Monday, 7 November 2011

Music City

Downtown Nashville - one of several colorful painted guitars auctioned off for charity - and now adorning corners around town.

Inducted 21 years after his death

Will the Circle be Unbroken - an impressive gallery with all the Inductees into the Hall of Fame

Minnie Pearl Impersonator at the Grand Ol Opry

A trip to Nashville is not complete without attending the Grand Ol Opry.  The bonus was this show was held in the historic Ryman Auditorium (the regular Opry was taken over by a larger group for the next 3 months).  It was great to see the Ryman - originally built as a church.

The Hall of Fame gives an excellent overview of the evolution of Country Music from the early 1900's to present day!  Lots to take in.  Well worth a visit if one is a fan!

Remember the old Juke Boxes - yes we are feeling old when we remember items now featured in museums!

Music Hall of Fame display

While in Nashville we toured the Belle Meade Plantation - famous for their horse breeding in the 1800's - the most famous of which was Bonnie Scotland - whose blood line has been in the last 40 winners of the Kentucky Derby.  Seabiscuit and Secretariat are also traced back to Bonnie Scotland!  "Yours truly" is testing the rocking chair on the vast verandah!  We had an excellent tour - and learned that the women had a rough time in those days - young girls started wearing corsets at age 5 (to ensure they would have a 17" waist when they reached adulthood), and women had no rights to sign contracts etc - so women were very dependent on men - also - women had large families - but only a few children survived - most would succumb to assorted childhood diseases - and women often perished in childbirth.  Men would often have 2 or 3 different wives over their lifespan.  Another interesting detail - one of the Jackson women suffered severely from asthma - her Dr. recommended that she take up smoking as a treatment - she died not long after.

Back view of Belle Meade.  Unfortunately we could not take pictures inside the mansion, but had a full tour of the entire home that has been restored to the 1881  era and is full of vintage artifacts from that period. The home was built around 1820. Five generations of Hardings and Jacksons lived here - and at the peak of their wealth they had 136 slaves (4th highest in Tennessee) - a sign of wealth and prestige in those days.  Interestingly the State of Tennessee passed a law in the early 1900's that banned gambling and liquor - and since horse racing was the only public spectator sport in those days (there was no hockey, football or soccer etc) - and one that involve gambling and drinking - this killed horse racing in Tennessee - so the action moved over to Kentucky and this spelled financial ruin for the Jackson family.

The Family Mausoleum on the Belle Meade Grounds - the bodies have been re-interred in a city graveyard - but for a time - 5 generations were interred here on the grounds.

Slave quarters at Belle Meade

John Beardsley impersonating Elvis in the show "A Tribute to the King" - an absolutely excellent show - a definite 5 out of 5 stars in our view.  This was our #1 while in Nashville.

Another replica of one of the Elvis costumes.  If you closed your eyes you would think he was Elvis - he was that good!  The only thing he couldn't capture was the 'lip curl and the sultry bedroom eyes!'  He has been doing these shows for 12 years and has studied Elvis extensively including interviewing people who knew and worked with him.

Original log cabin on the Belle Meade Estate - then they built the 'big house' and expanded the property from 250 acres to 5400 acres!  The head horse breeder / handler - Bob Greene then lived in this house for the many years that he served the Harding and Jackson families - he was renowned for his skill with the breeding of good stock.

Jimmy Buffets in downtown Nashville

One of Barry's favorites on the "walk of fame" outside the Hall of Fame in downtown Nashville

The Historic Ryman Auditorium - downtown Nashville.  The towering modern buildings are in the background.

A Chet Atkins' guitar.  A special gallery in the Hall of Fame was devoted to Chet and another to the Hank Williams family.

One of the picturesque side highways we traveled down - very picturesque!

Boarding the General Jackson Showboat for Sandra's 65th birthday dinner!

General Jackson Showboat on the Cumberland River in Nashville

A sample of Halloween displays in the wee towns we traveled through after leaving Amish country.  Everyone really gets into the fall and Halloween decorating down here!

Halloween on the grill of a truck!

We broke over a hill and this is what we saw.  At first Barry thought it might be a nuclear power plant - but we're not sure - we were in Kentucky - so it was likely coal fired!
We left Amish country in Indiana just ahead of the early winter storms - a stroke of luck on our part.  We drove through Indiana, down through Kentucky and into Tennessee over the span of two days - often traveling on the more secondary state highways due to construction delays on the major Interstate.  The state highways are quite narrow (no shoulders) winding and hilly - but far more interesting.  We were in Nashville over Halloween and enjoyed some glorious weather for our touring and sight seeing.  The pictures will explain.

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