“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”
Never a stranger to hard work or ingenuity, Benjamin Franklin was a stalwart figure in our country’s history. By turns statesman, inventor and printer, Franklin’s wise words encourage all of us to consider the new year as a time of reflection, determination and progress. We here at Sports & Entertainment Nashville have a novel proposition for our readers. We want our readers to join us in a simple experiment.
We all know that Nashville is the tourist destination to beat, the “It City” for everything from tech startups to barbecue. However, we suspect, if you’re like us, there are places and events in Nashville that every self-respecting tourist wouldn’t dare to miss but that we residents haven’t quite yet made it to. So, here’s our proposition: let’s all try something “uniquely Nashville” this year! Here’s a listing of some of our favorites that we are bound and determined to try! Join us!
CMA Music City Festival
The granddaddy of all things Nashville, the CMA Music Fest (formerly known as FanFair to us natives, sniff) is the event not to be missed each year. By turns making us proud of Nashville to annoyed at all the traffic jams, Nashvillians likely don’t make up a giant portion of the thousands upon thousands of attendees at the CMA Music Fest. Let’s change that this year! Let’s all attend a portion of this summer’s festival, either taking in a local concert or even the whole event, kit and caboodle. Try on your tourist hat for a bit. Grab your camera and sunscreen, and we betcha you’ll like it!
Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum
We bet that this is another venue where you may not have ventured, but we highly recommend it! It is both a remarkable testament to the history of country music and a visible homage to current hitmakers. With the Hatch Show Print in residence, the CMHOF is something we Nashvillians are very proud of, and we encourage you to visit the Hall of Fame! Don’t wait to play tour guide to visiting family members or friends – wander on down and visit yourself! You’ll be glad you did!
Downtown Nashville Public Library
Admittedly, a public library may not be at the top of every tourist’s list of things to see, but trust us when we say that our library is a gem among gems! Have you ever been inside the Grand Reading Room, with its green-topped banker’s lamps and shelf-lined walls? The enormous picture window at the far end of the reading room is, quite literally, breath-taking.
The beautiful landscape of Legislative Plaza is remarkably framed by the window, and you will undoubtedly feel as if you have been whisked off to another city! This peaceful place with its wealth of knowledge is something not to be missed. It will quickly become your favorite place of respite. The Robinson Courtyard, the location of the annual Courtyard Concerts, is a beautiful place to have a moment of quiet for a cup of coffee or a visit with a friend. What’s not to love about a library?! Books with their bookish smells and their pages to ruffle, beloved children’s puppet shows, good stout coffee, sturdy tables to read the paper, sweeping curved staircases, heavy brass doors with artistic figures in relief, leafy courtyard with babbling fountains. Aaah. It’s one of my favorite places on earth, and I have a feeling it will soon be yours!
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
Yet another feather in Nashville’s cap that I suspect not all of us Nashvillians have yet to experience is the remarkable Schermerhorn Symphony Center. Opened in 2006, we think it is high time for you to go! Of all the things that Nashville has to offer, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center just might be at the very top of the list. It’s not often that we can boast that we have one of the finest of something in the world, yet we can certainly claim that with the Schermerhorn! Did you know that our Nashville Symphony has created over 20 recordings since 2000 to the tune of seven GRAMMY wins? I must admit that I didn’t know that, either! Quite impressive. The Symphony provides over 140 performances each year. Surely you can find time in your schedule to attend a magnificent performance at the Schermerhorn. You will be glad you did! Plan a night out on the town. Have dinner at one of our talked-about restaurants and attend a concert at the Schermerhorn. It’s an experience not to be missed!
Daytrip to Outlying Towns
One of the best parts of Nashville is that we are surrounded by innumerable small towns and communities, many of which have been in existence almost as long as our capitol city. There are so many places to recommend, but that’s the beauty of it! Put on your tourist hat, and plan a day trip to a part of middle Tennessee that you’ve not seen before. Aim for a local festival or destination, and you can’t go wrong! Franklin’s Main Street Festival. Woodbury’s White Oak Craft Fair. Lynchburg’s iconic Jack Daniel Distillery. Ashland City’s Blue Heron River Cruises. Bell Buckle’s RC Cola and Moonpie Festival. Venture out into the wider middle Tennessee area, and you’ll experience more of what makes us Nashvillians.
We’re not entirely city folk, and we’re not entirely country folk. It’s that unique mixture of trendy and traditional that makes Nashville so appealing to the rest of the world, and it’s what makes it home for all of us. Happy New Year, Nashville! We look forward to a wonderful 2015, and we hope you do, too!