Nashville bleg

What to do, where to eat, and is there a decent day trip around?  Is there a good church outside town for hearing gospel music on a Sunday morning?

I thank you all in advance for your counsel and wisdom.  Nashville is in fact the largest U.S. city I never have visited, but soon this will change.


I was there briefly, didn't get to see a whole lot, but had an excellent meal at Husk (the other places I ate were more forgettable).

This is very fascinating, You're an ecessively skilled blogger.
І hаve joined your feed and stay up for searching fߋr
mогe of your magnificent post. Alѕo, I've shared yolur site in my social networks

Wenn Sie Wunsch bis nehmen viel von Absatz ann Sie anwenden müssen z Strategien, um Ihr gewonnen website.

Christ's Mystical Body On Earth-The Church.


Martin's BBQ --
Nudies Honky Tonk -- (NOT an 'adult' venue)

Have a great time!

Definitely recommend Husk. Their preparations of seemingly simple ingredients are outstanding - you will not be disappointed.

Tyler, this small museum would likely suit you:
It's run by one guy, who was personally very involved in the local music scene on Jefferson Street back in the 70s.

I spent about an hour there last time I was in Nashville, talking with the proprietor about the history of black music in Nashville and it was a great experience.

If you're there on a monday night, do yourself a favor and go to whiskey jam at winners ( up and coming artists play short sets in front of a small crowd that includes record executives looking for the next big thing.

also, station inn for live music. it's a tiny club in a rapidly-changing part of town that also features great bluegrass/country acts

Prince's Hot Chicken Shack - possibly the tastiest fried chicken you will ever have.

Prince's Hot Chicken Shack!

Husk is a must. Great food and a really cool space. Mas Tacos Por Favor is also terrific, as is Rolf and Daughters.

Another Charleston import Butcher & The Bee is also quite tasty

Unless one is a believer (or a seeker), going to church just to hear gospel music is a form of cultural appropriation.

I'll bite. What's being appropriated?

The religious experience of the congregants, experienced by Tyler as "colorful" and "exotic."

As a believer, I'm happy if anyone wants to come to church for any (non-disruptive) reason, especially non-believers and non-seekers. "God moves in a mysterious way..."

Don't know if there has been any soul quickening among these guest, but German tourists for many years have schlepped their recording gear across the Atlantic to attend (record) gospel services in Harlem.

German cowboy hobby activities, going to old west towns, among other examples.

Do you really think that the members of such a church would object to someone coming just for the music? I believe there are countless writers and performers of religious music who would be (and are) quite happy to have the non-religious listening to their music simply because they enjoy it.

Yes, over the years many of the congregants at Harlem churches have complained about tourists who come solely to gawk at them, rather than praise Jesus. I can't speak for the congregants at Nashville churches. I know I'd be annoyed if Tyler came to my church just to gawk at me, rather than out of any genuine interest in the content. Fortunately, I doubt that he is interested in Ivy League NYC evangelicals.

I understand your point about gawking, but Nashville is a bit different. Several of the megachurches have "name" musicians in their bands and also plenty of up-and-comers. It's as much a way for someone new to the industry to get noticed as it is part of a worship service, they are not merely enthusiastic amateurs.

Source: My brother lived in Nashville, played in one of the church bands and got to meet famous country music industry types that way.

I had understood the request for "gospel" music to cover black community churches performing their indigenous music. To the extent that it involves megachurches which aim to produce a spectacle, there is much less to object to.

Isn't the whole point of music and the experience to be a potential conversion moment? Churches don't care why the guests come, they want them there.

King Market for Thai

Incredibly tourist-y but the Parthenon and Centennial Park is worth a visit, in part due to the late 19th century, pre-complacency socio-historical value (i.e., Nashville really if unsuccessfully tried to become the Athens of the South). But IMHO CP is Nashville's best place for a lovely walk.

Second this. Even if it sounds somewhat tacky, it's still pretty entertaining to walk through a full-scale Parthenon complete with giant Athena statue. There's also a quaint art gallery in the basement. The surrounding gardens are wonderful in the summer.

I went there a few months ago: and I would emphasize this:

"Nashville bills itself as 'Music City' and lives up to the name. Guitars are everywhere, as is live music. The guy who played at my hotel on a random Thursday night sounded really good. Most of the time, where I hear 'live music' at a bar, I want to go elsewhere. Not so in Nashville. I kept chatting with people and asked, 'What made you move here?', and many said, 'music.' I stopped to listen to many singers in random bars and most of those singers were good."

