TENNESSEE AND ALABAMA | August 2019
Earlier this year, in August, my family and I jetted off for two weeks to the Southern states of Tennessee and Alabama and I’ve only just finished sorting out all the photos I took whilst I was there! This is somewhere we hadn’t previously been in the states and my dad loves country music so it was a perfect destination to explore. We stayed in some very interesting places that really meant we could immerse ourselves in the cities.
We spent a few days in Nashville, a few days in Memphis and, finally, a week in Florence, Alabama, before heading back to Nashville for our flight back to London.
We had a late flight on the 17th August from Heathrow and landed pretty late in Nashville. By the time we had gotten to our AirBnb apartment and had a look around nearby, we were all ready to get some rest for the next day.
On our first day in Nashville we had a proper look around where we were staying. We stayed just outside of The Gulch so we were in the perfect location to explore. At first, we didn’t know what to see, other than walking down the main strip of bars, so we hopped on a bus tour to get a low-down on the city. This inspired us to head to Centennial Park and to the Parthenon. As a history student (and self-professed nerd) this was incredible. The museum that is attached was so interesting and the surroundings were incredibly beautiful. The weather was lovely, which also made the day even better. After we explored the park a bit, we headed back to the apartment before heading out for dinner later in the afternoon.
On our second full day in Nashville we had tickets to go to the Country Music Hall of Fame museum and studio tour. My dad was in his absolute element looking around and we all enjoyed getting to see the history of the city. Most importantly, with the studio tour, we got to see and stand where Elvis, among others, had recorded their hits. Later in the afternoon, as per holiday tradition, we headed to the Hard Rock Café, near the waterfront to have dinner (and to add to the t-shirt collection I have brewing!).
This was our last day in Nashville before coming home so we spent it looking around the Opry Mills shopping mall and had a fancy dinner at the Gaylord Opry hotel. We ate until we couldn’t move and the restaurant itself was in the most amazing outdoor location! This was all before going to see an actual Opry show, with a tour of the Grand Ole Opry after.
We travelled to Memphis via the Natchez Trace Parkway. This was a beautiful route through the backroads surrounding the highway. We stopped at the Loveless Café for brunch, which was so cute and quaint and in a small town called Leiper’s Fork along the way. This is supposedly where Justin Timberlake lives but, sadly, we didn’t spot him 🙁 . We also stopped in Mississippi to see Elvis’ birth house and the town where he grew up. His house was so small, with only two rooms in total, it was incredible to imagine people living there! When we got to Memphis, we looked around and had some dinner before trekking back up the thousands of stairs that our AirBnb had.
On our first official day in Memphis we were heading out early for a full day at Graceland. It was honestly like a theme park. I had not seen anything like it and looking around the house and the museums was incredible. There was so much to look at – and so many gift shops! We had a long day, but we weren’t done. When we got back to the apartment, it was time to head out to the minor league baseball game we had tickets for at Autozone Park. Although, the rainy weather delayed the game slightly, we were able to sit and watch when it began later. It was an extremely long game, and it is safe to say, we did not stay until the end!
On our second day in Memphis we wanted to see more of the city so, once again, we hopped on a bus tour – this time, with a musical tour guide! We saw all the parts of the city and got all the history at the same time. After the bus tour, we went to the Peabody Hotel, where we watched the infamous (and adorable!) duck march. Once we had seen the ducks march to the elevator, we headed to a nearby mall for some more shopping and a Cheesecake Factory dinner, as all nights should end with desserts the size of your head!
On our last day in Memphis, we went to the Lorraine Motel, where we walked around the Civil Rights Museum. As I’m studying this period, I really enjoyed this part of the trip. The museum itself is well laid out and the interactive parts are so clever in telling the stories of those at the time, and those that are often forgotten about. I loved the fact that they had converted the hotel into the museum and the respect it still held. After spending a while at the museum, we began our journey to Alabama. We arrived late and had enough time to explore the lake house we were staying in and the surrounding area.
It began to rain when we got to Alabama, which was a bit sad considering we were hoping for a relaxing week in the August southern sun. We took a trip to Target to stock up the fridge (and our suitcases!) and tried to find things to do inside and out of the torrential rain. After a while, we came across indoor batting cages and we tested them out. It was fun, but intimidating considering it was a proper training centre for young players that were certainly better than I was! We explored and drove around for a while and found a nice place to have dinner, before relaxing at home in the evening.
After researching what we could do in the rain, we decided to take a trip to Huntsville, to visit the NASA Space Centre. Unfortunately, due to not being American citizens, we couldn’t go into the actual operating Space Centre, but we were able to look around the museum and so we spent the day exploring space, before heading to a little outdoor mall on the way home.
27.08.19 – 31.08.19
Over the next few days the weather got drastically better. It got hot and sunny, just as we had wanted and so we spent a lot of the time by the pool. I didn’t take many photos, except for the odd occasion that we went out to explore.
On the final day of our trip, 31st August, we had to make the long journey back to Nashville for our flight. We had found out a few days earlier that our flight had been cancelled and we had to take a different journey home. Instead of flying direct, we had to fly from Nashville to Chicago and then from Chicago to London. It was a long day filled with lots of travelling, but we got home eventually after having a wonderful family trip away.