After spending 10 days on the road on the Natchez Trace Parkway, we drove to Nashville, Tennessee. We found many things to do in Nashville during the Pandemic, both with and without our dogs. We were traveling with our two 100-lb dogs and touring Nashville was going to be a bit of a challenge but we were up for it!
Finding Things to do in Nashville during the Pandemic: Monday
We arrived in Nashville on Monday, October 19, 2020. We stayed at The Bobby Hotel for three nights. The hotel is a 4 star hotel with three restaurants, a pool, and several bar areas (most not open during our stay). The hotel is within walking distance of downtown Nashville and most attractions. It was the only the only upscale hotel that allowed dogs so much so that they have a dog that lives there. The room was quite nice and I opted for a balcony for the dogs (which we rarely used).
Due to COVID, many restaurants were not open or closed early. We were lucky to find an outside sitting area at The Corner Pub near the hotel. The food was good and we struck up conversations at the tables on both sides of us (people love to talk about our dogs). We would soon find out that finding dog friendly restaurants would be very difficult.
Finding Things to do in Nashville during the Pandemic: Tuesday
We had decided to board our dogs for one day so we could see the city more freely. On Tuesday, October 20th we took our dogs to Red Rover Pet Services which was only a 5 minute drive from our hotel. Our dog, Milo, does not like kennels so we sent him off with some Valium and away we went to explore the city by foot.
My husband is a huge Johnny Cash fan so our first stop was at the Johnny Cash Museum. I was very impressed with the museum and how much memorabilia they had ranging from his early childhood up to his late years.
We walked by the Ryman Auditorium and took some pictures with some of the many statues they had outside. They were not doing tours due to COVID.
The next unexpected stop was at the local walk in clinic for a minor issue. I only put this in here because I was totally impressed with this place. I was the only one waiting and was in and out in 30 minutes. I can’t say enough for how nice the staff was. We then took a trip to the local CVS and (also super nice people) before heading out for a day of bar hopping.
We came across some cool statues during our walk to the bars. There were many signs along the streets indicating that the 2nd Presidential Debate (Trump vs. Biden) would be happening at Belmont University soon. We also explored the area near the Cumberland River.
We continued our walk to Broadway Street to see the iconic side of Nashville. There are tons of bars on Broadway with lights everywhere and live music coming out of each one. It is still one of the best things to do in Nashville during the Pandemic. It kinda reminded me of a mini Las Vegas. We could not have done this with the dogs as there was ZERO outside seating available.
We went into several bars. Due to COVID, masks were required until we sat down. The first bar we went into was Lucky Bastard Saloon. The place was mostly empty but the guy singing was pretty good. We got some appetizers and I washed my meds down with a beer before we went to the next place.
We then headed to the bar with the loudest music and the best name: Redneck Riviera. The bar specials were great and you could get a bucket on Montucky beers for super cheap. I had never seen this brand of beers before. Joe was pretty excited about them.
One thing I found interesting is the amount of cowboy boot stores in Nashville. Many of them had “sales” of buy one get two free. While I was tempted to visit them (I ride horses and thought maybe I could justify this purchase) I refrained. We did see this guy who did not refrain. I’m thinking this is not the way to wear cowboy boots but I give this guy credit for rocking them!
Our last stop before dinner was at Nudie’s Honky Tonk. This was the fun bar! The band really engaged the patrons and for $20 they’d sing anything you want including Eminem’s Lose Yourself song (or so I thought). My $20 did not get them to sing Stuck on You by Lionel Ritchie. They did play The Gambler so I was good. We tried to leave this place twice before we actually left. It was THAT MUCH fun! If you go to Nashville, this bar is a CAN NOT miss.
Since we did not have the dogs, this was our chance to go to a nice romantic restaurant and we chose Skull’s Rainbow Room after seeing many reviews on Facebook. This probably would have been a good couples photo opportunity but the look on Joe’s face when he got “the best porkchops I’ve ever had” was a more memorable photo.
We decided to head back to the hotel for a 2 hour nap to sleep off our dinner (and alcohol) before hitting the bars that night. As it turns out this was a fatal mistake. At 9 pm, we set back out and went inside a pretty lame bar along Printer’s Alley and then decided to go back to Broadway into Bootleggers Inn. The music was pretty good and the drinks went down smoothly. About an hour later we hear the bartender call for “Last Call”. The bars close at 10 pm due to COVID. It wasn’t only the bars, but any food establishments, liquor stores, etc. EVERTHING WAS SHUT DOWN!! We headed home defeated but probably skirted a nasty hangover the next day.
Finding Things to do in Nashville during the Pandemic: Wednesday
On Wednesday, October 21st we picked up the dogs from Red Rover and walked across the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. This is one of they many free things to do in Nashville during the Pandemic and connects downtown Nashville with residential areas. The bridge goes over the Cumberland River. On the other side is the Titan’s Stadium which offered lots of green space so the dogs could do their “business”.
Afterwards, we met my aunt and uncle for lunch at Puckett’s. They live outside Nashville and it was great to catch up with them after many years of not connecting. This is one of the only restaurants in downtown Nashville that offers outdoor seating and is dog friendly.
One of the easiest things to do in Nashville during the Pandemic is just relaxing. The rest of the day we spent lounging around the hotel pool area on the top floor. We were the only ones there so we brought the dogs to join us. Due to COVID, the bar and restaurant were closed. The space is pretty neat and I can imagine during regular times it would be pretty hopping. They even had an old bus that you could dine and drink in (it was also closed).
Eating is one of the easiest things to do in Nashville during the Pandemic (or so we thought). For dinner, several people had recommended Prince’s Chicken instead of Hattie B’s. They had a location at 423 6th Ave. S. which was a bit of a walk but we decided it was worth it to try Nashville’s infamous hot chicken. It was not easy to find because we didn’t realize it was a food truck inside of a brewery. We got there at 6:05 and they closed at 6 pm! Due to COVID, many restaurants either closed early or weren’t open at all. We then walked and walked and walked to try and find outdoor dining where we could take the dogs. After being defeated, we went back to the hotel and ordered room service. Below is pic I took of Broadway at dusk.
The next morning we got up and left Nashville to finish our journey home. We were surprised to find that we found many more things to do in Nashville during the Pandemic than we had anticipated. Our last stop before Maryland was along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
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In October 2020, my husband, myself and our two dogs drove the Natchez Trace Parkway from Nashville, TN to Natchez, MS. It took us 14 days, 60 hours and nearly 2,800 miles from Maryland. The original Natchez Trace Trail dates back to the 1700’s and winds in and out of the parkway with historic markers …
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