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If I had the time, I would pinch myself. We’re taking off for Nashville and Memphis to immerse ourselves in Tennessee music and culture. At home, in Auckland, New Zealand, our immediate family of four has eclectic music tastes. But, we agree most passionately on the music that comes out of Tennessee.
When Grandmother Bertie called to say, "Emma, help me plan the family reunion" and "it's going to be in Nashville, Tennessee," I was rolling my eyes at first, then literally jumping up and down, whispering to Andy and the kids that our dream Music City trip was on.
Get this: Andy's volunteered to make the reservations and itinerary for our stopovers before and after the big Nashville reunion, with help from our son Tyler and daughter Ellie. Sweet! (Note to self: Double-check the reservation dates. I always do the planning for family trips, so here's hoping Andy's got the dates right.)
Our Nashville "wish list" includes going to the Ryman Auditorium. Top of the list: The Grand Ole Opry. After hearing about it from American friends and Nashville relatives, each of us has a different reason for wanting to see "the Opry." In Centennial Park, we’ll see the Parthenon, the world’s only full-scale reproduction of the one in Athens, Greece.
All of Ellie and Tyler’s cousins will be with us at the Wilson County Fair in Lebanon. The whole family reunion party is going to the largest county fair in Tennessee. Isn’t anticipation delicious?
While the young people are catching up with each other, Andy and I will visit Honky Tonk Highway, stopping in Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and Robert’s Western World for some hot country music. You never know who you’ll see in the Lower Broadway clubs in the shadow of the Ryman. Just think, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and other stars began their careers at Tootsie’s.
We’re staying through September! Ellie, 12, 17-year-old Tyler, Andy and I will rock out at Nashville’s Americana Music Festival. Four nights and 100 live performances at five music venues--all in downtown Nashville. We’re there!
Our house is full of chatter, suitcases and plan-making, in anticipation of the trip. While they're in Nashville, Tyler and Ellie are determined to unearth more good stuff on some of their favorite country music performers than the tabloids could ever tell them about. Country Music Hall of Fame, here we come! And, we’d love to see fellow New Zealander Keith Urban’s star on Nashville’s Music Mile.
Details, details! Ellie's promised to bring her girlfriends Hatch Show Print souvenirs. Andy's freshly curated his Nashville playlists, and I think that's more important than packing for him. Me, I've got numbers and info for the whole extended Walker family reunion in my phone. We're getting there!
Trip Transcript: Of course, the Walker family of four had their prized Grand Ole Opry tickets. But, when four additional family members joined the big reunion at the last minute, Emma, Andy, Tyler and Ellie generously gave their tickets to them. All was not lost, however. The Walkers got four tickets from a friendly Nashvillian who happened to need to leave the Opry just as the show was starting. What a great gesture! Southern hospitality rings true.
A Walker family recommendation: Spend summer with family or friends in Tennessee. There's nothing sweeter.Start Planning Your Trip to Tennessee
About the Walker Family
Emma, 42, is a communications specialist, as well as a social media and music enthusiast. Andy, 45, an IT strategist, plays guitar and is a bona fide music aficionado, fond of diverse music genres. Tyler, 17, plays soccer and will begin college soon. He'll probably get into a soccer game or two along the way. Ellie, 12, impresses family and friends with her artistic talents and, like her father Andy, is into music appreciation. She plays the flute, and Andy's begun to teach guitar to Ellie.
The places featured in these stories are authentic Tennessee experiences, shared by thousands of visitors from around the world. The photos and scenarios used are characterizations of people creating memorable moments at various points of interest throughout the state. The Grand Ole Opry tickets being serendipitously passed to a New Zealand family from a friendly Nashvillian really did happen though.