Oh Hey 2011 Travel Bug!

I can’t believe 2012 is almost here! It’s kinda scary to think about. To be honest, I’m still waiting for the flying cars to show up.

I didn’t do too much traveling this year but I did enough. I checked out Nashville for the first time while visiting a friend and had a blast! I have always wanted to check it out and I’m glad I did. I already want to go back! I checked out the Bluebird Cafe where stars like Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood performed. It’s a great little place and if you find yourself in Nashville I recommend checking it out. It’s a very intimate music venue with a great crowd and even better talent. Of course you can’t go to Nashville without checking out The Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum! I love country music and I loved this stop. The amount of history they have on display is out of this world. They even have more in storage! You could easily spend a whole weekend here. Again, another Nashville must see. While you’re checking out the Hall of Fame, be sure to look into taking the RCA Studio B tour. Why? Believe ir or not, over 35,000 songs were recorded there over the years. If you’re an Elvis fan, over 200 of those songs were his! We even had the chance to sit at a piano that Elvis had used. The Studio is very small and the tour isn’t too long but if you love music add it to your “To Do” list! Some other stops I made included The Ryman, Jack’s Bar-B-Que, Hatch Show Print and numerous cowboy boot shops. It’s a good thing I’m not rich or I would’ve had to ship numerous pairs back home.


I’d have to say one of the highlights though was staying a night at The Gaylord Opryland. It. Was. Amazing. The place is huge! You don’t even need to leave! They have numerous shops, pools and restaurants. Hell, they even have a little boat ride! The staff was beyond nice as well. Even if you don’t want to stay there, I recommend just going to see it. The inside gardens are beautiful. Actually, it’s just beautiful period. I know during the Holidays they have different events going on. If you’re in the Nashville area you should check it out for sure!


Another trip I made was back out to San Diego for San Diego Comic Con. I managed to snag a room at the amazing Hotel Solmar. It’s a little on the pricey end but if you can stay here, do it. You’ll be within walking distance of pretty much the entire Gaslamp area. We were there for a week without a car and had no problems getting around. We took a cab a few times (It was no more than $5) and took the bus to the San Diego Zoo. OMG. The Zoo. Amazing. The first time we went to San Diego we didn’t check the Zoo out but I’m so happy we did the second time around. It’s huge! Seriously, be prepared to walk all day. The amount of exhibits and animals they have is great. It makes my local zoo look pretty sad to be honest. Now I understand why everyone says it’s a “Must See.” As far as sights go, that’s all we really checked out. We were in town for the convention which didn’t leave much time for anything. I love San Diego though, especially the weather! I need to get back there for a “normal” vacation where I have the time to see the beach and other sights. SDCC was awesome though as I got to meet a bunch of celebs and feel like the “cool kid” for once.


Earlier in the year I did something more local and headed up to Gettysburg with the BFF who was in town from Chicago for a visit. It was my first time there, shocking I know. We barely scrapped the surface on this visit. I had no idea how large the area was! We did go on a Ghost Tour later in the evening which was really informative and fun. I love going on Ghost Tours. It’s my “thing” when I go on vacations. That and taking boat tours. What can I say, bitches love boats & ghosts. While on the tour we were able to check out a location that had been seen on “Paranormal State” which was pretty neat. I tell you what though, there’s a million and one ghost tours up there. It’s not surprising really given the area but it was still nuts to see. Which one did we go on? Miss Betty’s! She’s a great story teller and really gets into character. If you find yourself in the area be sure to check her out. It’s worth the money and the time. Instead of staying at a hotel, we opted for a Bed & Breakfast. It was the first time for both of us and it was lovely! The hosts were very nice and sweet. I would definitely stay at a B&B again. Plus the food was off the chain.


I guess 2011 wasn’t that bad for traveling after all! Plus I still have my New Years Eve trip to Chicago coming up too. I did make it to NYC and Philly too but those weren’t anything special. I’ll touch more on them in my Comic Con’s of 2011 post, if I ever finish it!