So I would say do just that, and I would say that of zero other cities.

Concur. This is the distinctive thing about Nashville, even as compared to other “music cities.” I heard Garth Brooks once joke in an interview that in Nashville, your waiter is a better musician than you are (even if you’re Garth Brooks).

In Cowen speak, Tyler’s best bet here is simply to browse bars and coffee shops throughout town, as one might do in a night market in Southeast Asia.

Check out the Musician's Hall of Fame, tour the Ryman Auditorium, and visit Printer's Alley. In Printer's Alley there are many places with live Jazz, open mic, and Country Music. There are a few "adult" entertainment places as well in Printer's Alley.

I agree with all the food choices suggested - I would like to add Pfunky Griddle for breakfast. You can make your own pancakes here (the kid in me enjoys it).

Oh, and do not forget to visit Grimey's.

The Parthenon.

I know Nashville only through Robert Altman.

And it remains one of my most memorable movie experiences. A masterpiece.

I'll go to the Parthenon some day as an Altman pilgrimage - the place where Haven Hamilton and Barbara Jean were shot

The one restaurant to eat at would be City House, though I've heard excellent things about Rolf and Daughters. Pancake Pantry is also excellent, but I'd only go for a mid-afternoon snack; the wait is too long for breakfast. Ann Patchett's bookstore Parnassus Books is well worth a stop, and there's an excellent Greek cafe nearby. Anthony Bourdain's Nashville episode(s) would be a good primer to contemporary Nashville; I've never gone to the country bars downtown, though the remaining guitar stores are still cool, but the city is one of my favorites for the above reasons and more.

Strong second on City House if you were looking for a nicer restaurant, which I know is not your thing but it is fantastic and incredibly consistent.

For hot chicken, go prince’s or Bolton’s, avoid Hattie B’s for sure. For BBQ go to Peg Leg Porkers.

For music try to get into the Bluebird. It’s gotten pretty tourist-y but for good reason. Local songwriters have more talent than you can believe. If you have to be downtown try Robert’s Western World for music and a fried bologna sandwich.

Third on City House. We were there two weeks ago. They encourage family style dining. I did not know pasta could be so good.

City House is a "Nashville" place run by a James Beard winner, Husk can be considered "sort of" in that it started in Charleston but the chef now lives here. Monell's is a wonderful place in that you will end up sitting with others.

Bordain's show on Nashville is pretty good.

Robert's Western World is the only honky tonk frequented by locals, although there are about 10 new ones since last year. None of them charge cover, just duck in and out of all of them until you hear something you like. I'd skip Printer's Alley and just do Broadway (which I have the past 2 weekends).

Nolensville Pike has the greatest concentration of great ethnic food/immigrant run restaurants in Nashville—will need a car, look up TIRRC for recommendations from their food crawl. Prince’s or Bolton’s for authentic Hot Chicken. Prefer Edleys for BBQ but Martins is the critical darling. Honky Tonks on Broadway are a cultural experience many locals shy away from—but if you want it, Tootsies, Roberts, and Legends.

After a quick pass down Broadway (tourist district) you want to land at The Station Inn. You never know who will show up to play, but it will be amazing.

Chauhan Ale & Masala House melds various types of Indian cuisine with local food; it's pretty fun even with the hype.

Radley Balko made a 3 day itinerary in the WaPo several years ago.

Rolf and Daughters in Germantown.

"the largest U.S. city I never have visited": I wonder what that is for me. Would the answer be determined by arbitrary political boundaries, or do people think in terms of whole conurbations?

Anyway, following the list, the answer may be Phoenix - if I've ever been there it's slipped my mind.

Ask Glenn Reynolds to show you around, then blog about what you talked about.

I thought he was in Knoxville.

Yes, it is touristy but the Country Music Hall of Fame is worth a visit, particularly if you have time to include the studio tour. The old studio is not very impressive but there is something to be said for sitting at Elvis's piano and our guide had some very informative stories about the economics of the music industry (writing songs is way more lucrative than playing them). Exhibits in the main hall provide a good overview of how country music has evolved and the influences of recording technology. Major takeaway is how business influenced art and art influenced business.

