A look back at my weekend in Nashville.

I headed to Nashville, Tennessee Friday, just for the weekend with a mission to hear some live music and see lots of Christmas lights.

As far as my adult life goes, I always feel like it takes me awhile to get into the holiday spirit.

Maybe that’s because, well, life as a kid was pretty easy for me. Or, perhaps I miss many of the holiday traditions that seemed to fade as I got older.

Regardless, I feel like I have to work to find the season (which is ok), and I make a conscious effort to find it each year.

This year, I booked the trip to Nashville for many reasons. For one, I knew I’d be able to hear some amazing music there, and after a year of seeing some great concerts, I knew this would be a great way to toast such a “musical” year.

Two, I spent many-a-holiday in Tennessee growing up! The state will always hold a special place in my heart.

And three, I love discovering more about country music and its history and culture. I didn’t grow up listening to it, and i don’t have friends or family that are country music fans, so it’s been a fun solo journey.

So, Nashville it ‘twas! I didn’t even venture downtown — a choice i made when I booked the trip — simply because doing it properly would take a level of energy I currently don’t have.

My first stop? The Grand Ole Opry!

The Grand Ole Opry

I’ve wanted to visit The Grand Ole Opry for years! I have also always wanted to see someone iconic there, like Dolly or Reba or… Carrie Underwood?!

So, when Carrie Underwood was on the ticket that Friday night, I felt like the concert gods were on my side, yet again.

Although I’ve seen shows at the Opry on TV, but I didn’t actually connect the dots that that’s how the shows are in-person, too. DUH.

I was pretty confused when there was a radio host leading the show, and why were we only hearing a few songs from each artist? And, who were all these other singers?

Ugh. I annoy myself sometimes. Ha! I eventually understood what was happening, and I enjoyed myself, but the next time, I’ll be more mentally prepared.

I truly thought Carrie Underwood was crazy good — it’s a performance I’ll be thinking about for awhile! But, I also really loved Sara Evans.

I’d heard of her but knew none of her songs, and still really loved her performance. To me, that’s the sign of a great performer.

Opryland + Opry Mills

Saturday, I ventured to Opryland and Opry Mills (both right beside the Opry). I wanted to see Opryland all decked out for the holidays, and while it was definitely more for families, I enjoyed the Christmas trees they had themed for country artists.

There was 12 or so trees, with one for Reba, Little Big Town, Luke Bryan, and Kacey Musgraves, among many others.

After stomping around Opryland for a few hours, I walked over to Opry Mills, which is a giant mall. It was fine, and I did a little shopping — I tried on a record number of cowboy hats — the highlight of it was a tour of Madam Tussaud’s wax museum!

It was full of country music stars (there was even an Opry stage!), there were also pop stars (Justin Bieber, Michael Jackson, Taylor Swift) and legends, including Prince, Whitney Houston, Elvis, and Billie Holiday.

I still can’t believe how REAL all of them looked, and now I want to visit more Madam Tussaud’s!

Belmont University

I can’t imagine Belmont University is on many to-visit lists when it comes to Nashville, but wow, it’s a beautiful place!

I only went because I bought myself a ticket to see Dave Barnes’ Christmas show, and I was impressed at how stunning every building is.

I’ve been listening to Dave Barnes since college, and have seen him live before, but never a Christmas show.

It was such a treat! He sang mostly holiday songs (he has two Christmas albums and an EP), but also invited guests to sing, including Amy Grant!

I was grinning the entire 2+ hour show, and it was worth the entire trip. I feel so lucky to have seen it.

To top it all off, I bought some vinyls at the Opry, and then bought some more at Belmont. I feel like I was able to bring a bit of Nashville home with me and am excited to listen to them all year ‘round.

I’m curious if you do anything special to get yourself into the holiday spirit?

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