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36 hours in Nashville | The Star

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NASHVILLE, TENN.—Nashville has undergone a number of iterations in recent decades, from its long-standing position as the “home of country music” to its boozier, fun cousin “Nashvegas” to its most recent as home to one of the fastest-growing foreign-born populations in the United States (not to mention the country’s No. 1 destination for bachelorette parties). Tourism aside, Nashville lures those wanting the cultural heft of larger cities on the coasts without the price tag. Behind the swell of newcomers are the expected bonuses: flourishing restaurant and art scenes, and a new crop of gleaming hotels that have brought with them performance spaces and rooftop bars.

For now, open-mic nights in taverns across town continue to be where new talent gets heard, so Nashville’s abiding place as a singer/songwriter mecca remains. For this short visit, skip the party madness on Second Avenue and Broadway, and find places like the Station Inn and the Douglas Corner Cafe that showcase what Nashville is famous for: fresh, original songs and the people who give them voice. Nashville has a large Hispanic population and sizable numbers of Kurds, Somalis, Egyptians, Sudanese and Laotians. So that food scene? It has some interesting contributors.

Friday5:30 p.m. A fine tribute

Renowned chef Jonathan Waxman’s tribute to his mother, Adele’s, in the reinvented Gulch neighbourhood, focuses on seasonal comfort food with little fanfare; the awards, food and breezy space do the talking. Situated in what was formerly the Universal Tire Center, Adele’s is a fine example of the visionary dining that is blooming in Nashville. Start out with the crispy shrimp with basil and togarashi aioli ($16 U.S.), then move on to the pork loin with watermelon, jalapeño chutney and mint ($24). When the weather permits, the garage doors are rolled up and the diners inside join those outside.

8:30 p.m. Pickin’ pedigree

Everyone’s favourite bar for bluegrass and roots music, the genre-bending, boxlike Station Inn sits genially amid the shiny highrises of the Gulch, a little like an architectural Luddite — but that is part of its charm. Until recently, Vince Gill played there on Mondays with The Time Jumpers. Other artists who have graced the small stage include Bill Monroe, Sam Bush, Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton and Gillian Welch. The Doyle and Debbie Show, crack satirists, play the Station Inn on Tuesdays; patrons sit on folding chairs at movable tables that become chaotic as the night progresses (you will be talking to your neighbours). Devotees can also nestle into seats salvaged from Lester Flatt’s tour bus. Get there early for the 9 p.m. show (admission, $15 to $20).

A view of Nashville from the Thompson Hotel.
A view of Nashville from the Thompson Hotel.  (William DeShazer)

11 p.m. Nashville skyline

Stay in the Gulch and top the night off with a view of Nashville’s glittering (and ever-changing) skyline, late-night snacks and thoughtful craft cocktails at the recently revamped Up Rooftop Lounge atop the Fairfield Inn. The chipotle-smoked salmon nachos with avocado crema, comeback sauce and herb aioli ($14) are a favourite. Pair that with the “no sorrow amaro” (amaro Montenegro, Berentzen apple whiskey, Combier apricot and lemon juice, $13), one of the bar’s signature drinks. Take your time; that free valet parking the club provides is good for three hours, time enough to download Nashville Live Music Venue, the city’s free app for finding live music.

Saturday10 a.m. Yes, the Parthenon

Grab breakfast (try EiO and The Hive in the Nations neighbourhood) and head to the Parthenon at Centennial Park, the only full-size replica of the Athens monument, built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, and a bit of a guilty pleasure. It took sculptor Alan LeQuire eight years to finish the colossal 42-foot statue of Athena inside, and considerable finesse to gild her in more than 8 pounds of gold leaf, part of the Parthenon’s makeover in 2002. Ironically, some find out about this Parthenon during the tour of the actual Parthenon in Athens. It is a good way to start the conversation about the history of democracy — and maybe the difference between pathos and bathos (admission $6.50 adults, $4 children).

Tourists get their picture taken among street art in the Gulch.
Tourists get their picture taken among street art in the Gulch.  (William DeShazer)

2 p.m. Johnny and Patsy together again

Save the ever-great Country Music Hall of Fame for a longer visit; two bite-size treasures honouring country legends Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline are conjoined just a block south of Broadway and pack a lot of wallop per square foot. Cash’s museum opened in 2014 and houses elements from June and Johnny’s Hendersonville home, his trademark outfits, awards and state-of-the-art technology to help tell his remarkable story (admission $19.95). The space just above it, which opened in 2017, is devoted to Cline: A wall displays every 45 record released, a trove of handwritten letters, gowns and jewelry, including the gold watch she was wearing on March 5, 1963, the day she died. Cline’s meticulously set table in her early 1960s dining room hits hard for those who know that she would perish in a plane crash at the height of her career at age 30 (admission, $18.95). Tip: The entrance to the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge is just across the street; it is free and freeing.

4:30 p.m. Vegan soul food

Opened in 2018, the Southern V has pulled off what many have attempted and at which many have failed: tasty comfort food that won’t stop your heart or break the bank; it is 100 per cent vegan. In a cheery, modern building in the Buchanan Arts District, the owners, Tiffany and Cliff Hancock, have put together a compelling menu that indulges the stomach while the smooth R&B in the background does the same for the spirit. Two barbecue jackfruit sliders with mac and (vegan) cheese and baked beans are $12.25; three crispy “chicken” strips with greens and green beans, $12.25.

