Are You Lonesome Tonight?

If you've got music on your mind, odds are the best place to satisfy your craving would be Nashville, known affectionately — and correctly — as "Music City."

And what a music city it is, featuring everything from gospel to country, jazz and rock 'n' roll.

You might want to start your journey at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Touring the site is like taking a journey through time. Arranged over three floors, the exhibits walk you through the entire history of country music, with stops at all the side roads.

Here's Elvis Presley's 1960 "Solid Gold" Cadillac limousine; Webb Pierce's 1962 Pontiac Bonneville convertible, ornamented with an almost seven-foot wide pair of steer horns mounted across the front grill; Patsy Cline's cowgirl outfit and so much more.

Additionally, the new "I Can't Stop Loving You: Ray Charles and Country Music," featuring an overview of Charles' remarkable career and detailing much of the late singer's world and works, is open through the end of the year.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum is situated at the center of Nashville's cultural and entertainment district, making it possible to visit the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Ryman Auditorium (historic home of the Grand Ole Opry), the Ernest Tubb Record Shop and the legendary honky-tonks of Lower Broadway, including the famed Tootsie's Orchid Lounge.

All Shook Up?

Soon we were off to visit the Grand Ole Opry, probably one of Nashville's best-known attractions. The night we visited, we were wowed by Loretta Lynne, and even got to enjoy a backstage tour of the Opry. You can, too, for a price. But be sure to make arrangements ahead of time just as soon as you can.

Though our stay in Nashville was limited, we did have time to visit Studio B, located on historic Music Row. RCA's Studio B is Nashville's oldest, and was the recording studio and home to artists like Roy Orbison and the Everly Brothers. Even Elvis recorded here, including his hit, "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"

There's so much more to keep you humming along in this great city. However, beside the great array of music there are also educational and cultural venues you won't want to miss. There's the Hermitage, home of Andrew Jackson, and Travellers Rest, the oldest home open to the public in Nashville that depicts more than 1,000 years of the state's history.

And be sure to take in the Parthenon, Nashville's premier urban park. A recreation of the 42-foot statue of Athena, the statue and the building are both full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals. Besides its impressive beauty, the Parthenon also serves as the city's art museum.

As for dining, you may not find any better than what Nashville offers: soul food, barbecue, grits and every other kind of Southern food to appeal to every palate. I recommend dinner at Bar B Cutie (casual, sometimes loud, but always featuring finger-lickin' good barbecue), and breakfast at the famous Loveless Motel and Café, which serves up some of the best made-from-scratch biscuits I've ever tasted.

Nashville has been designated "The Friendliest City" (by Travel & Leisure) and one trip will make you understand why. Race, religion, color or creed never seem to matter to anyone in this town.

In fact, Jewish life here is vibrant. By the 1840s, there were enough Jewish men to make minyans in different synagogues: Eventually, Orthodox, Conservative and Reform shuls were established, and with many other organizations and institutions being founded as the years went by, today's 8,000 Nashville Jewish residents enjoy a satisfying scene.

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