Monday, October 15, 2018

Nashville is more than music

It’s true that Nashville is like Mecca for country music fans. But if you think that’s all there is to this Tennessee city, you’re only hearing the chorus of a multi-versed song.  Yes, music is a draw, but if a steady diet doesn’t enthrall you for more than a day, can Nashville entice you to stay longer?  Sure can, if you include these stops on your itinerary. 

Hatch Show Print
A wall of posters printed at Hatch Show Print
In this age of cheap ink jet printers, some people have lost appreciation for the intricate work that old-fashioned letterpress printing entails.  But not Hatch ShowPrint in downtown Nashville.  Using techniques from the 1500s that meld designing and printing into a creative art form, this shop produces posters for stars, businesses, and individuals. 
Type is set and printing is done by hand

Inside you’ll see an entire wall covered—clear up to the ceiling—with posters for stars like Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams, and Patsy Cline, as well as contemporary clients including Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Shania Twain, Wynona Judd, and Coldplay.

Thousands of people come every year to Hatch Show Print to
watch this historical printing process in action.
Hatch Show Print became an historical property of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 1992. Today it is the best place to observe traditional letterpress printing techniques using 10,000 old-style wooden typeface blocks and 14 historic printing presses.

Manuel, Exclusive Clothier

Elaborate embroidery on a
colorful jacket. 
Walk into the workshop housed in an old Victorian building and you might start a new craving, as I did.  I’m not a star, but I can dress like one—for a price. I’m coveting a pair of jeans created by Manuel Cuevas—jeans that fit perfectly, embellished with crystals and intricate embroidery and expressing my personality in a way no other clothing item can.

That’s exactly what this famous tailor has done for stars including Kenny Chesney, Dolly Parton, Keith Urban, and Miranda Lambert. Ever wonder how Johnny Cash became the Man in Black? Or why Elvis began wearing gold jumpsuits? Or who came up with Dwight Yoakum’s skinny leg look? 

Larry tries on a special Manuel jacket.
The answers lie in Manuel’s expertise at creating image.  His custom-made outfits are the result not only of superb craftsmanship at the sewing machine but also of getting to know his clients sufficiently to express their personalities in a visible way.

Manuel’s embroidery and design skills earned him the nickname of Rhinestone Rembrandt—and his artistic pieces are worthy of display in museums like Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Smithsonian, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

The Parthenon

Athena at Nashville's Parthenon
At 65 feet high, it’s the only full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon in existence and the centerpiece of Nashville’sCentennial Park.  The building, which faces east like its Greek predecessor, serves as a monument to classical architecture—and it houses the city’s art museum.  Not to be missed is the 42-foot gold statue of Athena, an amazingly detailed creation sculpted just like the original including representations of 11 snakes on her breastplate. 

The Parthenon is also Nashville’s art museum with a permanent collection of paintings by 19th and 20th century American artists.

Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art

Cheekwood Botanical Garden is gorgeous in spring.
Stroll through 55 acres of beautiful gardens and fine art.  Tranquil streams and ponds meander through gardens filled with colorful blooms, wildflowers, herbs, and perennials. The unparalleled Boxwood Gardens that surround the museum lend a touch of formality in an otherwise relaxed motif.  Set on the Cheek family estate (originators of Maxwell House Coffee), the Botanical Garden and Cheekwood Mansion are perfect for weddings and special events—or a picnic while touring the grounds.
Special events are held at Cheekwood Mansion
Although traditional paintings have a home at Cheekwood, the museum is especially known for its contemporary art center and the Sculpture Trail with works that blend into natural surroundings. Modern American artists whose works are featured include Andy Warhol and David Hockney.

Nearby historical sites

Venture to Belle Meade Plantation and Belmont Mansion to see how the upper class lived in the 19th century, or tour Jack Daniel’s Distillery for a whiff of its charcoal mellowed whiskey.  History buffs will enjoy the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson, and Travelers Rest Plantation and Museum.

Music too

Don't miss outstanding collections at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Still, you can’t miss Nashville’s music standouts. Grand Ole Opry is a mainstay of the Nashville scene. Whether you’re a foot-stomping fan or not, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum serves up familiar names and memorabilia that even tone deaf visitors recognize.  The Schermerhorn Symphony Center, a major North American concert hall, satisfies classical musical tastes.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier



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