Girl Time – The Antiques and Garden Show

One advantage for being at the Antiques and Garden Show late Saturday afternoon is that we’ll get to hear Suzy Bogguss perform live!

Some generous friends gave me passes to next week’s Antiques and Garden Show at the Music City Center; I’m planning to go with my friend Eve. Neither of us has strong interest in antiques or the inclination to do much more than patio planters for a garden, but this event is still one of our favorite do-together activities. It’s like strolling through a lovely antique and decor mall, without the bad smells and creaky floors. A lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

This year, I think we might mix it up a little and arrive a little later in the day Saturday. That way, we can stop and have a late lunch before the show (so many new restaurants opening in The Gulch and Germantown that we can try – let me know if you have a suggestion!).

One advantage for being at the Antiques and Garden Show late Saturday afternoon is that we’ll get to hear one of my favorite singers, Suzy Bogguss, perform live at the event! I feel like this is one of those “only in Nashville” moments, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Maybe I’ll see you there!

A Nashville Treasure Worth Finding – Marrowbone Lake

It’s sometimes fun to catch a glimpse of what Nashville was like before our rural areas became suburban neighborhoods. In Northwest Davidson County, the community of Joelton offers just such a glimpse.

As Nashville becomes increasingly urban – and urbane – it’s sometimes fun to step back in time and catch a glimpse of what Nashville was like before our rural areas became suburban neighborhoods and started spilling over the county lines. In Northwest Davidson County, the community of Joelton offers just such a glimpse.

This semi-rural town has just over 8,000 residents, and has managed to escape the development boom in other parts of Metro Nashville. Driving through Joelton is not an entirely pleasant experience – abandoned buildings and ramshackle houses with tarp-covered vehicles dot the landscape. In the high school superlatives of life, Joelton might be Most Likely Place to Hear a Car Horn Playing ‘Dixie.’

But Joelton boasts some of the prettiest areas of Davidson County. One such place is a small managed-fishing area called Marrowbone Lake, located just 2.5 miles from Highway 41-A (aka Clarksville Pike). I never have considered myself a fisherman, but even I would enjoy sitting by Marrowbone Lake for the better part of a day with a line in the water. This is where Sheriff Andy Taylor would take Opie to fish.

This is a fishing lake. Swimming or wading are prohibited, as are motorized boats or alcoholic beverages. A lake fishing permit (required for anyone between age 16-64) is $5 per day; you can rent a boat for $8 per day at the bait shop. The lake features catfish, black bass, bluegill, trout, and crappie – in the wintertime, fishermen report catching mostly trout. If the bait shop is untended, you can just slide your $5 through the slot in the door. Fishing may begin 30 minutes before sunrise, and must end by 30 minutes after sunset.

If you’re really just more in the mood for driving around and exploring, Marrowbone Lake is still a nice spot to include on your itinerary. There’s an interesting little resort-looking area (complete with a pirate ship and chapel) just off to the left of the lake on Lake Rd. Unfortunately, the signs on the property are most unwelcoming of visitors!

There is no snack bar or visitors center at Marrowbone Lake – you can shop for a picnic lunch at Tony’s Foodland grocery store on Clarksville Pike on your way in.

Nashville in Winter – Budget-friendly ways to beat cabin fever in Music City

It’s mid-January in Nashville. I’m cold, bored, and trying to think of something to do…

It’s mid-January in Nashville. I’m cold, bored, and trying to think of something to do that won’t break too many of my New Year’s resolutions! Here are some ideas…

Last night, the 2015 Bonnaroo lineup was announced. Even though the odds are against my attending the 4-day festival again (as I did in 2013), I don’t rule out buying a one-day pass. But the thing is – I’m not familiar with all of the artists on the well-curated line-up, so I’m not sure which acts I’ll want to catch. Fortunately, the Bonnaroo website allows me to spend countless hours clicking on artist/band names, accessing some liner notes and video clips. And, if I’m eager for more, I can always resort to YouTube. I’m still not sure whether I’ll spend a day on the Farm in Manchester, but if I do, I’ll know whether to head to Which Stage or That Tent in Centeroo!

