Tennessee– Where we spent a few weeks in March during our northward trajectory. From bustling musical urban centers to rolling pastures, we had a great time cruisin’ horizontally through the state. Throughout our journey, here are a few things that stood out about Tennessee along the way:
EVERYWHERE! As we drove across the state we saw cheerful spurts of yellow consistently dotting the landscape. While I am sure many are intentionally planted, these native little flowers also grow naturally and freely everywhere. The eye-popping bursts of yellow against the green backdrop were oh so charming!
Vibrant music presence
From Memphis in the west to Nashville in the north, these two major urban centers have a lively and ever-active music scene. Of course, there is Graceland, the former home of Elvis Presley in Memphis, cementing Memphis’s commanding role in the Rock and Roll scene, but Blues is also king in Memphis. In the north, Nashville has more live entertainment on a daily basis than any other city I have seen, giving true credence to its nickname, “Music City”. While Country Music dominates the scene in Nashville with places like “The Grand Ole Opry”, you can also find a fun assortment of all different genres of music throughout the city, and specifically on the main tourist drag of Broadway street.
County names on license plates
I kept seeing formal family surnames on the Tennessee cars we encountered. With a quick internet search, I soon learned that these were not surnames or even dealership names, but rather, in Tennessee license plates bear the county names, which is something we had not yet encountered in other states.
Pork focused BBQ & vinegar-based sauces
BBQ is a religion throughout much of the U.S., and each state likes to make its own mark on this culinary tradition. Whereas the majority of the BBQ we encountered in Texas was focused heavily on beef, much of what we sampled in Tennessee focused on pork and their BBQ was accompanied with more vinegar based sauces. Memphis, in particular, is a hotbed for tasty BBQ, where we especially enjoyed “Central BBQ”.
This food craze is all over Nashville. It is fried chicken with a spicy kick, and pairs especially well with something sweet. Waffles are a standard go-to, but we especially enjoyed the hot chicken & beignets plate served-up at “Party Fowl”.
A very historic road
While we were down in the Murfreesboro part of Tennessee. We happened along The Old Nashville Highway and came across the site of the Civil War “Battle of Stone Creek”, which is now a National Park. While talking to park rangers, we learned that this old highway was one of the first roadways in the territory, and was not only the site of this famous Civil War battle, but was also part of the Trail of Tears, and was believed by historians to have played a role in the Underground Railroad, as well. A very mixed and important history for one roadway.