Please DON'T go to Hattie B's for hot chicken, which is the Disney version that has only gotten worse as it has expanded and become more popular. Several other commenters have recommended Prince's, which is the original and often the best, but 1) quality is wildly inconsistent, 2) there are two locations, and the one that's more consistent (Ewing Drive) is more remote, and 3) the wait can be insurmountable. I saw at least one recommendation for Bolton's, which was arguably the second place to open (sort of a traitor to Prince's), and it's good, but I strongly recommend 400 Degrees (3704 Clarksville Pike) - you may want to call ahead as it will take 20-30 minutes to prepare, but it's the best in town and proprietor Aqui Simpson is very friendly and skilled. For heat level there, I recommend either 200 or 400 - maybe get something bone-in at 200 and throw in a tender or two with more spice just to give it a try. Extra pickles, fries, ranch on the side. I like her baked beans, but none of the sides are essential. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Otherwise, I would put DeSano Pizzeria up against any Neapolitan offering in the DC area, the Country Music Hall of Fame is well worth the price of admission, and you can cross of honky tonks by just popping your head in Robert's and Layla's during daylight hours. The replica of the Parthenon is worth looking at, but if you've seen the real thing or, you know, Altman's movie...

Hattie B's is still my favorite. I've had some terrible experiences at Prince's. Haven't had 400 Degrees. I think people just hate on Hattie B's because it's gotten popular and touristy.

I hate on Hattie B's because of the heat lamps and low spice factor. It was great when it opened in 2012 because it was the only HC place you could get draught beer and they were humble with their rookie status. Now they're just greedy bullies.

Impressive recommendations. Nolensville Pike (SE Nashville for Mexican and other ethnic choices). Downtown (Lower Broadway is touristy but fun). East Nashville has a distinct vibe.
Monell's (Germantown location just north of state capitol) features family style dining. The Smiling Elephant (8th ave south) is good Thai food.
Day trip? Franklin of course. Then, maybe see who is playing at Puckett's in Leiper's Fork.
Gospel? Not sure. You can get Latin chant at either Assumption (Germantown) or St. Mary's (5th and Charlotte downtown) on Sunday morning.

...Leiper's Fork on Sunday afternoon if the weather is nice..maybe with a short trip down the Natchez Trace Parkway from the Loveless Cafe in Pasquo...

Ernest Tubb Record Shop:

I'm a native Tennessean. Really glad to hear you're coming through.....tourist traps and honkytonks are downtown on Broadway and 2nd. It is worth spending a couple hours. It is kind of a fun, weird place at night and it has some good museums (Country Hall of Fame, Johnny Cash, etc.). The sort of trendy "airspace" part of town is going to be around the Belmont and Vanderbilt campus. Good coffeeshops and food on 21st avenue and 12th avenue (favorites are Fido and Cafe Coco), also a pretty good independent movie theater around there called the Belcourt. A lot of people think of Nashville as being a sort of boring white Southern town but there is actually a ton of diversity and a lot of good ethnic food--Kurdish, Mexican, Somali, Egyptian. You will find most of that on the Southside of town near Antioch. In terms of good local food you can't beat Arnold's Meat and Three (watch out for the weird hours around lunchtime) and Prince's Hot Chicken (Boltons is also good and you should go to the original in East Nashville which is also a newly gentrifying, but still interesting, neighborhood). I'd also recommend checking out the Nashville Farmer's Market.....Radnor Lake is a nice park in the middle of the city that has some nice hikes. Almost everyone I take there loves it....The city also has a lot of interesting Civil War History that you could cover in a day. I'd start at Fort Donelson and the Battle of Nashville, then move down to Franklin (nice, kitschy town south of Nashville where all the country stars live) where you can visit Carnton House and various other landmarks from the Battle of Franklin. While you are in Franklin you can get a good lunch from Bunganut Pig and you can get good coffee from Frothy Monkey (among many other choices in the downtown area).....I'm actually from Memphis and I gotta admit that it is a way more interesting and grittier city than Nashville and it gets written off by a lot of people. If you haven't been there and you have a day-or-two, the three hour drive down is definitely worth it.

Here are a few day trips: Civil Rights Museum and Barbeque tour in Memphis; hiking in Chattanooga, if you're interested there is also really great whitewater rafting out there on the Ocoee; trip down to Sewanee and the University of the South (really weird and interesting town halfway between Chatt and Nashville), the area has some communes and just a weird, fun vibe in addition to being really beautiful; visit Space Center and various civil rights historic sites in Northern Alabama area (just a 2-3 hour drive).

