Long Weekend in... Nashville
After a quick shot of caffeine at Bongo Java’s, one of Nashville’s local coffee shops, plan on breakfast at the Farmers Market. Unlike most cities that offer fresh, farm-grown produce on weekends only, the Nashville Farmers Market is open seven days a week. Its 16-acres feature nearly everything TOGA (the Tennessee Organic Growers Association) can come up with to grow and make from organic beef, lamb, and rabbit to goat cheese and pies for diabetics. Market House offers restaurants and a weekend Flea Market.
The Farmers Market is across from Bicentennial Mall State Park, named as one of the country’s best lawns along with Central Park, Pebble Beach, and Boston’s Esplanade. Built to commemorate Tennessee’s 200th birthday, the park stretches from the north end of the State Capitol and includes a 200-foot map of Tennessee, an 18,000-pound granite globe that floats on 1/8 of water, and a wall of history with an actual crack to signify the Civil War. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/CJ Sorg)
For one admission, you can see the Country Music Hall of Fame and Studio B. More than a million artifacts and every country recording ever yeehawed over can be found in this 136,000-square foot museum. You’ll see Patsy Cline’s cigarette lighter, salvaged from the 1963 plane crash that killed her, Willie Nelson’s bandana, a signature Hank Williams suit designed by Nudie Cohen and Elvis Presley’s custom 1960 solid gold Cadillac, sitting, of course, next to Webb Pierce’s pistol-and rifle-trimmed 1962 Pontiac Bonneville convertible.
Final stop and centerpiece is the Hall of Fame itself, a reverential circle honoring Patsy, Merle, and dozens of others beneath the title of the A.P. Carter country classic, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”
Studio B, also owned by the Country Music Hall of Fame, is located in Music Row where more than 100 music studios keep the tradition going. From the drab cinderblock building known as Studio B, more than 35,000 songs were brought to life including more than 150 recordings by Elvis Presley.
Next up is Loveless Café, a Nashville institution that won’t be hosting Weight Watchers anytime soon. Since 1951, when Lon and Annie Loveless set up picnic tables in their front yard and sold pan-fried chicken to travelers on Highway 100, this icon of Southern cooking has been serving food it's best not to count fat grams by: country ham, red-eye gravy, made-from-scratch biscuits, and dessert classics like sweet potato pie, peach cobbler, and Red Velvet cake.
If you want to have a really good time, check out my Nashville Scavenger Hunt app on iTunes. First one to complete all 48 missions and snap a photo to prove it, wins a grand prize worth more than a $1,000.