Nashville, TN had been on our bucket list for some time. It just felt like some mystical place. The birth place of that sound we love so much. Country Music’s Capital – we just had to visit. Now in our minds (maybe just mine) there is only one way to travel and thats on the road in a Pickup, so with barely any planning we hit the road. People say the shortest route is the way a crow flies but who cares about short or time, when you are retired and free to zig zag all over the map. If we hear about it and can sightsee along the way then thats the way we are going and thats how the Skyline Drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains to Asheville, NC was added to our trip.
The Skyline Drive has a length of 105 miles with 75 overlooks. The speed limit is only 35 MPH so you need at least three hours to travel the distance. Our trip was mid July and the road was tree lined which restricted the view of the mountains and valleys to the overlooks. The sites are spectacular and redundant so you won’t need to stop at all the spots. About 10 years ago or so we had taken the Drive and were shocked at the development in the valleys over the years. Hopefully the beauty of the Skyline will still be there for our grandchildren. After driving 35 MPH for over 3 hours in a tree tunnel I was ready for some wide open horizons (click to zoom).
We moved over to I81 and continued south. I81 in this area is beautiful, horizons as far as you can see with mountains, cows on rolling pastures and farm houses along the way. Blue skies and grand vistas all the way to Asheville. We visited the Biltmore Estate – America’s largest home built by George Washington Vanderbilt. It was built on 125,000 acres in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina between 1889 and 1895. The home has 135,280 square feet of living space, 250 rooms, 33 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, and 65 fireplaces and is still owned by descendants (only 8,000 acres left). Cleaning day every day – yuk! Unfortunately pictures inside the house were not allowed.
We jumped on I40 west and I immediately knew that we had to return and visit the Smoky Mountain National Park. Just driving through the fringes of the park you could see that the scenery was breathe taking which made the trip to Nashville short and in no time we were in Country Music’s capital. The Grand Ole Opry, Nashville’s District, Broadway and Honky Tonks. The first thing I noticed was the Honky Tonks. Up and down Broadway – small bars with young aspiring entertainers hoping for a shot at the big time. They performed on street corners or just standing next to buildings waiting to be discovered. The “District” a great place for restaurants and clubs is a must see. Of course a visit to Nashville would not be complete without seeing the Grand Ole Opry. The only show in town was “Bluegrass Night” at the Ryman Auditorium (the Grand Ole Opry performed here 1943-1974). The music, especially the Fiddle was fantastic. The current Opry has moved to a Theme Park just outside Nashville. There were no shows but happily we settled for a Back Stage tour.
The first thing I noticed was the Honky Tonks.
Up and down “Nashville’s Broadway” Honky Tonk Heaven
The “District” and “Printers Alley” great places for restaurants and clubs.
Nashville is known for its Cowboy or should I say Cowgirl Boots
Country Music’s Capital – The Grand Ole Opry
Studio B – “The Nashville Sound”
RCA Records established a recording studio in this building in November 1957, with local offices run by guitarist producer Chet Atkins. Studio B recorded numerous hits by Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Don Gibson, Charley Pride, Jim Reeves, Dolly Parton, and many others. Studio B is known for developing “The Nashville Sound.”
Our Asheville|Nashville RoadTrip was fun with both Cities exciting, full of interesting History and wonderful things to see.