Yeah, I gotta say Memphis is a more interesting city. Every city has good food and something interesting, but I honestly can't think of anything that is quintessentially Nashville besides some of the live music and (even though this sounds ridiculous) the Parthenon. I grew up in the area and moved away in the 2010, and it wasn't until a couple of years ago when I saw an episode of Master of None in which Aziz Ansari goes to Nashville that I heard of Nashville's hot fried chicken. Not saying that it's not good, but what all these people recommending their favorite hot fried chicken place won't tell you is that you'd be much better off just getting a spicy chicken sandwich at Chik-fil-a and doing something touristy.

100% agree that Memphis is more interesting. 100% disagree that good hot chicken and Chick-fil-A have anything in common. NHC has a long and fascinating history that many locals have only come around to in the past 10 years or so:

If the timing is right, you might check out Bluegrass Underground: a bluegrass concert series in a natural amphitheater,

I did a half day bus tour which included tix to Country HoF and Ryman. Just having those tix was worth it since it meant no waiting in line. Also, here's a very interesting Sunday morning country music church experience: The General Jackson dinner boat cruise had great music and surprisingly good food. We also took an Uber out to The Hermitage, worth it if you are a history buff.

Surely, if you're going to be in Nashville, Tennessee, you should try some local barbeque.

For what they are worth:
-It is far from under-rated, but my favorite meal in the area is Lockeland Table in East Nashville.
-For more music-focused (rather than party-focused) listening in the downtown/Broadway area, check out The Listening Room.

Tyler, you might try Christ Community Church in Franklin (uber-rich suburb outside Nashville). Not traditional gospel music; rather, it pioneered a ~15yo movement that marries contemporary folk music & traditional hymn lyrics (Isaac Watts / Charles Wesley era). The preacher, David Cassidy, is one of the better orators around. If you mention my name to him you can get any access you'd like, as well.

I'm no local (and by all means, listen to the locals), but I found McDougal's Chicken Fingers & Wings to be a tasty, low-key, casual spot for wings that was a bit off the tourist track.

As a hobbyist guitar player, Carter Vintage Guitars is one of my favorite stores I've ever been in. Good mix of obscure and classic hardware, and I picked up a beautiful strap the last time I was there. The surrounding area is not "well designed" for pedestrians but fun to walk around anyway.

The Nashville Parthenon is weird, impressive, and any DC-area resident will instantly recognize its motif of idealist Americana channeled through borrowed ancient Greek culture.

Restaurant: Tailor

Tailor has not yet opened, but is the project of VEA Supper Club chef and Nashville native Vivek Surti. Vivek is a great chef and a great host.

The Country Music Hall of Fame is indeed an insightful and informing experience but what makes it a must-see is that I believe it is the only way to take the RCA Studio tour. The RCA Studio has an overwhelming amount of history for such an underwhelming little place. Elvis recorded How Great Thou Art and some of his other gospel records there. Not that you would need it, but going there helps one appreciate that you never know what can be going on behind the most modest of facades.

People new to Nashville may not realize that the Grand Ole Oprey has not been located at the Ryman for a good long while now but in a new building outside town. The Ryman tour is a wonderful experience for those of us who listened to Sunday night radion broadcasts. Another location with an immense amount of fascinating history but probably less special to those who haven't had a personal relationship with it.

You have to try Nashville Hot Chicken. I recommend Pepperfire. The Applejack is a deep fried pepper jack cheese sandwich with Nashville hot chicken tenders and fried apples on it. We don’t play gospel music but would love to have you join us at Grace Baptist Church at 1510 Old Hickory Blvd on the north side of town.

Woodlands and Godavari for dosas, Thai Phooket and Simply Thai, Vui’s Kitchen for Vietnamese, Coco’s Italian Market
8-9 Ethiopian restaurants in town, Gojo and Pamela's are my favorites
Graze, Wild Cow, Calypso Cafe, Sunflower Cafe for vegetarian
We are famous for meat and three, if that's your thing, Arnolds or Monells get a lot of buzz
Constant Smoke BBQ food truck in Hermitage- my husband swears by it
Largest resettlement of Kurds in US, see Newroz Market, Azami, or any kabob place on Nolensville Pike
La Michoacana Mexican ice cream, Supreme Kreme Thai ice cream, Jeni’s for offbeat flavors
Nolensville Pike for international markets and diverse eateries, also fast cash at high interest rates, pawn shops, and thrift stores
Disclaimer: if I missed naming a great restaurant, I apologize. I am relatively new to town.

