Despite Damage, Nashville Opens its Doors

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01-MT5410_080609_583_IJFR.jpgLast weekend’s flooding in Nashville is estimated to have caused over $1 billion in damages, and the city is anticipating a long recovery. But this Friday and Saturday, many of Nashville’s iconic venues plan to resume operation as the city continues to assess flood damage and cope with significant loss. The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum expects full power restoration by this Saturday, May 8, at the latest. “As soon as the lights come back on, our staff stands ready to welcome visitors back to the museum,” says director Kyle Young.

A still partially submerged Grand Ole Opry will transplant its scheduled weekend performances to the Ryman Auditorium and other local venues. At the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, admission is free through Sunday, May 9 in light of current conditions. The Nashville Zoo, the Belle Meade Plantation and The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson are currently open. The Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art is offering free admission to all guests through May 7. On their website, they encourage guests to “come and escape, work (we have Wi-Fi in all buildings) entertain kids out of school.”

As it happens, May 8-16 marks National Travel and Tourism Week, and all of Tennessee’s 14 Welcome Centers are open throughout the state, and in the hardest hit communities citizens are moving fast to open public attractions.

Tennessee tourism welcomes 50 million visitors each year, generates nearly $14 billion dollars, and provides 180,000 jobs.
 
For an updated list of events, venues and Nashville hotels accepting accommodations, visit the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau. For information on donating to or volunteering with the Red Cross in Middle Tennessee, click here.

Read More: Writer Patrick J. Kelly and photographer Will van Overbeek paired up for the March 2010 feature on Music City for National Geographic Traveler in which Kelly pursues the city — and his dream — as he seeks to pitch a country tune his band recorded.

Photo: Visitors pose with guitars at the Ryman Auditorium, from the March 2010 issue of Traveler, by Will van Overbeek.  More of Will’s Nashville photos here.

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