Fun in Nashville

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Hit the Hall — Kick off your Nashville experience with a day at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum. The world’s largest popular music museum offers ever-changing exhibits featuring the legends of country music past and today’s hottest stars. Grab a bite to eat inside the museum at 2|22 Eatery, a full-service restaurant serving Southern favorites, or at Bajo Sexto, an authentic Mexican taqueria. Then take some time to explore the museum’s two retail stores offering locally-made gifts, clothing, and a comprehensive selection of books and music.

Ride the Row — Take a tour of Music Row and visit historic RCA Studio B, the famous recording studio where Elvis recorded more than 200 songs. Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Chet Atkins, Eddy Arnold, and many more recorded classic hits here. Not surprisingly, the heartbeat of Music City is driven by music — from country to classical. Tours of RCA Studio B depart daily from the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum.

Visit The Parthenon — In Nashville’s Centennial Park, you’ll find the world’s only full-scale reproduction of the ancient Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The Parthenon houses an art gallery and museum as well as Alan LeQuire’s Athena Parthenos. Standing at almost 42 feet in height, Athena is the tallest indoor sculpture in the Western world. Just a mile from The Parthenon is the LeQuire Gallery, where you can visit Alan in his studio and witness one of the nation’s premier sculptors.

Take In A Songwriters-In-The-Round Show — One of the most unique ways to hear music in Nashville is at a songwriters show. Typically called a “writers night,” songwriters are put somewhere they are not used to being — in the spotlight. Several singer/songwriters will play ‘in-the-round’ as they sit on stage accompanied only by a microphone, a guitar, and their immense talent. These shows can be found in small, intimate clubs all over town, including the famous The Bluebird Cafe in Green Hills and downtown’s The Listening Room CafeOutdoor Concerts — Music steps outside in the summer. Events like Musicians Corner at Centennial Park, Full Moon Pickin’ Parties at Percy Warner Park Equestrian Center, Bluebird on the MountainMusic in the Vines at Arrington Vineyards, and Live on the Green at Public Square Park bring the high notes to the great outdoors. Head to Riverfront Park for a concert at the Ascend Amphitheaterand take in the incredible views of downtown and the Cumberland River.

Take a Timeless Journey — The Ryman Auditorium, also called the “Mother Church of Country Music,” has had artists as diverse as Elvis Costello and Patsy Cline perform on its legendary stage since 1892. You can take a backstage tour and record your own song in the Ryman studio. The stars of the Grand Ole Opry take the stage every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday night (at the Ryman Auditorium November-January; at the Grand Ole Opry House February-October) with guest appearances by the biggest names in music. With 90 years of history, the Opry is the world’s longest-running broadcast and shows no signs of slowing down.

Nashville’s Newest Sounds — Honoring musicians from stars to studio players that represent all genres of music, the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum is housed in the Nashville Municipal Auditorium. From Hank Williams, Sr. to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Motown to Southern Rock – there is truly something of interest to everyone. Pay homage to the Man in Black at The Johnny Cash Museum located on 3rd Avenue. Featuring the most comprehensive collection of Johnny Cash artifacts and memorabilia in the world, this is THE Cash venue to visit for all ages. Then stroll up to the George Jon on 2nd Avenue, which offers visitors a never-before-seen look into the life and career of the musical icon.

Salute — Three U.S. Presidents call Tennessee home: Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, and Andrew Johnson. You can revisit the past at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage: Home of the People’s President. Polk is buried on the grounds of the historic State Capitol building in downtown Nashville.

 

 

5 Pet Items You Never Thought to Bring on Vacation

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Toys, a leash, important medication—these are no-brainers when you’re preparing to vacation with your dog or cat. Because such a vacation takes so much preparation—especially if you’re traveling with a pet for the first time—it’s virtually impossible to leave these essentials at home.

Other items? They might not even cross your mind. But without them, your vacation may get derailed before you even reach your destination.

Add these to your next travel checklist to ensure a happy and safe getaway for you and your furry friend.

Pictures of Your Pet

A lot of travelers clear their photos off their phones before they go on vacation in order to leave as much space as possible for new memories. That’s fine, but leave at least a couple of pictures of your pet. Many shelters require visual confirmation of ownership in the event that your pet gets lost and you need to pick him up somewhere.

A Copy of Your Pet’s Medical Records

You should know where the nearest veterinarian or emergency pet health facility is at all times. 

Sheets or Blankets

Laying your own sheets and blankets out in a rental car or on hotel furniture is one way to make sure your pet doesn’t leave his or her hair everywhere. If [the sheets] haven’t been washed immediately before your trip, they have the added bonus of smelling like home, which ought to keep your pet calm in an unfamiliar place.

Ziploc Bags

Ziploc bags are basically a pet parent’s Swiss army knife. You can use them to pick up poop if necessary. You can also carry food in them if you’re going on a day trip and need to pack a backpack.

