Colleen and I flew out of Philly Friday morning. (Our three friends running the race left a day ahead of us.) Everything went so smoothly and Colleen was great to travel with! We arrived in Nashville, checked into our hotel, and decided to take a walk down Broadway. Broadway is the main drag where all the honky tonks are, and it is so much fun! We stopped to eat lunch at Rippy's, and sat at the upstairs bar. The bar was just plywood slapped on top of the bar and everyone had written all over it! We had a great BBQ combo lunch for $6.95. My kind of place!
Then, we headed back to meet up with the other girls, and go on a tour of Nashville. We really wanted to take the Nash Trash Tour, but they were all booked. Boo. So, we did the Greyline one instead. We stopped at the Country Music Hall of Fame, Ryman Auditorium (the original Grand Old Opry), and The World Famous Tootsie's Orchid Lounge.
I was fascinated with the Country Music Hall of Fame, the "Family Tradition: The Williams Family Legacy". It is the history of the Williams family starting with Hank Williams and going down through Hank Williams Jr. and Hank Jr's kids. They had an incredible impact on country music, it was so interesting. I also picked up this treasure of a book in the gift shop (review to come on Friday)!
We stopped in to see the Ryman and Julie and Lori busted up on stage and took their own pictures behind the microphone. I need to see those pics! There wasn't much to it, but I did enjoy the Johnny Cash display, which included TVs running old episodes of the Johnny Cash Show. Did you know that Ray Charles did his own rendition of "Ring of Fire"?
We headed out to dinner at Amerigos, which is a fantastic Italian restaurant outside of the downtown area. Our server was SO nice, he actually talked us into sharing a salad instead of ordering a whole one. And, they gave us all separate checks. This happened at almost every restaurant we went to in Nashville, which floored us Yankees. Is this a southern thing?
One of my favorite parts of the trip was Colleen's Q&A with all of our cab drivers. She made it a point to ask them
Country Music Hall of Fame
Band at Tootsies. I'm not even going to mention Julie's smooooth conversation with the bass player. Nope. It may have had something to do with her taking a picture of the band. And, him asking for her email address to get the photo. And, her turning beet red and throwing up her left hand, waving it in the air, and mouthing "I'M MARRIED!!"
Tootsies. At 3:00 in the afternoon!
Colleen, me, Julie at Tootsies
The Capitol Building
Nashville has a full-size replica of the Parthenon!
Race day! The whole reason we went to Nashville was because Julie, Lori, and Carolyn were running the Country Music Marathon. They were calling for bad weather and started the race a little early. Colleen and I watched some of the race, and walked to end of race to meet Carolyn. It started raining, so went back to hotel. They actually cut the race short because of thunder & lightening, and Julie and Lori were not allowed to finish. I feel so bad for them. They are amazing runners and trained so hard!
At this point it was just pouring down rain, so Colleen and I went to the Opry Mills mall to kill some time. We discovered Charlotte Russe (who knew they had such cute, cheap tops?) and ate lunch at Tony Roma's. Which should not be confused with that guy who play for the Cowboy's (which is what I thought up until this very minute when I looked up the website--oops!)
For those of you who live in Nashville, I am pretty jealous of this mall. And, that's something coming from the girl who lives right around the corner from one of the largest malls in the country. Opry Mills is the most kid-friendly mall I've ever seen! Here are some of its features: A sting-ray aquarium (where kids can "pet" the sting-rays), Aquarium Restaurant, Glow-in-the-Dark mini-golf, a little train that runs through the mall, Rainforest Cafe, Dave & Busters, and even Bass Pro Shops!
I wanted to go to dinner at the Wildhorse Saloon (and even convinced all the other girls to go), and they were closed for private party until 9:00 p.m. I am very mad at you Wildhorse Saloon--I really wanted to visit you. We ended up at the Big Bang. I'm not even linking to it. Terrible. Our first clue should have been all the workers had to wear t-shirts that said "Bang This". I think we scared our waitress, but she should have been--she almost lost my credit card! It was raining hard off and on and the honky tonk bars were too crowded. We ended up going back to the Union Station Hotel, and I had a drink with Lori in the bar. Gorgeous hotel!
Some were walking, some were running, but they were all swinging pink hula hoops!
Yes, they were RUNNING and HULA HOOPING at the SAME TIME!!
LP Field, home of the Titans--and the end of the race
Ah, this baby was SO cute. And, look at this Mama--she ran the half! I was really trying to catch the guy behind her. See those roses? He also had a ring. That's right. He was going to propose to his girlfriend at the finish line. We tried to follow him, but he got lost in the crowd. I hope she said yes!
Carolyn: ROCK STAR half marathon runner!
Caroly, Elvis, Colleen, me
Our last day was kind of lazy. We went to breakfast at The Pancake Pantry. It was a looooooong wait. They do have incredible pancakes! I don't think I would wait that long again, but I'm glad we went. We got coffee from Provance, which is right across the street. Wow, that place was so cute! They had tons of pastries, sandwiches, salads, breads, and breakfast items. We were all marveling that Nashville seems to favor high ceilings, different than Philly.
This is what a 1 1/2 hour wait at The Pancake Pantry looks like
Carolyn, me, Julie, Lori, Colleen
I had such a great time! Everyone was easy to travel with and we all got along so well. I hope we can do it again!