Music City Trolley Hop Tour
Waiting for the red trolley car to arrive, there was time to visit the Farmer’s Market in Nashville, Tennessee. Downtown parking seemed rather expensive at $20 for the afternoon but it was free to park at the Farmer’s Market and hop on the trolley at that point.
The driver and guide made the trip fun with a great assortment of historical facts, stories of businesses and some downright corny jokes. The Trolley Tour is a hop-on tour so you can get off at seventeen various stops and hop right back on later in the day. Sure saves fighting downtown traffic.
Getting on at this point, the first stop is the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park. Not sure if the guide was stretching the truth or not, but he said the fountain of water supported a large granite ball weighing 18,000 pounds!
The view of the capitol building brings out everyone’s cameras. The capitol building is framed by the 50 columns, representing the 50 states in the United States. The 95 bell carillon rings out on the hour and represents the 95 counties in Tennessee.
Attention was given to the local Piggly Wiggly as this chain began in Memphis, Tennessee as the first self-service grocery store back in 1916 by Clarence Saunders. Previous to this time, shoppers gave their orders to the clerk and the clerk then gathered everything from the shelves. Saunders rearranged the stores to make shopping much faster for the customer and the clerk. Today there are 600 Piggly Wigglys in 17 states.
RCA Studio B created Nashville magic for over 35,ooo songs, making it an international recording center known as one of the cradles of the “Nashville Sound”. Popular artists, such as Elvis Presley, Chet Atkins, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, and Eddy Arnold recorded their songs here.
Nearby, the historic site of Columbia Records Studio A displays large guitars indicating the Carter Family and Johnny Cash recorded many of their songs here. Today both of these formerly popular studios are learning centers for Belmont University.
At Riverfront Train Station, the trolley takes a short break before continuing on the rest of the route. This site was previously the home of another train depot which was build in 1902. The present station was built in 2005 and they have attempted to capture the Old World flavor.
Straight across the street from the station is Honky Tonk Row. This is where many stars and hopefuls play during the evening hours as entertainment in many local clubs. They provide encouragement, a stage, and a tip jar for musicians.
The beautiful Cumberland River flows behind the station and gives a grand view of the Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans football team, on the other side. You can actually walk across the river to the stadium on the Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge. The Cumberland River is 688 miles long and eventually joins the Ohio River in Kentucky.
A beautiful sculpture brightens the waters also. Ghost Ballet East Bank Machineworks received its name because as you look at the sculpture from different angels, it suggests movement, similar to that of a dancer. This gives a little time to watch the river flow by and gain a little peace from the busy day.
On our way back to Farmers Market, evidence appears that Nashville hosts more than country music. A glimmering bronze statue, The Recording Angel, stands at the corner of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, home of the Nashville Symphony, which provides classical music entertainment. But they are no snobs, as often country music favorites appear accompanied by the orchestra.
This tour will perhaps be taken again someday when there is more time to visit various stops along the way. It is the perfect way to see Nashville…without fighting downtown traffic or trying to find a parking place! Try the Hop-On Tour the next time you visit Nashville.