Tennessee

We got back from Tennessee yesterday in time to watch some football on the porch. We had a great time but it was good to get back. It seemed much colder here than it was in Tennessee for some reason.

Thursday evening, we spent in Chattanooga. We went up for the afternoon/evening before going to Nashville. Once we checked in to our hotel we took the local trolley over to North Shore and walked around and shopped a bit. Then, we went down to this little Mexican restaurant for margaritas and nibbles.

After waiting for the trolley to come back to no avail we decided to just hoof it over the bridge to the other side and walk to St. Johns Meeting place that was playing jazz. On the way we passed the Pickle Barrel and decided to stop there for a drink.

Unfortunately, we left the Pickle Barrel (we should have stayed put) and found the jazz place but it was full of people, noisy and they made a weak whiskey drink. We decided not to eat there but go back to our hotel where there was a bar (The Office) and 24hour café attached and have more drinks and order in later. When we walked in to this place I felt like we were transported to a gay bar in 1987. The bartender (Ann) had on a sleeveless leather jacket with a white polo shirt underneath. They were setting up for karaoke night and she asked what I wanted to drink. Amaretto sours, fuzzy navels and screwdrivers came to mind……we ordered lite beers and a shot of Jameson and stayed until someone started attempting rap on stage and we decided to call it a night.

The next day after breakfast we headed to Nashville. Since our Stay America wasn’t ready for us to check in until 3 we headed downtown and parked in a pay lot the closest we could get to the immediate downtown area because there was a Veterans Day parade going on. We wandered around – they said Printers Alley was great but it was uneventful. We were hungry and wanted food. We found a bar called Piranhas – home of put-french-fries-in-every-sandwich. Despite having the fries ON my burger the beer and service was great. Our bartender took care of us except for when we asked her what was around the general vicinity to do she told us to take golf cart over to Midtown and hang out. We walked around the corner and there was Broad Street and millions of people and music playing. We were like WTF? We walked in and out of stores and eventually ended up back at the car to go back to the hotel to check in and change. We were going to see Keith Urban that night at Bridgestone Arena.

I must say the hotel we stayed in left something to be desired. It was clean and all but they only left us 3 pillows (who puts down three pillows instead of 2 or 4?) and one thin blanket that we had to beg for more. Then, there was a stove in there that was about 100 years old that we turned on to heat up a sandwich and the knobs fell off. No ice trays in the freezer (which, they gave us when we asked where the non-existent ice machine was), one roll of papery thin toilet paper and forget there being any paper towels or anything. It was the sparsest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. At least they had coffee in the morning.

That night, we went back downtown and ended up at The Stage listening to live music. The Green Bay Packers were to play in town on Sunday and there was a sea of people in Pack wear – including myself. I think I made more friends from Wisconsin than I actually have currently in Atlanta. Then, it was time to amble over to the Arena to see Keith Urban. We had nose bleed seats and by the time we got up there and sat down the first warmup was playing (Maren Morris) and then the second one came on (Brett Eldredge). We were kind of bored and struck up a conversation with the couple next to us who gave Charlie a couple of guitar picks. They ended up either scoring some better seats right when Keith Urban started or went home – who knows. The concert was great but I doubt if I’d see him again. We left before it was over because we didn’t want to fight 30, 000 people getting out of there. Which, we then ran into a problem trying to get an Uber driver to pick us up. Every time I called I kept getting the same Uber driver who was blocks away wanting us to walk to him. We ended up catching a cab back to the hotel instead.

The next day we went downtown again to wander around in the Music Hall of Fame and later, see our bartender at Piranhas. We got to talking to two guys who [I thought] talked incessantly about their cats. After a while -me trying to change the subject from Maine Coons to a cool place to hang out- found out that Marathon Village is a cool place to check out but also learned that one of the distilleries in there has a cat on staff to take care of the rat problem (of course it was [insert cat story here] to everything).

Marathon Village is made up of a group of 100 year old warehouse buildings that house antique shops, breweries and distilleries as well as the famous Antique Archaeology which is Mike Wolfe’s store made famous from American Pickers. We took one look at the line getting into that place and headed for the distillery hitting the most wooden sign laden stores I’ve ever seen in my lifetime along the way. We ended up at Corsair Artisan Brewery and Taproom (where that cat is, of course – although, we only saw a pic of her because the girl at the desk said she was working and wasn’t on break until 3) which brews beer as well as gin, vodka and whiskey. We had two pretty amazing drinks before heading in to taste some whiskey which we ended up not buying. Had they had the habanero vanilla bean infused vodka that was used to make my drink then we would have probably bought several bottles.

After that, we were craving a steak and baked potato and headed for Logan’s. Not the best choice but since we’d been there we hadn’t had what we considered a good meal (even with the french-fries-on-everything-burger). Mental note to self for the next trip – stay in a Hampton Inn no matter what the cost and get recommendations from friends on where to eat. By the end of that night we were whipped and ready to go home.

After a pretty sleepless night – the stupid room fan kept turning off and on all night and I’m one of those people who have to have the fan on in order to break up the monotony of SILENCE – we got up and grabbed coffee and headed out. We had decided to get out of town a bit before stopping for breakfast. What ended up happening was making it almost to Chattanooga before feeling like gnawing our arms off and needing more coffee and stopping at this scary little place called Jim Oliver’s Smoke House and ordering BBQ for breakfast. The BBQ was pretty good but the coffee came out cold and I walked back in the kitchen and asked them to nuke it for me. I don’t think they were used to demanding city folk like myself. Once finished I said to Charlie, Let’s get out of here. I was starting to hear dueling banjos.

So, we had a great time and it was good to get away and relax. I’ll leave you with some pics from the trip.

 

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