Oct 28 – Nov 3, 2019 Green Turtle Bay and Nashville

Planned to stay in Paducah, KY, another day, and we were enjoying a leisurely breakfast in our PJ’s and smiling at the morning sunshine.  At 9:15 there was a knock, knock, knock on our boat.  Robin (Curti-Sea) told us that another boat had called the Kentucky Lock Master and he could get us thru in daylight hours.  The other boats were leaving.  “When?” I asked.  Her reply – “9:45.”  Yikes!!  We didn’t want to pass up this opportunity to be sure we’d get through during daylight hours.  Some groups of boats ahead of us had long waits and ended up traveling in the dark.  I don’t think we had ever dressed, pulled in electric and water lines and prepared for shove off in so short a time.  We were the 2nd to last to leave the dock – the flotilla continued!

According to GPS, at the speed we were all traveling, we would arrive at the lock at 12:35. At 11:20, the leader boat radioed all of us and said the lockmaster had called and if we could get there by noon, he could put us immediately into the lock.  Fortunately we were all “go fast” boats and we punched up the speed. We arrived at noon – and had to wait.  About 12:40, we got the call to enter.  Gee, we could have saved some fuel if there hadn’t been a rush to get there at noon.  Oh well, no need to complain because we DID get thru in daylight and reached Green Turtle Bay (GTB) marina in early afternoon.

GTB is a resort marina and was very nice – probably nicer when the weather is warmer.  We were still bundled in coats, but we were enjoying the warm friendships of fellow Loopers.  Everyone was staying here a few days for various reasons.  Some of us ladies took advantage of the Spa and went for some pampering.  That massage felt SO good.  We contemplated taking the boat up the Cumberland River to Nashville.  Then rain came. Our thoughts – take 2 days to travel in the cold and rain, or rent a car and travel two hours to get to Nashville? That was a no brainer. Rented a car and headed to Country Music City.  

Just outside of Nashville, we saw signs for The Hermitage – home of President Andrew Jackson – the People’s President.  Let’s go. Note about the home – it was added on to several times. The last changes to make it look more “presidential.”

From there we headed to the Opryland Hotel. The hotel is huge, and has some beautiful atrium areas with lush growing plants.  The staff was already putting out Christmas decorations – my favorite! A staff member approached us when we came in – she greeted us and offered a map (which we needed). She showed us where several restaurants were located and said that they validated parking for any of their customers.  What?? Didn’t know there was a charge for parking.  Turns out that it’s $34 to park – CRAZY.  So, we stayed for lunch, which was a little more than $34, but at least we got something to eat with that pricey parking spot. Also saw an extensive mural collection that was in the lobby area of the convention rooms. Such a beautiful way to see history portrayed.

Next on the agenda – find a place to stay.  I discovered it costs more to stay in Nashville than in the heart of Chicago! Found a place on-line: The Club, not a recognized name, so we drove there first to check it out. Looked great.  They wouldn’t match the price, but told us to go ahead and book it on line.  ??? Nice place and they had Happy Hour – for which they gave us 4 tickets for free drinks – the food at Happy Hour was plenty for our dinner – What a Deal! They also had a shuttle that would take us into downtown, so we didn’t even have to deal with traffic and parking. 

Nashville was fun. Went to the Ryman Auditorium for a tour – so much history.  It was originally started as a church (Union Gospel Tabernacle) by a riverboat captain – Thomas Ryman – who had been converted and wanted a place for people to attend big time Revivals.  He spearheaded the fundraising and construction.  Turned out to be wildly successful.  At his death, his memorial service was held there and shortly thereafter, the building was renamed Ryman Auditorium.  Not being able to be supported by religious events alone, it was rented out for other events and attractions.  Lula C. Naff was responsible for the bookings and was quite successful, eventually becoming the official manager in 1920 – quite an accomplishment for a woman in those days.  She worked at the Ryman for over 50 years!

The Grand Ole Opry moved its show and broadcast (radio and then TV) to the Ryman in 1943 and remained there for 31 years.  It became known as the “Mother Church of Country Music.” Thru many years, the Grand Ole Opry show has come and gone, and come again.  The auditorium has undergone name changes and renovations, and at one time was scheduled to be torn down.  She still survives today, a vital part of downtown Nashville.

Had lunch at a renovated Woolworth store.  Prices were not of the five and dime era!

In the afternoon we headed to the County Music Hall of Fame.  Not being big country music fans, it amazed us how interested we became in all the exhibits.  At the end of the day, we wished we had more time to linger and listen.

In the evening, we went back to town to check out the nightlife.  The city was hopping and there was LOTS of drinking going on. There were several modes of “traveling parties” including tractor pulls, pedal bars and buses.  Music everywhere.  

The next day we went to The Parthenon in Centennial Park.  This is a full scale replica of the building in Greece.  It houses Nashville’s art gallery, which was closed that day for a special event, but it was fun just to see the outer building.  On the grounds is a statue in honor of the suffragists who often marched from this park to the Capitol Building for women’s right to vote. The Tennessee Legislature did ratify the Susan B Anthony Amendment and the State became known as the “Perfect 36,” as it was the 36th state needed to complete ratification by three-quarters of the then 48 states.

After the Park, we went to the Farmer’s Market – great place to pick up a few items and have lunch – and enjoy some musical entertainment. Across the parking lot from the market, we saw the Tennessee State Museum and spent some time there.  So much to do, so little time.