Tyrone might enjoy drinking with the Woo! girls.
If you care to see where country stars hide behind fences, then take a guided bus tour. Do the Tommy tour, the crass joke about his ex-wife is a real winner.
For spite: Do not miss I-24 during rush hour and please take a ride on our Music City Star transit. :)
For white flight and protectionism head to Franklin. David French might be in town.

These are uniformly excellent recs.

A must-see part of Nashville is The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson's home. And catch a Predators hockey game if at all possible. The atmosphere is awesome! Enjoy your time in Tennessee!

Be sure to visit all the historic sites where that ex-mayor was rockin' the van with her security-detail loverboy

Better and rarer, IMHO, than 'gospel' singing which is very broad and generally in a church context where tourism seems iffy to me, I wonder if you've ever heard Shape Note singing live. It is a strange and otherworldly and purely American, largely Appalachian music tradition that I think would be appreciated. (recordings miss the antiphonal extremity, but... Tourism is encouraged and there is usually a potluck where you'll be welcomed.

Unfortunately you've just missed the October singing at the Harpeth Valley Sacred Harp singers, but maybe next time?

Station Inn on Sunday night. It's a free bluegrass jam (basically an open mike night), but I've been there when Allison Krauss shows up randomly. It's a Nashville gem.

I can picture Tyler as Elwood Blues in the famous scene where the Blues Brothers go to the church where James Brown is a preacher...Would love to see you gettin the Spirit and doing some cartwheels, Tyler, LOL!

Don't eat the hot chicken, or ask for a taste of the "mild" version first. Fair warning.
On Monday see Vince Gill and the Time Jumpers at 3rd & Lindsley.
Buy tickets for something at the Ryman.
Honky Tonk Tuesday at the American Legion Post 82 in East Nashville can be fun if you want to meet some hipsters and dance for $5.
Visit Carter Vintage on 8th Ave South - Nashville is about the guitar after all.

My good friend and Nashville resident, Craig Dunn, suggests eat at Etch, The Southern, Husk, Arnold's, Hattie Bs hot chicken, Kayne Prime, Jimmy Kelly's, Martin's barbecue. These may or may not be your idea of great places (I love how you prefer unknowns)

Day trip it to Lynchburg TN and tour the Jack Daniel's distillery. It's impressive.

Grace Chapel has an impressive gospel experience in Leipers Fork.

I had a fantastic meal at Treehouse this past February. I also visited a bakery called Dozen, which was excellent.

For churches, I highly recommend Grace Chapel down by Franklin, and Bethel World Outreach in Brentwood. Both are megachurches. Grace Chapel will have a bit more of a Southern Gospel feel to it. Bethel is very diverse, black, southern, with lots of hispanic and Asian immigrants. The head pastor's wife is a Winans.

I haven't really "sampled" churches in Nashville, but I am astonished by the quality of the musicianship-- the city lives up to its reputation, here.

Only one person mentioned what I think is Nashville's special local dish, the "Meat and Three". He mentioned Arnold's Meat and Three. Am I wrong about this being the dish that's most special to Nashville? I just checked Wikipedia, and it says

A meat and three restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee
In the cuisine of the Southern United States, a meat and three restaurant is one where the customer picks one meat from a daily selection of three to six choices (such as fried chicken, country ham, beef, country-fried steak, meatloaf, or pork chop[1][2]) and three side dishes from a list that may include up to a dozen other options (usually vegetables, potatoes, corn, green or lima beans,[3] but also other selections such as gelatin, creamed corn, macaroni and cheese, and spaghetti).[2][4]

A meat-and-three meal is often served with cornbread and sweet tea.[3][4] Meat and three is popular throughout the United States, but its roots can be traced to Tennessee and its capital of Nashville.[2][3][4][5] The phrase has been described as implying "glorious vittles served with utmost informality."[4] It is also associated with soul food.[3]

In East Nashville, there is a hot dog stand called I Dream of Weenie and they're the best.

Tyler, I love hiking Percy Warner Park (hardwood forest with beautiful entrance), and drinking a draft IPA at one of the local taverns. Happy to take you. best, Luke

I liked Mas Tacos por Favor and Pharmacy for food, though I am perhaps not as much a food lover as some of the others here. Cornelia Fort Airpark was pretty eerie to visit and walk around. Cheekwood Estate has some interesting art, the gardens are lovely, and the drive up to it is beautiful.

