The Trip: Hotel Data Conference with a couple days tacked on just for fun
Location: Nashville, TN
Destination Highlight: 42-foot statue of Athena at Nashville’s Parthenon
Miles Traveled: 946
I recently attended and presented at the Hotel Data Conference in Nashville, TN. If you’re interested in what I shared and learned at the conference, check out that blog post here. The conference was a great time, but the fun really started once it ended. My wife Leigh Ann and I took advantage of cheap Southwest fares for her and a couple of my PTO days to turn a business trip into a “bleisure” trip.
We found that “Music City” was filled with more than just music, including good food and plenty of larger-than-life sites to see. Our home base was an Airbnb in Woodbine, a suburb just south of downtown, featuring a surprising variety of international cuisine options, including the delicious Ginger Thai Restaurant. The culinary highlight, however, was some famous Nashville hot chicken at Hattie B’s. It was so good, I’m sure the Fraternal Order of Hot Chicken would approve. Not even joking. That’s a real thing. Nashville takes its hot chicken seriously.
I’m also a big fan of breakfast. Pinewood Social is where I tried the “Graceland” waffle topped with peanut butter mousse, bacon pieces and sliced banana. We also had an outstanding “Crema Cuban” and loved the coffee so much that we brought home three bags of coffee beans from the nearby Crema coffee shop.
Back on the topic of larger-than-life, there are giant guitars everywhere in Nashville. Case in point, Hard Rock Cafe.
We also visited a 33,000-square-foot log home mansion at Fontanel – Barbara Mandrell’s former residence. The tour was a fascinating peek into the life of Nashville royalty. Leigh Ann and I got to hold famous guitars (that’s BB King on my wife’s guitar) and a Grammy. A wine and distillery tasting rounded out the experience quite nicely.
We made sure to take in the sights and sounds of Nashville’s famous “Honky Tonk Row” on Broadway Street as well – lots of neon lights and music spilling out of every bar on the strip. Even the nearby bridge looked like it was lit up just for the occasion. We made sure to stock up on Goo Goos at the nearby namesake store.
Our last tourist destination reflected Nashville’s larger-than-life attitude. We visited the Nashville Parthenon, a replica originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition. And if a really big building wasn’t already enough, there’s also a recreation of the 42-foot statue of Athena that was the main focal point in the original Greek Parthenon.
My wife and I had so much fun, but there’s so much more to see and do (and eat) that we’ll be back. By the way, there are some fun antique and thrift stores around the city too, especially nearby in downtown Franklin, TN. I even stumbled upon a very early form of virtual reality headset. Made me feel like a technological archeologist.