Since we live in Knoxville but sometimes want to fly Southwest, we head to Nashville International Airport (BNA) and board a plane to wherever that economy airline will take us. And if you’ve visited the Southwest terminal lately, you may have noticed a little bit of country right there in the airport!
It was this first sign we saw after check-in that reminded us of how long it had been since we’d had a Goo Goo Cluster. (We chose to remedy that situation . . . fast.)
Dubbed the “world’s first ever combination candy bar,” Goo Goo’s (named for the first words a baby speaks) are a yummy combo of caramel, marshmallow nougat, and roasted peanuts covered in rich milk chocolate. What’s not to like?!! Tennesseans are accustomed to seeing Goo Goo’s in gift baskets or the logo on t-shirts, mugs, and the like — just like we saw at Nashville Star in the airport.
Moon Pies, iconic marshmallow sandwich treats from Chattanooga, lined the shelves, and now come in more flavors than just the original chocolate, banana, and vanilla. New to us were Peanut Butter Moon Pies (We’re taking these home!) and Mint Moon Pies which the saleslady at Nashville Star declared taste just like those Thin Mints the Girl Scouts sell!
T-shirts touted the cultural offerings in Nashville. We saw printed wearables that said Welcome to Nashville Music City, Country Music Hall of Fame, Bluebird Cafe, Ole Smoky Moonshine (See? I told you this was Tennessee!), and our favorite one from the Loveless Cafe right here in Nashville.
Sitting beside it were products from the Loveless (a tourist court turned family-style restaurant and place to spend the night) like this jar of picalilli relish — a mixture of green tomatoes, cabbage, corn, and heaven only knows what else.
A t-shirt from Loveless that we could use in Knoxville during the Biscuit Festival stole our heart for saying what we all know makes for good eatin’ around here:
You can get barbecue sauce at the airport, too, from Chef Tony Neely of the family on Food Network’s “Down Home With the Neelys.” Or you may want to visit their restaurants in Nashville, if you’ve got some time on your hands for slow-cooked, savory ‘cue that’s hard to beat.
In this terminal, however, you don’t have to walk far to sample Whitt’s, a delicious barbecue from a franchise developed by Bill Dean, former scientist. The heading of a poster caught our attention — Barbecue? Being rocket scientist helps! — but we were really more interested in our heaping plates of oozy, saucy meat and two sides!
If music’s your thing, spend your layover at Tootsies — the little bar and music joint that faithfully mimics the downtown venue — Tootsies Orchid Lounge — right down to the live music, lavender color scheme, and back wall plastered with music memorabilia.
Or if you like making music of your own, head to the Gibson Cafe where you’ll recognize fine “gee-tars” (made by Gibson, of course) hanging overhead.
Maybe you’ll just have to have this t-shirt if you’re hanging with the hundreds of thousands of music fans that swarm the state in search of the best in country music– or any kind of good music, for that matter — every year.
So, come on down to Tennessee and stay a while — or just hang out at the airport. We’ve got culture you can get into. And you can take a little Tennessee goodness to the folks back home!
We’d “lak” that, too!
*Note to those of you who don’t speak East Tennessee: “lak” is how we say “like” in these here parts!
Nashville International Airport (BNA) — 1 Terminal Drive, Nashville, TN; 615.275.4311; www.flynashville.com
Nashville Star — http://www.hudsongroupusa.com/store_nashville_star.php
Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum — 222 5th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203; 615.416.2001; http://countrymusichalloffame.org
Loveless Cafe — 8400 Hwy. 100, Nashville, TN 37221; 615.646.9700; www.lovelesscafe.com
Tootsies Nashville Airport — http://www.tootsies.net
Whitt’s Barbecue Nashville — http://www.whittsbarbecue.com
Goo Goo Clusters — www.googoo.com
Moon Pies — www.moonpie.com