Shake Shack – Nashville

14 April 2019

Pic 2019-0414 06 Nashville Shake Shack (5) edit

Since we stumbled into our first Shake Shack in New York City 2015, they have expanded globally.  We’ve found them in London, Tokyo, Austin, Hollywood, Baltimore and now Nashville.  So how long will it take for Raleigh, North Carolina to get its very own?

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Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

15 – 18 April 2019

Pic 2019-0415 05 Gatlinburg Walk (11) edit

Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge-Sevierville is a popular resort area to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It has become, for better or worse, the Myrtle Beach of the mountains. We love the action and excitement of Myrtle Beach so we loved our time here, but it’s not for everyone. We spent more time enjoying the fun and entertainment than the surrounding mountains.

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Gatlinburg

Fun in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge

Ogle Place in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Nashville to Gatlinburg

15 April 2019

Pic 2019-0415 03 Foothills Parkway (4) edit

With our Nashville visit in the rearview mirror we drove east to our other main stop, Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains, and made several stops along the way. Hiking at Cummins Falls State Park outside Cookeville gave us an opportunity to stretch our legs. The American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge was interesting to learn more about the Manhattan Project. The last leg of the drive along the Foothills Parkway was not the quickest way to Gatlinburg but worth the time.

Pic 2019-0415 01 Cummins Falls State Park (7) edit

Cummins Falls State Park

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Foothills Parkway (Walland to Wears Valley)

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Nashville, Music City USA

12–14 April 2019

Pic 2019-0413 08 Nashville Seigenthaler Bridge (6) edit

For Spring Break this year we took the opportunity to get back on the road, this time to explore Nashville and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Nashville, the Capital of Tennessee, is known by many names, the Capital of Country Music, Music City USA, and Nash Vegas amongst others. It is one of the United States’ unique destinations.

It didn’t take long for us to understand why they call it Nash Vegas. Outside of Las Vegas, we’ve never seen so many bachelorette parties – limos, buses, party wagons everywhere we looked up and down Broadway.

Downtown Nashville

Music City USA is a more obvious nickname. Live music rings out throughout downtown streets and alleys. Similar to the Blues in Memphis and Jazz in New Orleans, Country Music largely defines Nashville’s image. This was a family trip so we didn’t spend time in the juke-joints and honky-tonks that line the streets; instead we concentrated on the town’s history and quirky sites.

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Nashville Capitol Mall

Centennial Park located downtown, north of Vanderbilt University, was a bit of a disappointment. The park’s size and location in this vibrant town felt like an opportunity lost. Its highlight, the Parthenon, was worth the effort though. The full-scale replica of the original in Athens, Greece, was built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition.

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Centennial Park

Nashville is filled with current and historically significant landmarks of Country Music. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum, Ryman Auditorium, Johnny Cash Museum, Music Row, The Grand Ole Opry, Bluebird Café, and Third Man Records top the list.

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Country Music Hall of Fame

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Third Man Records (Jack White of the White Stripes)

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The Grand Ole Opry

Antique Archaeology (American Pickers TV Show)

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Denver

17 August 2018

Pic 2018-0817 04 Denver (8) edit

Our 14 month trip ended with a concert from one of our favorite bands, Old Crow Medicine Show, at a bucket list venue, Red Rocks Amphitheatre. It was a perfect end to an amazing experience.

Before the show we stopped in Boulder to walk the University of Colorado and toured downtown Denver.

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University of Colorado

Denver

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Red Rocks Amphitheatre

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Rocky Mountain National Park

16 August 2018

Pic 2018-0816 99 Rocky Mtn NP (4) edit

Rocky Mountain National Park, established in 1915, is one of the great national parks. This was our second time in the park. We only had one day to spend but got to experience the highlights. If we had another day we might have taken on some longer hikes. As it was we drove Old Fall River Road – a one way dirt road up to the Alpine Visitor’s Center, hiked up to Marmot Point, and returned on Trail Ridge Road. Near Bear Lake we saw a large heard of Elk that frequent the area in the late afternoons. Our last hike of the day was a popular trail to Bear, Nymph, Dream and Emerald Lakes. We ended the day in the town of Estes Park, a tourist town near one of the park entrances.

Rocky Mountain National Park

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Driving Across Colorado

15 August 2018

Pic 2018-0815 03 Colorado Border (1) edit

Interstate 70 across Colorado is one of the most scenic interstate drives in the United States. Today we drove from Moab to Denver with a few stops along the way including Grand Junction, Glenwood Springs, and Vail.

Vail

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