Yesterday we drove southwest taking I 71 from Walton through a forest of mostly russet-coloured deciduous trees over low mountains down into river valleys. We stopped in Clermont, Kentucky at the Jim Bean American Stillhouse. We took the 10a tour with Tyler....an enthusiastic guide.
We learned that the mash is 70% corn, 23% rye and 7% malt. We learned the process of heating, distilling and aging. We tried the clear 127% proof wine before aging by dipping a finger into a mason jar...no need to worry about contaminates. Alcohol kills all. We saw the charred white oak barrels that give the bourbon both its flavor and rich color. The barrels are used once and sold on to whiskey distilleries, And we got to taste a special batch of 9 year old Knob Creek bourbon...80% proof. A pinkie finger taste. After we went to the tasting room in another building. We tried 3 different kinds of bourbon. And we received the shot glass to take home.
After we finished we drove over hill and dale to Nashville Tennessee. We found a room at the Fiddlers Inn on Music Row and settled in. We took the 20 min. shuttle ride into Broadway.
A lot of the action is here. Dolly Parton is celebrating 50 years at the Grand Ole Opry and sings Sat. night at the Opry. Tootsies had closed off a block on Broadway and was featuring stars singing. That block was packed with people. Willie Nelson was singing when we arrived.
We went looking for a quieter place that served food. This was hard to find. All the big name country stars have a 3-4 story pub....most with roof-top bars. We stopped at Rich's Red Neck Bar for pot roast sandwich and chicken sliders. There was live music although we did not know the duo. We watched a game of Jenga while we ate.
After we walked around, found the Johnny Cash Museum, a Kitchen restaurant with down home cooking and went back on Broadway. We stopped in another bar, listened to a loud band with a singer and went on. 10p found us struggling through crowds of packed people past Tootsies to 5th Street. We went down by the Predator Bridgestone Arena to the Country Hall of Fame. We stopped for a nightcap. Gord talked to a fellow from Connecticut. He was involved in Housing the homeless. We caught the shuttle home.
Today we caught the 10a shuttle along with 2 busloads of tourists into town. Our a.m. was spent on the Studio B tour. A bus ride to Music Row and a tour of the studio where Elvis Presley recorded his music along with many other stars from the 50's and 60's. We saw the original Steinway piano Elvis along with others played, listened to music and learned the history of Studio B....still occasionally in use. It was very hard to stand still...and we were encouraged to sing, dance and move with the music. My toes started tapping as soon as I walked in. We had so much fun. The hour flew by.
The afternoon was mainly spent in the Country Music Hall of Fame reading about the history of country music, the people who sang and seeing lots of memorabilia like Elvis' gold plated Cadillac and Web Pierce's Bonneville.
It was after 4p when we wandered over to Broadway and stopped at a crowded AJ's bar...Allan Jackson's bar. We listened briefly to the female singer then left to go to the Benchmark where the music was too loud but seats could be had.
At 6p as we left seats were filling up. We went for a dinner of salads. Then wandered back up Broadway stopping to listen to music. At The Stage we went in. Music was country....and at a reasonable tone. We ordered, found seats and had several dances in the balcony. Fun.
It was early when we left behind the music, the people and the downtown highrises to go back home.