Vivian's Corner
U.S. Areas, Cities, States
Foreign Cities
Foreign Countries
Adventure & Sports
About Us
Yearly Index
Contact Us
Nashville, Tennessee

Destination Music City

Where to Stay, Eat and Play in Nashville

Wildhorse Saloon
Credit: Donnie Beauchamp

The word "luxury" is synonymous with places like New York, Las Vegas, Paris, Nashville -- Wait a moment, did we say Nashville? You heard right. If you’re looking for high-style, entertainment, great food, and ambiance, Nashville is the latest see and be scene destination, ya’ll.

For a variety of reasons Nashville has become a hot spot for the top-flight traveler. From real estate acquisitions to big time entertainment deals, Nashville is the place where the glitterati and well-to-do music lovers are flocking. Even retired rock stars are filling up high-end real estate brokers’ date books with appointments to view the best and brightest country-style mansions, homes that can compete with any in the aforementioned cities.

Music City has celebrity written all over it. But you don’t have to have a hit on the country charts to be treated like a star in Nashville. From the moment you arrive in Tennessee the first thing you’ll see in the city’s easily navigated airport are big smiles. You’ll find one on almost every face. Unlike many other top level destinations where aloof attitudes prevail, Nashville staffers are enthusiastic and regret saying goodbye.

Nashville’s activities are nothing short of good clean American fun. Fine dining has caught on as gourmet chefs have wisely chosen to set down culinary roots here. Hotels are equipped with all of the facilities and comforts you’ve come to expect from five-star establishments. If they don’t have what you need, they’ll get it. And you’ll never want for things to do.


Our preferred accommodation is The Hermitage in downtown Nashville. Tennessee’s only AAA Five Diamond Hotel, the namesake of Andrew Jackson's Hermitage estate opened its doors in 1910. Italian sienna marble entrance, vaulted lobby, and Persian rugs clue first-timers in to the lavish accommodations as soon as they enter the property. The grand lobby serves as a magnificent backdrop for afternoon tea and evening cocktails. The average size of the new guest rooms is 475 square feet and includes traditional furnishings and marble bathrooms outfitted with separate showers, soaking tubs, and water closets. Ask for a room with a view of the State Capitol and Nashville skyline and take advantage of the bath concierge service.

The Hermitage Hotel

The duvets are down-filled, the linens top-quality, and each room comes equipped with DVD/CD players and flat screen televisions, complimentary high-speed and wireless Internet connection, and free local calls, not to mention full housekeeping services twice daily. From on-call limousine service to social outings, the concierge is more like a personal assistant. Full secretarial and floral services, as well as personal shopping, are at your fingertips, and spa, and pampered pet services are also available.

The Presidential Suite is a whopping 2,000 square feet with two bedrooms, two full-size marble bathrooms, wet bar and service kitchen, and formal living room with a 42-inch plasma television. The custom-designed dining table accommodates eight of your closest pals. Feed them by using 24-hour room service from the hotel’s award-winning restaurant. The Hermitage is for discriminating guests and famous folks who should be pleased to learn that the hostelry won the coveted Mobil Five Star Award for 2007, the only establishment in Tennessee to achieve this honor.
Another great, albeit very different, lodging choice is the Gaylord Opryland Resort. This massive property features several café-appointed lobbies and a celebrity center for those who warrant that title, but at Gaylord, even everyday Joes and Janes get the red carpet treatment. Thousands of species of plants from nine acres of lush gardens, winding pathways, and flowing waterfalls are all inside one of four generous glass atriums. Staying at Gaylord Opryland Resort is really like staying on a small planet except with room service and everything at your beck and call.

From formal romantic settings to sushi to sandwiches, Gaylord Opryland has it all just steps away from your room. Families are especially welcome here since the resort has lots of attractions to keep kids entertained all day. Moms and dads can do grown-up stuff without worry. At the drop-in children's resort, La Petite Academy® Kids Station, little ones can stay for an hour or play all day. The Gaylord Opryland Resort is also adjacent to one of Nashville’s main attractions, The Grand Ole Opry.


Gaylord Opryland Resort
Credit: Barry M. Winiker

Musical events, karaoke with famous names dropping in to sing-along, museums, bar hopping; take your pick. Downtown Nashville is alive with wide-eyed hopefuls and success stories, and the mix has created an electric atmosphere. No visit to Nashville would be complete without a stop at the Country Music Hall of Fame where Elvis's gold Cadillac is parked. The Schermerhorn Symphony Center bears the distinction of being a world-class concert hall and home to the Nashville Symphony. The Grand Ole Opry originated in 1925 at the "Mother Church of Country Music" (the Ryman Auditorium). The Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) located directly across from the Hermitage Hotel is home to the Nashville Opera and Ballet, as well as the Tennessee Repertory Theater.

