Oh Nashville… how I love you so!

Last weekend I visited one of my favorite towns in the whole world… Nashville, TN!  I don’t know if its the music, the downtown stretch of Honky Tonk’s on Broadway Avenue, or the history behind the town.  But everything about this wonderful place keeps me coming back for more.  I’m pretty sure this weekend was about my 15th visit. This is a group of friends that joined me… I’ve known them since elementary school…  img_5812

Elements of my visit included Music, History, and Honky Tonk…  along with a little shopping thrown in for good measure.

SHOPPING SPOT!  Opry Mill’s Outlet Mall…  Yep.  It’s big, and it’s got a giant Bass Pro Shop…  along with some fantastic boot stores…  I came home with some fun additions to my wardrobe!

HONKY TONK!  Walk up the Streets of Broadway… there’s no end to the fun.  My personal favorite:  the four level Honky Tonk Central.  There’s a different band on each level… and dancing galore!  A few worthwhile stops… George Jones Country (Love that Red Chevy… and the Stilson girl’s polka on the way out the door), Margaritaville, Nudie’s Rooftop for great views, Acme Feed and Seed… the list goes on!  (How do I get this truck out of here without getting caught??? )img_5813

HISTORY!  Our group took a day to drive off the beaten path…  we toured out to Barbara Mandrel’s Fontanel Mansion, which was closed for a private event.  But we did stop to enjoy some wine and cider tasting and gift shopping.  Next time, we will call ahead to make sure the mansion is open to the public… it looks like its worth a tour!

Next we drove towards the Hermitage, General/President Andrew Jackson’s Home and now Museum.  This amazing  estate is over 1000 acres of rolling green country side.  We witnessed a reenactment of a gentlemen’s duel, and learned about the elements leading up to a duel.  Then we wandered the estate on a self guided tour, and through the beautiful mansion, and back through the slave quarters.  Yes, Andrew Jackson was a slave owner.  It was a different time in his day, and a big part of this country’s history that we cannot erase.  Overall, we learned that he was an interesting character with a wealth of friends surrounding him.  Many of his slaves continued on working for him after they were freed, including “Uncle Alfred” who served as the Hermitage Caretaker until his death in 1901.

MUSIC!  Everywhere you go in Nashville, there is music…  The town and its surrounding suburbs are loaded with untapped talent.  A visit to Nashville is never complete without a visit to the Grand Ole Opry.  Every time you enter, it shoots a ray of excitement through your core… like going to church on Sunday.  No matter how big or unknown the performers are, there never really is a bad show at the Opryhouse.  img_5811

Oh yes… and how could I forget the Country Music Hall of Fame!  The History of Country Music is showcased in this beautiful facility….  along with Elvis’s famous Solid Gold Cadillac, and Webb Pierce’s pimped out Bonneville…  They sure don’t make cars like that anymore!

Nashville…  you never disappoint! I’m sure I will be back!  <3

 

Chicago… my kinda town!

18813395_10155965132027069_1377367352625071081_nIt’s been a few days since my return from the big city of Chicago.  As a small town girl, I have to say, it’s truly a place where you don’t lack for fun events to occupy your time.  Friday evening we made our way down to the Huntington Pavillion at the Museum Campus for a Jack Johnson Concert.  (Something I highly recommend… there’s nothing like a lake breeze while listening to great music!)  Jack Johnson is a down to earth performer who puts on a fantastic show!  I’d give him 5 stars.  🙂

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Saturday, of course, we trekked on down to Michigan Avenue for a little shopping and fun.  After one too many cab rides, we decided to take the carriage ride option to the Navy Pier.  The beautiful horse (I believe she is a Percheron) in the picture is “Talula”. She is a real sweety!

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The Navy Pier is one big playground for people of all ages.  We did, of course, partake of a ferris wheel ride.  The brand new ferris wheel has gondola’s that are enclosed, heated, air-conditioned, and ride like a dream!  The best views of the Chicago Skyline are here.  The Navy Pier is a MUST DO for anyone traveling to Chicago.

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Our Saturday evening ended with spectacular fireworks (which are set off every Friday and Saturday evenings during the summer months at the Navy Pier.)

The neighborhood…  Oh yes, I can’t end this post without commenting on the neighborhood of Pilsen, on the Southwest side of Chicago, where we stayed in an “elegant apartment” booked through Airbnb…  While the apartment was clean, it was not so elegant… but very functional for our trip.  Pilsen seemed to be an older neighborhood, in what seemed to be a pretty safe part of town.  We checked out Simone’s for dinner and drinks on Friday night before the concert.  It had a friendly neighborhood atmosphere, and decent bar food.  Transportation from Pilsen to downtown was convenient via Bus and Uber.

Bottom line on Chicago…  Great place for a fun long weekend with friends!  Downtown can be expensive, but totally worth every penny…  I’ve been there about 4 or 5 times now, and it’s proven to be a great time over and over again!