Day two of my birthday celebration begins with coffee in bed courtesy of my most wonderful husband Gordon, while Susan and Michael, recently retired, got up at 6AM and waited. Don’t blame me – they had the schedule beforehand and could have done any number of things. We scedattled (first time I’ve written this word instead of just speaking it – I don’t believe it really exists) (wait! There’s google! Yes it DOES exist!) Did anyone see the Google monopoly expose on 60 Minutes last week? But I digress… 🙂 OK, let’s try this again…
We scedattled off to The Loveless Café, our longest drive the WHOLE trip – of 30 minutes, to this most wonderful old-timey motel that had been turned into a smokehouse, a gift shop, and a restaurant. Their numerous awards do not lie. Everybody gets a picture underneath their 1950’s neon sign, lit up day and night. We chose the cutouts (above). Everyone was so thrilled with their food – G had catfish for breakfast which we agreed was the best catfish we’ve ever had…I even liked their tartar sauce which was NOT Frisch’s 🙂 … or mine… and I had possibly the best grits I’ve ever had (and my brother agreed). This is a tough one because I make the best grits I’ve ever had, and many others say the same thing about MINE. These were plain, not like mine, but their texture was heavenly. I’ve never had someone else’s grits that did not need butter. The Loveless is famous for their biscuits, and here I have to depart from the common folk. Sue me, whip me, call me bad names, but Bojangles “chain” biscuits have them (and everybody else) beat in my book when it comes to biscuits. Their country ham was to die for. They age it on premise. Susan had a pimiento cheese and country ham biscuit which she loved – I tasted it and did not think the pimiento cheese came close to Wallace Station – but that really is a matter of taste. It’s the “experience” here…do not miss. Oh! And the best sweet tea I ever drank! (Sorry daddy).
After unabashedly sticking our butts out, crouching down into the cutout, and begging some stranger to take our pic, we headed off to Belle Meade – a horse breeding plantation, where to this day most Triple Crown winners owe their bloodline to Bonnie Scotland. I’ve never sought out plantations north or west of Virginia, but this is one not to be missed. It contains a Dairy, Train Station, Mill and Blacksmith Shop, Greenhouse, Slave Quarters, and the Horse Sale Barn as well as the “big house” – and the requisite gift shop and ice cream parlor.
They very interestingly had the front parlor set up to show how a wake would be celebrated – to denote all of the premature deaths occurring at that time (cholera, measles, TB, etc) that are completely preventable today. It is an open wicker bench to lay the body on, with space underneath for a block of ice to hold decay at bay while getting people to the event. The body is held there for numerous days to insure the person is in fact really dead. Sometimes they’re just really ill and climb out of it (literally) – this is why it’s called a WAKE!!! Best piece of information I got all day!!! Just the sort of gruesomeness that turns me on.
Last but not least, Belle Meade has a winery…we tasted 6 wines and I asked for more so got tastes of two sparklings as well (my favorite, as well as the Vidal Blanc which seems to grow very well in this region and the hands that make the wine are QUITE comfortable with the grape.
This wasn’t enough for us so we headed home to clean up and change for an early dinner at 5th and Taylor – our most hoity toity dinner of the trip. Really cool digs “warehouse style”, a GREAT glass of Pinot Noir, great service and wonderful food made me pleased with this reservation. I had two appetizers: Duck Pate and accoutrement, as well as a Tomato Pie. I didn’t know it would be the size of an individual pan pizza (think Uno’s) – so I had one piece and brought the rest “home” (another great reason to Air B&B!) Susan had THE BEST Roasted Chicken I’ve ever had EXCEPT Gordon’s. My brother had a burger that was so damned big he liked his other burger the next night better because it was more “well proportioned”!!
THEN…we Lyfted to The Ryman Auditorium for Larry Gatlin and Friends…who turned out to be Crystal Gayle that night. She hasn’t lost it. I’m not very happy with Larry – he did not respond to my request to play “I’ve Done Enough Dyin’” – a song I’ve been in love with since I was 11 years old when it came out. I highly recommend you U Tube or whatever this song from his early years. It makes me cry every time I hear it. The Ryman is a bucket list item I have now crossed off. Amazing space. Hallowed ground. They search everything and both my brother and husband had knives on them – they were REQUIRED to throw them AWAY. My brother had the presence of mind to hide his on top of a column, Gordon showed his badge and asked that they keep it for him, they said NO. Not a happy man. They were a security company vs. Nashville Police so the badge may have done more harm than good?? Regardless…NOT a happy man. We then made it home, and COLLAPSED. This might be my favorite day of my birthday trip.