Nashville is gearing up for its busiest week of every year next week: CMA Fest (or as I’ll probably refer to it, Fan Fair). We’re all already bracing for the on-slaught of country music fans and tourists.
WE LOVE YOU! Don’t take the grumbling the wrong way. We know that this city flourishes thanks to country music fans, and this coming week pretty much keeps this city going year-to-year. Most of us are here now, because we were tourists ourselves at some point.
We grumble because all too often. tourists make every-day things very difficult. So let me help you not be one of those tourists we all hate with three simple tips.
1. Keep it moving. Nothing is more frustrating that trying to get to work and have the car in front of you come to a stop and someone hang out the window with a camera to take a picture. Either pull over, keep moving and come back later, or park and walk around. Just remember that this city has thousands of people who LIVE HERE who need to go to work, to the store, to the doctor, etc. Stopping traffic to take a picture is a quick way to be hated.
2. Pay attention to signs or map your route ahead of time. I heard this city once described as a spider web of Interstates. We have loops and then interstates that expand out from/though the loops. Its not THAT hard to get around, but you do need to pay attention. If you need I-40, and the lane you are in splits off to go onto I-24… start planning to move over when you see the sign that the split is a x-mile away. Nothing is more frustrating that someone wanting to move over last second, or the very second they see the sign that their split is approaching. Think about it… you have a mile to move over. Use that distance wisely and act like you know what you’re doing. Don’t be that tourist that backs up the interstate because you’re not paying attention and/or thinking.
3. Watch the locals or ask the locals. The best example I can give you for this isn’t about Nashville, but about when I visit Oregon. My husband told me the first time I visited with him, “Don’t carry an umbrella, you’ll stand out as a tourist.” I started to look around and he was right. Locals didn’t bother with umbrellas, but the tourists sure did! Now I’m not saying to not be yourself! Guess what, people in Nashville don’t wear boots every day. But… I do. That’s just who I am. I’ve been a cowboy-boot-wearin’ girl all my life, and I’m not going to change that. But if you go buy a pair of boots to wear in Nashville thinking it’ll help you “fit in” — you’ll be throwing your money away. (That’s just an example!)
As for asking the locals… don’t go by some tour guide and commercialization about where to go here. Ask a local where they suggest you go eat or visit. You’ll often find some major gems along the way AND you’ll avoid all the other tourists giving yourself a much more unique experience.
Welcome to Nashville and we hope you enjoy your stay! Now please help US enjoy your stay. Ha!
So this week has just been… kinda stressful. But what else is new? ha!
1. My computer decided to threaten to go belly-up today:
Five hours. FIVE HOURS it took to do this CHKDSK. But it came back to life and its actually working better than it has in weeks. But just to be safe, I’m doing a major back-up tonight in case this is the calm before the major storm. #ihatetechnology
2. Money. But when isn’t it a stress for everyone? HA!
3. Fan Fair. I always stress about it as it approaches… then in the thick of it love it… then afterwards and so tired I’m almost dead. Ahhh… its June tomorrow.
4. Weather. My heart aches for Oklahoma who just can’t catch a break. I have been glued to Weather Channel all night, and weather just makes you feel so powerless.
5. Traffic. And parking. Always.
Tonight, my husband and I grabbed dinner at our favorite Irish Pub. Our waiter/bartender told us they were trying a new Irish Stout and wondered if we’d like to try it. Sure! We’re adventurous!
My husband is the dark-beer drinker, but I occasionally love a stout for something different.
It poured a rich, dark chocolate color — you couldn’t see through it. There wasn’t the strong hop smell I am used to with beer, so I wasn’t exactly prepared for what I’d taste.
What hit me was a smooth coffee flavor, ending with a slight chocolate finish. I really liked it! My husband said it matched perfectly with his bangers and mash, but to me it would be a great dessert beer. Either way, we were definitely fans!
Next time you order a Killian’s, see if they have the Irish Stout. I think you’ll be surprised by how good it is.
Yesterday, I took the day off. My husband and I got up and hit the road on the motorcycle, finally taking in the Natchez Trace Parkway. We driven parts of it in the truck before, but this was our first ride on bike.