My favorite music stop is the Exit/In, since I don't love country. I saw a decent show from a local band there, comprised of Belmont University students. It's the perfect size venue to see a concert, also my parents went on one of their first dates there. Elsewhere in live music, Live on the Green is fun and free, with lots of good food trucks around; this one is a summertime only affair though, sadly.

The Stardust Theater is a neat little drive in-theater, perfect for date night.

Finally, the bridge over the Cumberland River is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, and its view of downtown is amazing. Definitely check it out.

Nashville Hot Chicken is increasingly a phenomenon, so I'd recommend trying it at its home. Go at least one grade milder than you ordinarily would be inclined; they are not kidding about the heat. Elliston Place Soda Shop is an old diner with fantastic atmosphere and well-regarded milkshakes. Maybe just the thing after one of those chicken sandwiches. San Antonio Taco Company is a venerable institution near Vanderbilt, a wonderful place to eat outside on a nice day, but the tacos are nothing particularly out of the ordinary.

Nashville barbecue is on the whole lackluster. Coming from Virginia, I doubt you'll be impressed. (Memphis I consider the most overrated "barbecue town" in America; at least Nashville doesn't have that problem.)

I don't think anyone would want to skip the Parthenon replica, which gives the opportunity to walk around an *intact* Greek-style temple. I'd take a trip to Athens over one to Nashville, but if you're there, you should certainly take a moment to explore it.

The Grand Ole Opry still broadcasts, and is worth a visit if schedule permits. Riverboat excursions on the Cumberland are also a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. For Civil War history, the battlefields at Fort Donnelson and Stones River are convenient to the city. A bit farther afield, wilderness areas dot the periphery of the Cumberland Plateau--Fall Creek Falls is highly accessible, and very beautiful.

Wow. How did you get bad barbecue in Memphis? The Memphis *airport* has better pulled pork than you can get in most cities.

Etch - great apps (cauliflower and carpaccio both superb), spare menu graciously fights choice fatigue
Sinema - fun, bit over the top, anything with duck fat rice or brussels sprouts

Some of my parents favorites in Nashville are Urban Grub, 5th & Taylor, Etch and The Southern. They recently went to Husk and loved it. Best places to go for tacos is Taco Mamacita and Nada. Loveless Cafe is a little bit of a drive out of Nashville but has a great breakfast and some of the best biscuits you will ever eat. The Old School is another great brunch place but also a little drive out of Nashville.

Trust Radley Balko.

The meat-and-threes serve the most uniquely Nashville food you can get.

For an unpretentious breakfast, Big Al's Deli.

Avoid Pancake Pantry, the Pfunky Griddle, the Pharmacy, and (alas) all barbecue. Avoid Loveless Cafe. Hot chicken is glorious deep-fried junk food; maybe not your thing. If you're considering Husk, instead eat at Margot. In fact... you won't have an impressive meal in Nashville unless you eat at Margot; and Margot is not very "Nashville". Mas Tacos Por Favor is "Nashville" in that it's probably as recent as the median Nashvillian, and cringe-inducingly hip; order the black beans and plantains. For actual ethnic food, it's Nolensville Pike or nothing; serviceable Mexican, good Ethiopian but maybe not as good as DC.

I retract the remark about Husk. I was thinking of Etch!

Re: "hearing gospel music on a Sunday morning"

Of course you mean "hearing [black] gospel music on a Sunday morning."

The worst music ever to be created is the white, Nashville, new-age, highly-produced pop gospel garbage that is truly the ugliest thing in the entire realm of sound. The Nashville gospel sound, as far as that goes, is truly the most horrifying produced by man.

Go look for an AME church. Can't go wrong. Of course that could be in most any town with an AME sanctuary.

i had a wonderful meal at Henrietta Red. It is a women owned restaurant which i find have a certain sensibility that i like.

Day trip recommendations.

I have 3:
Huntsville, AL for the Space and Rocket Center, as well as a few other really awesome ventures. Downtown has some great art and a peaceful scene. It's about 1.5 hours south, if you drive slow.

Chattanooga, TN - Some solid museums and local coffee shops. If you are into the outdoors, there's tons of waterfalls and nature trails. About 2 hours away.

