As I’ve already documented, I spent the last weekend of April in Nashville, running the hottest, slowest half marathon of my life. Even though the half marathon took substantially longer than usual, it didn’t take close to 48 hours, and there were plenty of non-running ways to occupy myself in Music City.
I had never visited Nashville before this trip, and honestly didn’t associate the city with much other than country music. Granted, I really like country music, so that didn’t bother me, but once I started digging into things to see and do and Nashville, I was SO overwhelmed. Between the country music sights and historic sights, I had a really hard time narrowing down what I wanted to do and see while there.
Regardless, I did eventually come up with a short list, and thus the trip started with a visit to the Belmont Mansion.
For $12, you can tour the mind-boggling mansion of Adelicia Acklen, a multi-millionaire socialite from the 1800s. Adelicia had Belmont (Belle Monte, to her) built as a summer home, having made her permanent residence in Louisiana with her first husband, a plantation owner and slave trader. After her death, the mansion became a women’s college and, over the years, evolved into Belmont University, whose campus now occupies the majority of the grounds that belonged to the Belmont Mansion.
Touring the house and learning about Adelicia’s wealth was mind-boggling. Being a multi-millionaire in today’s world puts you in a pretty good financial place, so you can only imagine how much that was compounded when you consider Adelicia lived during the 1800s. She had multiple sets of furniture that cost a normal family’s entire decade of income for one set. Her home was filled with artwork from her year-long trip to Europe. The estate had its own gas refinery, for crying out loud.
The home has been fantastically restored, and nearly half of the items in the home are original, having been reacquired by the mansion from various individuals who came to own the home’s original pieces at some point.
Our tour guide was fantastic and provided us with tons of information about the history and architecture of the home, along with an abundance of details about Adelicia’s life. I didn’t feel rushed during the tour at all, and would definitely recommend it to anyone with an interest in antebellum homes, or Civil War-era U.S. history in general.
Running a half marathon on Saturday clearly wasn’t enough activity for one day, so after showering and lunch on Broadway, it was off to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Like I said, I’m a country music fan, so I really enjoyed both learning more about the history of country music and seeing all sorts of country music memorabilia.
I hoped they’d have one of Taylor Swift’s sparkly guitars, and when I saw it, I expected that would be the highlight of the Country Music Hall of Fame for me, right until I walked around to the other side of the exhibit and started freaking out.
I knew the second I saw that dress that it was the dress Carrie Underwood wore when she won American Idol. Carrie Underwood was far and away one of my favorite contestants of all time on American Idol. I’ve watched Carrie Underwood win American Idol so many times (shoutout to The Best and Worst of American Idol Seasons 1-4 DVD) that I could describe in remarkable detail exactly how that moment went down, so I’m quite familiar with the dress Carrie Underwood wore that night. Seeing it in person (behind glass, but in person nevertheless) was enough to turn me into a squealing 13-year-old fangirl all over again.
After the Country Music Hall of Fame came two hours on a Pedal Tavern, which was less of a tour than I expected/hoped and more of a self-powered bar crawl, but I enjoyed the experience nevertheless. There was a group of girls on the pedal tavern who it seemed were friends from college but now live all over the country (primarily in California). Well, one of the non-California girls lives in Chicago, and upon a very short amount of investigation, I learned that she lives about four blocks away from me! What a small world.
My sister has friends who used to live in Nashville, so I had her consult them for suggestions. Both of those friends went to Belmont, and consequently recommended several places in 12 South. Stops in 12 South included Las Paletas for fancy popsicles, also known as my favorite thing about the South, and Edley’s for delicious barbecue.
Normally Rock ‘n’ Roll has their headlining concert immediately after the race, but for whatever reason the concert for Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville was at 7 p.m. (really more like 8 p.m. by the time it got started) that night. The Band Perry played the Ascend Amphitheater for our free (but ticketed) show, and it was awesome.
I’m not entirely sure I loved their new music, but they were fantastic live, and being only a couple rows back from the stage was really cool.
Sunday was mostly reserved for travel, and let me tell you, it was quite the adjustment to go from 90 and sunny in Nashville to 45 and rainy in Chicago! Even though the trip was a bit of a whirlwind, I had a great time visiting Nashville!
Have you ever been to Nashville?
Have you ever had fancy popsicles? Seriously, I so wish these were a thing in the Midwest. I understand why they’re not (see: winter), but I think they’re the greatest!