This weekend we had the pleasure of hosting my distant cousin Marcus and his girlfriend Petra from Sweden. They’re in the middle of a 7 week vacation around North America: NYC, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Toronto, Nashville, Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Los Angeles, Hawaii, Cuba, Miami and then back to Sweden. Quite a busy adventure!
My parents picked them up from the airport on Friday afternoon and took them to Centennial Park to see the Parthenon. After that they went to the Nashville Farmers Market for lunch and back to my parents house to rest for a bit. Jason and I met them for dinner at Allium, a delicious new neighborhood favorite with a great view of downtown. After dinner Jason and I took Marcus and Petra downtown Nashville to see the crazy neon signs from the bars, hear music of all different styles pouring out of every other doorway, get bombarded by the crowded streets and eventually end up at Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar. The music was pretty good and a variety of pop music from Elton John to Jason Mraz to Ben Folds. It was good until it got crude. We didn’t stay long as the Swedes were tired and a bit overwhelmed.
Saturday morning my parents brought Marcus and Petra over to our house for a quick tour and some pictures.
After a Starbucks stop we went to the Ryman Auditorium for a tour which was quite interesting. The auditorium was originally built to house revival services before becoming the home of the Grand Ole Opry. Eventually the Opry moved to another venue and the auditorium was renovated by the Gaylord Entertainment and now is the venue of everyone from One Republic (who played there on Sunday night) to Kelly Clarkson to Jonny Lang to Vince Gill. Jason and I saw Dave Brubeck perform there 6 or 7 years ago.
From there we went to Hatch Show Print, Nashville’s historic letterpress shop where all the great country music concert posters were printed back in the day and where most of Nashville’s biggest concerts still have their posters printed today. As a graphic designer this is always one of my favorite stops.
We had to stop in one of the many boot stores downtown. Marcus wanted to try some on just for a picture. Meanwhile, mom and I kept seeing some that we actually liked. I’ve never owned a pair of cowboy boots but I think if I spent enough time in here I could be convinced. This particular store, Boot Country, is Buy 1 Pair, Get 2 Free. Of course, all the ones I really liked were in the $275-399 range. Fun to look anyway.
After lunch at Piranha (which took forever but was good), we walked out over the pedestrian bridge to get a good look at downtown.
We walked along the path of the Music City Walk of Fame on our way to the Country Music Hall of Fame. The hall included lots of facts, outfits and instruments of lots of country musicians that none of us really cared about. Turned out it wasn’t really worth the $20/person admission for us. We all agreed we enjoyed the Ryman more. Serious country fans might disagree.
After that it was back to my parents house for naps and rest before my dad’s birthday dinner and my mama’s yummy homemade cheesecake for dessert. We had planned to go to dinner at Pucketts Grocery where a country band was performing but we were all too pooped. We ended up just visiting for the rest of the evening. It was a fun weekend and I’m so glad Marcus and Petra made a stop in Nashville on their busy vacation. Did I mention we had perfect weather? Sunny and highs in the upper 60s both days. Jason will most likely be going back to Sweden again this summer and I’m hoping we can find a way for me to go along and tack on a few extra days in Stockholm to visit Marcus and Petra again, and hopefully Marcus’ brothers and parents too.