Downtown Nashville, TN
While all things are bigger in Texas, the Eclipse 2017 was not. A line of totality, or total darkness, ran through the middle of the United States, from Oregon to South Carolina, missing all of Texas. We had shifted back and forth about going, then put it off since it fell on a Monday, the kid’s 4th day back at school, but on Saturday morning, as the entire country was getting ready to watch, we couldn’t stand the thought of missing out on such an important event in our lives! Sure, in just 7 years there will be an eclipse that cuts right through Texas in April, but then our oldest will be off starting his life, our daughter in her senior year of college who knows where, and we felt we needed to seize this opportunity now, while we were all still together.
A ten hour drive, we headed to Nashville. Music City was opening its door to over a million visitors for the celestial event, and we had nothing planned, not even an idea of where to stay. Hotels had been booked since February, as had Tennessee’s plentiful state parks. We had packed a tent and some basic equipment, just in case.
In Memphis, I-40 takes you a little over 200 miles to Nashville, and is known as the Music Highway. Rolling hills, trees and exposed rock dictates this stretch of road, that is dotted with lakes and state parks. Tennessee has over 50 state parks, roughly the same as Texas in a state a quarter of the size. We drove past them all, since Nashville was the southern border of the line of totality. and these would all be a near miss. Most of this land is in the delta for the Mississippi River which runs through Memphis, the Tennesee River and Cumberland and numerous other rivers that run across the state.
After much calling and even begging, I secured us a campsite in Mount Juliet, West of Nashville. Campsite might be a stretch. “Camping areas” were popping up all over the place, in parking lots and backyards. We were staying in a small field behind an antiques store, but it was very family-friendly and clean. After hours of calling, I barely winced at paying $100 a night, the most I have ever paid to camp, when the restroom was a couple miles down the road at the 24 hour gas station.
They managed to fill the small acre with about 10 RVs and several tents, but everyone was friendly and excited. We were sandwiched between two other families, one from Canade that had driven down and an RV rented by a family who flew in from the Netherlands. We had fun getting to know each other and talking excitedly until late into the night!Mount Juliet is best known as the home of the Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage, and it was just located a few miles from our camping site. The next morning, we pulled up camp and made the drive out to hopefully get in a quick tour, but a long line of traffic was already waiting to park at 7am. To read more about the Hermitage, the 7th president old hickory. You’ll find references to him all through Nashville. click HERE.
I had a plan that if we arrived early enough in Downtown Nashville, we could get decent parking close to the Riverfront, which is where I decided we should watch the Eclipse!
Johnny Cash Museum
Downtown Nashville was a blast! At 9am, the streets was already lined with vendors, selling Eclipse glasses and t-shirts, and most of the bars that line Broadway were open! We parked behind the Johnny Cash museum, and with hours to go we decided to spend time exploring!Nashville’s Music Mile and Hall of Fame Park was just behind the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. With limited time, we didn’t go inside, but you can learn more by clicking HERE.
We turned up Broadway to 2nd and walked along the old brick sidewalks, past restaurants, the George Jones Museum and B B King’s Blues Club. There were lines everywhere for private parties at all the clubs!
At the end of 2nd we came to the Davidson County Courthouse. We stopped here, but to our right was the right and historic toll bridge, and a lookout of the river.To the left of the courthouse, had we ventured that far, is the 1859 Tennessee State Capitol and Museum in Victory Park! No, we just didn’t have time. Click HERE to read more about the Tennessee State Capitol Tours and it’s FREE museum!
Behind the State Capitol is the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Click HERE to read more about all that we missed!
Instead, we stopped to grab some water at the Hotel Indigo Nashville, then turned and walked up Printers Alley. If you’re a frequent reader, then you know I really LIKE Hotel Indigos, and I love the location of this one, inside an old bank building! As always, they are pet friendly, and we were about to walk around inside with our sweet girl, too! Click HERE to visit their website.
I was suprised to learn that Nashville was once known as the Printing Capitol of the World, with over 35 printing companies and support businesses! While the companies are mostly gone, the buildings now house restaurants, bars and stores! Click HERE to read more about Printers Alley!
One of the more fun moments of walking along Printers Alley was meeting the Shadow Patriot! In today’s culture, I was afraid of what political platform he might stand for or against, or worse that I was going to miss the Eclipse while he told us about it, but he simply stated that he was just a “Protector of the City”! Whatever, it was fun!
At the end of Printers Alley we came to the goliath, Bridgestone Arena, home of the NHL Nashville Predators as well as concerts and special events. To check their website for upcoming events. Click HERE.
Just across the street is the Hilton Nashville Downtown. It’s huge but I was shocked that they don’t have a pool! Click HERE to visit their website for more information.
Keep reading, I have more hotels listed!
We turned back on Broadway, which is the main road for restaurants, shops and bars! I love the old street, buildings and everything! By the way, wonder where all the cars were? I stepped out onto the road to take the picture, and the cars both in my lane, and on the opposite side, stopped so I could get this picture! Nice people!
It’s Music City, and music was everywhere! From the open bars to the folks sitting on the sidewalk, we were surrounded by every genre! Cash is King in Nashville, so have plenty on hand.
It was such a festive time, I caught myself walking around wishing everyone, “Happy Eclipse”!
