Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's a Wrap

We rounded out our getaway with 2 more delicious dining spots and a tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame, as well as a stroll through the Nashville-Davidson County Public Library (one of us is a librarian but a good time was had by all).

Originally, I had mentioned The Pancake Pantry as a possible breakfast spot on Sunday morning. It's God's day in the south. Surely, the popular and famous breakfast joint would be deserted, right? Oh, wait...there's a Tennessee Titans football game about 5 miles away that starts at noon. Also, there are a fair amount of heathens living in the south. So, after several minutes of reading Trip Advisor reviews and travel bloggers lamenting the hours spent in line waiting for a breakfast food that I make at least once a month, we decided maybe a plan B was appropriate here. We asked the concierge at the hotel. And the bartender. And Siri. Ultimately, we decided to try Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant, which has 2 location - one in downtown Franklin. I love it when breakfast is less than 8 miles away.

I realize that any dining establishment with the word "grocery" in the name conjures up images of 7-11 or Wawa (shout out to my VA crew) or Pic-Pac (holla back to my Frankfort posse). But I assure you it delivers on the "restaurant" side of things just as well.
I was in such a starved state by this point that I didn't even realize my menu had sprouted a forehead at the top when I snapped this.
My many thanks to everyone for looking perfectly normal and not at all annoyed by having your picture taken by a tourist. Also, please don't sue me for posting this on my blog. I tried not to include anyone who was shoving grits down their pie hole. (See? Cute grocery/market-like atmosphere with great attention still paid to the dining aspect. I didn't peruse the shelves for fear of coming home with more food items.)

Our server was decently attentive considering the Sunday morning masses and this being her first morning shift. As a regular during the dinner crowd, she could tell us all we wished to know about baby back ribs or shrimp and grits but not a single thing about the omelets. That was slightly less than helpful but we muddled through. First, the coffee, water, chocolate milk.
Then the harder decisions.
The Pancake Pantry is most notable for their sweet potato pancakes so I ordered them at Puckett's as a kind of consolation prize. But after I shoveled these down in a record 4 minutes, I declared them even better (with a 99% less wait time). Also, I realize that frying bacon rarely requires a degree in Chemical Engineering, but I wish my bacon tasted like that. It was crispy with a perfect meat-to-fat ratio. And it wasn't drowning in its own grease. Clearly, I'm doing it wrong. With breakfast down and a quick stop at the restroom (word to the wise: the bathrooms are in the kitchen and it's a 1-seater so you get a glimpse into what's going on at the grill there but you also feel a bit underfoot while you're waiting in the inevitable 4-woman bathroom line), we stepped outside to discuss the day's game plan.
I was now driving separately since we were checked out of our hotel and moving in a northern direction. Five girls piled in a Rogue now became 3, plus 2 in a Prius. After getting all the way into Nashville together, the Rogue GPS took the girls to the left and mine peeled us off to the right. Fortunately, I was with the most experienced Nashville traveler. After cutting off a Nashville police officer, nearly T-boning a Titans fan and driving all 4 lanes of a traffic circle somewhat simultaneously, I managed to swerve into the convention center parking garage...where we found the others 2 floors down.

Dear Country Music Hall of Fame,
When you decided to include the words hall of fame in your museum name, perhaps you should have also included dedicated parking. It's just a thought. I would rather not be at the whim of local parking lots during an event like an NFL game. Although I only took 1 business class in college, I still understand the concept of supply and demand.
The girl who drove the girl who is out $10 because of the whole thing

Anyway, we made it.
Part of our reason for going was to see the Kenny Rogers and Alan Jackson special exhibitions. There was also one for Miranda Lambert, but that was not a deciding factor. Upon entering the front doors, we were greeted by a lady who explained the ticket packages available. The basic ticket was for the museum only. Add-ons included an audio tour of the Hall of Fame, a bus ride over to the historic RCA Studio B where you would receive another tour and a tour of Hatch Show Print ("one of the oldest letterprint print shops in America and a true Nashville icon") all for the bargain basement price of $54. Actually, when you consider that the Hall of Fame alone costs $25, that isn't a bad deal for an all-day visit. I would like to go back and do the other 2 at some point, but on this given Sunday, we were a little crunched for time. Husbands to relieve and children to hug and all that.

As interesting as the Kenny Rogers exhibit was (I had no idea he was a photographer who studied under an assistant for Ansel Adams), I felt it was a bit squeezed into the space it was allotted. Perhaps the worst mistake a museum curator can do when setting up an exhibit, I think, is to put it in a room with doors....that close. There was a film about Kenny's life that was playing on a loop so a fair amount of people were standing around watching that, plus the artifacts on display and his photos hanging and all of the people standing, reading, looking and then walking - usually right into the person in front of them who is doing the same thing. There was a lot of "excuse me" and bumping of purses and small children. I think he deserves a Dixie Chicks-sized wide open space to display all of his accomplishments and service to others. And perhaps more on the whole roasted chicken thing...because HELLO, random...
Somehow this is the only photo I took in the Kenny Rogers room but I had to get it as a constant reminder of what plastic surgery can do for a person...love it or hate it, Dolly Parton has an impossibly tiny waist with great big knockers. She got a variety of tomato named after her. They are apparently voluptuous orbs of juiciness. I personally think her figure would also lend itself well to the creation of some kind of double-mounded cake pop, seeing as it's on a stick and all.

Alan Jackson's exhibit was a bit more spread out, stretching along a wall behind a long glass panel. I had forgotten the bucketloads of amazing hits he had and vowed I would rock out to 90's country all the way home. I did and it was wonderful.

