Weekender: The Grand Ole Opry + The Bluebird Cafe, Nashville

If you're a fan of country music even in the most casual sense, a trip to Nashville is not complete without visit to the Grand Ole Opry. I had the chance to visit the Opry for the first time this month while visiting my dear friends Meredith and Marcie on set (who also happen to be amazing and talented writers and producers of the show Nashville). 

While Meredith and Marcie were tied up with a cast meeting, I visited the Opry alongside Meredith's brother and his girlfriend, and we enjoyed an exclusive backstage tour with Pete Fisher, the General Manager. Pete was extremely gracious and answered every one of our questions with enthusiasm (no doubt the same ones he fields hundreds of times a week!) He also introduced us to artists as they went on or came off the stage, took us through some of the dressing rooms, allowed us to tour the sound and video booths, facilitated our conversations with technicians, and more. It was an amazing experience, and Pete and the crew at the Opry were all terrific hosts.

Thankfully, this experience is available to all who are interested in learning more about the history of the Grand Ole Opry. There are many tour options available, and the VIP tour offers an up close look at how the live show is produced. Whether you're enjoying a show as an audience member or taking it in from behind the scenes, a visit to the Opry will be an experience you won't soon forget.

If you're looking for a more intimate (or complementary) music experience, do not forego a stop to The Bluebird Cafe, a rite of passage for top country music acts. We were fortunate to take in two shows at The Bluebird the weekend I was in town, and they were completely different (but equally enjoyable) experiences. The cafe is small, so make your reservations in advance to ensure you'll be seated. Enjoy! LN, July 2013