New Orleans and Nashville

Yes, Florida will always be a favourite, but ring the changes with a trip to New Orleans or Nashville (or both!). New Orleans is famous for jazz, the Mardi Gras and its eclectic food, while Nashville is all about country music – singers, songwriters and performance.


New Orleans is on Lake Ponchartrain and close to the Gulf of Mexico, but the nearest beaches are in Mississippi, a 90-minute drive east to the resort of Biloxi, or drive on for another half hour to reach the beautiful white sandy beaches of Florida’s Gulf Coast. Tennessee is landlocked but you visit for the music, not the beaches!


In New Orleans, enjoy a walk round the atmospheric French Quarter and take in a jazz show at Preservation Hall. You could ride on a streetcar and if you’re not there in February for Mardi Gras, visit a museum dedicated to it at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World. In Nashville it’s all about the music – take in as many performances as possible – venues include The Grand Old Opry and Ryman Auditorium, and visit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum and The RCA Studio B museum to see where Elvis and the Everley Brothers laid down their tracks.


In New Orleans, street food doesn’t get any better than a po’boy – a baguettelike roll stuffed with fried shrimp, oysters or beef. Try the hearty Creole and Cajun cuisine – a gumbo stew or jambalaya, a mixture of meat, vegetables and rice. In Nashville try Southern staples like fried catfish, fried chicken, and biscuits (more like a scone) and gravy. Barbecue is an art form in the South and taken very seriously – take your pick of the barbecue restaurants and tuck in.


Tennessee whiskey is world-famous, so sit back and start sipping at one of Nashville’s many whiskey bars. In New Orleans, cocktails are a must – try a Hurricane, Sazerac, Ramos Gin Fizz or a Mimosa.

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Nashville, Tennessee

A view over the Cumberland River and inner city in Nashville, Tennessee