Nashville for People Who Hate Country

A travel review. A confession. Not a recant.

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Nashville, Tennessee. Photo by Joshua Ness.

What I Found That I Didn’t Expect

Nashville and area are beautiful and diverse — green, rolling hills, a bustling city that’s not-too-big and not-too-small, significant historical sites, a wide range of entertainment options, trendy dining with a strong lean to southern traditions, and an array of multi-genre options in the thriving local arts scene.

The Music, First

Although its dominant industry is education and healthcare management, Nashville is best known as a hub for the business of making music popular and profitable…and for being discovered.

I’ll admit it was a curious — and strangely inspiring — evening.

My husband told me that several establishments hosting open mic nights have the lucky reputation of jumpstarting the careers of famous country music stars like Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson. The Bluebird Cafe is probably the best-known of these. You’ll want to book tickets online in advance. We didn’t, and there was no way we were getting in.

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Music simply saturates this city, and it’s offered with ample volume and heart.

Alongside scheduled events — concerts, bar gigs, and open mic nights — incidental music appears to be a Nashville constant. Walking into my conference at the super-sized convention center that houses the Grand Old Opry (fittingly called the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center — even though it’s really a Marriott affiliate) I and the other 4, 999 attendees were greeted by an incredible sisters duo that played non-stop cover tunes and requests for several hours before our keynote speaker got started.

My Conclusion

Remember the classic joke?

It Might Have Been the Atmosphere

The stifling closeness of my family’s vacation vehicle made it easy to resent the country music my parents played for mile after mile after mile.

If you’re like me, the music may not draw you there but the whole experience, ignited by your curiosity, is sure to make an indelible impression and give you something to talk about — or hum about — for years to come…and quite possibly, draw you back.

I’m already looking forward to our next trip.

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The author sampling it all at Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant, Franklin, Tennessee — where Mac ’n’ Cheese is a vegetable. (The waitress told me so.)

Life writer. Believer. Keeping it real {to make it better}.

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