I am now going to show you a bunch of outfits worn by country music stars. These are only the ones I found most entertaining...for an assortment of reasons.
 In case you accidentally mistook him for a coal miner or something...
As hot as I'm sure this made Jerry Lee Lewis look, I think if Neal ever tried to leave the house in ruffles, I would make him change immediately.
 Patsy Cline was one classy lady. And the only person I know who could pull off fringe, my father included.
 Is anyone going to be heartbroken if this style fails to make a resurgence?
I think if I had feathers trailing down from my sleeves, it would make my batwing arms far less noticeable.
 Trisha Yearwood's boots - proof that she truly is Garth Brooks' soulmate.
Do you go to your costumer designer one day and say "I would really like something that says God bless you and kiss my ass" and this is the result?

There were also some perfectly normal ones.
 I actually have shoes fancier than those red heels owned by Crystal Gale. And I would like to someday have my own flight suit.
 I remember Dwight Yokum wearing this outfit. Shortly thereafter I bought my first pair of pre-ripped jeans, which my grandfather questioned me about constantly. He kept trying to buy me new ones...without the holes and rips.
 A little something from the McGraw-Hill closet. Wait a minute, isn't that a textbook publisher?
 I actually bought a shirt similar to the one on the left for Neal to wear. I think it might still have the tags on it. We call this look Rascal Flatts-sexy.
Dixie Chicks keepin it classy in black. I'm so sad they made one political statement at the height of their fame and now they are nowhere to be found. Come back, Dixie Chicks! We are out of Iraq now. Keep your trap shut about Syria and you can have the mic. 
As I mentioned, there was much ado about Miranda which was mildly annoying. I feel like you should put in your time before an entire wall is dedicated to your blossoming career. But your rhinestone-studded Mrs. Shelton belt was pretty fabulous. And I've always wondered what those award show cards look like on the inside. 

But there was also this. Elvis Presley's solid gold Cadillac, complete with installed TV and storage.
It is good to be the king.
Webb Pierce's gun and money mobile. I couldn't even get all the awesome in one picture on my phone. Pearl-handled revolvers as door handles, a silver rifle mounted on the trunk, horse heads protruding from the gas cap, a saddle covered in half-dollar coins instead of an arm rest...yes, I think you should see this in person. I could show you more but, in this case, seeing is believing. This alone is worth the trip to Nashville. I don't care where you live.

If these costumes look familiar, then you grew up watching Hee-Haw. It was a Sunday night staple for us. The skits and songs were always a favorite in our house (I've been known to sing "where oh where are you tonight" to Neal during deployments) and my cousin played one of the nurses for awhile. That's pretty much my only link to fame. Hee-Haw. Try to conceal your jealousy.

One of the more fascinating aspects of the museum for me was the display of original manuscripts for famous songs. So often I think of a country music star grabbing a piece of hotel stationary or a bar napkin and jotting down a chart topper when most of the time it seems to be a piece of legal pad paper
The best and worst of country music...a little achy breaky heart by fellow Kentuckian (and unfortunate father of Miley) Billy Ray Cyrus.
or just some good ole fashioned single ruled white notebook paper. Nothing too fancy or romantic about that.
I took a picture of this because someday I'm going to have to explain telegrams to Blue and it will help to have a visual aid.
And there's an entire Curious George episode about homemade instruments so I'll have a chance to whip out this picture.
After we wandered through all of the halls, slid down the gigantic blow-up guitar slide and questioned the complete absence of many famous country musicians (i.e. Montgomery Gentry, Shania Twain, Kenny Chesney, etc, etc, etc), we bid farewell to the Hall of Fame and went in search of the Nashville Public Library for a quick stroll through their children's section.

It was recently featured on NBC for their children's puppet shows but the entire floor is rich with creativity and inspiration. In addition to making their own puppets, they are often gifted unique puppets, which they display inside glass cases near the back of the department.

And they showcase art by children in the community.

This is how a children's library should be.
So, with the renewed energy of a thousand toddlers and the appetite of a thousand more, we went in search of lunch and our last meal in Nashville.

Upon our arrival Friday night, one of the girls suggested a place called Merchant's in downtown Nashville. She said something about duck fried tater tots and then I quit listening because I was imagining myself backstroking through a pool of aforementioned tots. But Merchant's was booked until 9:30 PM (10:30 our time) on Friday night. So, we bid farewell to any thoughts of tots. But then Sunday afternoon rolled around. The game was still on and the early birds had eaten their fill. We rolled into Merchant's at 3 PM with duck fat on the mind. (Somewhat related, "duck fat" is one of those tricky phrases if you are the least bit dyslexic.)
We were immediately seated on the patio and handed a menu of awesome from which to choose.
Why yes, girls...I do believe this calls for duck fat tater tots and baked cheese. In fact, bring one of everything!
OK, while not quite everything, we put a major dent in the appetizer menu.

And while you're at it, I'll have the fish tacos. Because I have a long drive ahead of me and something must get me through the next 120 miles.
I have managed to avoid saying this through the entire post, but....FOODGASM. There. I said it. I did it. And now I'm freaking starving and it's 1:45 AM and the entire house is sleeping. Gah.

As a sidenote, those tater tots are also delicious warmed up several days later. Even better if they are devoured in the pantry after you've distracted your toddler with Rio 2.

Merchant's and Puckett's definitely lived up to the hype and I'm thrilled I didn't have to stand in a 2-hour line for a pancake. The Hall of Fame was fascinating and I wish I could have seen more about the musicians that I adore but I understand that they must rotate their collection due to the sheer volume of it so I'll just have to plan a return trip.

Thank you for re-living this little music city getaway with me. I don't think I'll be able to wait another 8 years but maybe these posts will get me through until the next one.

1 comment:

  1. Twenty years I lived in Knoxville and never got to Nashville once. Now I regret that. There's still time ...


That's it, let it all out....