Here at Vickie Milazzo Institute we are counting the days until the 2010 National Alliance of Certified Legal Nurse Consultants (NACLNC®) Conference in Nashville! I am so excited about the hotel (Gaylord Opryland Hotel) this year. Staying at the Gaylord is like being in your own city – 40-acres of fun galore, so you will not even have to leave the hotel. But in case you do, here are 20 legendary ways to experience Nashville.
- Take a ride down the Honky Tonk Highway if you like country music and longnecks (and if you’ve never had a longneck, you should try one). Clubs like Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge (Patsy Cline, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson all sang here), Legends Corner and Second Fiddle still host drop-in celebrity musicians and are great places to heat up a Spring evening.
- Have a grand time at the Grand Ole Opry. There’s more to Opryland than just Hee-Haw. For more than 80 years, live radio shows have been broadcast every Friday and Saturday night from this grand home of country music. If you’re in town early for the Conference or choose to stay afterwards, this is a must-do. By the way – this isn’t the original home of the Opry – but more on that later!
- Visit the “Home of 1,000 Hits.” Ever heard a song by Elvis, Roy Orbison or Dolly Parton? If so, there’s a good chance it was recorded at RCA Studio B on Music Row. Take some time to make a pilgrimage to a truly historic location.
- Pay homage to the “Man in Black.” Stop by Johnny Cash’s grave and pay tribute to one of the greatest country music personalities and singers ever. Before you go, rent the movie Walk the Line and get a feel for the life and times of the legendary “Man in Black.” When you create your own CLNC® legacy you’ll know what detours to avoid. His grave is really in Henderson but shoot, you’re this close already so why not go by?
- Count the Elvis statues in downtown Nashville. I’m sure I didn’t see them all.
- Do something truly off-beat and take a “Nash-Trash Tour” lead by the famous (or infamous) “Jugg Sisters.” You’ll take a large pink bus to where some of the most famous country singers have performed (including the Nashville jail), hear celebrity gossip, fun stories and generally laugh your way through the city.
- Realize that you do know Jack – Daniels that is. Just 20 minutes outside Nashville is the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. It’s an extremely interesting, free tour and the grounds are just beautiful. But don’t expect any free samples because for some odd reason they built the distillery in a dry town (Lynchburg).
- Stick around after Conference for St. Patrick’s Day and celebrate the 17th with a green beer after a trip to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in east Nashville. The church dates from the late 1800s and is one of two “second empire”-style buildings in Nashville. If you don’t like old architecture – skip the church and go straight for a Guiness® at Findley’s Irish Pub in the Opryland Hotel or any of the Irish pubs in Nashville.
- Speaking of church, make time to visit Ryman Auditorium, also known as “The Mother Church of Country Music.” Built in 1881, this is the original home of the Grand Old Opry (1943-1974) and is filled with more memories than your great-grandmom’s attic. Check out the bronze statue of Minnie Pearl and look for the price tag on her hat.
- Make some new friends. Nashville residents love visitors and are some of the most welcoming people I’ve ever met. Just remember when you order ice tea that swait tea means sweet tea and I do mean sweet, honey.
- Take a drive to visit the Belle Meade Plantation. Dating from 1853, this is a Greek revival (What is it with Nashville and Greece?) mansion that was part of a 5,400-acre thoroughbred farm. The so-called “Queen of Tennessee Plantations” is a wonderful visit and the tour includes the Dunham’s station log cabin, plantation mansion itself, slave quarters, dairy and horse stables. The outside of the house still shows evidence of bullet holes from the Civil War.
- Go celebrity spotting at the Loveless Cafe. This is sort of a pilgrimage because there’s a fairly good chance you might even see Elvis chowing down on their world famous biscuits and southern fried chicken. Leave your cholesterol outside, this is food to die for (or from). Buy yourself one of their “Praise the Lard and pass the biscuits” T-shirts. I promise you’ll have fun – clot my heart and hope to die.
- Take a trip back in time and I mean waaaaay back. The centerpiece of Centennial Park is a recreation of the Greek Parthenon. Originally built for the 1897 Centennial Exposition, its features direct castings from the real Parthenon. There’s no Greek food but there is a great art collection (it’s Nashville’s art museum) and a 42-ft. tall statue of Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom. If you’re traveling with a culture snob, drop them here and then go have some honky tonk fun.
- Eat at a Waffle House. It’s a Southern thang. They serve more than waffles but that’s the sole reason to go there. Elbow your way to the counter and sit between the sheriff and the deputys (Isn’t that Boss Hogg?). Don’t worry about your cholesterol and make sure you add a big scoop of whupped butter before you cover your waffles in syrup. If you don’t come home sticky, you didn’t fully immerse yourself in the experience.
- Send your husband off for the day to see the statue of Sgt. Alvin York outside of the Tennessee State Capitol building. The World War I hero, Congressional Medal of Honor winner and Quaker hailed from Tennessee and may be its most famous resident. He lead an attack knocking out 32 machine guns, killing 28 German soldiers and capturing 132 more. As a side note, Gary Cooper won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Alvin York. See if your hubby can spot the statue’s anomaly.
- Scream, yell and pound on the glass at a Nashville Predators ice hockey game. If you’ve never been to see ice hockey, it’s a whole lot of fun. My favorite seats are in the first row just to the right of either goal. The pucks come at you at over 100 mph and you can even count the teeth on the center when he gets slammed up against the glass! The original Broad Street Bullies, the Philadelphia Flyers are in Nashville on Tuesday the 16th and it’s sure to be a good game.
- Visit the Country Music Hall of Fame. Walk through the history of country music. See some of the really cool memorabilia and marvel at all the things you’re sure to have never seen before (especially Elvis’ gold Cadillac). You can even burn your own CDs from the music choices and just have a whole lotta fun.
- Set yourself on fire and see just how hot it can get in March, with fried chicken that is. Venture down to Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack at 123 Ewing Drive and try the mild, medium, hot or extra hot versions of their fried chicken. This is not for the faint of heart but if you like it spicy, this is THE place to go.
- Join the line-dance at the Wildhorse Saloon. If you ever watched “The Wildhorse Saloon Dance Show” on the Nashville Network here’s your chance to do the Watermelon Crawl and pretend you’re on TV. Kick up your CLNC® boots with some good country music and free dance lessons starting at 5:00pm most nights.
- Take a walk around the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. You could spend a full day wandering around and still not see everything. Best of all, it’s all indoors. You can even cool your feet off in one of the many waterfalls (just don’t let me see you). There’s so much to do here you’ll have to set a reminder so that you don’t miss any one of our exciting NACLNC® sessions!
As you set the stage for your Nashville excursions, remember to come prepared to keep up with the tempo for the 2010 NACLNC® Conference.
- Come relaxed and ready to discover new ideas. The NACLNC® Conference is much more fun when you’re rested, and you’ll learn so much more if you leave your stress behind.
- Pack energy bars, raw nuts and other healthy snacks to maintain your energy. That Jack Daniels buzz will wear off quickly.
- Bring plenty of business cards to exchange with the many new CLNC® friends you’ll meet.
- Go online and print the NACLNC® Conference textbook sessions you plan on attending after you receive the link in my March 10 email.
Have a great trip and be sure to read my blog on March 11, 2010 when I share how to Master Your Strategies for the 2010 NACLNC® Conference.
Success Is Inside!
P.S. Comment and share your favorite fun things to do in Nashville.
P.P.S. The NACLNC® River Dinner Cruise is selling out fast so call today 800.880.0944 to register you and your guest.