May 14 – 17
With some time to kill our last morning in Nashville, Joanna took her bike out for a ride on the nearby greenway (my knee was still in no condition to do so) while I read and worked on the blog. After she returned and cleaned up, we drove to Post East for another cup of good coffee and a pastry before heading to downtown to check out the Tennessee State Museum.
Why that place for the afternoon? It had couple of things going or it such as good reviews, a convenient location and it was free. OK, I admit it. It was the free part that was the big draw for us. We managed to find metered parking on Gay Street directly across from the Musicians Hall of Fame and after pumping a trailer full of quarters into the meter, left for the museum with a two hour expire on parking.
As we walked down to the museum, we noticed that one full block of Deaderick Street was populated with food trucks. As we planned to have a nice meal later for dinner, we thought splitting a snack from one of the trucks would be a good way to maintain our energy levels through the afternoon.
We settled on a truck offering Thai cuisine and ordered the tofu spring rolls, which turned out to be the perfect choice, the soy providing protein complimented by crisp and juicy vegetables.
We sat down on the steps of a bank building to consume our treat and then made our way to the Museum, only to discover that it was closed as it would be moving to a brand-new location later in the summer. I can’t recall if we checked the web site first, likely relying on other sources when determining to go there. Could this be our first sighting of Jenny Manetta on the trip?
Undaunted, we walked up the block to an impressive looking structure, likely a memorial to veterans and then noticed the Tennessee State Capitol building on the other side of the plaza. We entered through the doors of a long tunnel, received some good information from the guard stationed there and walked its length to elevators that took us to the ground floor where we joined an hour long guided tour of the building.
State capitols can be interesting places to visit; older ones like this, designed by renowned Philadelphia architect William Strickland, was completed in 1859. The American Society of Civil Engineers has listed it as a civil engineering landmark in recognition of its innovative construction, which made unusually extensive use of stone and was an early example of the use of structural iron. Both the interior and exterior are built with limestone from a quarry about 1-mile from the site.
Starting on the first floor where the offices for the major government positions are located (Governor, Treasurer, etc.) we moved upstairs to the chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Neither was in session (like North Carolina, they are part time officials meeting for a few months each year) and ended up in what was originally used as the library but is now a lounge and event space.
Finished with our tour and time running out on our parking meter, we returned to the car and drove not far away to the site of the former Marathon Motor Works to visit Corsair Brewing and Distillery. Marathon was an early automobile manufacturer that grew out of an earlier company called Southern Engine and Boiler Works founded in 1889 which made industrial engines and boilers in Jackson, Tennessee. In 1907 It turned its attention to the rapidly developing auto industry and manufactured the Marathon automobile until 1914.
Besides Corsair, the building currently houses Antique Archaeology (the business at the center of the television series American Pickers), a Jack Daniels outlet and OLN, which specializes in direct marketing for Fortune 500 clients as well as a number of small retail boutiques.
We first stopped in on the brewery side of Corsair, sampling a couple of their higher gravity brews before walking next door to the distillery side to try their artisan Gin, thinking we might buy a bottle to take with us to Kim and Marty’s in Nevada. It was fun to sit at the bar with our ten-dollar sampling of three different distilled spirits.
We decided to pass on buying a bottle right then knowing that we’d have a number of opportunities later on down the road and returned to the house to relax a bit before heading a few blocks away to Lockeland Table for dinner. Perched within the Lockeland Springs neighborhood it has become a staple since opening in August 2012 and receives consistently good reviews in Trip Advisor.
Hal Holden-Bache is the executive chef and co-owner and among many other recognitions, was a James Beard nomination for Best New Restaurant in 2013. Our waitress was excellent, serving us efficiently with the just right amount of humorous repartee. We ordered drinks, a cocktail for Joanna and glass of white wine for me to accompany the best dish of the night, the Wedge Oak Farm chicken liver pâté in a jar with bacon fat, grilled Tuscan bread, and smoked peach preserves.
The pate had the consistency of soft butter, spreadable on the bread with the preserves adding a hint of sweetness with each bite. Joanna ordered another appetizer as her entrée, a special that night of quail while I had the grilled 12 oz Cheshire Farm bone-in pork loin with roasted potato salad, smoked onions and Yazoo mustard.
Here is my review for Trip Advisor:
We stopped in yesterday based on the good reviews and although our food was a little uneven, came away impressed with the service and offerings. The Chicken Liver is uniquely presented and delicious, as was the Quail appetizer. Unfortunately, my Bone-In Pork Loin was disappointing, rubbery in texture and the items accompanying it didn’t float my boat. And the Bananas Foster Bread Pudding was a too dense mound with little flavor. I’d like to return and try other items, but this was a one stop visit for us.
We had a fairly short drive ahead of us the next day so felt no need to rush that evening or in the morning. Kicking off the trip with Nashville had been a good call, reminiscent of our visits to Austin and Memphis as we continue to check of cities we’ve wanted to spend time in. Outside of not being able to ride my bike due to the knee injury, we’d been able to explore at will, listened to some good music and consumed a lot of good food. Not a bad way to start a trip.
Tennessee State Museum: http://www.tnmuseum.org/
Musicians Hall of Fame: https://www.musicianshalloffame.com/
Tennessee State Capitol: http://www.tnmuseum.org/exhibits/tennessee_state_capitol/
Marathon Motor Works: https://www.marathonvillage.net/
Corsair Distillery: http://www.corsairdistillery.com/home
Lockeland Table: http://www.lockelandtable.com/