Friday, September 25, 2009

Walking Tour Of Nashville

The original plan was to drive the two miles from the Holiday Inn at Vanderbilt into downtown Nashville. But the clouds provided protection from the sun, plus I noticed that Music Row was halfway between Vanderbilt and downtown, so I decided to walk instead. I was looking forward to seeing Music Row, since it is the heart of the country music industry where hundreds of record companies and country music related endeavors were located. I was imagining it was in downtown with shops, nightclubs, museums and buzz of activity, like Tin Pan Alley in Manhattan. Was I ever mistaken. Music Row is two parallel tree lined streets, four blocks long, and the functional equivalent of a business park with low and mid rise office buildings. No retail space, no foot traffic at all.

Trudging downtown I headed east on Broadway, past the historic Union Station coverted to a Wyndham Hotel, then by the Sommet Center area (Kiss is coming to town on a Predator's off night.) Then turned north and passed by the original Grand Old Opry venue, Ryman Auditorium. Then walked up to the State Capitol and related state government buildings, mostly Greek style architecture. From there I decided to head towards the Cumberland River, as I noticed several bridges on the map that spanned the river. On my way there I ran into a good part of what I was looking for in Music Row. Along Second Street and the eastern part of Broadway there were the country music nightclubs, guitar shops and museums that I had visualized, just without the music industry venues.

Going a block east of Second St. I came to the Cumberland River, and on the other side I see this large stadium. Then it dawned on me. The Tennessee Titans, who started out as the Tennessee Oilers temporarily located in Memphis, were based in Nashville. Looking a little bit south, I saw a bridge that was carrying only pedestrian traffic. This had to be the Shelby Street pedestrian bridge I noted on the map. I looked for the entrance, not finding it until 3rd or 4th street. My first thought was that a pedestrian bridge was an extravegance. But then I concluded this was probably an old bridge that used to carry vehicle traffic, but which was later replaced by a parallel larger bridge a couple of blocks away. However, then I saw the plaque saying that the bridge was dedicated in 2003, so that blew up my theory. As I headed on the bridge, looking ahead and becoming visible once again was LP Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans. Of course! They built the bridge so people could walk to the games from downtown Nashville.

Walking back to Vanderbilt, it started to rain lightly. I did stop by the downtown Holiday Inn to rest, and to check out the facility since I had almost booked that hotel instead of the Vanderbilt location. I made the trek back and arrived at the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt four hours after I had left. That's my exercise for this trip.

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