Thursday 6/25/13 we got up and around and made it over to the Grand Ole Opry by 9:15 and at 9:30 we entered a back room where we watched a short film about it’s history. Blake Shelton was the video host. And here is a link to some interesting facts. http://www.opry.com/about/History.html
After the film we were lead into Studio A
which was once home to Hee Haw and has continued to host television shows such as Crook & Chase, CMT’s Crossroads and Invitation Only and now Nashville.
From Studio A we headed around back where all of the entertainers enter the building through the rear door. And head to a entry hall where they check in and get there dressing room assignments and if they are a Opry member they can check there mail. Yep,, if you send fan mail to one of the Grand Ole Opry members they will pick it up themselves when they visit.
All of the boxes are in alphabetical order except for Little Jimmy Dickens box. If it were to be in it’s proper spot he would not be able to reach it LOL!! He’s only 4’11” tall.
From here they walk down a hall to one of the dressing rooms. Each room is decorated differently and we are told that most of the entertainers have there favorites that they occupy.
From the dressing rooms they head to the Green Room where they conjugate and maybe have a cup of coffee or glass of lemonade (but no booze!!) until it’s time for them to go on stage. There is a monitor on the wall that they can watch to keep track of what’s going on.
When it’s there time to go on stage they walk out and around the curtain where if it’s a full house they will stand in front of 4400 people on the famous 6’ hardwood circle and perform on the very same piece of flooring that so many greats have stood before them.
The six-foot circle of dark, oak wood in the Opry House stage is shiny but clearly well worn. Cut from the stage of the Opry’s famous former home, the Ryman Auditorium, this circle gives newcomers and veterans alike the opportunity to sing on the same spot that once supported Uncle Dave Macon, Ernest Tubb, Patsy Cline, and others.
After standing on stage we made our way out to the seating area and then exited. The cost of the tour was $16.50 each and well worth it in our book.
After our tour we jumped in the Jeep and headed towards downtown Nashville where we parked just up the road from the Ryman and did a walking tour of the Downtown Nashville famous for its music venues.
The streets of Downtown Nashville are lined with specialty shops and cafes most featuring live music with country being the main genre. Many well-known country singers have actually started their career in such places.
We didn’t spend a bunch of time downtown because we plan to go back down one night when things should really be happening. But we did stop in at the famous Tootsies Orchard Lounge and had a beer while listening to some live entertainment. Here is a link to Tootsies
Famous early customers were Kris Kristofferson, Faron Young, Willie Nelson, Tom T. Hall, Hank Cochran, Mel Tillis, Roger Miller, Webb Pierce, Waylon Jennings, Patsy Cline and many more.
After wetting our whistles at Tootsies we headed out to the Hermitage. The Andrew Jackson Plantation.
On the way to the Hermitage we decided it was time for some lunch so we stopped at Famous Dave’s where we were served by Famous Rachel. Now Rachel introduced herself as FAMOUS Rachel so of course we had to ask what made her famous. She then told us that she won a Cole Slaw eating contest and holds the record by eating 5 pounds!!! I don’t think we will be trying to beat that record LOL!!!
The food was pretty good,,, I had a combo plate of pulled pork and brisket with mashed potatoes & a roll and Diane had ribs and pulled pork with a side of grilled pineapple.
After lunch we continued on to the Hermitage where we toured the mansion and the grounds. The grounds portion of the tour is a media tour and the mansion tour is guided.
I’ll admit that visiting the Hermitage was not high on Diane’s list because she isn’t to hip on the fact that Andrew Jackson was directly responsible for the Indian Removal Act in 1830 which forced tribes like the Cherokee, Muscogee (Creek), Seminole, Chickasaw and Choctaw from their homelands to Indian Territories on there trail of tears. She said she would much rather visit the Carnton Plantation so I’m sure we will go there as well.
Now I just figure it’s part of history and move on but I’ll tell you that if I want to get Diane on a roll I just have to make some snide remark about anything Indian related and land and she is off to the races LOL!! And that’s OK,, we all have our opinions.
