Barb and I extended our holiday travels last month by including a three day stay in Nashville, Tenn., prior to spending Thanksgiving with family in northern Kentucky. We were excited about exploring an urban area that was new to us.
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Having attended a number of live performances at Goshen’s Ignition Music Garage, we began our planning process by consulting with owner/promoter, Steve Martin. He has frequently traveled to Nashville to network and search for talent to bring to Michiana. Significantly, Ignition made the Americana Music Associations list of favorite music venues in 2013.
Arriving in Nashville on a Sunday afternoon, we had dinner at Edley’s BBQ, a local favorite that is southwest of downtown. The barbecue nachos are not to be missed, especially when paired with a regional draft microbrew beer. Anything from Black Abbey Brewing Company would do well.
On Steve’s recommendation, we then caught performances at The Basement. The venue is famous for booking the best up and coming artists and is located inconspicuously in a small basement under Grimey’s Record Store. Parking could only be accessed through a neighborhood alley.
The music began at 8 p.m., with Georgia English followed by Daphne and Mystery Machine. By 9:30 p.m. the tempo and sound was turned up by Cait Leary and ended with a rocking Naughty Water, featuring Phil Stanley. It turned out to be a terrific introduction to the local music scene.
Phil Stanley performs. Video by Frank Piaskowy / Flavor 574.
The Hall of Fame was nothing like what I expected. I would budget a minimum of 2 to 3 hours to enjoy the three floors of exhibits, displays and shops. Check out Elvis’s gold plated Cadillac. Hatch Show Prints is a shop of particular note in the complex. The business has been a Nashville institution since 1879, creating striking advertisement posters.
That evening we dropped in at Family Wash/Garage Coffee. It was another of Steve’s suggestions. The featured performers were the 77s who performed “Jesus drove a Cadillac.” It is an entertaining song with catchy lyrics!
Besides music and coffee, Family Wash is a restaurant with bar service. I ordered the chicken pot pie and Barb had the mega grilled cheese with a salad. Looking over their small but diverse wine list, I chose a bottle of Zoppega Soave Classico which went perfectly with both our dishes.
While enjoying our meal, we overheard someone who was sitting behind us mention South Bend. Naturally, I had to saunter over and ask what his connection was to northern Indiana. To my surprise, Trevor Miller responded he was a 2008 graduate of Goshen High School.
He received a culinary arts degree from Vincennes University and is now the sous chef at Family Wash. He was excited to be living and working in East Nashville, a neighborhood considered to be “Nashville’s version of New York’s East Village.”
The Soave was shared with Trevor and a gentleman sitting next to me at the table rail. To our astonishment, we discovered that while a local resident, Doug Webster is employed by Goshen based Digital Hill as a web designer. Consequently, Trevor and Doug were introduced to each other that night because of a bottle of wine.
Much of Tuesday was spent at Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s plantation just outside of Nashville. Construction of the mansion began in 1819, and it was opened as a museum in 1889. Room furnishings have been carefully preserved since the president’s death in 1845.
That evening we had a memorable dinner at the cozy Lockeland Table. The wine list was concise but offered an interesting variety. I selected a glass of 2014 Can Feixes Blanc Seleccio, a Spanish white blend made from three grape varietals: Parellada, Macabeo and Chardonnay. My grilled trout with root vegetables was terrific with the wine. Later, we went to another music venue several blocks away to end the day.
We had breakfast at Marche on our last morning in Nashville. I jokingly asked our server, Matt, where he was performing that night. He told me he was a drummer in a group that was still rehearsing before making a stage debut. When he heard where we lived, he spoke enthusiastically about the Goshen High School drum line and how they were making a name for their program in national competitions.
Nashville is a major U.S. city in which we had no personal contacts, much less previously visited. Who would have guessed that we would have felt so welcomed and at home? A return road trip is certainly anticipated in the near future.