This is our fourth Thanksgiving on the road. Every year we try to do something a little different. The first year we stuffed ourselves silly at a Vegas buffet, the second year we had a traditional meal with a group of friends, the third year we met up with family on the beach in Florida, and this year we decided to spend a few days in Nashville exploring the city and enjoying our holiday meal at a fantastic restaurant called Adele’s.
I really like cooking so I surprised myself by wanting to eat out for Thanksgiving this year. It was that or find a remote campsite where the two of us could enjoy a home cooked meal in solitude. Since that last option describes our lives 90% of the time, I guess I wanted something different. It ended up being a great experience. We enjoyed both meal and the restaurant, and not having to shop for or clean up after the meal was a real treat. The only downside was that we didn’t have any leftovers for the next day :(
Before dinner we spent a few hours walking around downtown Nashville. I sometimes have a hard time finding beauty in cities. All that concrete, crowds of people, and trash carelessly strewn about really messes with this nature loving girl. But Nashville was different. Something about this city appealed to me. I enjoyed the mix of old and new buildings and the fun strip called Honky Tonk row filled with bars, shops, and lots of neon signs. We also lovef the riverfront area with a pedestrian only bridge that offered an almost bird’s eye view of the city.
The day after Thanksgiving we had a giant list of things to do and see around Nashville — and no, the mall was NOT on the list. We started with the Parthenon. This full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens was constructed in 1887 for the Tennessee Centennial. It was later rebuilt, and today houses an art museum on the lower level and a 42-foot statue of Athena on the second story.
After we finished at the Parthenon we thought we might go to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Tennessee State Museum, or the Belle Meade Plantation. But we just couldn’t seem to muster up the energy or the desire for a museum or house tour. Instead we walked across the street and strolled around the beautiful campus of Vanderbilt University.
As we passed the gym a security guard called out and asked if we wanted to see a basketball game. As neither of us are huge basketball fans we declined, but he went on and on about the arena (something about raised floors?), so we went in to take a look. And then we sat down to watch for a few minutes. And before we knew it we had watched the entire last half of the game. Which is why sometimes the best plan is no plan at all. Oh, and the talented Vanderbilt ladies won the game by the way.
Our final Nashville experience was the Opryland Hotel. This very large hotel makes all the top ten lists of things to in Nashville. Normally walking around a hotel would not be high on my list, but when I read about their impressive holiday light display I knew we had to go. I’m kind of a sucker for Christmas light displays. Oh man, am I glad we went.
Not only was it absolutely gorgeous inside with ornate balconies overlooking manicured gardens, multiple fountains, and waterfalls, massive columns of hanging lights and decorations everywhere, but the entire inside courtyard of the hotel is a conservatory filled with thousands of plants. I wanted to walk around forever looking at the rows of colorful shrubs and delicate hanging orchids. But is was very crowded and way too dark to take pictures of anything but the lights, so I had to settle for a quick once over (which took us over an hour). Above all, this is what I will remember most about our trip to Nashville. My only regret is that we didn’t go back to see the conservatory again in the day light.
So our Nashville Thanksgiving was a success. We ate a great meal, did some city exploring, and even saw an awesome Christmas display. We may have only scratched the surface of our intended activities, but for a quick two-day visit I think we did good — and like always, we’ve saved plenty for the next time around.