Nashville Day Two

Saturday in Nashville started with breakfast at Fido, a little coffee/breakfast spot that country stars like Taylor Swift and Dierks Bentley like to visit. There’s a reason I mention Dierks. He’s one of my favorite country stars and we stalked a guy we thought was him.

I had spotted the guy while waiting in line to place my order. I had a little “Oh my” moment but wasn’t 100% sold. He was chasing a little girl around. Now, being the stalker that I am, I know that he has one older daughter and a baby. Once we placed our orders we found a seat in a quiet area and that’s when I noticed the same guy sitting at the table behind us. He had on sunglasses, a backwards ball cap and had “Dierks” hair. You know what I’m talking about. Those curls that just pop out from under a hat. Plus he had some scruff. I did a walk by and got a bigger “Oh my” feeling. I was torn. I was 50/50. Luckily I have a smartphone (like most people) and did a quick search and found out he was out on tour and not really in the area. Plus there was only one kid, the woman didn’t look like his wife and he didn’t have Jake the dog with him. I had found an article online saying that when he is in town, him and the wife walk down to Fido with Jake for coffee. I still wasn’t 100% convinced until we managed to stalk him across the street and I was able to hear him talk. That pretty much sold it on it not being him, then he got into a Volvo or something similar and that really sealed the deal! It was pretty fun though trying to figure it out. We even asked one of the bus boys if it was him and he shared a few stories about when he worked at a furniture store and sold stuff to Carrie Underwood (who he said had horrible make up lines) and Keith Urban.

After our morning adventures we headed off to the Tennessee State Museum where they were having a King Tut exhibit. I love Egyptian history and since it looked like it might be a rainy day, we headed off for some inside fun. The best part though? It was free! How amazing is that? Most of the museum focused on Tennessee history and being an outsider, it was pretty interesting. The King Tut exhibit though was great. I believe most of the artifacts they had were recreated by art students but it was still amazing. I think a few of the smaller pieces might have been original but it didn’t really matter to me. Just being able to see something was a thrill. I’m still kicking myself in the ass for not making it up to Philly when the official exhibit was on tour. We spent about two hours there. Here are a few more pictures:

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After that it was time for lunch and that’s when we walked over to Jack’s BBQ. It. Was. Awesome. It wasn’t anything fancy, it was an original BBQ joint. You waited in line and placed your order and then added whatever sauce you wanted. They had everything from sweet to mild to spicy. Their sauces have won numerous contests and titles such as the National Barbecue Association Sauce Contest and American Royal Barbecue Sauce Contest. I didn’t have any sides with my pulled pork, just a straight up sandwich that was awesome. The back of Jack’s faces The Ryman and there’s been quite a few times where visiting performers have sneaked in for a bit or two. I can’t blame them!


The last stop of the day was Hatch Show Print. What is Hatch Show Print exactly?

If you follow music, art, and culture of the American South, sooner or later you’re bound to run into the letters, images, and unmistakable “look” of Hatch Show Print. We’re one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America, and over the years our posters have featured a host of country music performers, ranging from Country Music Hall of Famers Hank Williams, Bill Monroe, and Johnny Cash to contemporary stars such as Garth Brooks and Wynonna.

In the shop they offer various prints for sale in different sizes. You can find full size posters and even items as small as postcards. It was a pretty interesting place and it was amazing to be able to see music history just by looking at the different posters and displays. You could find posters featuring current artists like Blake Shelton and then turn around and see a poster they did for Johnny Cash or Elvis years ago. The prints weren’t that expensive either! A postcard was only $1 and most of the posters were only $15. You’d spend that at Target or Wal-Mart for something unoriginal.

That pretty much wrapped up our day. We actually checked out of the hotel we were staying at and checked into Opryland which will be it’s own post. It was that awesome. I’m not even kidding and you’ll see!

