Music City is hopping, y’all!
Nashville, Tennessee, home to country music and about 2 million people (give or take, in the metro area) is also host to large conferences, hoards of tourists, and it has become the top city for bachelorette parties – I kid you not.
Getting from Albuquerque to Nashville takes a good portion of the day. And this trip was my first work trip after quitting a job, getting a job, and etc. I find business travel is always easiest when you’re in the groove – when you’re gone more than you are home and you know exactly what you need to take with you (work uniform – black slacks, coordinating blouse and jacket, sensible heels). When I’m out of the groove, I over pack and end up checking a bag which makes me angry all over again that my ticket wasn’t on Southwest where my bags fly free (and there are no change fees…don’t get me started on my last experience with United).
Airport travel tends to bring out the best and the WORST in people and in all my travels, I’ve seen everything including a lot of things I wish I could unsee. So, before we dive into my short time in Nashville, let me run down a quick list of things I wish I’d quit seeing at airports and on airplanes:
- Not everyone should have TSA Pre-Check. I should. I fly a lot, can recite the rules and regulations, wear reasonable footwear in airports, and can get through an open security line in under 20 seconds. People who haven’t flown for 30 years, women who wear heeled boots that lace up over the knee, and people who come through the line with 35 stuffed bags (that won’t fit in an overhead compartment) do not belong in the frequent traveler line.
- Women speaking on cell phones in the public toilet. Ladies, nothing is so important that you need to subject your listener to a soundtrack of tinkles, toots, and constant flushing. Call them back.
- Also, ladies, can we please make a concerted effort to flush before leaving the stall?
- And, please don’t leave your newborn baby in its stroller outside of your stall. I saw this in Phoenix and was horrified.
- The top of the escalator is not a good place to stop and have a conversation. Neither is the end of the moving walkway.
- All of the seats on the plane will arrive to the destination at the same time. You do not need to crowd the boarding area 20 minutes before the boarding announcement.
- Upon arrival, you also do not need to crowd the baggage claim. The suitcases keep coming around and around and around…..
- Don’t be crazy at the baggage claim. I once saw a woman in Denver come busting into the baggage claim area, announcing that she was from “mother f’ing Jersey.” That somehow gave her the right to get her “mother f’ing suitcase” off the “mother f’ing carousel” before the rest of us “mother f’ers.” This could be a whole post unto itself, but long story short, she was asked to leave the mother f’ing airport.
- On the plane, please get what you need out of your bag before we take off. There isn’t room for you to be up and down and in and out 45 times on an hour long flight.
- And maybe, maybe try to potty at the airport. I’m always amazed at the number of people that need to get up to use that disgusting airplane lavatory on a 50 minute flight.
- Please try to remain in your own seat. My lap is not for your newspaper. Your feet shouldn’t go under mine. If I don’t know you, I’m not keen on you resting your drooly head on my shoulder. Try not to spread your legs so far apart that your seatmate can’t move (men, ahem). And, if you plan to drink so much that you might pass out and not awaken upon landing, please plan early and get a window seat so I can deplane. (This happened coming home. I thought I was going to literally have to slap the man on the aisle to get him up. Several very sturdy shakes by the shoulder did the trick – thank God).
- Both armrests belong to the sad sack in the middle seat. He’s got nowhere to go.
- Please exit in an orderly fashion. Jumping up to block the aisle while we’re all waiting to get out of the sardine can does no good.
And one small request, for the love of God, please wear closed toe shoes or have clean feet. Especially in the summer. I hate flying in the summer for several reasons but perhaps the number one reason is that airports across America smell like feet.
Now back to Nashville. I’m in town for a large conference at the Music City Center – conveniently located right across the street from my hotel. On the way into town, I’m blown away by how much Nashville has grown since my last visit several years ago. With work travel it’s always unknown about how much I’ll get out to explore the town, but I did get out enough to experience two things that Nashville is really good at: food and music.
Folks in Nashville seem to eat three things:
- Hot Chicken
- Pimiento Cheese
Let’s talk about hot chicken for a hot minute. This is a BIG deal in Nashville, and much like Chicagoans with their pizza, every Nashvillian has an opinion about where you can find the best hot chicken, so ask around. It’s spicy, it’s fried and it’s generally served on a bun with pickles – although I have seen hot chicken kabobs and hot chicken salad…. If you’re not chowing down on hot chicken or barbecue, chances are you have something smothered in pimiento cheese. I’m not sure where this craze came from but people in Nashville cover their food with pimiento cheese like people in New Mexico cover their food in chile.
Downtown Nashville is surprisingly pedestrian friendly. Walking from your downtown hotel to the area attractions is easy and safe. Lots of fountains line your walk. I was fortunate to see a few things in between conference sessions.
If you are a hockey fan, you’re in luck! Nashville is home to an NHL team and the stadium is right downtown. Due to poor planning, I missed my chance to see the Predators in action – maybe next time. Music fans won’t want to miss the Country Music Hall of Fame. Even if you’re not a country music fan particularly, this is an informative and fun, interactive museum.
You must, must, must head to South Broadway (or So Bro as it’s called) to hear some live music. THIS is Nashville. My team and I walked to So Bro to grab a bite (hot chicken and pimiento cheese, of course) and to check out some of the bands on Saturday night. We
ate at the Tin Roof before wandering Broadway a bit. Bands play in literally every bar and honky tonk on the strip, so you won’t have any trouble finding music. You also won’t have any trouble finding your share of intoxicated folks stumbling around. Now, I’m not insinuating all of these people are from Nashville. Tons of tourists stumble around So Bro and, as mentioned, Nashville has become one of the hottest spots for bachelorette parties in the
country. So just be prepared that great music comes with girls falling down in the street and loud and drunken screams from bridesmaids galore…. Once the music starts playing, you won’t even notice.