Nashville Vintage Wine Train – It’s a Thing!

Speaking of Nashville and all the reasons I love it, one of the best-kept secret events here is the excursion train, specifically, the vintage wine excursion train! If you haven’t heard of it, you’ll want to check it out, and you’re welcome!

All excursions are boarded from the Tennessee Central Railway Museum near downtown Nashville. The destination for each excursion changes based on theme, for example, the train robbery and murder mystery excursions travel to Watertown and back. The Spring Festival and Fall Foliage trips travel to Monterey. I have had the fortune of enjoying several: train robbery, murder mystery, and my favorite, the wine train!

What many people don’t know is, there are two versions of the wine excursion. The first is included on the published schedule at Tennessee Central Railway Museum‘s site. The second is called Wine on the Rails and is hosted by Muddy Roots Records. To purchase tickets to the Muddy Roots version, you must go to their website.

Both versions of the wine train include riding on a classic streamlined stainless steel passenger train, wine tasting on board and live music at DelMonaco Winery in Baxter, TN. At the winery you may also purchase lunch or an additional wine tasting. You may also enjoy a tour of the winery where you can see where all the magic happens.

In November I first tried the Muddy Roots Vintage Wine excursion, which they call Wine on the Rails. The theme is vintage dress, but dressing the part is not required, so I didn’t. In January I attended the Muddy Roots wine excursion for a second time, and decided to spice things up by dressing up this time. Because the trip was in cold weather, the theme was (vintage) Fancy Coat. I have to say, dressing up made it much more fun!

When you take the Muddy Roots version of the excursion, you will also enjoy live music at the winery, and, depending on your train car, you may also enjoy a private performance on the train! Here is a sampling:

So if you’re looking for a new adventure, give yourself the gift of an excursion – you won’t regret it!

Why I Love Nashville (Tennessee, that is!)

There are so many reasons why I love Nashville, but the one that comes to mind today is the accessibility and availability of great talent just hanging out around town and walking the streets just like us regular folks. There are no paparazzi, no autograph hounds.

The general population are generally respectful of the privacy and personal space of the celebrity population here. And because of that, it is likely that at some point you might just bump up against one in your daily travels and possibly even have a nice little chat with them.

Case in point: Since I moved to Nashville in 2001, I have watched as Little Richard was escorted from his penthouse suite at the Nashville Hilton to his tour bus, spied Ray Liotta making a purchase at the Tennessee Craft Fair at Centennial Park, walked past Kid Rock as he exited J Alexander’s Restaurant, had lunch with Kenny Chesney at Chipotle (okay, he was seated at the table behind me, all by himself, but I still count that) and…this happened:

At last year’s Oktoberfest, I had a craft booth for my Melody Erickson Designs business. I was selling jewelry, which included some pieces using guitar picks. Late one night, a couple stopped in, browsed, and decided to make a purchase. As I was packaging their items, the gentleman said, “I see you make necklaces with guitar picks.” He tossed a pick onto the counter in front of me and said, “I’m Dennis Dunaway, the bassist for Alice Cooper. I wrote a book called Snakes! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!, and I had these guitar picks made to promote it.” (So cool, right?)

We finished up and Dennis and his wife headed out to the street. A few seconds later, Dennis returned and said, “I see you make earrings. Here’s another pick so you can do that.”

I thanked him again, and he once again left my booth, but then turned around and came back a second time! This time he said, “I see you make earrings and necklaces. Here’s another pick so you can have a set.”

He then left for good, and I turned to my booth partner and said, “How cool was that!?”

And so, this morning, four months after-the-fact, I stepped into my art studio and saw those guitar picks, still waiting for inspiration. And it showed up. Today I am happy to report that I am the proud owner of this one-of-a-kind set! Thank you, Dennis!

AliceCooperGuitarPicks

Yes, Nashville is way cool! I’m glad to be part of it!

Best New Thai Restaurant in Nashville!

Originally Published August 19, 2015

If you haven’t been around the South Nashville much lately, you may want to head this way. Great food is happening here! Today I tried the Bangkokville Thai Restaurant located at 395 Haywood Lane. Not only did I have the pleasure of a tasty lunch there, but I also got to chat with the owner, “Dew” Vangsri.

Dew immigrated from Thailand with his family in the ’70s. He has a true passion for authentic Thai food, which he explained to me as my eyes and nose ran from the heat of the chili sauce! He also told me how his sisters and other family members have all contributed to his business in some way, from the cooking to the decor – it’s all authentic! The wait staff wears Thai clothing. Dew wears Thai clothing. Dew even designed the sign he recently had painted for the front of the restaurant to ensure it would be an authentic Thai style.

If your last visit to this restaurant was before Dew took over five months ago, you owe it to yourself to give it another try! I know you’ll love it!