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Q is for Queen Riverboat

Q

 

As you can imagine, finding attractions in Nashville that start with isn’t an easy task. I got excited to find a barbecue place called Stone House Q, only to find that it is permanently closed.

Then I found the Music City Queen Riverboat. It is often called General Jackson’s little sister. The Music City Queen carries up to 338 passengers, whereas the General Jackson can hold up to 1200 passengers. Groups regularly charter the Music City Queen for business meetings, weddings and special events. On Sundays—when the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League play at their home in Nashville—Gaylord Entertainment schedules a tailgating cruise with a buffet brunch.

The Queen is a sightseeing cruise with food and beverage available for purchase. There is also a live band playing on the hurricane deck.  I think if we do a riverboat cruise, it will probably be on the General Jackson. Might as well go big.

And that’s it for Q. 

P is for Plenty to Do in Nashville

P

It’s day sixteen of the A to Z Challenge and the letter of the day is P. I have a lot of ground to cover today, but just know that tomorrow’s letter is Q, which means I will very likely make up for any lack of brevity in today’s post.

First up is the Parthenon. Built in 1897, it is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece. It is known as the “Athens of the South.” It stands as the centerpiece of Centennial Park just west of downtown Nashville and houses a 42-foot re-creation of the statue of Athena. The Parthenon also serves as Nashville’s art museum. I’m really looking forward to seeing the classical architecture and all the sculptures.

 

Next up is Percy Warner Park. There we can get our nature fix and maybe even a little exercise. The Percy Warner trails comprise some of the best hiking opportunities in Nashville. There are 12 miles of primitive hiking trails, 3 miles of paved greenway trail, over 3 miles of closed roads, 10 miles of horse trails, and 2 cross-country running courses. Maps are available at the Nature Center trailhead and on the Warner Parks interactive iPhone app. The trail system is open from sunrise to 11 p.m. every day.

Next is Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack, owned by André Prince Jeffries.

 

Hot chicken is a type of fried chicken that is a local specialty of Nashville. It is typically a portion of breast, thigh, or wing that has been marinated in buttermilk, breaded, sauced using a paste that has been heavily spiced with cayenne pepper, and pan-fried. It is served atop slices of white bread with pickle chips. It has become somewhat of regional legend, and it seems that people eat it more for sport than for sustenance. Jeffries told one interviewer that, in general, the women who eat there seem to be able to eat the chicken hotter than the men. No, Tim, that is not a challenge. :)

Apparently the hot chicken at this restaurant is so good they get plenty of business without advertising. They haven’t advertised in the past twenty-four years. You can choose your cut of chicken, your side, and most importantly, the level of heat for your chicken. I went through many customer reviews and they were all positive. It’s probably something we should try just to say we did.

Another restaurant that is wildly popular in Nashville is The Pancake Pantry. It is a small, family owned business that got its start in Nashville in 1961. That same family still owns it today. It has become a Nashville tradition and the lines are always long, at least on the weekends. Maybe we can go during the week, although having your picture taken waiting in the line that wraps around the building seems to be as big a tradition as the restaurant itself.

 

They have twenty-three varieties of pancakes. One of the most popular flavors is the sweet potato pancake. That doesn’t really sound very good to me, but it must be for all the rave reviews I’ve read. There are so many varieties I’d like to try. I like pancakes a little more than I should. We might have to eat there more than once. :)

Maybe we can work off all that food with some stand-up paddleboarding on the Cumberland river.  This picture seems to be of a race, but you can rent paddle boards and go out on your own.

 

Paddleboarding is a new trend in watersports that is great for people with little experience in water sports. You just stand on an over-sized surfboard and paddle through the water. The skills you need can be learned in less than ten minutes. Sounds easy, and burns 500-700 calories an hour.  I don’t even want to know how many hours it would take to burn off the pancakes.  Paddleboarding helps improve balance and strengthen your core.

Unless you’ve eaten too many pancakes . . . I wonder how hard it is to sink a surfboard?

 

O Nashville

O

 

It’s day fifteen of the A to Z Challenge and the letter of the day is O.

First up is Opry Mills®, Tennessee’s largest outlet, value retail, shopping, dining, and entertainment destination. It is right next door to the Grand Ole Opry. The beautiful indoor mall boasts over 200 stores including a Bass Pro Shop and a Boot Barn. I singled those stores out so Tim will give shopping a fair shake at making the vacation itinerary. :)  According to reviewers, the very large food court even offers some relatively healthy food options—I might have to see that to believe it. In addition to multiple fast food options, Opry Mills® also has full dining experiences including an Aquarium Restaurant, a Rainforest Cafe, and a Chuy’s. We probably won’t be catching any movies on our vacation, but I should mention that Opry Mills® also has a movie theater and an IMAX. There is a Dave and Busters in the mall, as well. This gigantic mall even has valet parking. Some reviewers advise going during the week to avoid the crowds of the weekends. That said, other reviewers say that the crowds aren’t really a problem because the mall is big enough to accommodate large numbers of people without it feeling crowded.

 

 

Next up is a pair of truss bridges on Tennessee Highway 45 over the Cumberland River. They are known as the Old Hickory Bridges. The northbound (westbound) bridge, built in 1928, is the more interesting of the two. It is older and more ornate than the southbound (eastbound) bridge built in 1967. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the (north) Old Hickory Bridge is the pair of “Sentry Towers” which adorn each end of the bridge. These bridges aren’t high on my list of priorities for this trip, but if we happen to be in the area I could probably get some good photos.

Last is The Old Spaghetti Factory. We do have to eat while we’re gone, and I love Italian food. Just about everything on the menu at The Old Spaghetti Factory is made on-site and from scratch, using fresh ingredients. Every location is adorned with antique lighting, intricate stained glass displays and an old-fashioned trolley car that doubles as a dining hall. It has a family friendly atmosphere and an award-winning children’s menu.

 

 

So that’s it for O. I can’t wait to visit these places and get my own pictures to share!

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