When I was growing up, I visited my cousin in Nashville almost every summer.
She was an only child, and I was the youngest of three older brothers, so she was the closest thing to a sister I had.
Her parents lived across the street from Vanderbilt University, and I loved walking around the beautiful campus. Even as a child, I could appreciate the beautiful old churches that dot the city, as well as other historic buildings.
Fast forward to about 10 years ago when our daughter decided to move to Music City. We loved visiting her and exploring Nashville, which of course had changed and grown so much since I last visited.
One of the first places I wanted to visit was Union Station, the beautiful old train station that served as such an important place for transporting people and goods throughout the country. Built between 1898 and 1900, Union Station was designed by L&N (Louisville and Nashville) Railroad engineer Richard Montfort.
When I was growing up, Union Station was closed and badly in need of renovation. I still marveled at its beauty, and wondered what the inside looked like. I was so excited to visit and could not believe how beautiful and majestic the inside is.
The 65 foot ceilings in the lobby and so ornate and lovely. The huge limestone fireplace is the original one, and though it is no longer a wood-burning fireplace, it has been converted to gas and they still burn it during the winter and on special occasions. There are ornate wood carvings, original stained glass, Italian marble, and souring ceilings.
Almost every time we visited our daughter, who ended up starting a business there and in Atlanta when she was just 22-years old, we stopped by Union Station to look around and have a glass of wine.
I wanted to stay there, but when you have a “free” place to stay (our daughter’s home), I could never justify the expense — and it is not cheap.
This past Christmas, that same daughter gave us a free night’s stay at the iconic hotel as a gift. We recently cashed in our gift card and stayed at Union Station for the first time. Oh the beauty of the room! There are just 125 rooms in the hotel, and all of them are unique. Ours had super high ceilings and incredible windows.
I forgot to mention, Union Station is on Broadway Street, so it is on the main drag and within walking distance of tons of restaurants, bars, and shops.
Nashville is a walking city — it is really a cluster, meaning you can get to so many places in less than 15 minutes by car — plus lots of places you can just walk to. It is so fun to have lunch in the middle of the day while enjoying live music. As you might imagine, the people watching is extraordinary.
One last note, Union Station is currently being renovated, so if you are going to visit, you might want to wait until that is completed. When we were there, the restaurant was not operational, so that was unfortunate.
Whether you stay at Union Station, or just stop in to visit, you will not be disappointed if you visit Nashville.
Music City is full of fun things to do — many of which are not related to music at all. But if you are a music lover, you will be super happy you visited!
Put this city and this majestic hotel on your summer travel plan list — it’s only about four hours from here, so not a bad trip at all. Keep me posted if you go and how your experience was.
Adlen Robinson is an award winning columnist and author of “Organic Food and Kitchen Matters.” You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.