Speaking of announcements, the nominations for the 87th Academy Awards will be announced on January 15. Because of other award shows (like last weekend’s Golden Globes), it’s pretty easy to predict at least some of the nominations. I try to see as many of the nominated films and performances as possible before the February 22 awards telecast. Going to movies isn’t free, but weekend matinees aren’t too bad if you skip the concession stand. Regal Cinemas is currently screening several of the movies I want to see: Foxcatcher, Big Eyes, The Imitation Game, Selma, and Into the Woods. The Belcourt Theatre is offering a limited number of screenings for Boyhood and Birdman. That’s a pretty ambitious schedule!

Even though I have committed to healthier eating in 2015, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy Nashville Restaurant Week, which runs January 19-25. Some of our favorite places participate in Restaurant Week, with special menu offerings and value prices. It doesn’t appear that Nashville’s newest restaurants will be participating, so now’s a good time to visit those restaurants we came to love before Nashville became a foodie town. (Sunset Grill has now closed – let’s make sure Tin Angel and Boundr’y get some business!)

Hopefully, these tips will help you discover a way to stay warm and entertained during the weeks ahead! Thanks for reading my blog – if you have suggestions about events in the Middle Tennessee area, or would like a sample itinerary for a specific weekend, please let me know!

Have fun, y’all!

A weekend of service and reflection – honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I hope that you won’t allow current tensions to distract or dissuade you from participating in activities honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King on the January 17-19 holiday weekend.

The national dialogue around ethnic and race relations has been especially heated in recent months. I hope that you won’t allow current tensions to distract or dissuade you from participating in activities honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King on the January 17-19 holiday weekend. Here are some of the best options to make your holiday weekend both meaningful and enjoyable.

Each day, our city’s community centers connect Nashvillians of all ages with valuable resources.Hands On Nashville is recruiting volunteers to brighten and improve four Metro Parks Community Centers as part of a its MLK Days of Service campaign. More than 800 volunteers are needed on Saturday, Jan. 17 and Monday, Jan. 19 to support these important neighborhood spaces. Activities such as painting and cleaning are scheduled to take place in the morning; volunteer shifts will end around lunchtime.

After a Saturday shift of painting and cleaning, how about lunch at one of Nashville’s outstanding ethnic restaurants? Many of these family-owned restaurants are run by first-generation immigrants, who take pride in serving delicious and authentic dishes of their homeland to their new hometown neighbors. Among my favorites in South Nashville are Guantanamera Restaurant on Nolensville Rd. near Grassmere, and Gojo Ethiopian Restaurant on W. Thompson Lane.

Not all of us are of an age where we can fully recall or appreciate Dr. King’s efforts to promote integration and equality in the U.S. (and particularly in the South). The Selma movie (rated PG-13) dramatizes his hard-fought efforts to end discrimination in voter registration – efforts that culminated in the signing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This movie is currently being widely shown at Regal and Carmike theaters – go with a friend or loved one, and plan time after the movie for discussion.

Sunday’s observances across Nashville will be largely church-centered, but some Nashvillians were fortunate enough to get tickets for Let Freedom Sing, held Sunday evening at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center downtown. This free event features the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and special guests performing a mix of spirituals, popular songs and classical music honoring the triumphs of the civil rights movement. Unfortunately, no tickets remain for this event.

Vanderbilt University is sponsoring a weekend-long schedule of events and observances for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  holiday weekend, culminating with a Monday afternoon of “Teach-Ins” and an evening keynote address by former U.N. ambassador, the Honorable Andrew Young. Tickets are free and available to the public (limit 4 per person) at the Vanderbilt Sarratt box office.

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The Athens of the South – 5 ways to expand your mind in Nashville this winter

Nashville has lots to offer in the way of educational opportunities – we earned our nickname “Athens of the South” well before the Parthenon replica was built.

