Despite the fact that we hadn't returned to our room until almost three in the morning the previous night, Rachelle, Arielle and I were up and downstairs for breakfast on Tuesday by 9 a.m. It was free food, after all. We couldn't pass it up. Especially because we were on a budget and determined to stick to it.
After eating and returning to the room to exchange our pajamas for society-acceptable clothes, we walked outside to find that not only was it absolutely freezing, but it was also raining. Cue the moans and groans. How were we going to walk around and explore when the weather was miserable? The answer to that was that we weren't. So we settled on doing something indoors; Country Music Hall of Fame.
We set off, excited with our plans and the fact that we would be inside, where it was warm and dry. But of course, it took us forever to find the place (construction and detours= a nightmare for tourists) and then when we did find it and somewhere to park, we had to walk half a mile in the freezing rain to get there.
With our heads held low and our teeth chattering, we walked into the foyer and shook off the cold, literally and mentally. We weren't about to let the weather dampen anything but our hair, unfortunately. United under one roof were the names that had invented and changed country music. From Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash to Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift. Decades of history, three stories of information. We were there for hours. And when we left, it was still cold, but not raining. It's the small things.
Lunch at a pub downtown followed, and then we were heading back to our room to prepare for the night ahead of us. Following the suggestion of our server from the night before, we ventured into locals territory, past the flashing neon lights of downtown and into the modest buildings of Midtown, where we were forced to chose between Losers and Winners. But not before we ran through the snow flurry that had decided to show off.
Losers won, but ended up losing because they didn't serve food. The next stop was Country Cafe, because of course a cafe would have food, right? But no, they didn't either. We left with promises to return, and ventured into Winner's territory, where it was indeed a win. Live music, friend pickles and two beers later, we were headed back to Country Cafe.
Where we were greeted as if we were long lost friends.
Where the manager officially dubbed us West Palm Beach and checked every five minutes to make sure we were still there.
Where we heard, hands down, the most talented artists and wondered, why aren't they famous?
Where we sat for hours, until the last number was done and the friends we'd made invited us back to Losers with them.
The live music continued, the friend making resumed, the beer drinking waged on. We were passed from one person to another, constantly explaining that we left the warmth and sunshine willingly and, why wouldn't we come to Nashville? The night ended with hugs all around, because Tennesseans don't shake hands, and a sober goodbye to the hole-in-the-wall bar that felt just a little like home.