Day 2: Belle Meade Plantation, Bluebird Café and Honky Tonk Central
Disclosure: I received some free/discounted
accommodations and attractions while in Nashville for review purposes here on
the blog. Opinions are, as always, my own.

On Day 2, we
were up and at ‘em and took a taxi from Hotel Indigo (there was always at least
one waiting out front) to another popular Nashville
tourist destination, Belle Meade Plantation.

We signed up for the guided tour, and were lucky to land another amazing tour guide who was funny and knowledgeable. She took us around the inside of the mansion (where no photography was allowed), and then we were free to explore the property and outbuildings on our own. 

I was
surprised to learn that this “plantation” wasn’t for crops (my limited knowledge of
American history led me to believe that plantations were mostly for cotton) but
this one was in fact very renowned for horse breeding/racehorses.

We had the chance to touch bullet holes in the limestone columns at the front of the mansion, remnants of the Civil War’s
Battle of Nashville (again, I’m more of a Plains of Abraham girl here, so my
apologies if I make an historical error).

Of course
the children of Belle Meade needed a cool play house (I try to take at least a few travel
pics to interest my girls): 

Just doing
some southern back-porch sittin’… you know, on the back porch of a mansion!

What’s a
mansion without its own mausoleum? (The “residents” have since been relocated
to cemeteries)

The evening found us at the famous Bluebird Café, where such stars as Garth Brooks, Faith Hill and Taylor Swift were first discovered!
How many of
you had heard of this place before the TV show Nashville? I may have read
about it in passing somewhere, but it really wasn’t on the radar for me until I
started watching the show, and I knew it was a must-see for this trip. But believe me, it’s not easy to get in!

how it works: they do have minimal walk-in bar/chair seating at the back
of the café, but that involves getting there early, waiting in line and taking
the chance that you’re going to be turned away. The better way to do it, if
you’re quick on the internet and available at precisely the right time: get a

Reservations are available at 8 am Central (9 am Eastern) each
Monday for the coming week. You click on the calendar, click on the show you
want, and see a note that reservations will be available Monday at 8. So Monday
at 7:55 you get on the computer and constantly refresh the page until the
“Click here to reserve” button appears. You pick a table, and proceed with your
reservation. Early shows are only a $2 processing fee (with a $7 food/drink
minimum order per seat). The later shows have a $12 cover, and the same
food/drink minimum (alcohol is served and the food is very pubby and yummy).

I was
thrilled when I was quick enough at the keyboard to get reservations, and we
took yet another cab ride out to the nondescript strip mall where the Bluebird
is located. And I have
to admit I did feel kind of important walking right in past the line of those
desperately hoping to get a last-minute seat.
Here I am at our table, mere feet from the stage. Okay, all of the tables are mere feet from the stage. (Hubby says
I’m doing my weird “big eye” thing in this shot, but it’s not like I’m going to be vain
about the photos I use on my blog. Besides, I already eliminated seventeen
shots of me on Day 1’s General Jackson showboat post because either my eyes, hair, or chest looked weird.)

We were there for an “In the Row” performance, which is four
singers/songwriters literally sitting in a row, and taking turns sharing their original
songs. A few tunes were only good, but most were excellent. Like, “Why has no one put this
on the radio yet?” excellent. It actually makes me feel sorry for people
struggling to make it in a market that’s so oversaturated that such incredible music is being turned away.

Lance Carpenter in particular reminded us of Toby Keith, especially
with his novelty songs like the Jack Daniel’s ode “I Know Jack”. A.J. Bryant had us in stitches with “I Like Big Women”, as did Craig Winquist with his voyeuristic
“She’s Cutting Her Grass”, but there were some sweet and meaningful tunes
thrown in there as well. Usually I like listening to music I know, but this
original stuff had me drawn in for a full two hours (the policy is that
everyone is quiet and listening to the artists, so it’s not like you can just
chat with your companion if you’re not impressed)

Just like the General Jackson, cabs aren’t exactly lined up waiting after the show, so we had to phone, and ended up sharing a ride downtown with two other couples, who of course asked us the most common question in Nashville: “Where y’all from?” Because no one in Nashville is from Nashville.
We wanted to check out some live entertainment downtown on Broadway, and landed in Honky Tonk Central, where we
nabbed bar stools and hung out for another couple of hours, watching the place
pack so tight that no one could move, and listening to some amazing live music.
Unlike at the Bluebird, the performers here were totally doing cover music, so
I sang along to every song that the Luke Bryan/Eric Church hybrid threw out at
us, before finally heading back to Hotel Indigo for a good night’s sleep.
Yes, it
seems like we’ve already accomplished a lot in Nashville by this point, but
we’re only half done. Stay tuned for:
Day 3:
Country Music Stars Tour of Homes, Opry Mills Mall and Grand Ole Opry

Day 4: Ryman
Auditorium, Waterfront and General Tourist Tips

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