Nashville. We made the trip, and it was fine. The Ryman is a beautiful auditorium, and the Reeltime Travelers did a great job. Most of the rest of the music was very commercial and not to our taste, so around 9pm we decided to head out. As we did, we were surprised and pleased to run into three-fifths of the Travelers at the concession stand in the lobby, and so we visited with them for a few minutes. I think they were happy that some fans had made the trek from Bristol to cheer them on.
As on any trip, we managed to eat well. On our way to Nashville, we detoured off the interstate to Sevierville, home of ten thousand outlet mall stores and one stellar restaurant, the Applewood. It is connected with an operation that sells all things apple-related, which exerts a heavy influence on the menu—each meal begins with an apple cider cocktail and apple fritters, and there are many other apple-y things to be had, along with lots of excellent home-cooking entrees.
Before the Opry we sought out Rotier’s, home of excellent cheeseburgers. Due to the blizzard (so-called) the place was nearly empty, and there was talk of closing up early. But still they served us some mighty fine cheeseburgers (just like in the picture) and some surprisingly good pork BBQ.
Saturday morning we visited the Pancake Pantry, and once again benefited from the local unfamiliarity with snow and low temperatures—instead of the customary around-the-block line of waiting customers, we were seated right away. Service was excellent, the pancakes were spectacular (especially when doctored with the cinnamon cream syrup), and even the coffee was top-notch. There’s talk of moving the Wednesday men’s breakfast to the Pancake Pantry, five hour drive notwithstanding.