Editorial Coordinator Stephanie Hasbrouck Revisits Her Beloved Hometown

I never appreciated the beauty of my hometown until I didn’t live there anymore. Now I love to travel back home for holidays and family visits and become a tourist in my old stomping ground. If you haven’t yet visited the magical, musical town of Nashville, I highly recommend it. There truly is something for everyone in this art-filled city.

One of my absolute favorite places to visit is the old Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman is known to locals as the Mother Church. That’s because it once was a church. In 1892, Nashville businessman Thomas Ryman spearheaded the construction of the Union Gospel Tabernacle after attending a tent revival that unexpectedly inspired him to dedicate his fortune to the project.  When Ryman died, the building was renamed after him. In the 1920s, the Ryman became a venue for performances by traveling acts. And in 1943, the Ryman became home to the Grand Ole Opry and performances by legends like Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. It truly feels like hallowed ground. The building now is a popular concert venue. With its row-upon-row of wrap-around wooden pews and arched stained glass windows, attending a concert there truly is a spiritual experience. For Ryman tour and concert information, visit Ryman.com. 

In addition to its country music offerings, Nashville boasts a lavish symphony center that visitors must experience. The Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which opened in 2006, has become a cultural center in downtown Nashville and has received global accolades for its acoustical excellence and neo-Classical architecture.

The Schermerhorn plays host to many concerts – both classical and contemporary- and offers special children’s concerts several times a year. For more information about the Schermerhorn Symphyony Center and upcoming performances, visit NashvilleSymphony.org.

While it’s well known as the “Music City,” Nashville actually is a multi-faceted arts center. The Frist Art Museum is a prime example. Created as a family-friendly art appreciation center, the Frist houses the Martin ArtQuest Gallery filled with activities for art lovers of all ages. ArtQuest has 30 interactive stations for visitors to learn and create their own original pieces of art.

The Frist houses several ever-changing art exhibits. For families who are fans of Eric Carle stories, visit the exhibit “Eric Carle’s Picture Books: Celebrating 50 Years of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’” through Feb. 23. A complete list of exhibits can be found on the museum’s website FristArtMuseum.org.

For art and nature enthusiasts, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens is a must-visit. The 55-acre, flower-filled estate was originally the home of Leslie and Mabel Cheek. It was converted into a museum of art and botanical garden in 1960. Since that time, Cheekwood has housed numerous world-class art exhibits – many of which have been located throughout the gardens. One of the most popular exhibits is Chihuly at Cheekwood, which will return in April. Chihuly at Cheekwood will feature large-scale Chihuly glass sculptures within the gardens and a monumental sculpture in the Frist Learning Center Great Hall.

Cheekwood also offers a fun-filled Storybook Trail exhibit featuring pages from “The Little Engine that Could” book and a trail that leads to the gardens’ popular “TRAINS!” exhibit that children of all ages adore.  But perhaps the most enchanting aspect of Cheekwood is its natural beauty. With its 150,000 blooming bulbs in the springtime, it definitely is a sight to behold. For more information about Cheekwood and upcoming exhibits there, visit Cheekwood.org.

And let’s not forget the amazing food and libation options that abound in Nashville. From biscuit breakfasts to fine steak dinners to the popular Tennessee Whiskey Tours, Nashville has it all.

For more information on restaurants and things to do in my hometown, go to VisitMusicCity.com.

Sidebar: 

You’ve never eaten a biscuit until you’ve eaten a Loveless Café biscuit. The Loveless Café has been a Nashville fixture for more than 65 years, and there is a reason why. It’s so good!

Adele’s Nashville focuses on seasonal, locally-sourced comfort food, including made-from-scratch pizzas, with house dough and weekly special toppings.  

Kayne Prime Steakhouse is a favorite fine-dining destination with its top-notch steaks and fresh, farm-to-table dishes.

Stop by The Legendairy Milkshake Bar for a dessert that is, well, legendary. From Elvis-inspired “The King” shake to the “Shake It Up- Buttercup” shake, these over-the-top creations are sure to please everyone.