We have always extended an invitation for our family and friends to join us on our adventures. In August Jon’s sister, Chris, decided to take us up on the offer and joined us in Nashville. Due to traffic and construction, we had a long one-day drive from Elkhart to the Elm Hill RV Resort just outside of Music City. This is an upscale RV park truly earning the “resort” title though the site we had right above the lake was not very level.
We have been using the yellow Lego style leveling blocks for years but after a while they do get a bit squished once you have repeated put 22,000 lbs. on them. We tried a newer supposedly heavy-duty block but when we tried to level the coach they simply shattered. Oh well, back to the basics. We were tired from the drive, but we hopped in the car and headed to the nearest Lowes. They cut us wooden blocks out of a 12x12x2” pressure treated pine board giving us 8 blocks. We were able to get the coach leveled easily and now these should last us quite a while.
The next day we picked Chris up from the airport to begin our two weeks of family time and sightseeing. As this was her vacation, we left most of the planning up to her so that she could see as much of the city as possible. One of the first things on her list was to hit a few used bookstores looking for photography collections so we headed out to McKay’s Used Books. That had to be the most impressive used bookstore I have ever been in. They have everything from CDs to games to toys to electronics to musical instruments, and oh yes, tons of books!! It was so hard not to fill the coach with all the goodies!
After a tasty sushi lunch at Sonobana we headed back toward the Resort. We wanted to stop and get an up-close look at the dam that forms the lake we were camped on, so we stopped at J. Percy Priest Lake Dam for a bit of walk-a-about.
The top priority for Chris while she was in Nashville was to go to the Grand Ole Opry. We decided to make it a girl’s night out with just the two of us leaving Jon at home. We had a delicious dinner at the Bavarian Bierhaus (in honor of Jon & Chris’ German heritage) in the huge mall that is right across from the Opry. We had a wonderful time at the Opry seeing Ricky Skaggs, Dailey & Vincent, Craig Morgan, Jeannie Seely, Riders in the Sky, Lainey Wilson, & Mark Wills. We even got to see The Isaacs being inducted into the Opry Family. Though I was a little iffy about being with so many people indoors, we wore our masks, and had a fabulous night with great food, awesome music, and a lovely evening chatting and just enjoying being together.
Chris (Sharron Demarest) is an old-school photographer specializing in street photography, so our next stop had to be a walk down Broadway Street or as it is better known, the Honky Tonk Highway. It was a lot of fun just absorbing the ambiance, hearing the music from the open windows of the bars, watching the up-and-coming country artist as they hauled their instruments from venue to venue, getting a delicious lunch at Jack’s BBQ, and watching Chris at work as she took amazing photographs.
We lucked out as the Tennessee State Fair was also happening during the time that we were in town, so we took an evening and headed out to the fairgrounds. Fried everything from Oreos to pickles, farm animals, carnival rides, and prize-winning zucchini – everything a state fair should be.
As it was the middle of summer Nashville had festivals of all kinds each weekend. Chris and I also headed out to the Tomato Art Fest. This was a fun quirky festival about all things tomato. People dressed in costumes, there were lots of vendors, music, and food. We enjoyed a morning walking about but headed back to the coach before the heat of the day. We were reaching heat indexes of over 104° most of the days we were in Tennessee, so we tried to make all our excursions either early in the morning or in the evening.
We took one day to get out of the city, and we found Long Hunter State Park in Hermitage. We even got Chris to go on a hike with us! Being a city girl having lived most of her life in NYC, hiking in the woods is not her most favorite activity, but she really enjoyed the two mile walk about Couchville Lake. To reward us all for participating in a healthy activity we stopped for lunch at Martin’s BBQ Joint and crushed our calorie count!
Gotta see the neon lights on Broadway, so we took an evening stroll downtown and had an excellent dinner at Merchant’s Steakhouse. Yummy!! We continued the evening with the Nashville Ghost Tour walking around the city hearing about all the ghosts that still haunt the city.
We wanted to explore the Western Tennessee area a bit, so we hopped in the car for a day’s drive. We headed north of Nashville to Gallatin. There is a very cute downtown area where we walked and shopped then it was on to the Old Hickory Dam in Hendersonville. For lunch we stopped at the local favorite, the Red Rooster Café before heading to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. The hotel is right next to Opryland, and it is massive!! It has multiple beautiful courtyards, lots of restaurants and shops as well as a waterpark.
It was a great two weeks with lots of time just sitting outside of the coach enjoying the view and getting some much-needed time with Chris. Being on the road makes it hard to keep close ties with those you love so every time we can we try to keep these connections alive and vibrant.
Currently we are in Santa Rose, NM on our way west … I have lots to get caught up on so will try to get the next blog out soon!
Till then take care of yourselves and your families!