Nashville Whirlwind Tour

I finished my meeting in Camden, TN around 11:30AM yesterday morning, then drove the 90 minutes or so back to Nashville for meetings with staff members of two high-ranking elected officials. By the time I arrived at my hotel it was 3pm and I had been up for 12 hours, driving 7 1/2 of that, so I was tired. Still, I had a small window of opportunity to see some of Nashville and I did not want to pass it up.

I was staying at the Marriott Renaissance Hotel on the recommendation of a friend who had stayed there before. The room was very nice.

Although the view wasn’t that great, at least out this window.

But it wasn’t horrible out this window.

Anyway, I grabbed my camera, stopped by the concierge desk for a downtown map and was out the front door of the hotel by 3:10. As I opened the map I noticed an advertisement for a trolley tour of downtown Nashville. This was perfect! Cindy and I typically try to take one of these whenever we’re in a new city to familiarize ourselves with it before embarking on our own personal tours. But I wasn’t going to have time for my own personal tour so this trolley tour would be a fast, easy way to get a history of the city, a sense of it’s layout and some photos. I walked the 5 blocks to the ticket kiosk (right next to the Nashville Hard Rock Cafe on Broadway) and purchased my ticket by 3:15PM, but the tour wasn’t leaving until 4PM. Another great break! I had not stopped for lunch and was starving so I glanced around and saw this on the other side of Broadway.

The Big River Grille and Brewery Works. Apparently there is one at home in Orlando out at the Disney Boardwalk near EPCOT, but I’ve never been and didn’t even know it was there until I looked up the website. They are a “microbrewery restaurant” brewing their own beer. I stepped inside out of the 84 degree heat and told the hostess I needed something to eat fast so I could catch my trolley tour in 40 minutes. I ordered their Sweet Magnolia Brown Ale and an appetizer Quesadilla. Both were very good and I was back and climbing on the trolley car at 3:50PM with about seven other riders.

I took about 200 photos during the tour. I’ll pick the best and get them uploaded to my Flickr account as soon as I can, but I wanted to show you this shot of my hotel with my room location indicated.

The tour was good and educational. I tipped the driver/tour guide generously as I was stepping off because he gave lots of information and provided me with some good photography subjects and moments, but I wanted to tell him that I would have gladly tripled the tip if he would stop trying to be a comedian. Worse yet, a comedian who laughs at his own pathetic jokes with a laugh like Muttley. Believe me, it’s worse when it’s blasted over a PA system.

After the trolley tour I took a walk over the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge that spans the Cumberland River, taking lots of photos of the river and the stadium across the river where the Tennessee Titans play. Then, on my way back to the hotel I stopped and bought some souvenirs and postcards for family.

I can see why they call Nashville “Music City.” If it’s not blasting out of store speakers (and I mean EVERY store), they’re piping it out into the street. And if it’s not piping out into the street, street musicians fill the quiet with their “cover” versions of every country song you ever heard and a few you wish you hadn’t (well, that’s ALL of them for me since I’m not a CW fan), while their guitar cases stand open for donations. I was at an intersection where there was someone playing the guitar and singing on each of the four corners.

By the time I got back to the room I was soaking in sweat, so I took a shower and thought about accepting a co-worker’s invitation to join her and another friend of hers who was visiting from out of town that evening for some live music. But it was now a little after 6PM and I was whipped from the long day. I thought I would do some work on the Internet and hit the sack early since I had more meetings to drive to today. However, because of my friend’s recommendation I didn’t really look at the hotel’s webpage in depth, and that was a mistake. My friend does not travel with her laptop so she would not have noticed this, but it turns out the hotel wants an extra $13.95 (why not just say $14?) for Internet access. For real! And that even applies to high level reward program participants like yours truly.

Not going to happen.

Usually when I’m looking at a hotel trying to decide if I’ll stay there, one of the first things I look at is whether they offer free Internet access, either wired or wireless. This was a fairly upscale hotel and I guess I just expected it, especially since it was a Marriott and every Marriott brand I’ve stayed at had free access. I learned my lesson, and will always check in the future no matter what anyone says about how great the place may be. Anyway, I grabbed my laptop and walked 2 blocks down from the hotel to Panera, ate a sandwich and accessed the Internet for free, thank you.

Still, I enjoyed my short time in Nashville and hope to come back with Cindy someday for a longer visit.

Did my meetings today in Murfreesboro and drove back to Atlanta. Tomorrow it’s a short 3 hour drive to Knoxville, TN and then an hour drive to Rockwood, TN for various meetings and then back here to Atlanta for the night. That should be the end of my Tennessee trips for a while.

Wow, that was longer than I intended it to be. I hope you’re still here. G’night.

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