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More Nashville Culture

More Nashville Culture
By Candyce H. Stapen

More than just a country music Mecca, Nashville’s a sophisticated city with several art museums and a symphony. In summer listen to the Nashville Symphony’s free, outdoor, classical concerts in the city’s parks. Year-round enjoy performances of works by Brahms, Beethoven, Bach and other classical musicians at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Indoors, the 55-acre Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art gains fame for its botanical prints, Worcester porcelain, American silver and dazzling Fabergé collection that includes three eggs plus tulips fashioned from amtheyst, quartz and diamonds.

Outdoors, stroll through boxwood, Japanese and seasonal gardens and also explore the nearly mile-long sculpture trail that’s home to whimsical works such as Sophie Ryder’s “Crawling Lady Hare” and abstract creations such as George Ricky’s “One Line Horizontal Floating Twenty Feet,” a metal beam that moves with the wind, changing appearance. With a Backpack Adventure bag, borrowed from the museum, kids can follow scavenger hunt clues or sketch what they see. The backpacks are more likely to be available in summer.

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts, located in an impressive adaptation of the former main post office, offers Frist Fridays, a summer concert series. Linger in the courtyard and listen to a variety of music from country and western to classic rock. Unlike most art museums, the Frist, with no permanent collection, serves as a venue for traveling exhibits.

Among the upcoming shows are “Georgia O’Keeffe and Her Times,” presenting American works from the Lane Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as well as “Thomas Hart Benton in Story and Song,” a display of the artist’s drawings and watercolors that illustrated several of Mark Twain’s novels. Both exhibits run from October 2, 2009 through January 31, 2010. Those who feel moved to create should visit ArtQuest, the museum’s room where kids and families can paint watercolors, make a print and create a sculpture.

Music City features plenty of places to eat. For a stuff-your-face breakfast of biscuits, eggs, ham and blueberry pie, try the Loveless Café, a Nashville landmark at the northern end of the Natchez Trace Parkway. Popular Jack’s Bar-B-Que serves up pork, chicken and turkey plates that get locals lining up. At Tayst Restaurant and Wine Bar, certified by the Green Restaurant Association, find such tasty staples as spaghetti and meatballs (the spaghetti is whole wheat), trout and chicken fricassee.

The Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center is a mega-resort whose 2,881 rooms are within a complex containing indoor gardens, (the atrium alone houses 60,000 plants), restaurants and shops. The hotel provides shuttles to the downtown area 10-miles away. The Grand Ole Opry is within walking distance of the hotel complex as is Opry Mills Outlets Mall with its 200 off-price stores. The place to stay downtown is the 122-room Hermitage, a grande dame property rated AAA Five Diamonds.

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