Birmingham, AL - This one is further away. Southside downtown has made a recent move to a very eclectic culture. Smithsonian Civil Rights Museum is a must see for everyone. You'll also find a large number of fan boys at Samford U. ;)
This one is further, 3.5 hours.

As long as we're including Chattanooga, let me give a book recommendation, which might make nearby Chickamauga Battlefield a meaningful place to visit: Richard Baumgartner's _Blue Lightning: Wilder's Mounted Infantry Brigade in the Battle of Chickamauga_

Colonel John T. Wilder made not one but three huge innovations, two of them military and one of them economic/managerial. Although cavalry by the time of the Civil War routinely travelled on horseback but dismounted to fight on foot, Wilder made the converse step and realized that he could increase the effectiveness of his infantry brigade by having them all ride on horses. They were still infantry, they still fought on foot -- but they could now travel something like three times faster than a regular infantry brigade could. Wilder was anticipating the principles of German blitzkrieg tactics decades early.

Wilder also realized the value of the new Spencer Repeating Rifle, which could fire seven shots without reloading in contrast to the single-shot muzzle-loaders used by almost all soldiers. So he made sure his men were equipped with those rifles.

How did Wilder bypass standard Army munitions to obtain the scarce and expensive Spencer rifles? This is where he made a genius economic move: he resorted to the private market, and had his units buy directly from the manufacturer. Where did his men get the funds do buy their own rifles? Wilder, a businessman before the war, co-signed loans from a bank so they could buy their rifles, to be repaid by deductions from their future paychecks.

Additionally, he was wise enough not to simply issue orders. He had each of his regiments vote on whether they wanted to join his payroll deduction plan and get the repeating rifles. Most did so; but one declined and so they kept using their Army-issued single-shot rifles. After a few months Wilder had that regiment transferred to another brigade and brought in a regiment that did go for the Spencers.

The result was that Wilder's unit became nicknamed the Lightning Brigade. They could move faster than any other infantry brigade and had something like four times the firepower.

They performed well in several battles including the massive confusing Battle of Chickamauga, second only the Gettysburg in casualties.

The book describes other important historical forces that are left out of most Civil War stories. Appalachia was in general not in favor of secession. The citizens of western Virginia were fortunate in being so far north that a Union army could come to their rescue and they seceded from the secessionists and became the Union state of West Virginia. (The victorious Union general and losing Confederate general in that campaign were ironically George McClellan and Robert E. Lee.) Eastern Tennesseans were not so fortunate; their state government told them they were in the Confederacy (and liable for the Confederate draft) whether they liked it or not. Lincoln spent much of the war trying to figure out how he could liberate eastern Tennessee; the Battle of Chickamauga was a big setback for the Union in that effort, but eventually the Union drove Confederate forces out of the area (aided by a stout stand of a small Union army in Knoxville resisting a Confederate push, again the victor and loser are not the names you'd expect: Ambrose Burnside and James Longstreet, respectively one of the worst Union generals and best Confederate generals).

Chattanooga's at the foot of Appalachian Mountains. I don't know if they literally treated the Union army as liberators, but they did literally elect the former Colonel Wilder to be mayor after the war. The Wilder Tower, a monument to his brigade, is still the tallest monument at the historic battlefield site.

The book is full of other interesting details. E.g. the brigade's artillery office was Eli Lilly, who after the war opened a drugstore and needless to say eventually moved on to drug manufacturing.

So the book provides a ton of information about an under-publicized Union officer and under-publicized sector of the Civil War. And Chickamauga Battlefield is just outside Chattanooga (technically it's in Georgia rather than Tennessee). Chattanooga has its own set of Civil War battle sites (more than one because it was a lengthy see-saw campaign) including Lookout Mountain site of the "Battle Above the Clouds".

Thanks for this.

I used to live in Huntsville AL, albeit decades ago when I was very young.

There are reportedly only three places where a visitor can see a Saturn V rocket booster. I haven't been to the ones in Houston and Florida but it appears that they display theirs on their side, which is like watching a peacock with its feathers folded. Huntsville's Saturn V can be seeing from miles away.

Being an aerospace center, it is not surprising that on the NY Times' new more detailed economic mobility map using Raj Chetty's research, Huntsville is an island of blue (higher income mobility) in a sea of Alabama red (lower income mobility).

