Episode 11 takes us to Nashville, Tennessee, to meet John and Ellen, hosts of https://www.stayinthesouth.com/ and http://www.heidtkehouse.com/. We had a lot of expectations for Nashville, knowing it for country music, from albums and TV shows, the Southern food and hospitality and from rumors of a quickly growing entrepreneurial culture. All of these things turned out to be true at some level, as our night at American Legion Post 82 or our family lunch at Monel's, or conversation with every Uber driver about people moving to Nashville' would prove. Somehow, however, Nashville both defied our expectations and surpassed them entirely.
With Sense of Place we'd been to the countryside in Italy, and have hit several urban destinations, but hadn't really done a comfy American suburban home before, and it was a welcome experience. Just 10 minutes from downtown Nashville, surrounded by leafy trees and lawns, and warm and comfy on the inside, the Heidtke House was a perfect home base for our Nasvhille adventures.
We were surprised by how much Nashville felt like a small town in a big town wrapping. Legendary music row is not a line of skyscrapers, but rather a leafy, almost suburban street of beautiful homes-turned-studios. The Honkytonk Highway is touristy, sure, but every band from their to the offbeat dive-bars is really, really good. What it came down to was a more textured experience that we found only through the eyes of our hosts, John and Ellen. Their Nashville was a city unlike any we had expected to find. Through their spirituality and giving nature, we found Room in the Inn an organization that provides shelter for the homeless, which John initially became involved with, but now his 84 year old father leads the charge. Through all of this we learned, much as we had in Rome, that with the right hosts, no expectations can quite prepare you for a world-famous-city explored with local knowledge.
Read Matt's full essay here.