Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Nashville You MUST See

Visit Headquarters when you're in Nashville
There is the Nashville of bluegrass, country and honky tonk music that most people go there to see, but that's not the Nashville I'm urging you to see.  In addition to Rhino Books, here's what I hope you'll scout out. 

Now you know I'm not a coffee-person — and I've explained that I'm not part of the coffee-culture in this country.  But everyone I'm around is and inevitably, no matter where I am, or who I'm with, someone is always looking for a cup of coffee.

It was no different in Nashville when we were on our thrift-store rounds (well, my thrift-store rounds) and Lynn and Susan were told about this unique shop called Headquarters — a little storefront that completely surprises you when you walk in through the handcrafted door and immediately see the brick wall from another era with the painted signage for Dr. Goodsey's (?) Millinery and Shoe store.  With a wide selection of teas, some baked goods, furniture handmade by the owner, and a shelf-full of thermoses from the more recent past, this place was more than a great local cup of coffee — it was a wonderful trip into what one customer called a "happy little shop."

As part of our this Nashville adventure, I was lucky to get an inside look at the success of homegrown entrepreneurs John and Carey Aron with a personal tour of The Pasta Shoppe, a company that uses old-world Italian manufacturing machines to make fancifully shaped pastas that will make your kids smile and raise funds for your school or organization. Care about the Buckeyes, Hawkeyes or Wolverines ? Into bicycles, shamrocks, cats, dogs or patriotic themes?  They have over 250 shapes to choose from! Specialty pastas in Nashville?  Who would've guessed?

More on the beaten tourist path are two places I wouldn't miss.  

When you're traveling you might get lucky and see a city's reuse of a Union Station, and in Nashville, the massive train station is now a luxury hotel. 

As we step inside the massive side entrance, the first thing we see is a framed paper timetable, signaling we are stepping back into history.  First open in 1900, the lobby wows you with its beautiful tiled floors and gorgeous barrel-vaulted ceiling with stained glass windows.  It is a magnificent space. Behind the front desk is the timetable board as it was when the station closed in the late 1970s.  If you get to Nashville, even if you don't stay there, you've got to see this place. It's a real treat. 

The darker vertical section shows what
the metal looked like before it was cleaned.
And while you're at it — after Union Station you can just cross the street and go in to an old Art Deco post office which thanks to the philanthropy of the Frist family was repurposed as the Frist Center for Visual Arts.  Though I have my own photos, they pale in comparison to the virtual tour you can take from their website — the panoramic view of the Grand Lobby will give you a look at the stunning grillwork that graces the walls. Don't forget to pan up so you can see the coffered ceilings and the decorative medallions honoring industry.  It's quite a place!

Well, I hope you can tell I had a great time exploring Nashville, but best of all was being there with friends.  And being there with my gal-pals, made me one happy cowgirl.


  1. This was a great tour! I felt like I was there with you!