It’s about time I got on with these posts, right? Hopefully, there will be American content flying left, right and centre in the next couple of weeks. My previous USA Diary posts can be found here but I think I’m now on Day 7 which we woke up in Wytheville before heading on the road to Nashville. A lot of the time we just rolled out of bed into the van half asleep. The earlier we head off on the road, the earlier we get to our destination. As a big fan of country music, I was unbelievably excited to go to Nashville and check out a lot of live music.
We stayed at the Nashville Downtown Hostel which was very central and not too far from Broadway. I was really impressed with this hostel, the rooms were spacious and the communal area was pretty cool.
The main place I wanted to visit in Nashville was the Country Music Hall of Fame. I’d been looking online and there was currently an exhibition on the life and outfits of Shania Twain which I was rather excited about. First up, we had our lunch before checking out the actual museum and the Pulled Pork and Cheese Sandwich was life-changing. It was a combo I never knew I needed in my life.
The Shania Twain: Rock This Country exhibition was amazing and included many of her well-known outfits she had performed in as well as her awards and memorabilia. There were so many more outfits from different country stars from Dolly Parton to Elvis Presley who’s gold-plated car was there!
We actually only had one night in Nashville which we decided to go out for drinks and see some live music and go line dancing! You are literally spoilt for choice for music along Broadway with so many talented artists in every bar. Our favourite was one called Tootsies which had a few different rooms and rooftop bar, I even tried some Moonshine which I quickly learnt you aren’t supposed to drink straight!
The next morning, we were all feeling pretty rough but it was time to head down to Memphis. If you read my Travel Wishlist for Memphis you’ll have known how excited I was about going to Graceland. It was our first stop off on the way into Memphis. I think I’ll end up doing an in-depth post about my experience as it was amazing. Everyone was given headsets to explore the house and grounds at our own pace. It was really interesting to see the Graceland estate and learn more about Elvis and his family. It was pretty emotional to visit his grave but I’d say even if you aren’t a massive Elvis fan, it’s worth a visit.
Beale Street is the place to be on an evening in Memphis. Similar to Nashville, it’s full of bars, restaurants and live music all night every night. It was quite quiet as it was mid-week but there was still a lot going on. We didn’t end up staying out too late but had some amazing food at the Blues City Cafe before seeing a few musicians.
Day Nine was a full day of exploring the city of Memphis and there’s actually a lot to see! Naturally, our first stop was a fishing shop. Pretty random, right? Actually, Bass Pro Shop blew all of our minds. The shops which is in a giant pyramid (the tenth biggest pyramid in the world) and had it’s own hotel is just a whole other world complete with ducks and alligators. It certainly was an experience!
Our morning in Memphis was actually an interesting one. Going from ducks chilling in a Pyramid to the Peabody Hotel which is home to potentially some of the most famous ducks in America, if not the world. The Peabody Hotel hosts their duck march every morning at 11pm where the “duck master” collects them from their penthouse suite, down the lift and along the red-carpet to a fountain in the hotel’s lobby. They will spend the day relaxing in the fountain before being collected at 5pm and returned to their rooftop abode. I’m not going to lie, I’ve never been more excited about four little ducks in my life.
The next stop was Sun Studio which is a recording studio and the birthplace of rock n roll. We had a tour included with Trek America and I found it so interesting. The studios are where Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and more recently U2 have all recorded. We even got to touch and take a photo with a microphone used by Elvis himself. I’ve never been to a recording studio or anything like this so the whole thing was pretty cool. The tour wasn’t that long but it also didn’t cost a lot but it’s something I would definitely not want to miss in Memphis.
After an afternoon of fried chicken and wandering about we headed over to the Civil Rights Museum. The Museum is built around the Lorraine Motel which is where Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968. The whole place was very moving. I found it important to visit as it’s a key part of American History.
We had a pretty similar second evening in Memphis with food at Hard Rock Cafe and live music. Although there was so much to see in Memphis, I think I did prefer Nashville. Especially for the nightlife, it was more my cup of tea there. My next post will be all about New Orleans & the Swamps of Louisianna!
Have you been to Nashville or Memphis? Are you an Elvis fan?