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!

Mules Rule! A Clash of Cultures Creates a Harmony of Fun

As the seasons change, the planets have aligned to bring Nashville Fashion Week to town at the same time as the week-long Mule Day celebration in Columbia, Tennessee.

April 6 – 12, 2015  As the seasons change, the planets have aligned to bring Nashville Fashion Week to town at the same time as the week-long Mule Day celebration in Columbia, Tennessee. Add to the mix a terrific assortment of concert offerings, and you have an entertaining week that encompasses Nashville’s past, present and future!

Nashville Fashion Week is a city-wide celebration of Nashville’s thriving fashion and retail community and its vast array of creative talent. Featuring local, regional and national designers and industry professionals in an array of creative events throughout the week encourages both Nashvillians and visitors to explore the city’s diverse fashion and retail spaces throughout the week with promotions, partnerships and educational workshops. Events begin on Tuesday, April 7 with a Designer Showcase event at Acme Feed & Seed, and feature a Ready-to-Wear Runway Show at the Musica roundabout on Friday, April 10, before wrapping up with a Nashville Fashion Forward Gala at The Rosewall on Saturday, April 11. Tickets to individual events vary in price; an all-access pass to ticketed events costs $300. Proceeds benefit the Nashville Fashion Forward Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. Even if you don’t plan to attend any of the  events associated with Nashville Fashion Week, let’s make a pact here and now to refrain from wearing any of the following items in public that week: Cut-offs with cowboy boots, yoga pants, fleece, Uggs or anything “chickenflage.”

Fortunately, any or all of the above list would be on the list of acceptable attire at events surrounding the Mule Day celebration in nearby Columbia, Tennessee. This celebration has its roots in the farming traditions of our area, and hearken back to times when a man’s livelihood depended on the quality of his mule, and a man would seek to purchase aforesaid mule at an annual gathering. Mule Day has been a popular Columbia tradition for nearly 170 years, since the 1840s. It began as “Breeder’s Day”, a single day livestock show and mule market event held on the first Monday in April. Over time, Mule Day evolved from a single day event into a multi-day festival, attracting thousands of attendees, lasting almost a week. The actual mule auction will happen late afternoon on Wednesday, April 8. Thereafter, the mule-centered events deal with showing off the strength, grace and beauty of this donkey-horse hybrid. Even those unenlightened souls who don’t appreciate the mule will find plenty of other activities – an Arts & Crafts/Flea Market will run from Thursday morning until Sunday afternoon, and the Mule Day program promises “a variety of musical entertainment ranging from bluegrass to hillbilly.” (If you know what differentiates bluegrass music from hillbilly music, please clue me in!) There’s a Liars’ Contest at the Columbia High School on Friday night, a Mule Day parade downtown on Saturday, April 11 at 11 am, and a bluegrass concert at the high school that evening. These community festivals are casual, fun, and if the weather cooperates, definitely worth a day trip.

As if these two events didn’t already offer something for everyone – it just so happens that the week of April 6 – 12 is a great week for concerts in Nashville. That Monday, those who appreciate the indie-rock sounds of English band alt-J can catch them in concert at the Grand Ole Opry House. (Tickets sold out – check with your favorite ticket reseller.) Tuesday night features the legendary Stevie Wonder at Bridgestone Arena, in his “Songs in the Key of Life Performance” tour. (Tickets still available through TicketMaster.) Friday night, The Bangles will be bringing their 80’s Cali-Pop sound to City Winery. (Seats remain and can be purchased through the City Winery website. And the country superstar I’d most like to meet – Alan Jackson is performing on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. (A limited number of ticket remain through TicketMaster.)

So, whether you’ll be checking out the latest in slip-on footwear in Nashville, celebrating the farmer’s friend in Columbia, or kicking up your heels at a concert – have some fun in early April!