My folks, my wife, and I took a driving trip to Nashville this weekend. The drive was pretty easy and the weather couldn’t have been better. We tend to like to check out local stuff when we go on vacation, so the state fair seemed like the ideal place to sample a bunch of local flavor in one place. We found out later that Tennesseans don’t go to the state fair, so you already get an idea of what a disappointment it was.

Apparently, there’s lots of crime at the state fair, and the individual counties do a better job with food on a stick. Actually, our first breakfast was at Waffle House. If you know it, you know why it was high on our priority list. This particular WH had argumentative waitresses and a filthy floor.

Now, it sounds like the trip was a bust, but it was quite the opposite. The stuff we expected to be great was only okay, and the stuff we tried on a whim was outstanding. Caney Fork Fish Camp was a little, nondescript restaurant on the corner by our resort. Inside, it was like a southern version of a Famous Dave’s, but family-owned. There was a giant catfish pond in the back corner (inside) and we sat right by it. They brought out free corn fritters, too! Our seafood pot pie was great.

Our resort was walking distance from the new Grand Ole Opry and Opry Mills shopping center (formerly Opryland, we think). The parking area butted up against a pasture, and in the evenings, there were a couple dozen cows grazing there. It was better than the state fair! The Opryland Hotel was just as impressive as any casino in Las Vegas IMHO. We went there twice just to walk around; once in the evening and once in the daylight. There are three giant arboretums with restaurants interwoven into the greenery. It’s pretty cool.

Oh, and we checked out the Nashville Zoo while my folks took a paddleboat tour of Nashville. The zoo was pretty interesting and better than we expected. We saw gibbons swinging and flying around and we got to watch an elephant take a dump. I got some great pictures.

Overall, I had a great time, but I think the only thing I’d go back to Nashville for is the Opryland Hotel.