Holiday Savings Time and the Hunt for Christmas Spirit

I’ve finally mastered the fact that Daylight Savings Time has been expanded (it only took me 8 years to adapt!) – but I’m struggling to embrace that the holiday season now starts well before Thanksgiving, and extends into mid-January.

14 – Boxing Day

I recall that Boxing Day had its origins in England, as a day when the household staff could take a day off to spend with their families. For the occasion, they would carry boxes of leftovers from the fancy Christmas meal.

For me, Boxing Day has another meaning – putting away Christmas decor into boxes for storage. It’s a dreaded, but necessary task – and I find that it’s best tackled straight away after Christmas. I put some bluegrass music on the stereo and managed to get almost everything put away in three hours.

As I worked, I munched on the last of our Moravian Cookies and looked back on this year’s collection of holiday memories. My heart is filled with Christmas Spirit. Continue reading “Holiday Savings Time and the Hunt for Christmas Spirit”

Nashville Fun With Out-of-Town Visitors

These family-friendly suggestions are for the weekend of October 16-18, and may represent a bit of a splurge for the purpose of entertaining out-of-town friends.

This summer, we were overjoyed when my brother-in-law moved his lovely family back to Middle Tennessee from California. Now that they’ve settled in, they are getting excited about hosting California friends for a long weekend in our area, and have asked for some suggestions on things that might appeal to a couple of preteen boys, as well as their parents. These family-friendly suggestions are for the weekend of October 16-18, and may represent a bit of a “splurge” for the purpose of entertaining out-of-town friends.

Friday evening, October 16 –

Did you know that kids are welcome at The Bluebird Café? Well, I had no idea! When I told my nephew about the “Shhhhhh!” policy at The Bluebird, he promptly responded that he and his friend could text. <sigh> Reservations for Friday and Saturday shows can be made online, starting the Monday of the show.

Even though The Bluebird is iconic, I happen to think that The Grand Ole Opry is even MORE iconic – and also somewhat more appropriate for the younger folks. It’s still a bit early to know exactly who will be appearing on October 16, but they’ve already announced that Lee Greenwood, Canaan Smith and Nathan Chapman will be performing. Tickets for the 7pm show run from $32 – $48 each.

Saturday –

Daytime – If the weather is fine, drive out for a side-splitting breakfast at The Loveless Café, followed by a short-but-scenic drive on The Natchez Trace Parkway toward Leipers Fork. Lots of celebrities live in and around Leipers Fork – If you’re lucky, you may recognize one! “Downtown” Leipers Fork is a quick visit – a few galleries and shops. Live music starts at Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant around noon – there’s no cover, so you can feel free to stop in to listen for a while.

Afternoon – Head over to Ellington Agricultural Center in the Crieve Hall neighborhood of Nashville, and get a fun dose of history at the Music & Molasses Arts & Crafts Festival. Sorghum molasses making the old-time way is one of the many special demonstrations that can be enjoyed with cooking and tasting at the sorghum mill. Bluegrass Music, Farmer For A Day area for young children, country cloggers, a grist mill, traditional crafts for sale, food including homemade cakes and pies, log cabin activities for children, pony rides, animals to touch, and much more makes this a day of family fun. Tickets are $6 (age 4 and under admitted free).

Or, if the kids are craving something more physical, why not take them to Soar Adventure Tower in Cool Springs? This facility offers ropes course-type fun for kids and adults. “Walk up” prices are $35 for children ages 4-7, $40 for youth ages  8-17, and $45 for adults 18+. A typical visit to SOAR Adventure Tower lasts 2-3 hours.

Evening – Head to historic downtown Franklin and pick from any one of the great restaurants there. Mellow Mushroom Pizza is a safe bet for the kids; you’ll find a good variety of offerings at Puckett’s Boat House, just a few blocks from the square.