Somewhat surprisingly to me Chattanooga shows up as deep red. The Nashville area shows plenty of blue.

The best food is about an hour east of Nashville at my parents house. It's homemade Bosnian with homegrown vegetables. They'll happily feed you.

Of commercial eateries, Husk and Pineville are the fancy ones, and Fido is excellent for something quicker and more informal.

I'm definitely seconding Martin's BBQ. As a bonus, it's next door to the Nashville office of Sun Records, which put out some fine music in the day.

I don't know whether you're a fan, but the Country Music Hall of Fame is a model museum, with excellent signage and interpretation and a lot to see.

For a day trip WAY out of your comfort zone, take a tactical firearm or medical responder class from the Camden, TN mafia:

Expand the MR audience!

Crosspoint Church

I'm a college student from Nashville, and I still spend my summers and Christmas breaks there, so here is what I recommend:

If you want to visit a nice park, try Cheekwood. It's a private park and botanical garden built on the estate of a long-gone patrician family. You do have to pay an admittance fee to enter, but the entire place is gorgeous.

Also, there's a lovely blackberry dessert wine produced locally by a brand called "Paris Winery" (tacky name, but great wine). You can find it at most local wine stores.

Nashville has plenty of good country music, but Nashville classical performances are underrated, so you should look into those. It should be noted that Nashville has a large number of penniless country and/or gospel musicians, a number of whom panhandle. Most will be mediocre at best, but every so often you find a gem in the rough, so be on alert for those few.

You may want to check whether any shows at TPAC (Tennessee Performing Arts Center) interest you. It's where a lot of operas, musicals, and ballets are performed. I fondly remember seeing Faust, Otello, The Nutcracker, and other classical performances there.

Belmont Uni and Vanderbilt Uni also put on performances from time to time, and they are typically good too.

The only truly local dessert I'd recommend is bourbon cake (either Tennessean or imported from Kentucky), but if you don't care which culture is giving you dessert, the best ice cream is the imported stuff found in a little Russian store called Aleksey's Market.

The best donuts are found at a little shop called Fox's Donut Den, but be warned that they sell out of the best stuff fast. Fritters (usually only apple is available) are their best item.

Hot chicken is nice, but overrated. I would recommend going to one of the many local BBQ places for a meal.

Bongo Java is an old and respected hippie-ish coffee shop. The stuff there is good. But plenty of non-starbucks competitors exist, and they are generally also quite nice. For example, very nice coffee and crepes can be found at local coffee shop The Perch.

Green Hills has multiple nice places to eat (all nearby the Green Hills Mall): a hard-to-locate French cafe and grocery (hidden behind a wedding store close to the Kroger near the Green Hills Mall), a "Greek" (Coptic Egyptian) cafe (in a strip mall by a construction site across the road from the local Trader Joe's), and a nice local restaurant called Firefly (between Trader Joe's, Kroger, and the place where the French store is hidden).

My concrete recommendation is to try and have a lunch picnic with a friend or two in Cheekwood sometime before sunset (get takeout from a local spot which interests you, or just buy what you need at a grocery store: Cheekwood does have a local restaurant, but it is overrated and overpriced and you won't be enjoying nature while you eat). Get BBQ for dinner. Breakfast is hit-and-miss: most good places only open for lunch. If you have the time, try to see a classical performance at TPAC, Belmont, or Vanderbilt.

Five Points Pizza! The BBQ in Nashville is just not that good; go to Augusta, GA for that!. Not TPAC; go to the Scheremerhorn, especially if the volunteer chorus is there that day! or The Ryman! Hillsboro Village (Fido, Belcourt) or Germantown and another key thing about Nashville is the abundance of parks in the city.

I'm in Nashville at least monthly for the express purposes of food and wine. Lots of good info already, but I would emphatically concur with the recommendations for Prince's Hot Chicken's Ewing location (there will be a wait), Arnold's, Monell's, City House (easily the best Italian food I've had in the Southeast, including Bottega in Birmingham), and Rolf and Daughters. I was also very impressed with my dinner at the new Henrietta Red. Breakfast and Butcher & Bee is the best "new American" style one I've had in ages. The burger and general vibe at Dino's is hard to beat as well, and I am far, far from being one of those burger obsessives. 400 Degrees and Bolton's are also good for hot chicken, if not quite Prince's level, but the smart order at Bolton's is the hot fish sandwich with white beans and greens anyway.

Comments for this post are closed