This was going to be the trip to tie it all up. I had a wish list, and we were going to check, check, check them off. Our itinerary last year started with a stop in Biloxi/Gulfport, an afternoon in New Orleans French Quarter, and then a foray into the Mississippi Blues and Country Trails. We went to Meridian and visited the Jimmie Rodgers Museum, moved on up to Tupelo to Elvis’s Birthplace, and then into the heart of the Mississippi Delta in Clarksdale.
After discovering the blues on every corner in Clarksdale, and some awesome barbeque at Abes, we headed to Memphis for a weekend of music history – Graceland, Sun Studios, the Rock’n’Soul Museum, and lunch on Beale Street. Given my penchant for American history, I went to the Lorraine Motel, site of the shooting of Martin Luther King and now a Civil Rights Museum. We loved Memphis, and although we are not going back this year, I already have it on my mind for next year.
We stopped at the Shiloh Civil War Battlefield on the way to Nashville. It wasn’t because I was that interested in the war. I love the poem “Shiloh” by Herman Melville, and just felt I had to be there, since I was so close. (I also like the story “Shiloh” by Bobbi Ann Mason that takes place there. Yes, sometimes literature makes turns up in my trips as well.)
Nashville was a dream – Bluegrass Night at the Ryman, where I fell in love with Jesse McReynolds, mandolin player beyond all mandolin players; Grand Ole Opry with many fabulous acts including Bobby Osborne playing “Rocky Top” on his mandolin; breakfast at the Loveless Café; the newly opened Johnny Cash Museum; the peaceful Cumberland River; soaking up the incredible energy on lower Broadway; delicious Tennessee barbeque at Jack’s.
The highlight of the trip – and the way we planned it the way we did – was seeing Marty Stuart and his fabulous Superlatives at the Frist Art Center – a free outdoor concert. That night was simply amazing. I even met Marty afterward, shook his hand, and got his autograph.
Marty’s concert ended our stay in Nashville. I was ready to leave, declaring I was done with Nashville, nothing else I ever needed to do there.
I was wrong. There is still so much to see, so much to do, and so much to learn when it comes to our favorite theme.
Our vacation in 2014 ended with a visit with my cousin in Asheville. We visited the Carl Sandburg home, which I highly recommend. Read about it here.