I couldn’t get it all in one post – there was just too much to talk about. So here you have the second part of our trip – beware, I do drop a few names in this one! Don’t forget to click the pictures for the best view!
Wednesday morning we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. In case you didn’t know it, my uncle Stu is a steel guitar player, and has been on several records with many different country music stars. He’s recorded with Louis Armstrong and Dolly Parton, played behind Porter Wagoner, Jerry Lee Lewis, Mickey Gilley, Faron Young, Mandy Barnett, Dinah Shore, Marie Osmond and (for you very alternative rockers) Ween, plus a great many more (try Googling ‘Stu Basore‘ and see what you get). He has also played with Riders in the Sky and won a Grammy for Monsters, Inc. He’s spent over 40 years in Nashville as a studio musician. So that means he knows a lot of famous people. Which means he’s friends with people like Charlie Dick (Patsy Cline’s widower), who comped us tickets to the Hall of Fame. -Ok, enough bragging about my uncle.
Wednesday morning we went to the Hall of Fame. After we met Charlie Dick and he took us inside we ran into Brenda Lee having lunch with her grandson (who was also named Charlie). Mr. Dick went to the ticket counter, talked to the lady and in we walked. He stayed with us as we looked at the museum exhibits on the third floor (where we went to first), and then had to go to meet someone else. So my family and I toured the museum and looked at the history of country music, Brenda Lee’s exhibit, Elvis’ gold Cadillac, The Williams Family Legacy exhibit and more. It was a really cool museum. There was music playing everywhere (of course) and so many cool things to look at.
Henry enjoyed watching Hee-Haw at the museum and listening to all the different songs. The actual Hall of Fame itself was closed because of flood damages, but there were so many other things to look at that it hardly mattered to us.
We ate lunch in the museum and were surprised at how great the food was! I had a fried-green tomato BLT with fresh mozzarella cheese, and it was amazing! We also had to stop in the museum gift shop for a few souvenirs.
Wednesday night we headed to a Nashville Sounds baseball game. The Sounds are a minor league team and they were playing the Isotopes (just like in The Simpsons!). It started late from a rain delay so we didn’t stay for the whole game. But when we left, the Sounds were up 2 to 0. We sat along the third baseline. It was Henry and Emmett’s first ball game. Henry ate a big pretzel while we had brats, and he tried cotton candy for the first time too.
Thursday, we originally planned to go to The Hermitage, where Andrew Jackson was born, but after all the running around we had already done over the previous few days, we were all too pooped. Instead we stayed at my aunt and uncle’s house and played the wii and cards. Maggie taught us to play a game called X’s and O’s. It was a lot of fun, and my aunt Marsha gave us some extra scorecards to take home.
Thursday night however, was a different story. Kelly printed us directions to a little tiny town called Leiper’s Fork, TN, where we were to go to a place called Puckett’s Grocery. This was definitely a place you’d never know about unless you knew about it. So we piled into the car with Maggie (it was a tight squeeze for her between the car seats) and drove an hour through the Tennessee countryside. It was beautiful!
When we reached Puckett’s, Kelly had already gotten us a table for the shrimp boil and open mic night. The little grocery was packed, and the food was so good. We had beer served in mason jars, a whole basket of shrimp with potatoes and corn, a delicious BLT, and homemade peach cobbler.
All of the people who got up for the open mic night were pretty good too. There was a kid who played the fiddle like sixty and some pretty great guitar players. Emmett and Henry loved it – check them out! *Also – although it looks really dark in there, it wasn’t. The first video is Emmett turned backwards in his high chair dancing, the second is Henry playing a little air guitar.
I absolutely loved this place. If I lived in Tennessee I could see going there with some regularity. We bought Henry a t-shirt there, and I wish I would have gotten one for myself or the reusable grocery bag too. I thought about my friend Rach while I was here as well – she would have loved it.
Open mic night went until about 8:00pm and then Rick took the boys and Maggie back up to Madison (my aunt & uncle’s place), while Kelly took me out on the town. When we were driving back from the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, I had noticed a bunch of neon signs on Broadway in downtown Nashville, so that is where we were headed.
Kelly and I walked around on Broadway, and she told me about all the different places. We went into the Ernest Tubb Record Shop (the original) where they used to do the TV show from. She showed me Tootsie’s, where the country music stars hang out. It’s got quick access to the Ryman Auditorium, where the Opry was originally held – and is being currently held since it’s been temporarily displaced due to flooding. We stopped in Robert’s Western World to get a drink (well, I was a wimp and ordered a coke since a drink probably would have put me under at that point) and to listen to the band. And, of course, I got a picture with the King.
Friday we packed and loaded the car. We said good bye to Nashville and headed a couple hours south to Huntsville, Alabama.
Both my uncles and Aunt Marsh came with us to meet up with Michelle and Mike for the day. When we got to Alabama, we stopped at the welcome center and took a couple of photos by the Saturn rocket there.
Then we drove way out through the country to Michelle’s house. She had the day all planned for us – jam-packed full of fun. Our first stop was the Early Works Children’s Museum in Huntsville. Henry & Emmett had a great time playing and exploring, and I think the big kids enjoyed it too. Emmett got to do a little “shopping” and Henry met Biscuit the dog.
After the children’s museum, we went to Cheddar’s for lunch, and then headed to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. We got there about an hour before they closed, so we were able to get in for free. Henry absolutely loved all the rockets and all the space stuff there was to explore. The museum is really neat with a lot of hands on stuff. My uncle Teke seemed to really enjoy himself too. We were able to look at pretty much everything in an hour, and decided that we’d definitely have to come back again when the boys are a little older.
After we had explored the Space Center, we said goodbye to my uncle Stu and aunt Marsha and uncle Teke. They headed back to Nashville, and we stayed the night with Michelle and Mike in Alabama. We played a few fun games on their wii, mapped out our route for the drive home and then hit the sack.
Michelle made us a delicious breakfast in the morning, and then we started our drive home. We were able to see a lot of green as we drove through Alabama, Mississippi, Memphis, and Arkansas, where we stopped to eat dinner at a place called The Catfish Hole. They had the most delicious hush puppies. Mmmmmm.
All the time we drove, both on the way to Tennessee and on the way back, I read aloud a book called Little Britches by Ralph Moody. We stopped for the night outside of Tulsa, Oklahoma and then drove north to Kansas and finally home to Denver on Sunday afternoon.
It was such a fun trip. I think we all enjoyed it so much. We were able to do many more things than we had thought we were going to do, and we just loved visiting with my family. They really were so hospitable and knew just how to show us westerners a good time.