Once upon a time, I lived in Franklin, TN. I was too young to remember the place but I now have a good friend living and Dr. schooling in Nashville so I anticipate making this trip a few more times in the next few years.
My coworker accompanied me on this trip, which added a bit of nuance to my perspective. It was her first time in the South (if you can call Tennessee that) and we were completely on the same page about the differences in culture between NY and TN. It’s quieter and the people seem a bit more homogenous. Everyone seems really nice. There’s not as much diversity. There’s lots of country music and good food. I’ve existed in both worlds being from a small town in Texas and it’s funny how life always brings you back to the same place. Sometimes it’s not even a physical location – it’s the same feeling, it’s the same sounds, it’s the same vivid memory.
I was lucky that my coworker really likes country music. If not, I would’ve exempted us from the entire honky tonk experience. So, what is honky tonk (honky-tonk, honkatonk, honkey-tonk, tonk)? According to Wikipedia, it’s a bar that provides country music for the entertainment of its patrons and also refers to styles of music played in such establishments, “the first urban manifestation of the jook” if you will. The origins of the word are unknown but historically these establishments provided country music in the Deep South and Southwest and served alcoholic beverages to a working-class clientele. If you know me you know country music is not my favorite but when in Nashville… We visited the Stage on Broadway, Crazytown and the Tin Roof. I know, I know, we missed out on Margaritaville, Honky Tonk Central and Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge but I didn’t leave crying.
Oh yeah, about hot chicken! I didn’t know this was a thing until my coworker suggested we go to Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. Apparently, the story behind hot chicken being a thing started out with this guy who was cheating on his wife so to get revenge she made him fried chicken for breakfast with extra spice. He decided it was so good he’d make something of it. Whatever happened, I’m glad it became a thing because it was so good! We also dined at Biscuit Love, Five Daughters Bakery, Edley’s BBQ, Barista Parlor and the Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden.
I didn’t think we’d run into a familiar face in the form of the Parthenon Nashville. It is a really beautiful structure and museum resembling the Parthenon in Athens but in the heart of Centennial Park. Although we did not go inside, it was great to marvel at its exterior. To work off all of the chicken and grits we ate, we also did a hike through Cummins Falls State Park on a beautiful afternoon. The path was slippery and we weren’t fully prepared to get wet up to our knees but the scenery was peaceful and we spent time there talking and taking snapchats. I’ve come to appreciate hikes in different cities. They allow me the opportunity to step out of myself for a while and truly connect with people and nature. This hike made me realize how easy-going life can be and, again, how it brings you full circle – the sameness, the feeling, the sounds, the memories. On our last night, we watched the sunset at Love Circle. Ironically (or not) there was a man with a cowboy hat and guitar, shooting what looked to be a music video with his family. Oh, Nashville.
Where should I go next? Perhaps Portland.
© Copyright 2016 Akua Sencherey. All rights reserved.