About a month ago or so, my sister-in-law sent me a message on Facebook wondering if I would be interested in the two of us (JUST the two of us) meeting somewhere about halfway between Akron, OH (where she lives) and Baton Rouge, LA (where I live) and spending just a few days doing touristy things and hanging out.

It took a little planning and logistics but yesterday we both flew to Atlanta and got on the same flight from there to Nashville. We rented a car and drove to our hotel in downtown Nashville. After we got settled and all we walked down one of the main streets (5th Avenue, I think) where there were small little restaurants/bars and some little shops, all geared to country or at least live music. This was mid-afternoon, around 3 or 4. Several of these places had their doors open and you could hear and sometimes see live performers performing.

I’ve never been much of a country music fan, although my dad and mom kinda were. I did grow up watching Hee Haw, so many country stars from the 70s and 80s are familiar to me, and I do know some of their songs.

We went into a little rib place and ate something. Then we walked around some more. We came back to our hotel and then, around seven we headed out to a nearby mall and ate at a Ruby Tuesday. Not super exciting, but fun.

Today was our first full day. We went to the Ryman Auditorium which is the former home of the Grand Ole Opry. It was built to be a church in the 1800s and it’s lovely inside. In fact, it is called the Mother Church of Country Music.

We had our picture taken on the stage holding guitars and saw lots of memorabilia from country music stars. I may just find myself buying some country CDs!

Then we at lunch at Panera Bread right next door. We don’t have Panera’s in Louisiana so I eat at one whenever I can.

Then we went to Fontanel, a magnificent log mansion built by Barbara Mandrell’s husband. It was their family home for years and it was amazing. We got there about an hour before the next tour so we went into a small family-style restaurant (Farmhouse) that is at the parking lot for the tour. On the ceiling were about a dozen or so old quilts and both Elizabeth and I remarked how it made us miss Mom, who would have loved this trip and had a blast with us.

After that we went to the the Parthenon. I had promised my son I’d go as we’d seen it in the Percy Jackson movie. Turns out that the movie must have used a set or something because what I saw didn’t jibe with the movie but was more impressive and beautiful. Elizabeth took a bunch of pictures and I got a mug and a T-shirt.

Speaking of mugs, I collect them and I got three(one in each place we visited) before I thought possibly putting them in my suitcase was going to be a problem if this continued. So, no more mugs. I loved the Parthenon so much I also got a t-shirt!

Then we went to the Hard Rock Cafe down the street from our hotel and I got a souvenir glass with my drink! My last drinking vessel this trip! I promise!