Sunday, April 29, 2018

Nashville: Grand Ole Tea Time

Souvenirs from our visit to Nashville's Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame

This month we had a grand ole time in Nashville  -  home to not only country music's most famous venue, but to the 7th president of the United States as well as a university with connections to one of the most celebrated families of the Gilded Age.  With travel tea cup in hand, we visited all three places (and more!) on our long weekend in Tennessee's capital city.

Waiting outside the Opry

Although I don't follow country music much, the Saturday night show we attended at the Grand Ole Opry was one of the best musical evenings I've ever experienced. The two-hour live stage show and simulcast radio program were filled with familiar classic tunes of Hank Williams and Patsy Klein along with cross-over hits from today's country music stars. Mixed with a lot of endearing, folksy humor and outstanding guitar and fiddle playing, there really was something for everyone.

The show had the right mix of classic & modern tunes with folksy humor

The evening of country music legends continued with a back stage tour that's offered after the show. Here you get to view the dozen-plus waiting rooms customized for certain guests and an opportunity to stand on the stage, in front of the microphone, and look out to the rows upon rows of theater seats - intimidating even when empty. You can have your picture taken at this spot, and find a copy of it waiting by the gift shop for purchase if you choose. Of course, that was a foregone conclusion. I had the check ready before the tour concluded.

We came upon a cool family connection during the tour. In the mail room, where the current Opry stars have their own mailboxes, there's a wall lined with nameplates of all members, past and present. Here we found Billy Grammer's name, a cousin of my father-in-law's.  Billy was a frequent guest at the original Opry and Chris and I and our children had the pleasure of meeting him on a few occasions and hear him play guitar, witnessing his amazing talent first hand.

Billy Grammer, a cousin on my husband's side, a member of the Opry

Our next day in Nashville, we learned more about this entertainment genre at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Cornfield from the original set of Hee-Haw

 Highlights for us included spotting a few Grammer guitars, a Taylor Swift exhibit and, my favorite, the cornfield from the original set of Hee-Haw. With the latter, I felt right at home with Grandpa, Lulu and Junior Samples.


At the Museum's gift shop - yes, there is one and yes, I had to go there - I found a delightful tea cup as a keepsake of these country music memories and some fancy soaps inspired by famous songs. How can one resist, "Friends in Aloe Places" or "I Walk the Lime"? I coudn't!

Two guitar-picking thumb's up to Nashville's country music scene. Stay tuned for Nashville, Part II coming soon!

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