We kicked it off with snacks at the Loveless Cafe (along with a whole lot of other bikers!)…
We were on no time schedule, so we sat for a long time at a picnic table just people watching. Lots of travelers! We talked for awhile with a woman from Florida. We watched a family take photos, documenting their vacation. We cracked ourselves and the cashier up at our sheer determination NOT to break a $20, paying with quarters and pennies. She told us it was, “Impressive.”
We hit the road, and we were treated to amazing views and lots of wildlife. We watched a doe and little fawn race across the highway in front of us. Later, another deer crossed in front of us… close enough that we had to slow down a little, though we weren’t in any danger.
We saw lots of wild turkey and had a buzzard fly over us so close we could have reached up and touched it. We even passed a groundhog just chillin’ in the shade. (I half expect him to go, “Allen! Allen!”)
One of my favorite moments was when we discovered an 1812 Memorial… perfect for Memorial Day. It reads:
“This Monument memorializes war of 1812 soldiers buried along the Old Natchez Trace, and it honors the service of all brave volunteers who marched on the Natchez Trace during the War of 1812 to help establish American Independence. The Natchez Trace served as an important route to move troops for the defense of the Gulf Coast Region. Tennessee Volunteer Cavalry under leadership of Andrew Jackson marched down the Natchez Tract to Natchez in January 1813. Gen. Jackson marched with his soldiers on their return April 1813. Soldier detachments under Jackson’s command again marched on the Natchez Trace in 1814, and following the victory at the Battle of New Orleans, most of the Americans who fought the Battle returned on the Trace. Volunteers marched hundreds of miles often in severe weather with little food and inadequate equipment. Natchez Trace Inns served as hospitals, soldiers who did not survive the marches are buried in unmarked graves along the Trace. On Gen. Jackson’s return near this point. He proclaimed his view of the significance of the victory earned by the soldiers sacrifices. “Our rights will henceforth be respected.”"
The sun started to fade on us after awhile, and we were getting hungry. We made one more stop, at Water Valley Overlook… stretching our legs and plotting our trip back into Nashville.
As we stood taking in the view, the silence was broken by far-off gunshots — something that you don’t blink at that far in the country — and the loud call of an owl in a near-by tree. It was… the perfection of being in the middle of “nowhere.”
We took a lot of small back roads back into town, finishing the trip the best way possible (versus getting into the “rat race” of Interstate travel.) We planned to have dinner at our favorite tavern, but we got there only to find them closed for the holiday.
Our second choice was the Flying Saucer, who was having their pint night. As a bonus, if you purchased certain beers, the money went to Red Cross Oklahoma relief. So we each had one pint to Oklahoma! (My husband also had a beer from his home state of Oregon.. Rogue beer yummies!)
We headed home, both extremely relaxed. After I talked to my Mom for a little while, you couldn’t even count to three and I was OUT. I got the most peaceful, relaxed sleep I’d had in awhile. The day left me with a refreshed soul that you can only get by stepping away from everyday life and remembering… remembering how amazing nature and life is, and by remembering those who gave all for the freedom to enjoy days like yesterday.
Taking a slightly different angle to Making it happen Monday this week. Focusing today on… today. Memorial Day.
If anyone can be credited it for “Making it happen,” its our military.
Memorial Day has come to be viewed at the kick off to summer… as a day to go to the lake, barbecue, etc. (I plan to go out on a ride with my husband on the motorcycle at some point today, myself!) But its more importantly about our military casualties.
Thousands (actually over a million) men and women have laid down their lives for this country — to make and/or keep the freedoms we take for granted every day. They’ve taken their orders, facing the possibility of death with fear but not hesitation, giving it all… laying it ALL on the line… to do what they had to do.
Today, I urge everyone to take a moment and think about our military who lost their lives. If you have a military cemetery near you, take a drive or a stroll through it. Let it sink in… let it really sink in.
I bet it really makes you look hard at your own life and what’s going on in this world today. Every time I visit the Nashville National Cemetery, I leave humbled but also motivated to do better. Motivated to grab the opportunities I have today thanks to those men and woman who fought to assure me the freedom to make my own decisions and chase my dreams.
Photo Share is my personal replacement for Weekly Winners, since that link exchange is no longer happening. It’s just my own challenge to take great photos through the week, as it gives me a venue to share some of them on this blog. Consider it my own little P.S. on the week before.
Photos this week taken with my Sony DSLR A230. Edited using Lightroom 3… or using my Droid Razr and Instagram. You can probably figure out which is which.