Sunday –

Head to The Gulch in Nashville for brunch at Biscuit Love (one of our hottest new restaurants-that-used-to-be-a-food-truck) – then take a few minutes to window shop (or buy!) at Lucchese Boots or Two Old Hippies. (The latter location has been featured a few times in the show “Nashville.”) Then, why not head over to Nissan Stadium to watch the Tennessee Titans take on the Miami Dolphins? Tickets are still available for the game, which starts at noon. Prices range from $38 a seat to upwards of $250. After the game, walk across the Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge to get dinner and enjoy the music at one of the restaurants along Honky Tonk Row.

After all that activity, your friends (and you) will be exhausted!

A February Art Immersion Weekend (+) in Nashville

Aside from periodic trips to The Frist, I don’t often take advantage of Nashville’s art offerings. But the beginning of February is as good a time as any to remedy that!

This itinerary is developed in honor of my new friend Angela, who recently moved to Nashville from Austin. (In the spirit of the friendly rivalry between these two cities – chalk one up for Music City!) Angela recently asked about the Art Scene in our city. I have to admit that, aside from periodic trips to The Frist, I don’t often take advantage of Nashville’s art offerings. But the beginning of February 2015 is as good a time as any to remedy that!

First stop is the Franklin Art Scene Downtown Art Crawl on Friday, February 6 (6pm – 9pm), in historic downtown Franklin. This free monthly event provides both the novice and the art connoisseur an opportunity to see a variety of magnificent work, from blown glass, to turned wood, to mixed media and more. A free trolley runs between the locations, many of which provide complimentary wine and snacks. (Bonus: While in downtown Franklin, make time to enjoy dinner and/or drinks at one of the restaurants downtown. Red Pony is always outstanding; Grays on Main is also fun!)

On Saturday, you might take in a day at the annual Art Event at Lipscomb Academy on White Bridge Rd. (near Harding Place). This year, the event will feature works by 54 talented artists, with a wide range of media and prices, from traditional to contemporary. The show promises something for everyone – including pottery, rugs, jewelry, and much more. If you can’t make it to the show, but are interested in purchasing art to support Lipscomb Academy, you can register to bid online for a painting created and donated by one of Lipscomb Academy’s student artists. The show runs from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, and from 11am to 4pm on Sunday.

While fortifying yourself for the next activity, why not stop for lunch (11am – 3pm) or dinner (5pm – 10pm) at The Yellow Porch restaurant on Thompson Lane in Berry Hill? The food is the creative star at this moderately-priced restaurant (dinner entrees range from around $14 to $30), but the decor has a cool vibe featuring artwork by local artists.

Saturday night, February 7 (6pm – 9pm) is the night of Nashville’s First Saturday Art Crawl, sponsored by the Nashville Downtown Partnership. This popular free event presents local and world-renowned artists and artwork, in a variety of participating galleries along Nashville’s Fifth Avenue of the Arts and upstairs in the Historic Arcade. Most galleries serve free wine and other refreshments. The gallery crawl is a great free night on the town, featuring shuttle service between the galleries.

If you haven’t yet caught the current Young Tennessee Artists: 2014 Statewide exhibition at The Frist, Sunday afternoon, February 8 would be a perfect time to do so. The exhibition showcases a selection of the finest artwork created in Tennessee’s high school Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) art programs in 2014. The 39 pieces represent student artists from 16 schools, and were selected from over 600 submissions. Admission to The Frist Center for Visual Arts is $10 for adults; $7 for students or seniors. Young people (age 18 and under) are admitted without charge, as are Frist Center members.

Chaser: Although there don’t appear to be public events listed at OZ arts center during the weekend in this column, it’s worth noting that they have an exciting upcoming exhibition of contemporary interactive visual art by Alex Lockwood. The exhibition will open with an OZ Thursday Night Things (“TNT”) reception on Thursday, February 19. Doors open at 6:30. Tickets are $10 in advance, or $12 at the door. OZ is a little tricky to find the first time, but worth the effort!