Destination: Nashville, Tennessee – Quimby's Cruising Guide

Destination: Nashville, Tennessee

I love to visit Nashville. Why? It’s a city on the move, home to an incredible multi-faceted atmosphere paired with a rich historical and musical heritage. It boasts of an ongoing modern re-dress to its downtown cityscape, but its warm Southern hospitality provides a downhome flavor all its own. And as country music star Ray Price sang in his 1970 mega-hit “For The Good Times,” Nashville’s persona shines as a dazzling and enjoyable stop along the scenic Cumberland River.

What to Do
There’s something to entertain everyone on board, with a varied game plan ranging from the arts to the great outdoors. Depending on the season, sports fans can catch the Tennessee Titans in a football showdown at LP Field, cheer on the Nashville Predators during a hockey game at the Bridgestone Arena or browse the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame & Museum.

Nashville earned its nickname “Music City” back in 1925 when WSM Radio launched its initial broadcast of the long-running Grand Ole Opry, which still entices music lovers to experience its weekly show at the new Grand Ole Opry House. A tour itinerary wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the Opry’s original site — the legendary Ryman Auditorium, now restored to a national showplace.

Country music aficionados should include a stop at the historic RCA Studio B, dubbed “the Home of a Thousand Hits,” where artists like Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers launched what became known as the “Nashville Sound.” Then take a sentimental journey down Music Row for a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and its unrivaled collection of historic country music video clips, recorded music and memorable exhibits.

If you’re into American history, take a stroll along the Cumberland River to the site of the original settlement of Fort Nashborough, dating back some 200 years; plan some time at Fort Negley on St. Cloud Hill, the largest fort constructed by Union troops during the Civil War; and visit The Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson, which spans nearly 1,100 acres and amazes with its array of original furnishings and guitar-shaped driveway designed, as legend says, for his daughter-in-law, Emily.

Then mix it up with a terrific blend of history and music at The District and Printers’ Alley, named for the 13 publishers and 10 printers housed here at the turn of the century, while listening to blues or country music performances at one of many entertainment spots like Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar or Lonnie’s Western Room.

Though most of us won’t get to Athens, Greece, Nashville presents a unique opportunity to see one of its treasures, The Parthenon, as the world’s only authentic replica of the iconic temple is located two miles from downtown in Centennial Park. It showcases a 42-foot-tall, gilded statute of the goddess Athena, and its gallery is home to the city’s permanent art collection — The Cowan Collection, spanning 1765 to 1923.

Looking for budget-friendly attraction options? Browse the Tennessee State Museum, offering free admission to its interpretive exhibits of the state’s history throughout the ages: The Prehistoric, Frontier, Age of Jackson, Antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction eras. The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery also provides complimentary admission to its permanent collection illustrating the history of world art and six annual exhibitions.

Where to Dock
The city sits at the halfway mark of the spectacular Cumberland River, and its ideally located Nashville Municipal Riverfront Dockage (Mile Marker 191) is just steps away from major attractions — simply cross the bridge and walk right into downtown Nashville.

However, it’s important to note that this is a landing that offers only transient space with two docks: A-Dock on the left descending bank provides 350 feet of space, electricity and water, while the revised T-Dock on the right descending bank opens this summer with 400-feet improved dockage and electrical/water services. Rafting one vessel out is allowed on both sides of the river. Reservations should be booked a month in advance and first-come, first-serve based on availability (615-862-8472).

For boaters planning a longer stay with amenities, full-service Rock Harbor Marine on the Cumberland (Mile Marker 175) is only 15 nautical miles from Nashville’s Riverfront Park and 10 minutes from downtown via car. Rock Harbor offers locked gates to its 155 covered wet slips, transient slips with reservations, electricity, gas/diesel fuels, shower/restrooms, cable TV and nearby grocery and shopping. Make sure to sample the Southern cuisine — especially the famous grit cakes — at its floating Blue Moon Waterfront Grille, considered one of the best around.

Where to Eat
Nashville’s diverse menu serves up some amazing dining experiences. Husk Nashville on Rutledge Street, from Charleston’s award-winning Husk Restaurant, overlooks downtown in a building dating back to 1895 and features Southern and regional specialties. Main Street’s fast-casual Edley’s Bar-B-Que East dishes traditional barbeque favorites of smoked pork, chicken, brisket, ribs and lots more. For family dining options, try the Loveless Café (a landmark in the South since 1951) and order up its acclaimed fried chicken and biscuits, or stop in at the upscale Park Café for a perfect blend of simple Southern fare and big city flair.

Author: Bobbye Miller Kenyon is a contributor to HeartLand Boating


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