None the less we were in the area and the Hermitage is part of our history and I wanted to visit it and I know Diane is happy that she did as well.
The Hermitage is one of the largest open spaces in the urban Nashville, Tennessee area. The Hermitage includes 1120 acres, thirty-two historic buildings, dozens of archaeological sites, two springs, a formal garden, a vegetable garden, and a cotton patch.
Constructed from 1819 to 1821 by skilled carpenters and masons from the local area, the original section of the Hermitage mansion was a brick Federal-style house. This design was a typical plantation dwelling for aspiring gentleman farmers in the Upper South but was already beginning to lose favor in more fashionable Eastern areas. The house contained eight rooms–four on each floor–and two wide center halls. This symmetrical center hall style plan held its popularity in the South for many years. The first floor contained two parlors, a dining room, and Andrew and Rachel Jackson’s bedroom. The upstairs held four bedrooms. The elegant house featured a basement summer kitchen, nine fireplaces, an entrance fanlight, French wallpaper, and metal gutters. Later, Jackson added a small plain entrance portico.
In 1831, while Jackson was President, he undertook a major remodeling directed by architect David Morrison. Morrison dramatically renovated the mansion with flanking one-story wings, a two-story entrance portico with ten Doric columns, a small rear portico, and copper gutters. The east wing contained a library and farm office while a large dining room and pantry comprised the west wing. A new kitchen and smokehouse were also built behind the 13-room mansion. Morrison’s remodeling gave the house a new Classical appearance.
A fire heavily damaged the house in the fall of 1834. Under the oversight of some of Jackson’s Nashville friends, builders Joseph Reiff and William C. Hume remodeled the mansion a second time. The entrance façade was transformed into a fashionable Greek temple. Six two-story columns with modified Corinthian capitals range across the front porch. Similar columns with Doric capitals support a two-story rear porch. A coat of light tan paint on the front façade and sand coating on the front porch columns and trim simulated the appearance of stone.
Inside the house, the builders thriftily re-used Federal-style woodwork, but moved it to the family bedrooms. In the public rooms, such as the parlors and the best guest rooms, Greek Revival-style mantels and woodwork, taken from the design pattern-book of New England architect Asher Benjamin presented an up-to-date appearance. The highlight of the interior architecture is the cantilevered elliptical center staircase, which replaced the earlier “dog-leg” staircase, a straight flight of stairs with two landings.
The builders completed the repaired and remodeled house just before Jackson returned from Washington in 1837 at the end of his second term. Inside, French wallpaper covered the walls in nearly every room, and Jackson instructed that the damaged French scenic paper in the hallways be replaced. Rachel had selected this wallpaper, which illustrates a story from Greek literature. Philadelphia Classical style furniture replaced pieces destroyed in the fire. Once the renovations were completed in 1837, the Hermitage mansion was perhaps the most fashionable house in Tennessee.
When Rachel Jackson died in 1829, Andrew Jackson had her buried in the garden. Originally, a small grave house covered her burial place and in 1831 architect David Morrison designed a tomb modeled after a Grecian monument for Rachel. Later Andrew Jackson was buried beneath the tomb as well and other family members were buried in an adjoining plot
Pictures inside the mansion are not allowed so I’m afraid no pictures except in our minds.
We enjoyed the tour but it sure was warm while we walked to close to 2 miles of trails throughout the grounds.
Then we figured we better head home. After our late lunch neither of us had a desire for dinner but we did manage to walk up to the ice-cream shop and have a cone LOL!!
Before bed it was time to take Jack for his last walk of the night. Dang it was still warm!!! We walked for a while and I told Diane that I had had enough heat and humidity for one day. It was time to crank up the air conditioner, take a cold shower and kick back. It was a long active day, but a darn good one!!
We are enjoying the sights here out east and I’m sure we will continue doing so the rest of the summer but I will admit,,, I’m sort of looking forward to next summer where we will spend a good portion of it back out west where there is less humidity.