5 Years In Nashville

nashville1This summer marks our 5th year of living in Nashville. It has been okay.  The pros and cons pretty much even out.  Without a doubt, it was definitely a good move to transition here from Tampa in 2014. Today I am reflecting on the past five years with the 5 things that are good and bad about Nashville:

The 5 bad things about living in Nashville are:

xTraffic/Drivers

I could write a few lengthy blogs about this one. Traffic is awful. Without a true bypass around Nashville, all forms of traffic funnels through Nashville. Drivers do whatever they want to do without regard to traffic laws, signs, etc. They are also very impatient. If you don’t cuss you will when you drive here.

xCountry Music Is Everywhere

Okay, don’t tell anyone but I am not a fan of country music. Shocking I know but we knew that before we moved it.  It’s everywhere. Well, duh. This IS the country music capital of the world. You will hear country music whether you want to or not. If you love country music, you will love it here. If you don’t you just accept it and enjoy other genres of music here. It’s not all country music.

xLower Broadway

Not the classy part of Nashville but those who want to party keep it hopping. It has become the most popular destination for bachelorette parties.  Lucky us.  Most people want to see it so we will at least drive through Lower Broadway to show visitors but it’s not a place we hang out. Last time we took someone down there it wasn’t even 5 PM and there was a woman throwing up in a trash can.  Yeah, you only want to see Broadway once in a lifetime and then wish you hadn’t.

xHousing

It is very expensive to live here and it’s not getting any better. Thinking of living downtown? You’d better have a six-figure income. Oh you can find cheap housing but you will also have to sleep with one eye open.

xJob

I can’t tell you details about my job but I can say I didn’t get a good first impression from day one and it has been that way since then. I had the expectation that it would be a southern country friendly place. It is not.

The 5 good things about living in Nashville are:

checkNashville Predators

I had watched a lot of minor league hockey games before moving here but nothing compares to watching the NHL’s Predators. I never had a favorite hockey team until now. My wife never watched hockey but now she’s a huge Predators fan.

checkHometown feel

Nashville is a big city but it doesn’t feel like it. It is growing but it still has that hometown feel. It’s not like any other big city.

checkFamily

Since moving here most of our close family has moved here including the grandkids. That’s a huge plus.

checkGreenways/Parks

If you love nature, Nashville has done a good job preserving areas where you can enjoy the outdoors. They have several miles of connected greenways and parks scattered around the area. My favorite is the fall. I just wish the fall season lasted longer.

checkFree music

Okay, if you don’t like country music you can still survive with other genres of music and there’s a lot of free music in the city that is appropriately nicknamed “Music City”.

Nashville isn’t the worst place I’ve lived and we have made it work for us. I can honestly say that I never thought I would end up living in Nashville. I don’t know if this is the final stop but I’m not hating it.  (Technically, we live in Murfreesboro now which is a suburb of Nashville 30 miles south of the city.)  It’s okay if it’s the Country Music Capital of the World. It’s still a cool place to live.

5 Tourist Things Not To Do In Nashville

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If you plan a trip to the Music City and looking for things to do here, there are many options if you are a Country Music fan.  Now that I have lived in the Music City for the past three years, let me give you some things NOT to waste your time on.  These are things that might come up on your Google searches but let me just keep you from wasting your time and money.

  1. Antique Archeology – This is the store from “American Pickers” television show.  I have seen people line up to get in this store only to leave frustrated and disappointed.  You won’t see Mike from the show, you won’t be able to buy any of the stuff you have seen on the show and you won’t be able to sell any of your junk to them either.   You can buy an expensive t-shirt or guitar pick.
  2. Trolley Tours – There are several to choose from and you will be tempted to do it but you can get to the places you want to go by other means.  Some of the stops aren’t anything most people would want to stop at.   Do you really want to stop at the Farmer’s Market or Vanderbilt University?
  3. Tour of Stars Homes – You will see some of the stars homes on these tours but not enough to make this worth your time.  For some of the homes you’ll be told “Look up yonder in the trees.  See the corner of that house up there?  That’s Keith and Nicole’s house.”   Forget going inside any of them, the tour is only drive-bys of the homes.  If you still want to do this, you need to choose “Tommy’s Nashville Tours”.   Tommy is very entertaining and has lots of stories you’ll want to hear.
  4. Horse Carriage Tours – Nashville is not the place to take one of these.  If you’re coming in the summer, definitely avoid it because it is too hot.  Lower Broadway, where all the honky tonks are, is not a good place to see by horse carriage.
  5. Country Music Hall of Fame – I know it seems odd to have this on the list but I do it for people who aren’t big Country Music fans.  Definitely go if you are but you’ll have more money in your pocket if you aren’t.

