The lady who runs the downstairs bar at Nashville’s Hermitage Hotel, where we drop in for a glass of Kim Crawford Kiwi sauvignon, says, as we leave: “Thanks for stoppin’ by”, in a goose-pimplingly gorgeous Southern drawl. Eric, the concierge at the Nashville Doubletree Inn, and Chuck, the hotel’s bell captain and a part-time Elvis impersonator (he closely resembles the King), give us a farewell worthy of departing royalty. They have been kind far beyond the call of duty. Sonny Harben, proprietor of the Maplehurst Inn, Knoxville tells me: “If you can find a better deal in Knoxville I’ll give you a room for free.” It’s a lovely old house with English hunting prints on the walls. For dinner, Sonny recommends the Downtown Grill and Brewery, where they brew their beer on-site. The place does half a dozen ales. The one I like best is a finely crafted pale ale called Woodruff’s IPA, named after Captain Woodruff, who fought for the Confederacy, then became one of Knoxville’s most successful entrepreneurs. A guy with an almost impenetrable accent in the bar suggests we go to see the cock-fighting in Newport. “Newport, Rhode Island?” I ask incredulously, “Nah, Newport, Kentucky”, he replies. Apparently half a million dollars can be bet on the result of a Newport cockfight. Instead, next morning, we turn south and head for the Carolinas.
Southern Charm In Tennessee
Southern hospitality and downright charm are alive and well and living in Tennessee.