This summer, members will attend the Biennial Conference in the FOP’s home city, Nashville. Of course, Nashville is Music City to legions of country music fans because it’s home to the Grand Ole Opry, “country’s most famous stage.” They flock there to see their favorite performers, but music isn’t the only attraction in the Tennessee city.
“It’s a unique town. We’re looking forward to everyone coming to Nashville and enjoying what we have to offer,” says Johnny Crumby, president of the Tennessee State FOP Lodge and member of Andrew Jackson Lodge #5.
The local lodge is hosting the 63rd BienniBelle Meade Plantational FOP Conference from August 27 to 31 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville. Organizers have assembled a comprehensive collection of seminars and presentations. Additionally, attendees can peruse the products showcased by hundreds of exhkibitors. Of course, there’ll be plenty of downtime to explore and experience the local sights, sounds and flavors, starting with a concert for FOP members and their families.
“We’ll provide what we consider is a ‘Welcome to Nashville’ concert. There’s also the Grand Ole Opry on Wednesday night, which is a typical Opry show, but this week will be our show,” says Crumby. “While country music is a big draw, there are plenty of things for everybody to do. Nashville is a hot spot for everybody to visit.”
To find out which spots to add to your must-see list, check out the following Nashville guide.
MUSIC NOTESSaturdays at the Grand Ole Opry are a must. Country music royalty including Loretta Lynn, Marty Robbins, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, as well as modern artists like Kellie Pickler, Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley and Jason Aldean, have all performed for the world’s longest-running radio show from the stage of the 4,400-seat theater.
If you prefer a more intimate setting, Nashville’s honky-tonk scene will be music to your ears. From 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m., there’s always someone playing a tune in one of the more than 100 clubs or small concert halls, especially on lower Broadway in downtown, which has been dubbed the honky-tonk highway. Also, head to the Bluebird Cafe, one of the most renowned listening rooms in Nashville. The venue has hosted countless upcoming singers and songwriters. To map out which clubs will showcase your favorite type of music, download the Nashville Live Music Guide, a free app.
No pilgrimage to Nashville would be complete without touring the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. View photographs and vintage video as well as listening to recordings documenting the genre’s history, then head around the corner to the Johnny Cash Museum. Named by Forbes magazine as one of the top five must-see sights in Music City, the museum features personal items of both Johnny and June Carter Cash as well as costumes and props from the Academy Award-winning biopic Walk the Line.
Country isn’t the only music played in the city. Blues fans will want to drop in at B.B. King’s Blues Club or the Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar. Or plan ahead and purchase tickets to hear blues icon Buddy Guy perform at the Nashville Symphony on August 27.
HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTSNashville’s story extends beyond its musical influence. In fact, signs of its historical impact are on display throughout city neighborhoods. History buffs should book a day to visit the Hermitage Mansion, home of President Andrew Jackson, where they can get a glimpse of Jackson’s original belongings.
Belle Meade Plantation is another historical home worth seeing. During its heyday, it was a preeminent thoroughbred stud farm. The Greek Revival mansion is open for traditional tours; adults can also enjoy a food-and-wine pairings option, or there’s an interactive treasure hunt for the kids.
The Nashville area played a strategic role in the Civil War. Fort Negley, the largest inland military post built during the conflict, now serves as a city park, with a visitors’ center, self-guided walking tours and interactive exhibits.
FAMILY FUNIf you’re in the mood to let loose with the family, cool off at Nashville Shores waterpark. Slide down rides like the Big Kahuna or kick back on the Castaway Creek Lazy River. Kids can splash around in the Wacky or Lily Pad Pools.
After drying off, head to the Adventure Science Center with its hands-on exhibits: Experience 1/6 gravity in the Moonwalker, examine tiny elements of the nano world or pilot an aircraft through the simulated skies on Blue Max.
A trip to the Nashville Zoo invites humans to get up close to some of the facility’s most popular creatures. The spider monkey exhibit, which opened in April, provides guests a treetop view of this active species. After observing the animal inhabitants, children can run wild on the 66,000-square-foot jungle gym.
Sports fans have scored because the Nashville Sounds, the Triple-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics, are scheduled for home games throughout the Conference. There’s even a fireworks show planned for the game on August 31. If you and the family prefer football, check in with the Tennessee Titans for practices open to the public as well as preseason home games — including August 27, when the Titans will be hosting the Chicago Bears, with kickoff scheduled at noon.
NASHVILLE NATUREIf you crave a dose of fresh air and sunshine after attending the information-packed seminars, a short drive brings you to J. Percy Priest Lake. The 42-mile-long lake is a local favorite for swimming and canoeing. Individuals with an adventurous spirit can take flight with Defiance Flyboard at Percy Priest Lake, Tim’s Ford Lake, Center Hill Lake or Dale Hollow Lake.
