Take a Segway Tour of Nashville
I’ve just discovered the easiest way to explore downtown Nashville – getting up-close and personal with all the attractions, effortlessly taking the hills without so much as breaking a sweat, only mildly affected by traffic and crowds.
Segway Tours of Nashville has it all figured out. Combine a little history, a little adventure, a little instruction, and a handful of bravado, and you’re ready to hit the streets on one of Nashville’s coolest tours.
Starting next door to the Johnny Cash Museum on 3rd Avenue South, we met our guide, April, for a little basic training before embarking on our 2 ½ hour tour of Nashville’s most popular highlights. She soon had us feeling comfortable learning this new skill, pointing out hazards that could get you in trouble if you weren’t paying attention.
Avoid unlevel surfaces and abrupt maneuvers, keep both hands firmly on the handlebar, find your sweet spot for the best balance, lean into your turns, and pull up to a wall or firm object before dismounting.
OK, we’re ready! First stop was the Country Music Hall of Fame and Bridgestone Arena. Pedestrians enviously watched us gliding past on a perfect sunny afternoon in Music City. We stopped for another history lesson at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, April sharing all kinds of fascinating details, and pointing out high water marks of the devastating flood of 2010. It was hard to imagine the basement had been under 20 feet of water, and millions of dollars worth of musical instruments including Steinway grand pianos destroyed.
My nephew, Robin, was fresh from Australia on his first visit to Nashville, and we both agreed we’d be looking for Segways in every city we visited from now on. Too much fun and a great way to tour a city!
The honky tonks on Broadway blared their music as we weaved through the pedestrians, closely following April. Down past the Hard Rock Café and up the hill to Fort Nashborough for another history lesson. It gave you a different appreciation for the early settlers and the establishment of the town along the Cumberland River. We had time to listen to the birds and contemplate the constant struggle of frontier life fraught with Indian attacks, hard winters and crop failures.
A special treat showed up unexpectedly when the General Jackson Showboat pulled up to a dock and dozens of passengers disembarked. It went to show there’s always something happening on the river.
Our most interesting stop was the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park overlooked by the State Capitol Building.
This beautiful 19-acre State Park in the heart of the city was developed for the city’s bicentennial in 1996 so that visitors could experience many facets of Tennessee’s history. You may have seen a group of Segway tourists there before, studying the 200-foot granite map etched into the ground and cruising from Memphis to Knoxville in a matter of minutes. This is an awesome place for a student geography lesson. I’ve always been fascinated by maps, and could easily spend an hour walking across this larger-than-life chart of our state.
Standing at the Capitol, you can look straight down the length of the grassy mall to the 95-bell carillon and columns at the far end.
The narrative is carved in granite, a long, sometimes broken wall highlighting geological upheavals, westward expansion, the country’s struggle for independence, wars, famous presidents, athletes, writers, entrepreneurs, the evolution of music, and the state’s many famous firsts.
We skirt the edge of the Farmers Market and April times our Segway tour to arrive at the Court of Three Stars surrounded by 50 bell towers just as the bells begin playing. The 95 carillon bells, representing the 95 counties in the state, play Tennessee songs that can be heard at the top of every hour at the Capitol. We swirl in circles to the refrain of the Tennessee Waltz, looking down the long vista to the elegant State Capitol Building, patriotic blood stirring in our veins.
The return trip down the east side of the Bicentennial Mall follows a virtual garden walk through Tennessee, landscaped with trees and plants native to each region across the state.
By now we’re feeling pretty confident on our Segways, but April reminds us of the safety points, always looking out for us. We barely hold our exuberance in check as we cruise the sidewalks back to Broadway, taking it easy down the hills and ever so reluctant for our fun tour to end. It’s the best history lesson we’ve ever had!
Have you ever ridden a Segway? Share with us your favorite way to explore Music City.