite color. She found a mirror in the back of the store and tried on the t-shirt. She decided she liked it so we headed to the checkout counter where she paid for her shirt.

We walked out the door and turned to our left. Eventually we spotted a statue of ELVIS. We asked some passer-byers if they would take our picture for us. They were much obliged and did just that. Ann and I each handed them our cameras. They snapped our pictures, handed us back our cameras and then were on their way.

Ann and I continued on our way. As we were walking along, we heard a female voice say “Don’t step on that hottie.” Ann turned around to see a picture of her country boyfriend Luke Bryan imprinted on the sidewalk. She echoed the same words that the other lady stated just moments before.

As we followed the map on my phone, I took a left turn passed the Bridgestone Stadium.  After not many steps, I realized that we were going the wrong way. Ann asked me if I knew what I was doing. I replied that I did. We turned around and started heading in the right direction towards the Ryman Auditorium.

Before we knew it, we saw the beautiful red brick building; the Ryman Auditorium standing directly in front of us. We followed the signs to the entrance; to where we would check in for our tour. Ann and I checked in and worked our way up a very ornate staircase. At the top, we waited with the rest of our tour. Eventually the clock struck 10:20 am and we were off on our tour. We huddled in closely to listen as our tour guide told us the history of that historic building. The colorful stained glass windows’ vibrant hues of red, blues, and yellows were the first item that jumped out at me. From the moment we had walked in, they had caught my eye.

The tour guide continued to guide us through all the little nooks of the Ryman. Eventually we found ourselves standing on the front of the stage smack dab in the center of the infamous circle. Ann and I decided to have our picture taken in that spot. We paid the photographer and then each picked up a guitar as he snapped our photo.

On our way out of the building, our eyes caught a statue commemorating the beloved friendship of Minnie Pearl and Roy Acuff. Next to the statue was a kiosk where we picked up our photos. After receiving our photos, Ann and I walked back out into the Nashville air and headed straight for downtown Nashville.

Once downtown, we decided to tour the Johnny Cash Museum. Inside the museum, Ann and I listened to the history of Johnny Cash. We were only inside the museum a few minutes when my pocket began vibrating. I looked to see who it was and knew that I had to answer it. I took care of the phone call and tried to get them off the phone as quickly as possible.After I hung up the phone, we continued on through the museum. Before us were so many of his items; Johnny’s historic red, white, and black cowboy boots, the sweetest heart box given to June one Valentines Day, the collection of his albums and so much more.

Once we finished at the museum, we decided to have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. As we were crossing the street to the Hard Rock, sirens began blaring. Ann and I looked to our right and saw an ambulance parked next to a taxi where they were carefully placing someone from the taxi into the ambulance. We moved on and went inside the cafe. Inside, we found out there was a short (15-20 minute) wait so we waited. Before we knew it, our buzzer was blinking and we were being seated. Ann and I perused over the menu and placed our orders. We each decided that since we were on vacation, we would indulge in an adult beverage. Mine was this southern tea that came with a cucumber as the garnish. I didn’t realize it was a cucumber until I pulled it out of my glass. The drinks were way too strong for us that most of our drink stayed in our glasses on the table.

After we finished our meal, I went to pick up my souvenir; a Hard Rock cafe mason jar. Then Ann and I headed to the larger Hard Rock store next to the cafe. Ann found a cute teddy bear that we decided to purchase for Mom. We named him “Nash”. Ann also found herself a t-shirt. Once our purchases were made, we headed back outside. The hot sun beating nicely against our skin.

We turned right down the sidewalk passed many historic Nashville bars. We quickly spotted the Wild Horse Saloon. But unfortunately the sign outside said they were closed until 4:30 pm for a private function. We had a few photo ops with the horse outside the Wild Horse and then ventured on our way. We walked back to our hotel.

Ann and I rode the elevator to the 7th floor. We got off, turned right, then left down the hallway to the door of our room. We slid the key into the door. Inside our room, Ann and I changed into our swimming suits. Then we rode the elevator down two floors to the 5th floor where the swimming pool was. The water was cold so we slowly took one step at a time into the water. Once in the water, after a few moments of moving around, the water warmed up. Ann and I raced each other from one end of the pool to the next. It reminded both of us of the many times we went swimming with our neighbor kids growing up in small town North Dakota. Ann got out of the pool, wrapped herself in a towel, and took a quick photo of me in the water.

Swimming was a great way to cool off on a hot Nashville August day. After drying off, Ann and I headed back upstairs to get ready for our night. A friend had recommended to me a place called “3rd and Lindsley” so we had purchased tickets to see the Time Jumpers play there later that night. We left our hotel at approximately ten minutes after five. The doors at 3rd and Lindsley opened at 5:30 pm. By the time we walked the three-four blocks there, the doors were already opened. Ann and I weaved our way through the tables and chairs trying to find a great spot to sit. We came to a table where two other couples were seated. They asked us if we wanted to sit with them and we said sure. The older couple across from us told us all about the Time Jumpers, Vince Gill and so much more. Even though the doors open at 5:30 pm, the band didn’t come on until 9 pm.

We introduced ourselves to all the individuals at our table. We found out the husband from the other couple drives bus for many of the stars. Throughout the evening, we conversed with each other and found ourselves munching on appetizers to pass the time. As we were passing the time, Ann turned to me and said “That girl over there was on the Voice.” I thought she was silly for thinking that. I said “Why don’t you ask her?”  But Ann was too chicken she kept asking me to ask her, but I wasn’t going to give in. But then my curiousity got the best of me and I asked her. She was indeed on the Voice. Her face lit up when she realized that we knew her from the show. Her name is Allison Bray. Allison then came and took pictures with both of us. She also invited us to come back tomorrow night as she would be singing as part of a young country showcase.

Around 8:30 pm, Vince wearing khaki green shorts, a red polo top, and slip on shoes, walked onto the stage with his guitar. He quickly checked his sound and then went backstage. This girl who has loved him her whole life was totally fan-girling!!! Soon the clock struck 9 pm and the Time Jumpers along with Vince came onto the stage. Their music filled the room as we all listened intently. Then one of the band members introduced Vince by saying “This guy has done everything in the book and then he joined a band he knew nothing about.” Laughter quickly filled the room. A smile formed on Vince’s face.

Vince’s smooth voice began belting out one of his beloved songs. Goose bumps began to form on my arms as I listened to him sing. His voice filled the room and covered us in the deep warmth of his vocals. I seriously didn’t want the singing or the night to end.

After an hour, they took a break. Ann and I went over to their merchandise booth and bought a copy of the Time Jumpers CD. Thirty minutes later, the Time Jumpers including Vince came back onto the stage. They invited a few young artists to come up on stage; one of them being Crystal Bowersox from American Idol. At midnight, Crystal was turning another year older and some friends had given the band her name. Crystal came onto the stage, hugged Vince, and then together Crystal sang with Vince and the Time Jumpers…a birthday I am sure she will never forget.

At 11 pm, the concert was over. We were sad to see it end. Ann and I walked quickly back to our hotel as it was dark out. Once at the hotel, we rode the elevator back up to our room. We slid the key into the door and stepped inside. I looked at the FitBit on my phone. We had successfully walked 10,650 steps; 4.59 miles; burned 2634 calories and were active 74 minutes.

It had indeed been a successful first day!