Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Last week was spent in Nashville while I attended the annual Christian Education Conference. I look forward to this time of learning, renewal and fellowship each year and this year did not disappoint. The conference rotates between 5 different cities. Each year we are given some free time in the mid-afternoon and the conference ends on Wednesday around lunchtime. Jack and I try to take advantage of the free time by taking in some of the city sights.

This year was a little different in that we drove up to Nashville on Saturday. Driving through Mississippi, we ran into this -

For those of you living in South Louisiana - yes, it's snow. It was probably only about 50 or 60 miles of it and the roads were never bad, but it did make me wonder about heading North.

Along the way we got off at Tuscaloosa for lunch. We ended up at Full Moon Bar-B-Que. It was a good meal even though we had to stomach having Alabama sports memorabilia all around us. Since we were close to the University of Alabama, we drove on campus, then headed back up the road.

We got to Nashville and checked into our hotel - the Downtown Sheraton. It was so bitterly cold that we were just glad to get in the warmth of our room. In fact the next morning I opened the curtains to see the state capital and found this inside our window -

Yes - it's ice inside the room!

We did get out and drive around a little to get our bearings of the town. We walked around downtown some too and ended up at The Old Spaghetti Factory for lunch. My conference started that evening. It was a wonderful time of song and teaching. Afterwards, Jack and I headed out to eat at The Sportsman Grille. This is located in the Vanderbilt area. Along the way we missed our turn so we were making the block to get back to it when we learned that they are serious about no turns on red. After a nice visit with a Vanderbilt policeman, we were on our way to eat. The food at the Sportsman Grille was really good. It is the type place that Jack and I like - basic menu, but with variety, cooked well and good service.

The next day I started my classes. We did have lunch time together and had a hard time finding a place open downtown since it was MLK Day. We ended up at a little place that looked promising. It was in an older building with charm, but I would not go back. The service was not good and the food wasn't much better. I can't remember the name - know there were numbers in it, but have no reason to remember. My classes that day ended a little late. Afterwards, Jack and I drove to the Parthenon. It is quite impressive. It was closed on Mondays, so we basically just saw the outside of it. We decided to head on out to Belle Meade Plantation for a tour. Not having Jack's Pilot with the GPS, we were back to the old fashion way of maps and directions. Let's just say that I'm not as efficient as the lady in the Pilot and we ended up turning on the wrong street. It was quite interesting seeing the houses in Belle Meade and eventually we arrived at the plantation - 5 minutes late for the last tour. So we headed out to see the Govenor's Mansion, which I know we passed, but didn't see. From there we went back downtown to the Bicentennial Capitol Mall.That night we wanted a good steak so we decided to check out Jimmy Kelly's Steakhouse. Another place with a good atmosphere - in an old house. We had good service, but the steak was a disappointment. It was a good cut and tender, but had no seasoning.

Tuesday was a wash out as I woke with a migraine - yuk! I spent the day recovering. That night we went back to a place we knew we could trust - the Sportsman Grille. Wednesday I felt much better and was able to go to my classes. After they were over we walked downtown and did the Ryman Auditorium and Country Music Hall of Fame thing. We ate lunch down there at Jack's Bar-B-Que - very tasty! We had a little time so we went to the Tennessee State Museum. Not much to see there that impressed. That night Jack wanted pizza, so we found the Nashville Pizza Company. Very thin crust, with lots of toppings.

Thursday we went back to Belle Meade and actually had a tour of the home this time. It is an interesting place as it is not a crop plantation, but a horse. After we finished there we headed towards Lynchburg. We drove through Shelbyville and Tullahoma. For lunch we stopped at the Downtown Cafe in Tullahoma. There we ate a plate lunch that was delicious and priced right. After lunch we finished our journey to Lynchburg where we toured the Jack Daniels Distillery. It was an interesting tour with a fun tour guide.

We had made plans to stay in Birmingham Thursday night at the Hotel Highland at Five Points. This is a nice little boutique hotel in downtown Birmingham - the kind we like. Of couse we had to do dinner and thought we'd check out some Tex-Mex. We were surprised to learn that there is a Superior Grill in Birmingham, so we decided to stick with something we knew and loved. The surprise was that the dishes aren't cooked like they are at home. They were good, just different. Our orginal plan was to stay in Birmingham some on Friday and check it out, but Jack had heel spurs, so walking was not a good idea. We came on home, got Trevor from boarding and stayed in while the rains poured.

This trip was different from how I had thought it would be. The temperature was extremely cold, we were both still fighting our colds and then with my migraine and Jack's foot, plans changed. But all in all it was a good trip that we enjoyed.