Here’s a list of 15 things that Nashville people know about Nashville, but others may not. We’ve seen many Nashville lists in the past couple years, but none really hit the spot for us, so we came up with 15 that we haven’t seen listed anywhere. So, while this list may not talk about Pancake Pantry or Hot Chicken, or much about our music scene, know that’s because those things have all been covered, plenty of times. This is more about our everyday life kinda stuff.
So, you know you’ve become an official local if …
1) You’ve correctly conquered how to mispronounce Lafayette, Lebanon and even Sante Fe.
Don’t come to Nashville and try to pronounce our downtown street the way the French general in the Revolutionary War did. No, sir. Here, we pronounce the street “la-FAY-it.” And, Lebanon? Yes, our town just to the east of Nashville. It’s pronounced with just two syllables, as in “Leb-nin.” And, just south of Nashville is a tiny town that is supposed to be pronounced “Santa fee.” Yep, no telling why as to any of this.
2) You know what it means to walk the 5.8.
We take our outdoors seriously and embrace the walks and hikes, with our crown jewel being The Warner Parks: Percy and Edwin. Together, they cover 2,684 acres of land within Nashville’s city limits. Hiking trails, paved walking and biking trails, picnic areas, a nature center, horse trails, a golf course, cross country trails and more … When you hear someone say that ran they ran the 5.8, you know they meant a specific loop at this park. A million people visit this park each year.
3) You know what Area 2 means.
This real estate term basically means parts of west Nashville. No one uses the term to describe where they live, but after looking for a house to buy or rent, the term does pop up. But, when someone asks where you live, hardly anyone says west Nashville either, and simply breaks it down to neighborhood — Oak Hill, Belle Meade, Green Hills, Sylvan Park, HWEN, RWEN, West Meade, and more … all of which are really southwest Nashville, for those who are picky. So, while people earnestly say, “I live in East Nashville,” and wear t-shirts proclaiming this (which implies you’re hip, cool and possibly artistic …), no one on the westside of town does the same for their compass point in the city.
4) You know where 37206 is.
37206 is East Nashville. People who live here embrace it, put 37206 bumper stickers on their car, wear East Nashville t-shirts and eat very well, as East Nashville has more than its share of good restaurants.
5) You know what the little orange cross on the seam of some jeans means.
Many Nashville folks see a great pair of jeans and instinctively look to see if a little orange cross is stitched into the side. No, this is not a religious cross, even though there are plenty of churches to be found here. But, in the religion of denim, there is no higher altar than the one built for Nashville-based denim company, Imogene + Willie.
6) You most likely own a pair of cowboy boots.
Whenever some of these other “local lists” of Nashville say that only tourists wear cowboy boots, more than half this city cries foul. Sure, we may not wear them with fringe, lace, doo-dads, cowboy hats and gingham, or heaven forbid when actually downtown in the tourist district, but go to any local festival, football game or restaurant and you will see plenty of boots! Cowboy boots are an integral part of many of our wardrobes. The way this city embraces its denim and music, it would have to embrace boots, as well!
7) If you’re a parent with school-age children, you’d rather win the magnet lottery than Powerball.
Our magnet schools are really good–some of the best in the entire country. High marks especially to Meigs (middle school), Hume Fogg (high school) and MLK (7-12th grade). Hume Fogg and MLK are the #1 and #2 ranked public high schools in the state by US News & World Report. They are only attended by 1) having the academic record to apply and 2) by winning the school lottery by having a low number drawn. The lottery is fair: no preference is given, but, with so many kids applying each year, parents sweat serious bullets each winter waiting of their number.
8) You can’t understand why neighborhood speed limits are so high.
Walking a neighborhood in Nashville can feel perilous at times. With neighborhood speed limits at 30 MPH, which matches many of the speed limits on some local business streets, and with the addition of a seemingly 100% penetration of cell phones in the past decade, there’s good reason to feel this way! Parents want to send their kids outside, but cars drive way too fast, usually a good 10 MPH over the speed limit, in our neighborhoods. School speed zones, to protect kids, are 15 MPH. But in our neighborhoods, you are legally able to drive double that speed. Slow down, people! And, please, can we get that speed limit lowered to 25 MPH?
9) While the rest of country was hearing about the Time Square bomber, you helped out a neighbor in the 2010 flood. In fact, you helped out lots of neighbors.
The rest of the country may have been slow to catch on that our city was literally under water (the big news story that weekend was the Times Square bomber), Nashvillians found a good way to use Twitter, FB and neighborhood listserves to get the news out of where help was needed. The city helped out their neighborhoods–whether they were literally neighbors or not. Nashville became one small community overnight, and it’s impossible to find one person who lived here in 2010 who didn’t spend days helping out friends and strangers.
10) You may update Facebook that you’ve seen a celebrity, but only after they’ve left.
We protect our celebrities and the paparazzi are not welcome. We’re fiercely proud of this.
11) Your housekeeper, plumber, neighbor and server can all sing better than anyone on American Idol.
It’s true. This city is filled with beautiful voices who never got that break as well as those who did. It’s also filled with songwriters and band members which those outside of the music industry many not know, but who are serious stars within it. You just never know who you may be talking to and how many hits they’ve written or how many albums they’ve played on.
12) You’ve tried to dig a hole in your yard only to come across a massive rock. Your neighbor reminds you that Nashville is built on top of limestone.
Other parts of the country may not understand the need to rent a jackhammer to plant your boxwood. But here, it happens. It also provides for gorgeous scenic drives.
13) You accept that you will always have brown recluses.
Nasty little buggers. All houses have them. If you think you don’t, well, you haven’t looked hard enough. In Nashville, many shake their shoes out before stepping into them as you never know where one might be hiding. It sounds frightening, but it’s not. It’s just a way of life.
14) You enjoy celebrating the tomato with friends in the heat of August.
The Tomato Art Festival, about to celebrate its 11th year this August 8-9th, is one fabulous festival! Amazing art, food, music and fun contests including a Tomato Haiku Contest, Corn Hole Tournament and the famous Bobbing for Tomatoes & Tomato Toss, and plenty more. 35,000 people attended last year. With the weather expected for this year’s festival dates (mid 80’s), this may be a record setting year! (It’s usually about 100 degrees.)
15) You recognize how this city loves to throw a charity event.
Goodness, does this city love their charity events and silent auctions. It’s a great thing that so many want to gather in the name of community, food and drink, and music. And, if formalwear is your thing, you can find plenty of opportunities to wear some in Nashville as there is more than a fair amount of charity events which are black tie.
Yes, our music is fabulous, our healthcare is top notch, our tech scene is starting to get some press, our entrepreneurs are loving our many collaborative office spaces, our art scene is bustling, our food is divine and our people are some of the nicest, and more creative, that you will meet ANYWHERE. But, if you don’t actually live here, you now have 15 bits of extra insight into the life of a Nashville local!
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