At this time of year, lots of folks are thinking about how to improve their lives in the year ahead. In my opinion, one of the most enjoyable ways to improve your life is to learn about new things. Fortunately, Nashville has lots to offer in the way of educational opportunities – we earned our nickname “Athens of the South” well before the Parthenon replica was built for the 1897 state Centennial celebration. Here are five ways I’m planning to expand my mind in coming months:

Nashville Parks and Recreation offers a variety of wintertime classes and activities at facilities in our area. The activities at Warner Parks Nature Center are generally free, have an outdoorsy focus, and offer a good excuse to get some light exercise in one of Nashville’s most beautiful parks. This year, I’m signing up to learn about invasive plant species while volunteering to help eradicate these interlopers in our natural forests. (Later, I’ll put the knowledge to good use in our own backyard!) You can find a class or activity to suit your style on the Nashville Parks & Recreation website.

University School of Nashville (formerly Peabody Demonstration School) is a private, co-educational, K-12 day school located adjacent to the Vanderbilt campus on Edgehill Avenue. Each winter, they put together an eclectic catalog of Evening Classes targeted toward adult learners. In past years, I’ve learned the basics of using a digital SLR camera and explored the ins and outs of keeping backyard chickens. This year I’m going to learn about blogging (cart-before-the-horse moment) and how to bake a baguette like a pro. Prices vary – see the attached catalog for more information.

We’re just weeks past the 150th anniversaries of the Civil War battles in Franklin and Nashville. In November, I saw my first-ever battle reenactment at the Carnton Plantation in Franklin, and was able to learn more in that day than I recall ever learning in school. I care little and less about antique firearms or battle strategies, but I’m fascinated by the heroism and touched by the monumental sacrifice of area families during the war. I’ve recently started reading Robert Hicks’ bestseller, The Widow of the South, and plan to revisit the historic Carter House and Carnton Plantation one weekend soon.

Speaking of books – each year I value the serious readers of my Book Club more. If you don’t currently belong to a REAL book club, I heartily recommend you find one. (But for heaven’s sake, don’t quit your fun book club!) You can join a book club at Parnassus Books in Green Hills, or ask at your local Metro Nashville Public Library branch.

Wintertime is also a great time to spend a few hours in a museum. Like many Nashville natives, I don’t take full advantage of the attractions our city has to offer. Before Spring, I’ll make a point of visiting The Upper Room to see the nearly life-sized woodcarving of The Last Supper and tour the Christian Art Museum there. I also want to check out The Musicians Hall of Fame in its new location at the Municipal Auditorium.

At first glance, that may seem like an ambitious agenda, but remember that these mind-expanding activities are meant to be spread out over the entire season – there will be plenty of time for Nashville’s other diversions!

Ringing in 2015

In recent years, I’ve developed an informal following among my friends and professional colleagues. People ask me what I’ve got planned for an upcoming weekend – or seek advice about good activities for showing visiting friends or relatives around the Nashville/Middle Tennessee area.

I am a planner. It’s in my nature to spend almost as much time thinking about the best way to spend an (evening/holiday/weekend/vacation) as I actually do on the activity itself. I enjoy the planning process. I also enjoy the results, whether the planning was my own or someone else’s.

In recent years, I’ve developed an informal following among my friends and professional colleagues. People ask me what I’ve got planned for an upcoming weekend – or seek advice about good activities for showing visiting friends or relatives around the Nashville/Middle Tennessee area. Even though there are other sites with event calendars, I think followers of my blog can expect some extra insight into goings-on that would suit ‘most anyone seeking to experience the diversity of fun and interesting things to do around town.

The fact that I am posting this on New Year’s Eve – about New Year’s Eve – is not something I’m especially proud of. Even though there are lots of tempting, fun music-related things going on in Nashville for New Years Eve (including the Bash on Broadway and fun concerts at The Ryman, City Winery, 3rd & Lindsley, The Sutler and other favorite venues), we’re planning a potluck Italian dinner with friends and neighbors. Plenty of good food and wine – I’m contributing homemade meatballs and sauce from my freezer. We’ll toast the New Year at midnight and almost immediately disband. There are parties to attend, and bowl games to watch, on January 1!

Have fun tonight, and be safe!