February 02, 2020

Nashville, Tennessee - An Excellent Start to our Music City Adventure!

This post represents another installment in The Big Switcheroo series – tales from last spring’s epic journey from the northeast to the Florida Keys and back – involving family, friends and an extraordinary range of adventures.  The photos included with this post were all taken at Seven Points Campground in Hermitage, Tennessee.

Westward, ho!  The stretch of blacktop between Bush’s Visitor Center near Dandridge, Tennessee, and Nashville would mark the westernmost leg of last spring’s roundabout journey to Florida for us.  As we traveled through eastern Tennessee, we would love to have stopped to meet Joe and Helen Bruner but, alas, the fates would not allow it.  (Joe blogs over at Easin’ Along which is accessible from the list of My Favorite Blogs to the right.)  As it so very often happens with those of us enthralled with the RV lifestyle, Joe and Helen were off on an RV adventure of their own, and we had to settle for waving hello to their empty home as we drove on through to Nashville.

Alan and I had visited Nashville on at least two prior occasions, but we calculated that the last time was probably 25 years ago.  (After the trip, I remembered that our son, Ryan, was there when he was about 2 years old, so it was probably more like 23 years ago.)  We knew for sure we had never camped in the Nashville area, and we were looking forward to our stay at Seven Points with a great deal of anticipation.  Seven Points Campground on J. Percy Priest Lake, just east of Nashville, is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility.

Entrance gate at Seven Points Campground ~ Hermitage, Tennessee

We tend to favor COE campgrounds because they’re often set on the banks of rivers or along the shores of lakes and reservoirs – a real selling point to us as boaters and kayakers.  We find them to be well designed and well kept, and Seven Points was no different.

Gorgeous view (and a heron, too!) from our campsite

At the time I had booked our reservation, Alan did not yet have his National Parks Lifetime Senior Pass, but he did pick it up prior to last year’s journey.  The husband and wife host team at the gate were friendly, welcoming and still doting on each other after many years of marriage (yes, it did come up in our conversation) which was sweet to see.  They proved to be quite entertaining, as well, when trying to figure out how to apply Alan’s discount after the fact.  It’s amazing what can be done with the touch of a computer button, and we all watched the cost of our stay disappear into cyberspace.  The looks on their faces were priceless, and they informed us that they believed we would now be camping at the lake for free.  Our excitement lasted only as long as it took someone at Recreation.gov to figure out what had happened; it wasn’t long after we arrived home from the trip that we found a courteous letter in the mail informing us that an error had been detected and we were being charged (the correct amount) for our stay.  Well, “free” was great while it lasted!  Seriously, though, who would complain about a gorgeous lakefront site with water and electric even at the full cost of $26.00 per night?!  And, to think, we enjoyed it for only $13.00 per night!  As my brother, Michael, would say, “Good deal!”

Plenty of room at our campsite!

Seven Points definitely did not disappoint, and I really can’t see us staying anywhere else if or when we return to Nashville.  Although we didn’t use the restrooms and showers, I did peek in and found them clean and certainly serviceable.  The campground includes a playground, beach and boat launch, and the campsites were lovely and well-spaced.  With its location just east of the city, Seven Points proved to be less than 30 minutes away from the center of Nashville where the Country Music Hall of Fame and many of the honky tonks are located, and about the same distance from the Grand Ole Opry and the Opryland Hotel.  It’s quite a treat to find such an idyllic camping location within a stone’s throw of a major city.  Yet another tip of the hat goes to the Army Corps of Engineers for a job well done!
Did we enjoy the view of J. Percy Priest Lake out our back window?  You bet we did!

Switching gears now, let me ask you . . . How have you come by your friends?  My friends include kids from the neighborhood where I grew up (one of whom, Valerie, was my matron of honor), fellow elementary and high school students, my banking and Alan’s IT colleagues, people from our small town and parents we met when our kids were in the various stages of their education beginning with pre-school.   I’m guessing that friends like these are fairly common, as would be friends that come to us through shared interests, maybe like a sports team or a volunteer group.  What I find intriguing are the friendships our family developed in (what I consider to be) an unusual way – simply by sitting near the same people at church each week.  You know how it goes . . . Hi, how are you this week?  My, aren’t the kids getting big?  Isn’t this beautiful weather we’re having?  One tiny thing leads to another and, suddenly, you realize that a friendship has blossomed.  Alan and I have two friendships that developed this way and, although we no longer attend the church were we met these people, we still remain in touch via emails and Christmas cards.

