It is time for our monthly installment of “What does every tourist see when they come to Nashville but residents fear to tread?”
For this chapter in our tale of places and events that are worthy of our equal admiration, we turn to Music Valley Drive. Long the destination of fervent country music fans from afar, the Music Valley Drive area near the Grand Ole Opry and the Opryland Hotel is one part of town that it is safe to say that the average Nashvillian does not visit on a regular basis.
What is not to love about putt putt, great live music, some of the best catfish and burgers in town? And we can’t forget about the rare opportunity to sit your fanny where Bo Duke’s fanny once sat.
So, join us for a quick tour around the unique part of Nashville near Music Valley Drive.
Music Valley Drive cannot be accurately described without first beginning the tale with a local Nashvillian who pioneered much of the activities and businesses that built the area into what it has become today. John Anthony Hobbs, known affectionately as “John A,” is the gentleman who began such Nashville institutions as the Nashville Palace and Music City Campgrounds, among many others. He can most often be spotted at his favorite haunt these days, John A’s Restaurant. We have it on very good authority that John A’s is the place to get some of the best burgers in town, hands down.
The Nashville Palace, beloved in Nashville’s music history, was John A’s triumph, as the music venue that played a large role in fostering the true family atmosphere that country music is still known for today. With warm tones and memorabilia covering the walls, it was a place Opry regulars stopped by to join friends and take a rare chance at listening to locals play, instead of being on stage themselves. Some of the most talented performers and country music legends came through the Nashville Palace in its heyday, and it will always be considered one of the quintessential live music venues that Nashville is famous for. It is heartening to see that the same spirit continues in today’s Nashville Palace. Under different ownership today, the Nashville Palace is still a great place to catch talented live acts and watch for stars of today and tomorrow come through the doors. Everything is right in Nashville’s world when there is still a Nashville Palace near Music Valley Drive.
Great burgers and live music aren’t the end of our tale, ladies and gentlemen. Not hardly! Because one of the most remarkable spots Nashvillle has to offer can be found at none other than Cooter’s Place, a Dukes of Hazzard museum and gift shop run by the famous Ben “Cooter” Jones of the Dukes of Hazzard fame. There is a real live General Lee from the classic TV program that we all know and love, right out front! You can stop for a photo op and can even – brace yourselves – sit in the actual seat that Bo Duke sat. “Gasp!, you say? Yes, indeedy, a real live General Lee is there in all its glory, along with Cooter’s tow truck, Roscoe’s patrol car and Daisy’s Jeep.
Come on in to see these one-of-a-kind vehicles on display. The museum of Dukes of Hazzard items and memorabilia will bring a smile to anyone’s face who remembers proudly carrying their lunch to school in a dashing Dukes metal lunch box! Complete with the snazzy Thermos, of course. And you never know who you may stumble across signing autographs at Cooter’s Place. Regular visits are scheduled by the Dukes of Hazzard family. Stop on by, and you just might be lucky enough to see Cooter, Daisy, Enos, Bo or Luke stopping in to say hello!
Not far from Cooter’s Place is one of the best places in town to play a round of putt putt. At Grand Old Golf, they have 3 outdoor courses and one inside just in case it rains. Also on site is the mid-state’s longest go-kart track. Let’s be honest. Who doesn’t love to see the whimsical touches on every putt putt course? Stop in to see all the challenging holes on these putt putt courses. Take our word for it! You’ll have a grand old time! (Pun very intended.)
Once up at Music Valley and after starting with a burger and fries lunch at John A’s, followed by a round of putt putt and tour through Cooter’s and a stop into the Nashville Palace, it is time to head over to Cock of the Walk for some of the best fried catfish in town. One of Nashville’s hidden gems, Cock of the Walk is the riverboat-inspired restaurant with fabulous fried catfish. If anything could beat it, which is debatable, it would be their fried pickles. It is worth the drive to go sample their menu.
We hope you will head over to Music Valley Drive soon, Nashville! We have only scratched the surface of what this part of town has to offer. No self-respecting tourist would ever go home without spending at least a day on Music Valley Drive. Let’s join our beloved visitors and see what all the excitement is all about! See you down on Music Valley Drive!