Solo travel gives one an interesting perspective on the hospitality of a place. When you’re by yourself, you become more in tune with those around you. Cabbies, bartenders, waiters, hotel staff and a cadre of locals (in my case, usually found in a craft beer bar, restaurant, art gallery or at a concert) can make you feel welcomed and part of a place, or just another anonymous visitor. Over my short four days in Nashville, I gave this question a lot of thought:
Had I ever been anywhere friendlier?
With the notable exception of St. John’s, NL, I’m having great difficulty in thinking of any city I’ve been that’s been more welcoming. The people of Nashville were unfailingly warm and open. Those I met on this trip quickly felt like long lost friends, eager to share a story and a laugh. What initially was a place that in my mind I might never get back to, now has become a place to which to return.
Sadly, this was only a short visit, but I think I got a great taste of southern culture. I wandered around the last afternoon of the CMA Music Fest hopping from stage to stage to listen in on some country music. I ate almost exclusively from regional specialties – barbeque, hot chicken, catfish, greens, grits, fried green tomatoes… every meal was an experience. I tried a number of great Tennessee craft beers. I did a little evening bar hopping along Broadway to take in some blue grass and old country standards.
I’m pretty happy with what I squeezed around the edges of this work-related trip. It gave me a nice taste of Nashville and was a wonderful warm up for what now will be a “sometime in the future” visit back to Tennessee. I’ll write more on Nashville in the coming weeks…