Our trip began on Wednesday, Feb. 26. My 14-year-old son Liam and I drove to Nashville, TN from Cape Coral, FL. The trip took about 12 hours and we had to stop in Tampa along the way. We arrived around 10:30 at night and checked in to the hotel. Room 916 on the 9th floor which ironically had a direct view of the Johnny Cash Museum. As you probably gathered from my last post, I am a Johnny Cash fan. Johnny died in 2003, but every year since his death there is a tight group of people who get together every February to celebrate his birthday. My first birthday trip was to Corona, CA in 2009. The few years following were cruises and I did not feel right taking a cruise without my wife and it was not practical for all of us to go. One of Johnny’s close friends, Bill Miller, does a weekly radio show about Johnny Cash. In 2013 he build the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville and 2014 marked the first birthday since the museum was built, so we took the trip to Nashville for the celebration.
What an epic vacation my son and I had. Thursday morning started off with a tour of the Ryman Auditorium, then we drove to Antique Archaeology (the History Channel show), there we met a local singer and her manager, Lillie Syracuse and Buzzy Orange, then we drove back to town and took a tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame, finishing the day off with dinner at Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville.
On Friday, Liam bought a cool new hat and we went to the museum. We toured the museum in the morning and then drove out to Hendersonville to see the home site of Johnny and his parents and the grave sites of the Cash and Carter families.
The day ended with a concert in the evening. The concert was an intimate performance with several known stars in attendance. W.S. Fluke Holland, Johnny’s one and only drummer for 38 years, Dave Roe, his Bass player from 1990’s to 2013, Melanie Safka (a singer that was on the Johnny Cash Television Show) and family members: Joanne Cash (Johnny’s Sister), Tommy Cash (Johnny’s Brother), John Carter Cash (Son of Johnny and June), Lorrie Carter Bennett (Daughter to Anita Carter).
On Saturday, we relaxed at the hotel and then went back to tour the museum again, but this time taking pictures of the exhibits. By the time that was done, we hung out in the concert room for trivia, raffle and fan jam then we had to leave for an hour so they could ready the room for the final concert show. Liam and I took a walk onto the Nashville foot bridge and listened to a concert several blocks away. It was either Neil Diamond or a Neil Diamond cover band playing. On this day it was Madi-Gras celebration in Nashville. The city was packed and certain festival streets were closed off. I took Liam for an ice cream then we headed back to the concert room for the final show. At the final show, all of the family and Melanie along with her son and daughter took turns on stage singing.
On Sunday, Liam and I hung out in the hotel room in the morning to relax and then went out to see the movie “Non-Stop” with Liam Neeson. Ironically, the movie theater was right next to the only site we had not yet been to. After the movie, we took a back stage tour of the Grand Ole Opry building, then came back to the hotel for dinner.
Sunday night brought an icy rain storm and by the Monday morning there was snow. The first hour of our leg home was slick but as we drove further southeast the roads got better and we watched the thermometer climb from 17 to 68. Glad to be back home in the warmth.
Have you been to Nashville? What was your favorite place to visit?