Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Long Weekend in Nashville

Happy late Columbus Day, everyone...this morning Chris and I found ourselves wondering who thought up the idea of a 2 day weekend when a 3 day weekend is so much better! Not only do you get an extra day for the weekend, but then you have to wait one less day for the NEXT weekend.  I would gladly work four 10-hour days if I could have 3 days off, and think about how much more efficient it would be for gas and electricity at work.  I will try not to get off on a tangent, but if the 3-day weekend ever comes up for vote, I think we know where I will stand.

Last night we got back from an awesome weekend trip to Nashville with our friends, Meredith and Ryan King.  Meredith and I lived together in college and were sorority sisters, and she sang at our wedding.  She and Ryan got married in December and live in Birmingham.  There is a lot to do in Nashville.  I have been before, but last time I went with a group for Steeplechase (a horse race) and did not really explore very much.  This time, we did a lot of exploring and had a lot of fun.  We left on Friday.  My boss gave me a half day off work, so we were able to get out of town and meet Meredith and Ryan in Birmingham around dinner time.  Birmingham is on the way to Nashville for us, so it really worked out perfectly for us to carpool. We got to Nashville around 9 and went out to explore the downtown area, where we went to a dueling piano bar.  After spending the long weekend in Nashville, I have no questions as to why it is referred to as "music city"...there are bands and singers EVERYWHERE trying to "make it".  That lifestyle is extremely intriguing to me because I guess I am just too "type A"/accountant-like to just drop everything and move somewhere to try to get discovered.  I have a lot of respect for people who do that and I'm glad they do, because we wouldn't have all the amazing country stars that I love if they didn't!
Dueling Pianos

Saturday, we went on a "Redneck Comedy Tour" that I found online.  I'm not sure how much we actually saw on it, but we laughed a lot. The people doing the tour were extremely hilarious and made jokes that we repeated to each other all weekend.  After that, we went to a sports bar/grill to watch the game with the Nashville Auburn Club.  Marc, one of Chris' groomsmen who lives in Nashville now, met up with us and brought a couple of his friends so we had a nice group to watch the game with.  Unfortunately, the outcome of the game was not what we wanted (I hate playing Arkansas!), but at least we didn't have to suffer through it with non-Auburn fans.
Among many other things, we drove by the CMT building on our tour. 
Here is a picture of the camouflage tour bus! So redneck haha!

Watching the Auburn game

Funny dogs we saw out and about in downtown Nashville!

After this, we headed back out onto the town, this time with the larger group that we watched the game with.  Chris and I stayed out later than we have in a very long time, and possibly later than we EVER will again (although we are still too young to rule it out entirely!)...of course, being in Nashville, I had to sing some karaoke, which I must admit is a little more intimidating when I just like to sing karaoke for fun and all the other people singing it were taking it really seriously (I guess they were part of the "making it" crowd).  However, I think karaoke is supposed to be fun and funny so I didn't really care about everyone else, I bet I was more entertaining even if I wasn't as good (haha). Then, Marc took us to this Greek restaurant that was amazing and if I ever go back to Nashville, there is no way I am missing it! It would have been nice if the other patrons were more agreeable (there were some Auburn-haters there), but overall it was awesome.

Singing "Before He Cheats" by Carrie Underwood

Sunday was probably my favorite day, because it was the most relaxed.  We started out by going to Belle Meade plantation, which is this historic old pre-Civil War plantation.  They make wine and have a gift shop there, too.  We mainly went for the wine tasting, since I don't think any of us have the appreciation for historical stuff that we probably should have.  It was really pretty, though, and they had some great stuff in the gift shop, too.  Both couples bought a bottle of their muscadine wine, but they also had some other interesting varietals such as blackberry.  They didn't actually grow the grapes on the plantation, which was a little disappointing, but they did provide a free tasting. It is a non-profit winery, which I found interesting.  They also had a restaurant on the plantation where we ate lunch.

