My bucket list seems to get longer the older I get. Isn’t that always the way? So much to do, so little time….
Anyway, visiting more of the good old USA is on that list. So a couple weeks ago I headed to Tennessee for a girlfriend getaway in Memphis, Nashville and the Smoky Mountains. I have no horror stories to share about what happened on the plane (for once) since Sharon and I had a row to ourselves. Off to a splendid start, wouldn’t you say?
If you’ve never visited Tennessee, why not? It’s quite unique. Memphis at the beginning of June was practically deserted. The streets and cafes were almost empty at times. No crowds in the honky tonk joints along Beale Street so we had our pick of the musicians in every bar and cafe. Even the marching ducks at the Peabody Hotel had relatively little fanfare. Hooray for us.
Naturally, we had to experience touristy stuff so we dined at Rendezvous. It’s a famous bbq joint in Memphis. Sharon loved it. Me? Well, let’s just say being a vegetarian in Memphis is like being an alien.
Non-meat eaters are an anomaly and viewed as being a bit off. Needless to say I had my fill of beans and rice.
In town we sat in his booth at The Arcade, one of the oldest cafe’s in Memphis and one Elvis frequented when in high school. We even ventured so far as to eat his favorite – a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. Surprisingly, it was rather tasty. (And one of the few things I could eat in Memphis!)
Visiting the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was assassinated, and the new National Civil Rights Museum, is a sobering experience. We easily could have spent the entire day there, and almost did. Hundreds of exhibits lead one through the birth of the civil rights movement. It’s powerfully moving and educational.Walking home from the museum we got lost, which in my experience is usually a good thing. That’s when you find the hidden treasures in a city. As we passed a small bar/studio with 3 musicians performing before they headed to their larger venue in town, we were invited in to listen. Jackpot!
On the way to Nashville we took a last minute detour to see Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills. Since I’m not a country music fan, I didn’t recognize 90% of the entertainers featured in her museum. Sharon patiently endured me constantly asking, “Who’s that?”
In Nashville we toured the town, visiting many of the hot spots – Bluebird Cafe, Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Sharon and I met more friends in Nashville where we then drove to Gatlinburg, in the Smoky Mountains.
We stuffed ourselves at the popular Pancake Pantry, taste tested assorted moonshines for the first time (my favorites: coconut and apple pie).
We ventured into Smoky Mountain National Park, strolled through downtown shops, ate some more, drank some more. I broke a personal record by having cocktails 6 of 9 days. Could my friend Hilary be correct and I’m a lush?
Big mistake staying at Embassy Suites one night where happy hour cocktails are free and the bartender insisted on giving us each two. Well, maybe not insisted. More like we begged her.
We literally ended our trip on a high note. While Sheila and her daughter Erin shopped in town, Sharon, me, Pam and her daughter Amanda ziplined in the Smokies.
It was exhilarating and our guides, Phillip and Shane made it even more fun.
So now it’s back to reality. But it was a great trip. And best of all, I’m chipping away at my bucket list!