Sunday, October 30, 2016

And a four (Nashville)

Just five hours later we were landing at LAX.  (Did I mention that the tickets were just 330$ for a round trip direct flight with extra legroom, and free snacks and drinks?)

Our country is so big and there is so much to see.  
There are 35,000 cities in the US and we have seen just one more.  It isn't a lot, but it is progress...  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

And a three (Nashville)

Our day started and ended in the hipster-esque neighborhood of our Airbnb, 12 South.  It is a revival neighborhood; they took a cheap, dilapidated, dangerous part of town and made everything safer and super expensive.  Houses that went for 100,000$ a few years ago now cost 700,000$.

The Frothy Monkey offers breakfast and coffee.  After our breakfast bun (me) and ham and cheese omelette (guess) we scheduled an Uber to take us to Andrew Jackson's Hermitage (just 20 minutes outside of town).

There are several parts to the Hermitage, the museum covers the history of the War 1812 and Andrew Jackson's fame that came from his part in the war.  According to the Hermitage website, "having proved himself a brilliant tactician and strategist with a no-fear attitude, America loved Jackson."  The museum focused on his life as an orphan, along with his indecent marriage to his beloved wife, Rachel (she was still officially married to someone else when they got married...heavens to Betsy).  

Andrew Jackson and Rachel named their 1,000 acre plantation, the Hermitage (which sounds much more pleasant).  Jackson lived here before and after his presidency.  At one time there were 150 slaves that lived and worked on his plantation.  He was known as the President of the People, but he believed that it was his right to have slaves since he could afford them.  
The Jackson's treated their slaves well (in comparison to other slave owners), they didn't sell the children of families, they bought families instead of individuals, they didn't get rid of slaves who were too sick or too old to work (as long as their families cared for them), they gave their slaves medicine, they were permitted a day off a week, and they were allowed to hunt food (and were given access to weapons).  

The smoke room.

We took a carriage ride around the property.  You can walk it, but it was hot and dusty.

I have never seen cotton growing before, when the hard seed opens up four giant cotton balls emerge.

These are some of the objects found when excavating the plantation.  
The metal fork on the left is a simple harp.

Uncle Alfred was born at the Hermitage, and eventually became Jackson's personal slave.  He lived in this cabin, very close to the mansion unlike the other slave cabins.  

After Andrew Jackson died the Hermitage was opened to the public.  
Uncle Alfred was the first official docent, and would let you take a picture with him for 20$.

Rachel loved her garden.

Next we ubered to Tennessee Brew Works, where we tried all of their ten beers on tap, and had lunch.

I could see us coming back to Tennessee so Eric could have just one bite of this burger.  It is one of the best he has ever had in his life, the Five Beer burger (a short rib burger that has a different one of their beers in each ingredient, the cheese, the pickles, the onions, the sauce, and the bun).
My grilled cheese was good too!  It had pecans and apple butter.

From the brewery we braved the heat and walked around the city.  Apparently we brought San Diego weather with us.

I love this picture.

Broadway is so crazy, look at this three story Honkey-tonk, packed with people in the early afternoon.  Nashville is like a mini Las Vegas, the revelry never stops.

Created in in Nashville in 1912, the Goo Goo Cluster shop gives out free samples!  We tried their spicy Goo Goo.

We made our way back to 12 South, for the most expensive Mexican Popsicle ever... 75 pesos to be exact.

In the public park sits a building built in 1852.  
The house existed on the border of Confederate and Union lines, in the Battle of Nashville (1864).  
The Filling Station will let you fill up any growler you want (we have laws against this in California).  But they are not allowed to sell beer over 6% ABV, unless the brewery has an liquor licence... 
I much prefer our 10% IPAs...

Here is an example of the revival neighborhood, the facade of the building still stands, but inside there are fancy pants sold here.

Nashville has gorgeous buildings, a ton of history, and wonderful food and beer... with live music.  
Best 40th birthday present ever?  Quite possibly... 

Friday, October 28, 2016

And a two (Nashville)

Eric is officially a whole year older today than he was yesterday.
We started off with the ever so famous Pancake Pantry.  We couldn't be more surprised that there wasn't a line out the door.  I read to expect it (those NFL fans must have had one too many and slept in...).

I ordered their sweet potato pancakes, which came with cinnamon cream syrup.  Who has ever heard of cinnamon cream syrup?  It is so good.
Eric got something meaty, with buttermilk pancakes.

45 minutes later, we found the line.

The Country Music Hall of Fame seemed like the perfect place to get better acquainted with Nashville.  There are three stories worth of music history here.  It was memorizing.  It started with folk music (banjo music during and after slavery) and went through all of the stages of country (which added in and then later took out the fiddle and the banjo, and then added in again), rock music, and then finally, current country music.  

Eric was ecstatic to see his favorite car ever, the Smokey and the Bandit car.  If only Burt Reynolds (or at least his mustache) was at the museum could it have been better...

Lay off.

As these musicians started to make more money than they ever had before, they started to spend it like it was going out of style.  Web Pierce's car has a thousand silver dollars lining the interior, ornamental hand guns, tooled saddle leather... 
What a character...

The paint of Elvis' car contained a special blend of crushed diamonds and fish scales...

We paid extra to take the RCA B tour, where Elvis recorded over 200 of his hits.  The only way to tour RCA B is through the Country Music Hall of Fame, which loads you in a bus and drives you to the location.  On the bus ride our tour guide pointed out a very controversial piece of art in a round-a-bout.  I thought I was missing something so I asked why it was controversial, she gasped, "did you see what they were wearing?!"  Well bless my heart.  They were nude.  Dear Lord... 
Haha.  You have to love the South!

This is the very piano that Elvis played before each recording session.  He was very particular about his recordings, he would only record at night (the evening sessions started at 10:00pm), with the lights a certain way (or sometimes completely off), and only after he had played the piano and warmed up.  The missing piece of the cabinet in the background was a result of a frustrated  Elvis not being able to get the record player to work.  He kicked the cabinet.  The piece was kept but it was never repaired.

For lunch we walk to Arnold's Country Kitchen, another Nashville icon.

I just got sides, in order to avoid the meat, but my plan didn't work.  
EVERYTHING tasted like bacon.

For Eric's birthday dinner we had a reservation at the Stillery.  Did you notice the musician on the world's smallest stage playing her heart out?  
Nashville is so cool.  Everywhere you go there are talented musicians playing live music.  In every little bar and restaurant, with no cover charges.  In fact, you don't even have to go inside, many are open-air.

Eric gave the hot chicken another chance.  

"Purple rain, purple rain..."

We spent a big chunk of our evening in Tootsie's, where Dolly Parton used to play before she became famous.

There must be more neon lights in Nashville than in Vegas.

Happy birthday, Eric!