We rented a hotel room for our night in downtown Nashville. It was only the second time that we had rented a hotel room on our trip – but it was definitely worth it to be in the heart of the action. From our hotel room, we ambled to the Johnny Cash museum.
My favorite exhibit at the Johnny Cash museum was a video of Cash singing the “Ballad of Ira Hayes.” The song tells the story of Ira Hayes, who was one of the five Marines who became famous for having raised the flag on Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima. I also enjoyed hearing Cash read his “Ragged Old Flag” poem.
From the Cash museum we walked to a delicious southern restaurant called “Monell’s“. We were a little surprised at first that the restaurant was family style – we sat a large table with 8 other people – but it ended up being a great experience. We got to taste a little bit everything: biscuits, gravy, coleslaw, broccoli salad, fried chicken, squash casserole, corn pudding, fried catfish, green beans, black eyed peas, barbecue ribs, and bread pudding. The people we were sitting with nibbled on a few dishes – but we dug in with gusto. We waddled back up to our room to rest for a few hours and then went down to Printer’s Alley. In Printer’s Alley we watched a great live performance by an artist named Emoni Wilkins at the Bourbon Street bar. We slept in after a late night, and the next afternoon made our way toward Memphis.
In Memphis we stopped at the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum complex actually incorporates the exterior of the Lorraine Motel where Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. The museum had great exhibits that document the progression of the Civil Rights movement. You start on the ground floor of the museum and imperceptibly move upwards throughout the museum until you end up on the second floor – in the suite where Dr. Martin Luther King stayed the night before he was killed. The exhibits were all very powerful and informative, and I would highly recommend the museum to anyone in that area.