Tap Water From Home

The quality of tap water changes from city to city (sometimes drastically), and for pets who are accustomed to drinking from just one water source for their entire lives, even a slight change in quality for short period of time can upset their stomach.

7 Ways to Salvage a Trip if You Get Sick

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Getting sick while traveling probably comes with the gig. Between last-minute stress before we leave, red-eye flights in an anything-but-sanitary environment, unfamiliar food and sleep disrupted by jet lag, the rigors of travel are enough to make any of us more susceptible to sickness.

But once you’re down, you don’t have to be out. Here are ways to salvage your trip if you do end up getting sick while traveling.

1. Check your insurance before you travel.

Heck, check right now. This is one of those things few people ask about until they need it, and then it might be too late. If you are not covered for medical care while traveling, we highly recommend purchasing trip insurance with medical coverage.

2. If your illness is serious, contact your embassy or consulate.

If you are really sick, you don’t want to end up in a random doctor’s office or foreign ER without knowing whether the staff is competent, without anyone knowing you are there, or with language or other communication barriers. Embassy and consulate officers can recommend local health care providers, direct you to a hospital, notify family, assist with the transfer of funds, help arrange for transport and more. Don’t be wary of contacting your nearest embassy if things get dire; these folks are paid with your taxes and are there to assist.

3. Find a good doctor.

If you are traveling within your home country, the best way to find care covered by your insurance is to call your insurance company or visit its website. You can also check sites like HealthGrades.com for reviews of local doctors.

4. Start medications right away.

Many of us are reluctant to run to the nearest doctor or pharmacy when we’re not feeling well, instead preferring to gut it out while a malady runs its due course.

When traveling, however, taking this tack might mean that your vacation is over by the time you actually feel better, so I encourage you to pounce on whatever medications are available as soon as you start feeling under the weather. Over-the-counter fever and pain reduction medicines (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, aspirin), antacids or stomach soothers, Nyquil-type medications to help you get through the night, and even simple stuff like throat lozenges can be great allies in dispatching your symptoms quickly.

5. Protect your traveling companions.

If one sick traveler is a source of misery for everyone on the trip, multiple sick travelers can shut things down completely. If you feel an illness coming on, take immediate action to protect your fellow travelers. Here are a few ways to prevent spreading your germs to your companions:

– Wash your hands regularly (and encourage your companions to do the same)

– Carry and handle all of your own stuff

– Remove your toothbrush from the sink counter

– Don’t stick your hands into their snacks

– Don’t get food from the buffet for anyone but yourself

– Don’t share food, utensils or glasses

– Don’t use others’ cell phones or handle their room key

– Use the same pillow every night

6. Quarantine yourself.

If you are really sick, you might consider quarantining yourself by paying for a separate hotel room for a night or so. Not only will you protect your companions from germs, but you’ll also be less likely to disturb them with your coughing, tossing or turning — and without sleep they’ll be more vulnerable to contracting illnesses themselves.

7. Realize that your illness is temporary.

Most common travel maladies last about a day or two — or at least the worst of it lasts that long. If you employ some of the strategies above, get a ton of rest and wait it out for 18 to 36 hours, in most cases you can get fully back into the thick of your trip.

 

Travel Hygiene Tips: Staying Fresh on the Road

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If you’ve ever stepped off a plane with stained and rumpled clothes, a pore-clogged face, a jet lag-induced headache, and a mouth that still tastes like hours-old airplane food, you know how tricky it can be to stay clean and rested while traveling. And that’s just the first leg of your trip. Where do you turn when access to basic facilities — like a shower and sink — becomes a distant memory?

If you’re properly prepared, you’ll be ready for whatever travel trial comes your way: to use an apple or lemon to improve your breath, to take a shower without water, or to fall asleep in even the most cramped, cacophonous of airline seats.

Hands

Those travelers devoted to hand sanitization are religious about the act — and for good reason.You may be more than 100 times likelier to catch a cold while flying than you would on the ground, thanks mostly to low cabin humidity. One important way to protect yourself is by keeping your hands clean.

Face

A clean face can do a lot to offset dirty hands and foul breath. When considering your face on the road, there are two things to keep in mind: the climate of your destination and your skin type. Leaving for Egypt’s desert sands? Pack plenty of lip balm and moisturizer. Hiking the rain forests in Costa Rica? Nature will help you out a little. But no matter where you’re traveling, sunblock is absolutely essential if you’ll be spending any time outdoors.

Mouth

Is bad breath the greatest enemy to overall travel freshness? Your fellow airplane passengers apparently think so. So what to do to avoid that foul, sticky taste in the mouth and that look of revulsion from your neighbor on the plane or metro? Beyond the obvious mints or gum, there are a number of products that promote oral hygiene on the road. Colgate Wisps are disposable mini-toothbrushes that provide a quick and easy mouth-freshening option when you can’t brush your teeth for real. The brush head has a freshening bead that releases a mouth cleaning liquid when you scrub, and a pick on the opposite end provides a floss option. It requires no water to use, and the ingredients are safe to swallow.

