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Guest Column: Nothing says country like Nashville

Published 1:52pm Saturday, November 9, 2013

Our trip to Nashville last month has us reminiscing as we look through the brochures and pictures from this great seven-day trip.

When we talk about country music, our thoughts immediately turn to Nashville, which is the capitol and origin of great country music.

Visiting the new $40 million Country Music Hall of Fame was incredible. It reopend in 2001 after a being closed from 1961 to 2001. It has added a rotunda which was built to recognize the Hall of Famers.

The first inductees in 1961 were Hank Williams, Fred Rose and Jimmie Rodgers, with Roy Acoff being added in 1962.

We were amazed by the incredible collection of rare costumes, instruments and historical mementos. During this time, Reba McEntire was featured, showcasing her early childhood, dresses and how she made her way to fame.

The exterior of this Hall of Fame was in the shape of a piano keyboard, a real tribute to country music.

Nothing says “Nashville,” like a night at the Grand Ole Opry.

What began as a simple radio show in 1925 is now showcasing a mix of country music’s great new stars, and of course beloved legends.

Taylor Swift, Brad Paisley, and Carrie Underwood were among those aspiring artists who performed at the Grand Ole Opry.

The Ryman Auditorium, known as the “Mother Church of Country Music” is available for self-guided walkthough tours. Another famous and well-know area within walking distance is the historic downtown district.

The 10,000-square-foot Willie Nelson and Friends Museum is Nashville’s oldest country music museum.

He has shared his life and displayed many of his costumes at the museum. This is a stop not to be missed when exploring Nashville.

We also visited the Belle Meade Plantation which was a premier thoroughbred horse farm in the 1800s.

Starting in a log cabin, the plantation grew to 540 acres and has roots firmly planted with horses like Seabiscuit, Secretariat, and every horse entered in the Kentucky Derby since 2003.

The beautiful Greek revival mansion plus the massive carriage houses and stables are most impressive.

After leaving Nashville, we were looking forward to watching the Country Music Awards, which is now being held in Nashville, and on national television.

On our return home we made a stop at the St. Louis Arch. Built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, it has become an international symbol of St Louis. Built in 1965, this stainless steel structure stands 630 feet tall and was built at a cost of $13 million.

Rides are available to the top for an awesome view of the city. Also a great museum display of the Lewis and Clark expedition is housed there.

Traveling and exploring our own beautiful United States is still exciting, and there is always another place to visit right around the corner.

Upcoming trips

•Wednesday: Branson trip departs at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning from the the Walmart parking lot.

•Dec. 11: “Fiddler on the Roof” at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre is now due. We have a couple of openings.

•Dec. 31–Jan. 1, 2014: New Years Eve gala in Eau Claire, Wis. at the Fanny Hill Dinner Theater and Winery.


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