Ernest Tubb Record Shop
Ernest Tubb didn’t open until 11am, so we missed out. It’s just as well. My husband has converted our son to vinyl, so they would have missed the Eclipse digging through old albums. My kids had never heard of Ernest Tubb and the Texas Troubadours, something we had to correct on the way home, while we had them captive in the car. Click HERE to visit the store online.
Nashville is also home to the Texas Troubadour Theater.
Knuckles with The King!
We always keep pennies and quarters in my backpack, just in case we find a penny press!
Broadway is also the best place to find souvenir t-shirts, etc. Let’s just say that half of all my kids Back To School clothing now either says Tennesee or something about the Eclipse!
We were starving, and since we had brought our puppy, Dublin, we were very limited in where we could eat on Broadway! We had to walk right past Paradise Park Trailer Resort, a “trailer park” themed restaurant, and Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, although I did leave everyone outside and ran in and bought a shirt for a friend!
Savannah Candy Kitchen
They were closed the first time we walked past, but we came back after the Eclipse and made the Savannah Candy Kitchen our last stop in Nashville. They have handmade ice cream, amazing chocolates and taffy and a fun overhead train that whirls around the store. Hey, even Dublin was welcome!
Be sure and try some of their homemade pralines, too!
Click HERE to visit their website, but be prepared to drool!
With a dog, we only had a few options for where to eat; Joe’s Crab Shack, Hard Rock Cafe and Rock Bottom Brewery. We choose Rock Bottom, a chain restaurant, because of the large, covered patio right on Broadway! Click HERE to visit their website.
Acme Feed and Seed
Had we not had the pup, I would have headed to Acme Feed and Seed. This fun, casual restaurant has big communal tables which I LOVE, and hearty food! They also have a sushi bar on the 2nd floor, and a rooftop bar that was reserved for the Eclipse, which was their nice way of saying I couldn’t take my dog up there! Click HERE to visit their website.
Hard Rock Cafe
We did run across the street to the Hard Rock Cafe so my daughter could get a shirt.
It was getting close to ECLIPSE time when we finished eating, so we hurried down to the river, which is just across the street from the Hard Rock Cafe. People were already lined up for the big moment!
After searching for days for Eclipse Glasses, people were passing them out left and right. Even the businesses along Broadway were handing them out for free!
People were also lined up along the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge, a truss bridge that crosses the Cumberland River. It is one of the longest pedestrian bridges in the world, and looked SO cool, and unbearably HOT at the same time!
We found a spot with a little shade for Dublin while we laid out in the grass staring up at the sky.
Dublin was not impressed.
Across the river from us was Cumberland Park! It looked so pretty, and on the 95 degree day the splash pad sounded inviting, but we stayed put. Their website also brags about their playgrounds, so click HERE to read more!
Nissan Stadium stands next to Cumberland Park. We waved as kayaks and paddleboarders made their way down to get in a position to watch the Eclipse!
When I heard the SUP Paddleboard companies were doing Eclipse rentals, I wanted to do one SO bad, and called every rental place, only to be told that, like hotel rooms, they had been booked for months! Next time we visit Nashville, this is on my Bucket List!
I’m not sure how my nine-year-old would have felt had we been on the water when the General Jackson Showboat came through! The huge boat stopped just across from us, and everyone cheered and the boat even sounded it’s horn as Totality approached! Click HERE to visit their website.
The Eclipse was amazing to watch, and near totality all the lights came on around us, and the cicadas in the trees all began singing! A cloud lingered by and right as we reached totality, it gracefully slid over the sun, blocking us from the sight moments after we saw it!
I’ve been asked since, probably over a dozen times, was it worth it?
Seeing the Ring of Fire just before it was snubbed out by the cloud was incredible!
Of course, we are already planning for 2024, the next US Eclipse! The Line of Totality will go right across Texas, so we won’t even need to travel out of state. But here is what I will do, I’ll go someplace DARK, with no light pollution. When all the lights came on, it took a little away from the effect.
As soon as the last of the moon had passed the sun, we took off for home, and while traffic was backed up for miles, I had expected nothing else. I told my kids it’s something that we’ll remember and talk about years from now.
We did get home about 2:30am. And my kids did go to school the next day.
More things in the Downtown Nashville area,
that we just didn’t have time to do!
Music City Carts and Zombie Outbreak at Nashville Airsoft is located on the verge of Cumberland Park. Click HERE to visit their website.
Gray Line Click HERE
Old Town Trolley Tours click HERE
Nashville Ghost Tours Click HERE
Nashville’s Music Row
Home to restaurants and recording studios, including the Historic RCA Studio where Elvis recorded many of his records!
As if Nashville was running short of restaurants, The Gulch offers even more dining and shopping in a unique little district between Downtown and Music Row. Click HERE to read more.
More Things To Do in Nashville
The Parthenon and statue of Athena are both scale built replicas of those in Athens, Greece. Click HERE to visit their website.
Adventure Science Center was my first choice for where to watch the Eclipse, since they had telescopes and scientist on hand to answer question, but I couldn’t get tickets. It looks like a fun place to visit! Click HERE to read more!
Shelby Bottoms Nature Center is just one of the nature parks in Nashville. Click HERE to visit their website.
Grand Old Opry, Opry Mills and the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center is a huge area of Nashville, on the Cumberland River, East of Downtown. The Gaylord host holiday events, has swimming pools, golf and is the starting point for many Cumberland River cruises. Click HERE to visit their website.
Click HERE to visit their website.
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