This was actually the first one to be completed on my list. I know it has taken me way too long to write about it, but I sort of have an excuse . . . I'll explain at the end! Oh, and I also need to get this done because I'm accomplishing at least two more bucket list items later this week! So exciting!!!
My mom came for a visit in early April and after spending a week with the family, we took off for our own little mini vacation to Nashville. I've been to Nashville a couple of times before, and the town just makes me think of my mom.
I grew up listening to country music, watching Hee Haw and with a dad who wore cowboy boots and drove a big truck. Let me just say, I could get used to being in Nashville. In order to enhance your experience, I think you need to listen to this song while you read. I'll explain later!
It was a bit off the path, but worth the extra time. Neither mom nor I drink whiskey, but it's fun to see the process of how it's made. A cool fact about George Dickel is that it's still all hand made . . . there weren't even computers in the actual Distillery. And the area was absolutely gorgeous!
On the way back to the interstate, I took mom to the cutest little town called Bell Buckle, TN.
We browsed some little antique shops and had a delicious southern lunch at the Bell Buckle Cafe . . . here's some terrible photos to document the noms and cute shops.
I'm a detailed planner so we had to hit a couple tourist stop before they closed prior to checking into our hotel. First stop was the historical Ryman Auditorium.
Mom has always loved country music so of course she'd want to see the "mother church of country music!" We first watched a great interactive movie and were then able to leisurely check out the main exhibits. The back stage tickets were sold out for the day . . . bummer. I honestly think this is overpriced for what you get, but it's kind of a must see in Nashville so it is what it is. I'd really love to see a concert here though . . . it would be a very intimate venue, and there's not a bad seat in the house.
Next stop was the Antique Archaeology Nashville store. My mom loves to watch the show American Pickers so this was a must see on our tour de Nashville. She now has me watching that show, and I have way too many accumulated on my DVR.
I warned her this was a bit of a letdown, but said we should do it anyway . . . just so she could agree. And she did. Although it is fun to see things they picked on TV in the store, so there's that.
We had to get ready for our Grand Ole Opry show so we headed to our hotel to check in . . . the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. This is where I always stay in Nashville. It's simply beautiful . . . the indoor gardens and water features are so tranquil . . . the huge crowds of people, not so much.
Did I mention my mom hates to pose for pictures? I'm not a huge fan myself . . . apparently it's genetic. But seriously, doesn't she look simply amazing for 73 years old?
The most exciting adventure of our trip was a visit to the Grand Ole Opry! Obviously this is a country music staple. It's so easy to just hop a bus from the Gaylord, and it takes you right to the Grand Ole Opry House!
It was chilly and windy the night we were there so we didn't linger outside. We checked out the shops, and mom bought a poster to remember the night!
Not having listened to country music really since I was a kid, I wasn't too familiar with the acts for the evening, but mama was and she was most excited to see Josh Turner.
Now I know why! Holy Moly his voice. Did you listen to that song above? This handsome, young, thin fellow has the deepest, strongest voice. He just seemed so kind and down to earth . . . that's what I love about country music artists . . . no fuss, no muss. Just gold old country boys. And boots. I do love some cowboy boots on a man, but I digress.
I wanted to do the after show backstage tour, but it was sold out so we opted to do one first thing in the morning since it was so close to us!
I love a tour, and I think the one at the Grand Ole Opry is great! It's fun to hear the history and see where "the magic happens" behind the scenes. Mom really enjoyed it as well!
She also loves the show Nashville which is filmed at the studios located at the Opry so that was cool too.
I think it's exciting to see the dressing rooms . . . there are several. Not sure how they determine who goes where, but I'd be happy with any of them . . . check out these fun ones!
The best part is getting to go on stage and feel like a star . . . or maybe that's just me! I do love the history behind the show, and the wooden circle that came over from the Ryman. It was submerged in the terrible flood of 2010 but was fully restored. Opry artists have been standing on that historic piece of stage for over 7 decades . . . that's pretty cool.
We then headed for a walk down the infamous Broadway and made our way to the Johnny Cash Museum. It was crowded for sure, but it wasn't a very big place. If you love Johnny Cash, it's worth a visit. My dad loved Johnny Cash so I grew up listening to his music and enjoyed the walk down memory lane.
There's some great people watching in downtown Nashville . . . and some great picture spots! "Hey mom, stand right there!" She was clearly thrilled about it.
Lunchtime arrived so we had to make a decision on where to get some grub. I see a place I've never been and think it will be perfect for my mom . . . as I laugh inside.
Honestly my mom is game for whatever. That is one, among many, of the things I love about her. She just goes with the flow. So we sidle up to the bar . . . apparently midday is not the high time as we were basically the only ones in there. Shocker, I know.
Mom ordered her ever present Diet Coke . . . Cheers! As you can imagine, the food was terrible, but the bartender was a sweet girl and the music was fabulous! And now we get to say we've been there . . . nobody needs to know it was empty and there wasn't any bar dancing!
I was most excited about our adventure for the afternoon . . . because clearly I'm so classy. We were taking a Nash Trash Tour on the infamous pink bus!!!
The "original" tour was sold out so we got to enjoy the Pip's Music Row Confidential option! Meet Steve Pippen, or Pip!
He was such a lovely gentleman with so much history and knowledge of the Nashville music scene! Of course I sat right in the front so I could hear all the details!
We stopped during the tour at a cool restaurant called The Row and enjoyed a bus break and a little mid day "snack!" It was so cool that I brought mom back here for dinner that night!
They seriously had one of the best margaritas ever, and the hamburger with pimento cheese was so good! We were tired so we headed back to the hotel to rest after dinner!
We checked out the next morning and headed over to the Country Music Hall of Fame! This place is fabulous and is such a cool museum. I was excited to bring mom here. We had a nice time browsing, but we were ready to head home.
So here's where life got interesting for us. I noticed things just seemed off with my mom . . . in fact she seemed more low key than usual the whole trip. I even wondered if these trips were just too much for her to handle any more. On the walk back to our car, she got super winded just walking up one city block . . . in fact, we had to stop to let her catch her breath.
We make it back to Georgia Monday afternoon and mom left to head home to Virginia the next day. I talked to her husband after she made it home, and he said the drive had been hard on her. Apparently she rested most of the following day and was not herself.
Well that night mom accidentally called me on her way up the stairs to her bedroom . . . she had the phone in her hand climbing the steps. She could hardly breath. I freaked out and tried to get her to go to the ER, but she refused because it was late. We hung up and I called her husband on the home phone to make sure he kept an eye on her and got her to the doctor the next day.
It turns out my mom had multiple blood clots in her lungs and one in her leg. You guys. I thought my heart was going to fall out of my chest. No wonder she hadn't been acting like herself. Thankfully she was safe and sound at the hospital and was going to be fine. I hate that I couldn't be there for her . . . that's the worst part about living far away.
I'm happy to report that she is doing fabulous now! Praise the sweet baby Jesus. Her parting gift from the hospital was a life long supply of blood thinners. She's not a big medicine taker so she wasn't excited about this, but if it keeps her safe and sound, so be it.
So needless to say, mom having health struggles rocked my world. She is so good to me and my family. She's the best listener . . . I can talk to her about anything and she always understands. She's the least judgmental person I know. She truly is my friend. I am ever so thankful we get to take our adventures together, and I'm looking forward to the next one.