Body

For the body, clothing can go a long way in at least giving the impression that you’re cool and dry. But when you’re in a water-free environment and desperate for a shower, there are a number of “soap” products that can be used without water. The aptly named No Rinse Body Wash is a popular option for adventure travelers. Known in the health care field (for use with bedridden patients) and also good for campers/trekkers who don’t have the luxury of a shower, No Rinse products utilize a water-based odor neutralizer to provide a quick wash. Of course, the benefit here is that you don’t have to rinse.

 

How to Take a Digital Detox Vacation

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When airlines first started offering Internet access on planes, there was an outcry from many folks who were connected almost around the clock and therefore cherished the precious time in the air when no one could call, email or text them. Many saw this quiet time as one of the most enjoyable elements of what were otherwise arduous business trips.

Similar debates raged over whether or not to allow cell phone use on planes. Do we really want to interrupt the relative quiet of an airplane with ringing phones and inane conversations?

Most of us know at least one person who has posted something to Facebook or Twitter along the lines of “Aircraft doors closing, stack of magazines and neck pillow at the ready,” with some sort of anti-digital hashtag.

The fact that so many folks announce delight in time away from devices and social media via a device on social media seems as good an indicator as any that there may be something to the growing popularity of digital detox vacations.

Why Do a Digital Detox?

Should I Do This While Traveling — and How?

In some respects, a vacation is a perfect time to eschew all types of digital stimulation; you are out and around, often in an entirely new environment, and have far less exposure to the moments of boredom or distraction that lead folks back to their screens again and again.

On the other hand, most of us know how helpful our devices are when traveling in an unfamiliar place. In fact, it could be argued that a smartphone shifts from a source of distraction to a superb tool when navigating new cities, finding things to do and dealing with travel snafus.

– Be ready for withdrawal symptoms
– Plan to enjoy (and not regret) missing out on what everyone else is doing
– Be prepared with things like paper maps and written phone numbers
– Set small goals (maybe a 24- or even 12-hour detox instead of a week the first time out)
– Plan something that will occupy and entertain you

This last item in particular suggests that travel might be the perfect time to try a digital detox; spending your afternoon snorkeling can make it really easy to skip fitful checks of your phone.

 

How to Escape While Staying Connected

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Leave the laptop behind, dump the mobile device and otherwise abandon anything that could be called “always on” — so goes a frequent recommendation to stressed vacationers. The thinking is that if it’s too easy to stay in touch via phone and email with work, social obligations and the daily grind, you’ll never really get away from it all.

Sounds like sound advice — except that I’m not sure I agree. I have found that sacrificing a little bit of free time to staying connected while traveling typically makes exit and re-entry — when the most draining work of travel and vacationing takes place — go much more smoothly. In the end, checking in a few times during your vacation is a small price to pay to avoid returning home to a chaotic swarm of neglected responsibilities.

Some folks wouldn’t take a walk without all their devices, while others can’t wait to jettison everything and get off the communication grid. When my own five-year-old cell phone suffered some water damage,

Laptop, cell phone, tablet — take ’em along, leave ’em home, take your pick? Let’s say most of us have three primary email addresses (work, home, alternate) and matching triple voice mails (work, home, cell). That’s a lot of stuff to check while you’re trying to unwind; a couple of hours can pass in a blink by the time you have gotten through them all.

Less to Do Before and After Your Trip
As mentioned above, I believe the most compelling reason to stay connected on the road is to reduce the strain of both leaving and returning. As comfortable as home can be, few things can diminish the glow of a good trip quite as quickly as arriving home to find that two weeks of the detritus of modern life has been accumulating in your absence and that it’ll take days to clear it out.

I would say that the only thing worse than a pile of junk mail in a plastic USPS box and fading newspapers on your stoop is a “mail box is full” message on your voicemail and a couple dozen screens worth of email on your first login when you get home.

And it’s not just when you get home. Leaving notes for dog walkers, putting your house in order and letting everyone who might want your attention know that you will be away is almost always more trouble than checking email for a few minutes in a hotel room every day. While traveling, if you can dispatch tasks and information with short, concise emails written in a few seconds during your trip, there is a lot less accumulated clutter when you return, and less to do before you leave.

Fewer Surprises
The only thing worse than returning from a trip to an inbox full of nuisance emails is finding out too late that a major problem has come up. Keeping in touch with work and personal email semi-regularly is the best way to keep on top of big events. It also gives you…

Increased Control
Trying to fix big problems from a hotel is not a fun place to find yourself. If you have a speedy laptop stocked with all your likely contacts, you’ll be well positioned to deal with anything that goes wrong.

Lowered Expectations
An “away” or “vacation” auto response message followed up with an email with a footer that reads “sent from my cell phone” lets you get away with murder in terms of brevity and specificity — folks are just grateful to get a reply so they can keep working on or stop worrying about whatever it is for which they needed your attention.