I’ve lived in Middle Tennessee 28 years, since 1990. By 2014 my Tennessee total constituted half of my life. So while I’m not a native, I’ve been around here long enough to be dangerous.
Over the years, I’ve had lots of friends and family come visit Nashville and I expect that trend to continue, so I’ve compiled a few general things that are good to know when you arrive.
- The road — Demonbreun Street — with the round-a-bout circling the naked statues is pronounced dee-MUN-bre-un, not DEMON-brewun. During my first trip to Nashville in 1988, I told the cab driver I needed to go to DEMON-brewun, and was summarily corrected.
- On the subject of street names, Nashville’s will change names without warning at any given moment. Depending on which way you turn at a red light, the exact same street may inexplicably change its name. It may therefore seem unintuitive that many of our thoroughfares actually have the same name. You see, we Tennesseans love Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson so much, every other street you will encounter in Nashville is called “Old Hickory Blvd.” Two people can be traveling on Old Hickory Blvd. at the same time and be roughly 4,000 miles away from each other and in different time zones.
- Although the ABC show “Nashville” is addictive and fun, don’t believe everything you see. Despite “Nashville’s” story line, every young and unknown singer/songwriter is NOT being discovered and “going on tour” within weeks of arriving here. Yes, the town is full of talented musicians, and yes, the vast majority of them will end up doing something else for a living. It’s a cruel fact. (Some even become communications directors.)
- “Y’all” is used all over the country, so even Yankees know what that means. The phrase “you’uns,” however, will sometimes elicit blank stares. No worries. It’s just another, slightly more Appalachian way to say “y’all.”
- And, by the way, it’s Appa —LATCH —un, not Appa—LAY—chi-un. Please commit this to memory.
- Pancake Pantry pancakes are good, but they’re not good enough that you should devote what roughly amounts to the Paleozoic Era waiting in line for them.
- If you’re looking for the traditional, raucous country music atmosphere, go to the clubs on Lower Broad. If you’re looking for a listening room, go to the Bluebird Cafe. Don’t try anything raucous in the Bluebird Cafe, lest you be shushed into oblivion.
- You’re in the South, so use your manners. Even the mosquitos have good manners. When they finish with you, they dab their mouth with a napkin, leave a 20-percent tip, and say “thank you” before flying away.
- Everybody cares about the Titans and a few of us care about the Predators, but those who do care a lot. For Nashvillians, the “Music City Miracle” is somewhat akin to the parting of the Red Sea. (The Bills were the Egyptians.)
- Get a milkshake from Elliston Place Soda Shop, a biscuit or two from the Loveless Cafe, and a cheeseburger from Brown’s Diner.
Hope you’uns have a good time!
A version of this post was previously published on DoofusDad and is republished here with permission from the author.
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