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January 5th, 2009

A review of Nashville: New Years in Nashville

A dear friend moved to Nashville around a year and a half ago to attend Belmont University, where he is working on his masters degree in Music. After a trip home for the Christmas holiday, we – myself, my fiancé, and a friend – followed him back to Nashville to spend the week of New Year’s.

It was my first time ever visiting Nashville and I was absolutely charmed with the city, which my fiancé and I decided looked – downtown – like a bright, clean, nice-smelling New Orleans’s French Quarter.

On the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, my friend took us to a purple-bricked building that titled itself World Famous Tootsies Orchid Lounge on Broadway. Wall-to-wall, nearly floor to ceiling, was stacked with yellowing and cracked framed photographs of all the faces that had graced Tootsies’s little stage. From insanely famous to only known to a few, there had to be literally thousands of star-studded boots that had tapped to a tune on those wooden stage floorboards!

There was a live band playing, with (sexy) singer and guitarist Jake Maurer. Onstage as well was a pretty blonde fiddler; as good as she was cute – the devil likely would’ve met his match against this girl!. Jake’s MySpace page lists a fiddler bandmate as Kari Nelson – hopefully we’ll see more of her in the future. In all honesty, we were packed nearly like sardines in that little bar, but everyone was having a wonderful time and the music was just top-notch.

It eventually got too crowded, so we moved next door to a larger yet less-packed bar called The Second Fiddle. This place had the largest, most interesting collection of old radio receivers I have ever seen. The walls were lined with shelves holding these relics of the original always-available music. I honestly didn’t even know that many types of old and antique radios existed!

We had a great time there before heading home to enjoy a private party at home to ring in the new year.

On our last day in Nashville, our friend took us to The Red Door Saloon, where we stayed until dark and I got to experience “real life” shuffleboard (to date, I’d only ever played it on the Wii). The bar had a great atmosphere, friendly patrons, and a very hip look overall.

I’d recommend visiting all of the few places we dropped in on during our stay in Nashville. Though most of our time was spent at home, catching up with old friends, I hope to return to Nashville next year and see some more of its sites and attractions.

The city, overall, is simply lovely; there is just no other way to describe it. It is clean, well laid-out, and most of the buildings fit a similar architectural-style; giving it all a very attractive and pleasantly uniform appearance. Vanderbilt University is nestled neatly within the city, its charming, collegiate facade not at all contrasting with the more modern structures in its vicinity.

Everything is just so carefully done to flatter its neighbors and enhance the overall beauty of the city. Coming from the dirty, random claptrap that is most Louisiana cities, it was a pleasant surprise. In fact, when driving by a two-story home near Vanderbilt – obviously housing some college students – it seemed so shockingly out of place to see dozens of beer bottles strewn along the front porch and tossed carelessly about the yard that we all reflected on just how incongruous it seemed in the otherwise tidy city.

I will definitely be returning to Nashville someday, and with plans to see and do more. Our time there was very special – made even moreso by our dear friend and host, who took special pains to make sure we at least saw the important hotspots and experienced some of Nashville’s lesser-known treats (such as Gigi’s Cupcakes and Cinco de Mayo, our friend’s favorite Mexican eatery).

I would recommend a trip to Nashville to anyone. The hilly countryside, the charming city, and the chance of bumping into a celebrity in little, downtown honkytonks will make a memorable trip for anyone.

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