Pedal power is a fun way to get around town, explore shops or venture off-street on more than 80 miles of paved greenway trails. Nashville B-cycle rents bikes from 33 stations throughout the city, so you can pick up and drop off where it’s convenient for you. Memberships are available by the day or week for visitors.
NIBBLES AND DRINKSOf course, a trip to Nashville wouldn’t be complete without a taste of Southern cooking. Hot chicken is on many restaurant menus. Legend has it a wronged girlfriend waged revenge on a lover by spiking his fried chicken with an extra generous dose of pepper. Turns out, her boyfriend liked the heat, and it’s now a favorite among residents.
Nashville is home to some famous eateries. Loveless Cafe, for example, has been feeding travelers for more than 65 years. Among the traditional comfort food staples are Annie Loveless’s biscuits, still prepared according to her original recipe.
Craft brewing is booming in Nashville. Several brews are sold in local restaurants and bars, and many breweries offer tours. But since you’re already in the area, drive to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery in nearby Lynchburg to witness the whiskey-making process. Daily tours offer different views into the company’s history and how its famous spirit is concocted.
HOST LODGE HOSPITALITYAfter putting in more than six years of planning, the Andrew Jackson Lodge #5 is excited to welcome National FOP members to their hometown for this year’s Conference.
“We want you to see the sights and have a good time,” says Crumby. “You’ll definitely enjoy our Southern hospitality.”
For more information on the 63nd Biennial Conference, including schedules, vendors and more, check out the Summer 2017 issue of the Journal.
COMPLETE NASHVILLE GUIDEHere are the best activities, hotspots and places to eat during the 2017 FOP National Conference.
General Jackson Showboat
2812 Opryland Drive
Jack Daniel Distillery
182 Lynchburg Highway
Nashville Zoo at Grassmere
3777 Nolensville Pike
Echoes of Nashville Walking Tours
5th and Broadway
Green Fleet Bicycle Tours
132 2nd Avenue South
Music City Brew Tours
Music City Center at 6th Avenue
Nashville Pedal Tavern
1514 Demonbreun Street
Sprocket Rocket Party Bike
625 Main Street
The Loveless Cafe
8400 Highway 100
Arrington Vineyards & Winery
6211 Patton Road
120 2nd Avenue North
Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack
123 Ewing Drive #3
Two Ten Jack
1900 Eastland Ave #105
1222 4th Ave N
410 4th Ave S
Arnold’s Country Kitchen
605 8th Ave S
Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
112 19th Ave S
516 Hagan St
500 Church St Nashville, TN
Sunday, August 27
Welcome to Nashville: Party in the Yard
Everyone is welcome for a great night of music! We will be hosting a drink garden and the best Nashville food trucks just a short walk from the Gaylord Opryland Hotel at the Marshalling Yard. Musical performers will include Diamond Rio, Redhead Express, Branch & Dean and many others.
Monday, August 28
Night Out in Nashville Bash: Tour Downtown Nashville
This event includes roundtrip transportation to downtown Nashville, where you can visit the honky-tonks, museums and hundreds of restaurants.
Tuesday, August 29
Meet the Candidates: Hospitality Night
Visit all the candidates’ hospitality rooms. You will have the opportunity to speak with those asking for your vote.
Wednesday, August 30
Grand Ole Opry: Private Performance
Nothing says “Nashville” more than the Grand Ole Opry. The stars will be out as we host a Nashville tradition with surprise performers and guests. Don’t miss out on this memorable night!
Nashville entertainment packages available online at www.fop2017.com
Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center
2800 Opryland Drive
(615) 615 889-1000
The Bluebird Cafe
4104 Hillsboro Pike
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
222 Fifth Avenue South
The Johnny Cash Museum
119 Third Avenue South
B.B. King’s Blues Club
152 2nd Ave N
Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar
220 Printers Alley
Schermerhorn Symphony Center
One Symphony Place
Andrew Jackson’s The Hermitage
4580 Rachel’s Lane
The Arts Company
215 5th Avenue North
Belle Meade Plantation
5025 Harding Pike
The Carter House
1140 Columbia Avenue
Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art
1200 Forrest Park Drive
4225 Whites Creek Pike
Grand Ole Opry
2804 Opryland Drive
Historic RCA Studio B
222 5th Avenue South
Lane Motor Museum
702 Murfreesboro Pike
Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum
Historic Nashville Municipal Auditorium
401 Gay Street
Travellers Rest Plantation & Museum
636 Farrell Parkway
Willie Nelson & Friends Museum & General Store
2613 McGavock Pike
4001 Bell Rd.
Nashville Sounds Baseball Club
First Tennessee Park
19 Junior Gilliam Way
(615) 690-HITS (4487)
Tennessee Titans Headquarters
Saint Thomas Sports Park
460 Great Circle Rd.
(615) 565-4200 (Ticket Office)
Defiance Flyboard LLC
206 Capitol Boulevard
Adventure Science Center
800 Fort Negley Boulevard
1300 Narrows of the Harpeth Park
Gaylord Springs Golf Link
18 Springhouse Lane