Even if you aren’t a fan of Country Music you can still have a good time in the Music City.  There are plenty of things to do and places to see around the area.  You’ll definitely hear music especially if you take a walk down Broadway.  The city is definitely alive.  What surprises many people is that there are other genres of music here other than country.  Bars and Honky Tonks are too many to list here but you can find the one for your specific tastes.   Nashville is growing fast.  One thing you will definitely notice downtown is the number of construction cranes in the city’s skyline.

Hopefully these tips will help you to make the most of you time in Nashville and singing a happy tune when you leave.

 

First Timer At The Grand Ole Opry

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Let me start off by saying that I have not been known as a Country Music fan but that doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally listen to it.  I do listen to it more now since living in Nashville.  You just can’t help it.  I mean, this IS the Country Music capital of the world.   You can’t exactly run around the Music City with fingers in your ears.  I have realized now that when scanning radio stations, I don’t always scan past the Country stations.

Last night my wife and I attended the Grand Ole Opry for the first time.  We were not disappointed.

My extent of Country Music growing up was Hee Haw.  I don’t recall ever listening or watching the Grand Ole Opry before last night.

We were close to the stage.  I’m talking like four rows out.  It was awesome to be that close to the various acts.  Last night’s line up included:  Riders In The Sky, Raelynn, T. Graham Brown, Chuck Wicks, Danielle Bradberry, Dailey & Vincent, Bill Anderson and Kelsa Ballerini.  The only people I knew before last night were Bill Anderson and Kelsea Ballerini.

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Kelsea Ballerini performing at the Grand Ole Opry

 

Just a few facts that you should know about attending a performance at the Grand Ole Opry:

  • The show is a LIVE broadcast.  There is a worldwide radio audience listening to the show.
  • Each act performs three songs which is fine for some acts but for some you wish they performed longer.
  • Seating is long “church pew” seats so if you better hope everyone is within the average size.
  • The show isn’t like a concert.  It’s more like watching those old variety television shows in the 70s.
  • The Opry sells concessions but not quite like a movie theatre.  It’s best to get something to eat before the show.
  • Alcoholic beverages are sold but I really don’t think it’s necessary for something like this.
  • There is a 15-minute intermission during the show.   Good luck with going to the bathroom if you are a woman.
  • Traffic after the show is horrible since there are only two ways out of the area.
  • If you see someone you like, get your tickets early.

The Grand Ole Opry started on November 28, 1925 as a one-hour “barn dance” on a local radio station.  The phrase “Grand Ole Opry” began in 1927 when the show followed NBC’s Music Appreciation Hour which was a program of classical music and selections from the opera.  Opry presenter George Hay introduced harmonica player, DeFord Bailey by saying:  “For the past hour, we have been listening to music taken largely form the Grand Opera.  From now on, we will present the Grand Ole Opry.”

The Grand Ole Opry called the historic Ryman Auditorium home until a new 4,000-seat Opry House was built and moved the Opry there in 1974.  The new facility was more modern although they did include a section of the stage from the Ryman to include in the stage of the new Opry House.

Regular performers at the Grand Ole Opry become members from referrals of current Opry members.  Their membership must be maintained throughout their career with a minimum number of performances throughout their career.

The Opry features shows every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from March through November.

More than you wanted to know about the Grand Ole Opry?   Perhaps, but when you’re in Nashville you have to go at least once.  I’m glad we did and I’m thinking we might go back soon.  Sure, there were some acts I really wasn’t interested in but it was all entertaining.

For more information about the Grand Ole Opry or for tickets:  www.opry.com