Nashville, Day Two
The trip with my mom and three sisters continued today with our visit to downtown Nashville. We started the sightseeing by walking along the west bank of the Cumberland River. We then walked down Broadway past great classic stores like Hatch Show Print, Diana’s Sweet Shop, and Gruhn Guitars, and past bars with open doors and the sounds of music pouring out onto the streets already at 11:00 A.M.. We also walked by the beautiful Ryman Auditorium on 5th Avenue/Opry Place, but did not take a tour.
Next, we headed up over the Cumberland River on the historic Shelby Street Bridge. This National Historic Place truss bridge was almost torn down, but instead was nicely refurbished and reopened as a pedestrian and bicycle bridge in 2003. There is a wide bike lane down the middle of the bridge with raised sidewalks on each side for pedestrian traffic. A new public park sits along the Cumberland at the east base of the bridge. Both bridge bases are easily accessible by an elevator or stairway if you want to cut off some of the ramp up to the bridge.
After seeing the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge yesterday, the Shelby Street Bridge today, and their lovely surroundings, we all gave Nashville high marks for making the most of their public spaces. And there was even more to come!
Next, we drove over near the capitol building and went to the Nashville Farmers’ Market. I had read about the award-winning farmer’s market which includes restaurants and an eating area. We enjoyed seeing it and getting some lunch. This is easily the largest farmer’s market I have ever seen!
After lunch, we stepped out onto the adjacent Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, yet another wonderful public space, north of the state capitol building. These lowlands were not conducive to building large multi-story buildings like those constructed on the east, west, and south sides of the capitol building. Instead an open mall, patterned after Washington D.C., was constructed here to honor Tennessee’s history, with the added benefit of keeping one side of the capitol building visible and not blocked from sight by large buildings.
The Bicentennial Mall contains a “Pathway of History” (a walk-along timeline of important events in Tennessee history), a Centennial Memorial, a World War II Memorial, a bell carillon, fountains celebrating the “Rivers of Tennessee”, and (my personal favorite) a 200 foot granite map of the state. (I really regret not taking a picture of this from atop the hill near the Capitol building.)
After walking around for awhile, we decided the time had come to make the trek up to the Capitol. So. Many. Steps. After I recovered from the climb, we walked along the east side of the capital building which honors Tennessee’s three presidents, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson. In fact, President Polk and his wife Sarah are entombed here.
By this time, I, at least, was pooped! What a great day of walking around Nashville, seeing the sites, telling stories of home and family, and laughing!
Good day, good walking!