Nice set-up at the boat launch

Kathy and Albert are one set of friends that we met through church, and we stayed in touch with them after they retired and moved down to the Nashville area.  When I was originally planning our Nashville stop, I contacted Kathy to see if she and Albert would be up for meeting us for a meal on one of the two days we’d be in town.  I was pretty sure they’d be up for a visit but what I didn’t expect was the speedy and exceptionally positive response I received when I asked.  Now, keep in mind that our friendship, to date, had been strictly church-oriented.  We hadn’t been to each other’s homes, attended any functions together other than Sunday Mass, as I recall; in fact, we’d never even met for breakfast at a local diner or pizza on a Friday night.  So, Kathy’s emphatically enthusiastic response to my inquiry was heartwarming, to say the least.  Before Alan and I knew it, we had Tour Guides Extraordinaire booked for the two full days we were going to be in town – and here we were hoping that they’d just be willing to meet us for lunch or supper one day!
Swimming beach

When I mentioned that the only hard and fast stop on our itinerary was a visit to the “new” Country Music Hall of Fame (remember, it had been at least 20 years since our last visit), Kathy insisted that we use their tickets.  She and Albert held memberships which allowed them free admittance and a certain number of guest tickets.  When I demurred, commenting that surely there were friends or family members who could use them, Kathy promised that no one was losing out as many of their friends were members, as well.  Well, okaaay.  Can’t pass up a gift like that, especially one that was being so gladly and generously offered.  But, I have to admit, we did feel a little bit guilty taking advantage of their kindness.

Even the playground has a great view!

When we found out that there would be a performance at the Grand Ole Opry on the Tuesday evening of our visit, Alan and I decided that we couldn’t pass up an opportunity like that.  But wait!  Apparently, our friends Kathy and Albert were country music fans.  (We didn’t even know THAT about them!  What kind of friendship is this?!)  We wondered if they’d be interested in coming with us.  Well, guess what!  They were!  It didn’t take long for the rest of our plans to fall into place.
Seven Points Campground provides a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of Nashville.

We had pulled into town on Monday night, May 13th.  Kathy and Albert joined us for a picnic lunch at our campsite at Seven Points on Tuesday, took us over to the Opryland Hotel for a tour and on to Logan’s Roadhouse for supper prior to the Opry show on Tuesday evening.  The next day, we visited the Country Music Hall of Fame, toured the lovely town of Franklin and took a drive on the Natchez Trace Parkway.  Kathy and Albert practically insisted on driving us all around town for the entire two days we were in Nashville, picking us up and dropping us off like we were celebrities.  They were phenomenal hosts and tour guides, but the absolute best part of those two days was that we REALLY got to know them better, developing a casual friendship into a wonderful relationship via the sharing of family stories, many meals and laughter.  Believe me, there was LOTS of laughter peppered throughout the hours we spent with these two incredibly warm and welcoming people.  Thank you, Kathy and Albert, for ensuring that our visit to Nashville was a fun-filled and memorable one!

I can’t believe that I didn’t take one single photo of our fabulous friends and tour guides, but that’s the truth.  My only excuse is that we were having such a delightful time it simply never crossed my mind!  More details about our Nashville experiences coming up in a future post!


  1. Your kind of camping is the norm, I think...a bucolic location away from the cacophony and madness of uncivilized civilization. In fact, it was that kind of camping that I did with my parents as a child. So I'm not sure how we became addicted to glamping. Our bus might as well be a metropolitan townhouse with all the amenities thereof, the only difference being its being transportable from one town to another. I'm going to blame modern technology for helping make us city dwellers on the lam, panicking at the thought of leaving our cell phones on the bus or parking under a tree where we can't get a satellite signal. We are, in a word, pathetic. As for friends, we, too, met many of ours at church, but perhaps a larger number among RVers. It's an amazing group of people with a common interest, few of whom don't turn out to be friend material. Nice post, by the way; it's good to read about normal people.

    1. One of the facets of the RVing lifestyle that I find so appealing is that it allows you to travel in the manner you find most comfortable - whether that's boondocking miles from civilization, glamping at an RV resort or anything else in between. The way I see it, we RVers are blessed to be able to enjoy this great country of ours in so many ways that are all incredibly enjoyable. Everybody wins! By the way, Mike, while I sincerely appreciate the compliment on the post, I will not go so far as to agree that we should be considered "normal!"

  2. Hi, Mary,
    Now that we have returned to the old routine after our trip to Florida, I'm finally getting caught up on reading my favorite bloggers. I saw this post last week but, didn't have time to dig in. Thanks for the shout out and very sorry we missed you on your way through. Hopefully, we'll get another opportunity.

    Agree completely about the COE campgrounds. We've stayed at a few of them and always find them to be first-rate. My sister and brother-in-law have stayed at Seven Points during the last two summers and rave about it. Talk soon! Joe

    1. I'd go back to Seven Points in a heartbeat, Joe. It's hard to believe that it's so close and convenient to Nashville - it really feels like it's out in the middle of nowhere, and we love the peace and quiet.

      As for meeting, I have absolutely no doubt that we'll make it work at some point in the future. We have to - you and Helen are on our bucket list!


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