Friday, March 1, 2013

10 Things I Didn't Know About Nashville

With the NYTimes dubbing it "Now-ville", Nashville has gotten a lot of attention this year. I suppose we have to thank Reyna James and Juliet Barnes for some of this publicity. If you don't know who these people are... we probably aren't friends.

I had a blast in Nashville last week with my GW friends. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed the local culture, the venues, and the food.  There were a lot of things about Nashville that I wouldn't have known unless I had visited in person. Below are some of the quirks of the town that you might not read in a more common travel guide:

1.) Nashville is known for its coffee. People refer to Nashville as the "Portland of the South" because of all its great coffee shops.The city is full of quirky java places that serve homemade unique coffee blends and lattes.  My favorite was a place called the Frothy Monkey that served me a banana chocolate latte called a Monkey Mocha.

No monkeys were hurt in the making of this latte

2.) The Jack Daniels Distillery is in a dry town. If you live in the town of Lynchburg, Tennessee you probably work at the Jack Daniels Distillery. Even though you work, live and breath whiskey everyday you physically cannot buy it in the town. Somehow Jack Daniel's gets around this by allotting employees a bottle of  Jack with each paycheck... I smell government corruption in a small town. Maybe ABC will make a show about it.

They should bottle this together and sell it like a Smirnoff lemonade or something

3.) There are actually places called Honky Tonks. A big, three story bar in the center of downtown towers over the others and is named "Honky Tonk Central".  Each floor has a different country band and serves shots with names like "NashVegas Bomb". Other places we wandered into were named "Robert's Western World" and "Wild Beaver Saloon". I was happy to see every place has a country-vibe to live up to its country name.

Either covering a Taylor Swift song or playing Wagon Wheel

4.) There's a beer called Yazoo and it's brewed in Nashville. The blend of Yazoo I had reminded me of a Sierra Nevada Winter Warmer. Tasty, dark and delightful.

5.) A live replica of the Greek Parthenon is sitting in a random park in Nashville.
Parthenon not to be confused with the Pantheon

6.) You can smoke in the bars. The legal age for smoking in bars is 21. Upon entering bars the bouncers put a mark on your hands. When I asked the bouncer what the mark was for he said "it's coz you can smoke". Apparently underage drinking is a secondary concern to underage smoking.

7.) Dogs are everywhere. This little guy was in the KFC parking lot.

I wonder if he has an itty bitty helmet

8.) Fried chicken in the south- not a cliche.  You can buy fried chicken on every block in Tennessee. Also HOT down here means, three glasses of milk and your mouth is still on fire. Medium is the extent of my Nashville spicy food tolerance. Hatty B's chicken was the best fried chicken I've ever had.
My mouth gets hot just looking at this sign

9.) The biggest building in Nashville looks like Batman.  A hero can be anyone. Even an at&t building.

10.) Hayden Panetterie, Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift all live in the same building. I should add, everyone in Nashville is super proud of this building. It's on every unofficial guided tour. Clarkson, Panetterie and Swift all have Pent House suites. A bar in front of this building, called Losers, is a place where Taylor has been spotted in the past (I swear that was not a backhanded reference at her performance skills... the bar is really called "Losers"). We had a bucket of Miller Lites there but unfortunately did not run into her.

With all those lights on, one of them is definitely home

I leave you with this video from the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. Bluebird Cafe is in a strip mall in between a Panera and a McDonalds. Despite the location, it was a very cool hole in the wall where real local talent comes plays folk music. Hope you enjoy this brief end to a song. 

Nashville Skyline

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