Little Miss Honky Tonk

My trip to Nashville was awesome! I really feel Nashville is the place for me. I love the fact you can walk down the street pretty much anywhere and hear awesome music. It’s amazing to me. I love country music though which probably explains it. I’m not a big “club” person but if I lived in Nashville, I could see myself sitting at the corner bar listening to music every night. Enough of my rambling love, onto the trip!

I arrived Thursday night and the tour started right away and on a great foot! We started our vacation out with a stop at The Bluebird Cafe. This is where a number of country artists played before they landed their big deals. Garth Brooks was discovered here and Gary Allan, Terri Clark & Kenny Chesney have all graced the small and intimate stage. You can’t just walk in either, you need reservations to snag a seat. The songwriter/singer we saw perform was Cory Batten who did an amazing job. You can check out his Facebook here. He’s written songs for Chris Young and Blake Shelton. I could easily visit that place once a week. I couldn’t imagine being able to see someone like Brooks & Dunn there. It’s such an intimate setting! It’s great!

Friday was a long day. We had no idea that we’d end up spending all day at the Country Music Hall Of Fame. We thought it would be a half day but we arrived around 10am and finished up around 4pm or 5pm. There was a trip over to Studio B but that didn’t take up much time. The Country Music Hall Of Fame is a beautiful building. It feels very open and the architecture was amazing! The exhibits ranged from Elvis and Hank Williams to current stars like Brad Paisley and Keith Urban. The amount of history they crammed in there was mind blowing. Where else can you see the Gold Piano Elvis owned and then walk down a hallway and see the dress that LeAnn Rimes wore when she performed “Blue?” During our visit they had a Hank Williams “Family Tradition” exhibit that covered his sadly short career plus Hank Williams Jr. They had original newspaper articles from when he passed away and a whole section dedicated to Hank Williams Jr. and “Monday Night Football.” They really did cover all the bases. Here are a few pictures from that section:

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I could seriously go on and on about everything they had. They had a whole wall, actually a few walls, covered in various milestone setting records. You could find Elvis, Garth Brooks, Rascal Flatts, Kenny Rogers, Faith Hill and more next to each other. When I say more, a mean a ton more. Think I’m kidding?

I have no idea how I managed to score a photo without anyone in it. The place was pretty happening which makes this picture even more surprising. Along with records you could find various awards as well including a few that belonged to Reba, Taylor Swift and others. Of course there was no shortage of outfits either! You had the famous outfit worn by Minnie Pearl, the costume Reba wore on Broadway in “Annie Get Your Gun” and the suit and dress that Brad Paisley & Carrie Underwood wore when they hosted the CMA Awards, just to name a few. Oh and cowboy boots out the ass! You can’t have a museum dedicated to country music without displaying a few pairs of cowboy boots.

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As I mentioned earlier, we took a break and headed off to see Studio B. This is where Elvis, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton and more recorded albums. It’s actually still in use today. We were told that Marty Stewart had just finished up recording an album there. You really did feel the history as soon as you walked in. It’s a very small studio but we were able to go into the actual studio area and into the control room. We even had the opportunity to play the piano that Elvis had used!

OMGZ! Elvis used this!

Amazing, right? Sadly I don’t remember how to play piano but two of the guys in the group tour it up. It was pretty neat to hear/see. It was a very small & short tour but worth it for the history and chill factor alone. After the Studio B tour we headed back to The Country Music Hall Of Fame and finished up checking out the exhibits. I still can’t believe we were there until 5pm.

To finish up the day we stopped by and visited the mens room at the Hermitage Hotel (Seriously, I’m going to write a post all about it), headed off to spend some quality time outside at Centennial Park and then had dinner at…Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. Shut up! This is where I heard my first real strong southern accent. It was owned(?) by a hot cashier inside the gift shop. I almost died. As he was ringing me up he asked if I needed anything else and I totally stumbled over my words. It was awful. It wasn’t horrible but it was still lame. Man, that guy was hot. Sigh.

That pretty much wraps up Friday! I wasn’t kidding when I said it was a long day.