Afterwards, we went to Arrington Vineyards which, in hindsight, we probably would have spent the entire afternoon at if we would have known what it was going to be like.  It was really large, had an amazing view, and live music. Also, it was REALLY popular and we didn't get to do a tasting because the wait was 3 hours and by the time we got there, they were only open for another 2.5.  Since we couldn't do the tasting, each couple just bought some wine, so we still got to try two different kinds.  The weather was amazing, and so was the view.  They also launched a hot air balloon while we were there.  Next time we go back, I definitely think we will revisit Arrington, and hopefully come early enough to do the tasting.

After we did that, it was time the most highly anticipated activity that we had planned (at least for me), which was going to the Bluebird Café for the evening.  The Bluebird Café is a really famous "listening room" in Nashville where Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, and a bunch of other country artists have been discovered.  It is really small and only seats 100 people, so you have to get there early if you hope to get a seat.  We got there just in time to get a pretty good table.  The first show was an up-an-coming artist named Brian Mackey.  He was really good.  Meredith and I met him, and he was also really nice and I will probably be downloading some of his songs.  Afterwards was the part I was really excited about, which was "open mic".  To do open mic, you have to have your name drawn from a hat AND audition, then if you get chosen, you can play 3 original songs.  We didn't stay the whole the time we waited in line an hour early, then listened to the first show (which was an hour), then there was a 30 minute break, then the next you can't talk (they emphasize the LISTENING part of listening room)...we were ready to move on by about 9:00 so we left a little early, but we stayed for half of open mic and saw a pretty good variety of performers.  Some were a little...hmmm, shall I say, depressing for my taste, but a couple were really great performers.  They were all very talented, but I can only listen to so many slow sappy songs at a time.  If I lived in Nashville, I'm sure I would visit there a lot.  I really want to bring my sister Jessica to Nashville because I know she could outperform some of the people I saw!

Brian Mackey

A list of all the names who performed, in case any of them ever "make it big" we can say that we saw them in the very beginning!

We found Nashville to be a really entertaining and beautiful city.  It is really clean and there is lots of green space.  I'm sure there are some bad parts, but for a fairly large city, I really didn't see anything "sketchy".  Well, I take that back...I didn't see anything that made me fear for my safety, but there did seem to quite the congregation of, for lack of a better word, weirdos in Nashville this weekend.  First, on Saturday, they were holding something called the "zombie walk", which consisted of hundreds of very strange looking people dressing up like zombies and marching around the city with makeup that looked like they were dead bleeding people.  It was a little strange, to say the least.  There were whole families marching in it.  First of all, I think 40 is a little old to be doing that, and second of all, I feel bad for those children who are basically doomed to be strange because their parents make them dress up like bleeding dead people when they are like 8 years old.  Call me judgemental, I don't really care.  I don't think I will be letting my future children participate, and if I do, I will not be participating with them! Then, on Sunday afternoon, we witnessed this group of people dressed up like medieval people having some kind of strange war in a public park with these huge homemade swords and weapons.  They were taking it very seriously.  And it wasn't an act that they were putting on for other people's entertainment, it was some kind of game they were playing with eachother.  Again, these people are at least our age, so I am still trying to figure out why you would want to do that.  I guess there are some things I will never understand! I'm sure they would think I am weird, too, so I guess we will just follow the old adage "live and let live" and not concern ourselves.  In a way, I am glad that strange people like them exist because we did find them very entertaining this weekend.
No that's not a movie, it's real people doing a medieval war!
The annual Nashville zombie walk...

Overall, the trip was nothing but fun for Chris and me (except for maybe the Auburn loss), and I definitely think we will eventually plan another weekend trip back to Nashville.  This weekend we are heading to Auburn for the Florida game and Chris' 25th Birthday! Hopefully this will be a win, I'm sure that would be a great birthday present.  As much fun as I had in Nashville this weekend, I really missed spending Hannah's and Lauren's birthdays with them (Hannah is the 8th and Lauren's is the 10th) but I am hoping I will get to see them this weekend! Then we will be spending a weekend at home before going back to Auburn for the Ole Miss game.

There's not much other news going on, but Chris and Jon did bottle their beer this past week.  Now it has to wait another few weeks before it will be ready.  Here are some pictures:

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