Visiting Nashville: Grand Ole Opry features legendary performers and newcomers

In the center stage of the Grand Ole Opry is a special piece of wood. It is from the old Ryman Auditorium. “Can you imagine what it has seen?” asks Dan Rogers, marketing manager for the Opry. “If it could talk, think about all the legends it could tell about.” Over the years, thousands of performers have stood on this circle – Hank Williams, Jim Reeve, Patsy Cline, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Garth Brooks, Johnny …

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Visiting Nashville: Known as ‘Home of 1,000 Hits,’ Studio B was a favorite of Elvis and other musicians

While most people were settling down for the night, Elvis Presley would slip into the nondescript building and sit at a well-worn piano. For the next couple hours, Elvis would warm up by harmonizing on gospel, often with the Jordanaires. Then he would get down to the serious business of recording songs. About the time the sun came up, Elvis would call it a night. “Elvis did most of his work here. He recorded 262 songs here, …

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Visiting Nashville: Johnny Cash Museum honors ‘The Man in Black’

When Bill Miller was 13 years old, he went to a Johnny Cash concert that changed the course of his life. “Johnny Cash played a harmonica and tossed it into the audience when he was done,” Miller said. “I caught it.” That was just the beginning. Over the years, Miller collected a treasure trove of Johnny Cash memorabilia and became friends with the legendary entertainer. “I honestly can’t tell you how many pieces I have. It’s in …

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Visiting Nashville: New Patsy Cline Museum showcases recently discovered personal items

Patsy Cline saved the memories of her life. That memorabilia, after being locked away for more than half a century, is now being seen at the new Patsy Cline Museum in Nashville. “Patsy Cline was very sentimental,” said museum founder Bill Miller. “I think people will be really surprised at what we have in the museum.” A 25-cent writing tablet filled with “biography” entries handwritten in red ink by Cline notes that as a youngster she “started …

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Visiting Nashville: County music legend George Jones honored at new museum

George Glenn Jones almost died before he got a chance to live. The family doctor dropped the baby shortly after delivery. The sturdy newborn survived with only a broken arm. But what a life the country music legend went on to live in that interval between the day he entered this world on Sept. 12, 1930, and the day he left on April 26, 2013. “George went to hell and back with many addictions and he beat …

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‘Come see what you’ve heard’ at Musicians Hall of Fame

When Joe Chambers discovered that Jimi Hendrix’s apartment from his seminal years in Nashville had been razed, he decided that the Tennessee city should not lose another piece of music history. “If people will make a trip to his grave in Seattle, why wouldn’t they go to see where he actually lived?” Chambers wondered. “That’s what really triggered me to having some kind of museum here.” When another of the Nashville clubs where a young Hendrix performed …

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Solo cruising becoming more popular, cruise lines adding solo perks

Two questions I often hear as a solo cruiser: Do I get lonely traveling by myself? Am I afraid to travel alone? The answers? Nope. And nope. Although I enjoy being with groups of strangers or friends, I also love alone-time and cruise ships seem to offer the best of both worlds. When cruising by myself, I can choose to take part in group tours for shore excursions or get involved in shipboard games with fellow passengers. …

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Dining on prize-winning tapas during brief visit to Valladolid

  Visiting Spain: Dining on prize-winning tapas during brief visit to Valladolid Trying to take photos between the cars passing by, I didn’t stop to count the stone lions in front of the University of Valladolid. Good thing I didn’t. “It’s considered bad luck if you count the lions,” said guide Nuria. “If you count them while you are a student here, you will never graduate from the university.” So how many are there, I asked Nuria. …

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Seeing the strange and beautiful in Salamanca, Spain

  Shore Excursion: Seeing the strange and beautiful in Salamanca, Spain Craning their necks, a crowd of people gathered outside the University of Salamanca searching for a tiny frog somewhere on the university’s walls. A street vendor stood ready to help onlookers find the tiny critter and to sell them a postcard photo and souvenir of the elusive amphibian. Now celebrating its 800th birthday, the University of Salamanca has many treasures and tales and the frog is …

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Windmills of La Mancha said to be inspiration for Don Quixote

Visiting Spain: Windmills of La Mancha said to be inspiration for Don Quixote Across the crest of the hill, they march like giants. Their long arms seem to stretch to the heavens. No wonder the delusional Don Quixote pulled his sword to fight these windmills. I almost expected to see the Man of La Mancha astride his rickety horse with his poor old sidekick Sancho Panza watching in disbelief. “This is the land of Don Quixote,” our …

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