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Friday, July 31, 2015

The Commodore and the Man in Black

A rather slow start to our day, most likely due to the two hour time difference from home and nothing to do with consuming Budweisers until after midnight. Yes, most likely the time change.

After finally getting in some shape to explore a bit of Nashville, courtesy of coffee and waffles at the sumptuous Best Western breakfast buffet, and some income producing work for both of us, Leslie and I headed out. The high heat and humidity had dissipated and with a cool breeze we walked to Vanderbilt University. There were two reasons for the visit, one I just wanted to see it, and two Vandy has sent some introductory marketing pieces to our oldest last year. Our timing was perfect, just as we walked into the admissions office a presentation was starting for a large group of parents and high school students interested in attending Vandy.

Sitting there listening to the very good and enthusiastic presentation I kept thinking about how in a couple of years we'll have a high school senior going through the application process and the amount of decisionsto be made between them and now. Such as what direction she wants to go. Small stuff like that.

Fun facts, a student a few years ago counted the squirrels on campus. The squirrel to student ratio is 3:1, we weren't sure if that is 3:1 undergraduates, or 3:1 undergrads and graduate students. So there are either about 18,000 or 33,000 squirrels. The stat was provided as a way of telling us that Vanderbilt is a national arboretum and has on campus every tree known in the state. You can even take a tree tour.

Next on our list was the Country Music Hall of Fame. But first lunch. In our walk to Vandy we passed a couple of establishments, including side-by-side bars called "Winners" and "Losers", one of which caught my eye, The Slider House. Fantastic. We each had two sliders, Leslie having a traditional burger with bacon and caramelized onions, and a hot chicken**, I also had a hot chicken and the Bay of Pigs, the pigs being smoked pork and country ham. **hot chicken is a Nashville thing, the hot spicy seasoning is added to the batter or coating before frying, delicious.

After walking back to the hotel to stop off our bag of Vandy material we Ubered to the Country Music Hall of Fame. We got there at 3:30, it closed at 5:00, so we browsed the gift shop and bookstore until 4:00 to get discounted tickets.

With only an hour we had to use some strategery, and decided our first exhibit would be one in Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. I'm not a music a music afficianado, I don't remember who sings what songs, can't remember lyric (though have no issues making them up which sometimes makes the girls say I'm weird...) so the learning experience was very appreciated.

The exhibit on Dylan and Cash was fascinating. The two are credited with causing Nashville to be labelled Music City. Cash for his take-it-or-leave-it demand when negotiating for his television show that it be filmed at the Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry, and Dylan for not only recording in Nashville but using local musicians and giving them credit on his albums. Dylan was a guest on Cash's first show and the two became close friends. Whether you like country music or not I highly recommend a visit to the Country Hall of Fame--and a trip to Nashviille.

For dinner we Ubered to Elliston Place Soda Shop, the oldest restaurant in Nashville in the same location. Stepping in was like stepping back several decades in time. I had to have a milkshake--which was about a two and a half size serving, to accompany my slaw dog and Leslie had the fried catfish filets. On the way back to the hotel we walked to Winners for some whiskey and then took a Joy Ride cart to another bar a block from the hotel for one more sip before hitting the sack.

One thing about Nashville, we enjoyed walking about but if you are planning on it be ready for hills; not quite as extreme as San Francisco but quite a few none the less.

I'm writing this from the beautiful Brown Hotel in Louisville, details on that journey tomorrow.

Smoky's Bandit at Country Music Hall of Fame

Cornelius "The Commodore" Vanderbilt

Don't tell Leslie but we are going here for lunch when we return to Nashville at the end of our trip
Elliston Place Soda Shop, timeless

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