Finally we were on the road again and as hard as it was leave Oliver, Kyrston & Jeremy, we were glad to be traveling again. Unfortunately we also chose to travel Memorial Day week and when it came time to find a campground in Nashville everything was booked within an hour of the City. Thankfully, as a last effort, we booked a spot in the Nashville Fairgrounds campgrounds. It’s not much to look at, but all the sites are brand new and because of construction there is 24/7 security. At night walking around the property Lee has counted 6-8 off duty but uniformed Nashville PD sitting in their cars. This might be the safest place we have ever stayed! We also snagged the best spot and were even able to walk up to the flea market above us after we arrived on Saturday.
Being right in downtown was convenient for sure but we were a little worried about safety. Turns out there is a major construction project going on so there was 24/7 security for that and additional security because one of the fairground buildings was being used to shelter homeless people with COVID. Those folks were kept totally separate but Lee was asked on one of his long dog walks to stay away from a certain area.
Speaking of the dog I saw on the map there was a dog park connected to the fairgrounds. Unfortunately walking there was blocked by construction so the one time we went I had to drive around to it. It was an ok park but there was little shade and Nashville was HOT the week we were here.
One of the most iconic places in Nashville is Broadway, the “Honkytonk Highway” and both of us really wanted to see it. I am not a big crowd person or a big drinker, so we decided to go down Tuesday night in the hopes of avoiding some of the crowds. There were a surprising amount of people for the day and time, but there were few lines and we were able to get in and out of all the places we wanted to see. My favorite part was the front windows were all open and we could see and hear the bands right from the street. The neon signs were also really cool.
Many of the buildings were three stories tall and had different bands on each level. We walked many of them, including the famous Tootsies and I certainly got my steps in. In general the singers were so-so but the musicians were really great. I wonder how many musicians that are usually out on tour were hunkered down and weathering COVID.
One thing I did not like was the smell (stale beer and urine) and the tons of homeless people. I will say that their signs were pretty creative. Lee actually was uncomfortable with how the young women were all dressed. Since we have daughters this age we certainly appreciate their right to dress however they want, but it was really all hanging out.
It’s not really that long of a block, but going up and down the stairs we definitely got our steps in. We finally found a bar called The Stage that had a minimal crowd, a good band, and was definitely more our age bracket. I had a beer and we listened to some Merle Haggard so I really felt like I got the Nashville experience. After that though we were pretty much done so we headed back to the campground before the sun fell down. Overall I am glad I did it, but have no particular interest in ever doing it again. If you love live music though, this is definitely a don’t miss experience.
Lee found this picture online. The photographer told a great story about how he had been trying to get this shot for many many years, but the sidewalk always has people on it, no matter what time it is, and there’s always traffic on the road as well, so it’s impossible to set up a camera in the middle of the intersection to get a long exposure. During Covid he happened to go downtown and found the street and sidewalk completely deserted with four police cars in the road blocking traffic because everything was closed due to the pandemic. He asked the police officers if they would be willing to move their cars and turn off their lights just for a few minutes so he could the picture, and they did.
This is believed to be the only picture of the Honkytonk Highway in existence that is devoid of people and cars. Once in a lifetime opportunity.
Next up The Country Music Hall of Fame and Studio B!!
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