Attending live performances of the Grand Ole Opry makes for an unforgettable evening. Featuring the best of country and bluegrass, this is one of many choices for hearing the finest musical performances Nashville offers. Another option is a cruise on the Cumberland River aboard the General Jackson Showboat. Dining and dancing are part and parcel of this Nashville adventure.

Enjoying a formal afternoon tea at the Hermitage before heading over to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, which exhibits contemporary and traditional art, is a great way for art lovers to spend an afternoon. Or sports fans can enjoy cheering on Nashville’s own Tennessee Titans or Predators.

If spectator entertainment is not your style, try line dancing and two-stepping at Gaylord Opryland Resort’s 3,300-square-foot Wildhorse Saloon. Whether you’re vacationing with your sweetie or just with friends, saloon keepers can fix you up with dance lessons, award-winning barbecue, and a tasty beverage to top it off. Without leaving the property, take a stroll down the indoor river aboard a Delta River Flatboat to look at the scenic indoor gardens and waterfalls. Officials say that if you're lucky, you might catch a glimpse of Donny, the eighty-pound catfish who has lived in the water for several years. Gaylord Springs is the resort’s par 72, Scottish links-style golf course lined with limestone bluffs carved by the Cumberland River. And if golf doesn’t put any wind in your sails, set a course on one of Nashville’s many guided tours.

A sampling of tours around Nashville includes the "High Notes of Music City" featuring a two-plus hour round-up of Nashville’s famous musical sites like Music Row. The "Country Legends" tour showcases homes of famous Grand Ole Opry performers including Porter Wagoner, Kitty Wells, Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Marty Stuart/Connie Smith, and Ricky Skaggs and concludes with a tasting stop at Stu Phillips’ Long Hollow Winery. "Music Country" tours stop outside the homes of today’s popular artists including Alan Jackson, Dolly Parton, Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn, Trace Adkins, Lorrianne Crook, and Little Jimmy Dickens. Groups of 20 or more can enjoy a walk through Loretta Lynn’s 14-room pre-Civil War Mansion where she has lived for more than 20 years and her museum featuring an authentic replica of the old Butcher Holler Home Place where she grew up. Finally, we highly recommend the Jack Daniels tour in historic Lynchburg, Tennessee (about 2 hours away) to see how the famous Tennessee whiskey developed by founder Jack Daniels 125 years ago is made. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the U. S. Government, Jack Daniels is the oldest registered distillery in the United States.


Grand Old Opry
Credit: Barry M. Winiker

In the Deep South, the saying "finger-licking good" frequently described barbeque or fried chicken. And in bygone days those two choices would probably be front and center of any restaurant’s menu in the city. Not so much these days. You can still get amazing barbeque and chicken, but Nashville’s latest influx of renowned chefs has lifted the town’s culinary quotient to national levels.

If Nashville has the equivalent of New York's ''21'' Club, it is the Capitol Grille," the New York Times wrote about the Hermitage Hotel’s Capitol Grille. Chef Tyler Brown heads the award-winning, fine dining restaurant and Oak Bar, which are designed like the good old days when dark woods and ambiance ruled décor. Like the Hotel itself, both places are perfect for relaxing, power-lunching, and cocktails, be they after a long day or before a hot night out.

The Sunset Grill is for celebrity spotting, good food, and eclectic wines. Seafood, pasta, steak, vegetarian, and specials dot the menu. With 100 wines by the glass and 300 bottles to select from, even the most persnickety wine lover will be happy.

Virago is a powerful hybrid of sushi, late-night cocktails, and upscale eating. Steak lovers will take to the Stock-Yard restaurant, recognized as one of the top ten steakhouses in the United States. And Tayst is all about romance -- brick-red walls, candlelit sconces, and fresh daisies.

From dining to lodging to entertainment, Music City is everything rolled into one. And while this country town with just enough city to make it interesting to outsiders churns out chart-toppers that go platinum overnight, the true value of this vibrant place lies in its massive heart of gold.

Have Yourself a Country Little Christmas in Tennessee

Even Santa would be hard pressed to go back to the North Pole after visiting Nashville around Christmas time. Nashville, Tennessee may be the home of country music, but tunes are just part of the picture. Everything under the sun, or snow rather, is at your fingertips during Christmas.

A Country Christmas which runs from November 16, 2006 - January 2, 2007 features the return of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular® starring the Radio City Rockettes. Nashville favorites, "12 Days of Christmas," "Living Nativity," and "Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" is something to see. And ICE!, presented by Coca-Cola, is a frozen winter wonderland of interactive sculptures and displays carved from 1.5 million pounds of ice.

The Pam Tillis Christmas Dinner Party provides an opportunity to enjoy traditional holiday dinner while the Grammy Award winner delivers a program of Christmas songs and her number one hits. On the General Jackson Showboat, Ebenezer Scrooge is aboard with a feast and festive show. Kids can take part in photos with Santa and guests in general will marvel at nearly two million Christmas lights.

--Kelly Gray


Fall, 2006