Guests explore the displays inside the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Guests explore the displays inside the Country Music Hall of Fame.  (William DeShazer)

6 p.m. Break out

Long a hub for budding Americana and country talent, Douglas Corner in the Melrose neighbourhood has often been referred to as the “Improv” for songwriters: a small venue where many a career has been launched (Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, The Kentucky Headhunters and Blake Shelton, among others). Douglas Corner is one of the few venues in town that has a 6 p.m. show, so go; you never know who you will help discover. Cover: $5 to $10.

8:30 p.m. Hush

With the famed Bluebird Cafe usually reserved for months in advance, the Listening Room, which seats 300, is helping shoulder the mantle of hosting established singer/songwriters as well as young blood. Shows usually have three or four performers who take turns, with amusing banter in between. Hearing a hit song by the songwriter is different from hearing the hit song by someone else, which is often the case. The club, which, despite its size, has an intimate feel, also offers a full dinner menu. Tickets: $15 with a drink, or food minimum of $15.

11 p.m. Nightcap

Rudy’s Jazz Room is like a little snifter of Remy Martin: dark, delicious and seemingly from another era. Rudy’s opened in 2017 and was modelled after Smalls Jazz Club in Greenwich Village. The club has a speakeasy feel with stone walls made warm with mood lighting and casual seating, not to mention a Steinway Model B grand piano. Local musicians, as well as major acts from around the country, offer a smooth, urbane palate cleanser for those who may be over-twanged from recent evenings at bluegrass and country venues. On weekends, there is an 11:30 p.m. late show. Rudy’s also serves New Orleans-style cuisine, craft cocktails and beers on tap. Admission: $10 to $20.

Sunday10) 9 a.m. Sunday drive by

While much of Nashville is still asleep (or in church), see what all the hoopla is about downtown and on Broadway without the frenzy or the hangover. Your 9 a.m. Joyride appointment with a “driver ambassador” will take you to places of your choice. Swing by Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge and the other honky-tonks on lower Broadway. Learn the full history of the Ryman Auditorium and take a long look at The Country Music Hall of Fame; every curve of that structure has built-in significance, including a section that suggests the tail fin of a 1959 Cadillac. And let’s face it, running around in a golf cart is fun (cost: $45 per person).

UNDATED -- BC-TRAVEL-TIMES-36-NASHVILLE-ART-NYTSF — Handmade cowboy boots at Lucchese Bootmaker, in the reinvented Gulch neighborhood. Nashville has undergone a number of iterations in recent decades, from its longstanding position as the “home of country music” to its boozier, fun cousin “Nashvegas” to its most recent as home to one of the fastest-growing foreign-born populations in the United States (not to mention the country’s No. 1 destination for bachelorette parties). Tourism aside, Nashville lures those wanting the cultural heft of larger cities on the coasts without the price tag. (CREDIT: William DeShazer/The New York Times)

-- 

ONLY FOR USE WITH ARTICLE SLUGGED -- BC-TRAVEL-TIMES-36-NASHVILLE-ART-NYTSF -- OTHER USE PROHIBITED.
UNDATED — BC-TRAVEL-TIMES-36-NASHVILLE-ART-NYTSF — Handmade cowboy boots at Lucchese Bootmaker, in the reinvented Gulch neighborhood. Nashville has undergone a number of iterations in recent decades, from its longstanding position as the “home of country music” to its boozier, fun cousin “Nashvegas” to its most recent as home to one of the fastest-growing foreign-born populations in the United States (not to mention the country’s No. 1 destination for bachelorette parties). Tourism aside, Nashville lures those wanting the cultural heft of larger cities on the coasts without the price tag. (CREDIT: William DeShazer/The New York Times)

ONLY FOR USE WITH ARTICLE SLUGGED — BC-TRAVEL-TIMES-36-NASHVILLE-ART-NYTSF — OTHER USE PROHIBITED.  (William DeShazer)

10:30 a.m. Brunch and more music

The Sutler Saloon opened in 1976 and became a prominent watering hole for Nashville’s music business community as well as famous, and infamous, players. It reopened in its original spot in 2014 as part of an urban revival of the Melrose neighbourhood. The Sutler’s long-standing bluegrass brunch, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., has live music to go along with that provenance. The brunch offers two kinds of sangria ($16 for a pitcher; $8 for a glass) and bottomless mimosas for $17. The sweet potato pancakes with cinnamon bourbon syrup ($10.95) are just like they sound: Southern and delicious.

Noon. Vacation from vacation

Let onscreen characters take the wheel for a while and decompress at Nashville’s oldest and newest art house, The Belcourt Theater. It opened in 1925, underwent a monumental sleek overhaul in 2016 and is now the pride of Nashville’s film community, as well as the city. With three screens, it runs new indie releases and repertory classics, and there is usually a noon Sunday showing. The theatre stocks a full bar and locally made edibles. The Belcourt is in the middle of Hillsboro Village, some of the best gift-shopping, coffee-sipping and eating in town.

Lodging

Nashville has embraced a number of short-term rental platforms, including Airbnb, VRBO and HomeAway. They come in handy in trendy neighbourhoods such as East Nashville where hotels are few. Short-term accommodations in that neighbourhood for a night can cost anywhere from around $60 for a single bed to roughly $400 for an entire house.

Formerly a 19th-century train station, the downtown Union Station Hotel was built in 1900 and was updated with $16 million worth of upgrades in 2007. The hotel is Southern, traditional and opulent, but with contemporary amenities and close to everything downtown. Rates start at $229.

The Bobby Hotel, a boutique hotel newly opened in the heart of downtown, offers rooms designed around pieces found in cities around Europe, 24-hour room service, a fitness centre, a rooftop bar and an original kind of branding: “Bobby” is the spirit of a traveller who brings back treasures from faraway lands. Rooms start at $259 a night.

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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