Howdy Y’all! All of my photos from my recent trip to Nashville and Memphis are finally done. I only brought my film camera along with me, which is why this post is so delayed. I was in Tennessee for a full week and had a lot of time to explore all that the state has to offer. From Nashville’s rich country music core (which really has influence on every block), to Memphis’ historic past, I learned to truly understand what makes this state SO desirable.
Nashville was a very exciting city to visit. On the main street there were at least 40 bars, all trying to play louder live country music than their competitors. There were plenty of places to buy cowboy boots as well. One store boasted about how if you buy 1 pair of boots, you get 2 free… not too bad!
Right off the main street stood the Johnny Cash Museum. We didn’t see this little gem until our last day in Nashville, but I am so glad we did. It had a whole bunch of memorabilia and some crazy outfits Cash wore throughout his career.
Near the Vanderbilt campus was this really cool town full of amazing places to eat. Along the campus was also large park, where Nashville’s Parthenon stood, a recreation of the Parthenon in scale size! For a small price, you can go inside and walk around; There is a giant statue of Athena and not gonna lie, it’s pretty creepy.
The Country Music Hall of Fame was a must-see on my whole family’s list of things to do in Nashville. It was a really good timeline of country music’s past and present. It included everything from Reba’s boots, to Loretta Lynn’s dresses. It had Taylor Swift’s crystallized guitar, Brad Paisley’s cowboy hat, and even a lot of Dolly Parton’s old outfits. It didn’t get boring at any point!
Finally, my favorite part of Nashville was going to Opryland and then going to see the Grand Ole Opry. In Opryland there was this MASSIVE hotel with indoor gardens, boat rides, waterfalls, and rivers. It was insane. Nearby was the Willie Nelson Museum which was a really cute museum about Willie and all of his friends with boatloads of cool artifacts. Next door, the General Lee (the car from Dukes of Hazzard) was parked. People could go and take pictures with it and for 5$ you could sit in the front seat! As for the Grand Ole Opry, it was such a great experience and I am so glad I got to be a part of it. It was almost like SNL, since it was being recorded live in front of us, however it was so much more charming. There was no script. The people performing could say whatever they wanted to the audience and it was all so unpredictable. The night my family and I went, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless and Loretta Lynn were all there! Loretta, of course, was dressed in a bright, white, bedazzled, floor-length dress. It all made me feel like a was a part of the country music community.
Ahhh now for Memphis! I absolutely loved the city of Memphis. Although it was very different from Nashville, it placed a similar value on the importance and history of music. We had to drive to most sights, unlike Nashville, however our trip would not have been complete without seeing them.
Sun Studios was one of my favorite places we stopped at. It was preserved so perfectly. There was a coffee shop in the main part of the studio along with a gift shop. Our tour took us around the tiny museum upstairs and then into Sun Studio itself. I got to stand where Elvis, Johnny Cash and more stood before me. I gotta say… it was pretty awesome.
Another site we visited was STAX Records. It used to be an old recording studio of Memphis soul music. There was a short bio before the museum which gave a lot of background as to who recorded there. There were so many big names: Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Booker T. & the MGs, etc. That same day, we went to the Civil Rights Museum. I normally am not big on these sorts of museums, but this one was really cool. It was built right next to the hotel where MLK was assassinated. It breaks down history for you, as it shows you the exact window the bullets were fired from, and then goes into the investigation. BBQ is a must in the South. We stopped at Central BBQ and the ribs were so yummy! I highly recommend. Finally, no trip to Tennessee would be complete without visiting Graceland: The Home of Elvis. This was hands down my favorite part of the whole vacation. I love Elvis & his music, and thought it was absolutely incredible to see where/how he lived. Surprisingly, his house is not a monster mansion like one might expect. It does have its flashy features (ex. the jungle room, racquetball court), however it’s still modestly sized for a man of such fame. There were also a bunch of Elvis-related things surrounding the house. There was a tiny museum with all of Elvis’s cars, my favorite being the Pink Cadillac he bought for his mother. There was also a room called “Elvis in Vegas” all about his time spent in Nevada; The showcase included some pretty awesome outfits. And finally, on the side of the home stood Elvis’s grave. There was a long line of people waiting to pay their respect to the king of rock and roll; There were lots of fresh flowers around the grave.
Overall, Tennessee is an INCREDIBLE state stuffed full of culture and great music; I seriously can’t wait to return.
These are only a few of the MANY pictures I took on the trip. If you would like to see more, please visit my flickr (click here)!