Playing “I Spy” at The Bushnell Performing Arts Center in Hartford, Connecticut

Named after local civic visionary Horace Bushnell, The Bushnell Performing Arts Center opened as Bushnell Memorial Hall in 1930, less than two years after the groundbreaking ceremony,  and was fully restored in 2005 for its 75th anniversary. Known as a presenting center (because all sets and costumes are brought in for each show), The Bushnell is home to the 2,799 seat Mortensen Hall, the 907 seat Belding Hall, which opened in 2001, and several small halls and suites for concerts, lectures, weddings, corporate events, and performances.

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10 Places We Love in Tennessee

Upfront disclosure: There is so much that we have not seen across the 400 miles of Tennessee. However, last summer, we had a lot of fun exploring the Volunteer State. Driving from New England, we made stops in Pigeon Forge, Nashville, and Memphis. Here are 10 places we loved:

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Boston Symphony Orchestra in Boston, Massachusetts

Founded by Henry Lee Higginson, the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) was first located at the site of the current Orpheum Theater and then moved to its current location in 1900. Higginson spent significant time studying European orchestras before creating the BSO in 1881 and the Boston Pops in 1885. Higginson wanted to mimic the Coliseum in Greece, as Boston was considered the Greek “Athens” of America, and included 16 Greek statues of figures related to the arts around the hall.

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Radio City Music Hall Backstage Tour in New York City

Radio City Music Hall was the largest theater in the world at the time it opened in December of 1932. With a seating capacity of 5,931 guests (over 6,000 when they used the orchestra area for additional seating) and a stage that spans 130 feet across, it’s one of the largest, and most recognizable, entertainment venues in the world. Radio City Music Hall hosts hundreds of events each year and is home to the famous Rockettes (who were actually founded in St Louis Missouri in 1925, when Radio City Music Hall founder Roxy Rothafel brought them to New York City). Today, guests can see performances in music, theater, comedy, and sports 365 days a year, with over two million annual visitors. The Hall also offers daily Backstage tours with a behinds the scene look at how it all comes together.

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The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee

My family received most of their country music education when we visited the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum on a recent trip to Nashville. However, no education would be complete without a trip to the Grand Ole Opry. The backstage tour gave us an insider’s perspective to what it’s like for one of the 64 living, active cast members who perform at the Opry. Since its inception, the Opry has invited (invitation is a must) 215 musicians to become members, 74 of whom are women.

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The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee

We’re not huge country music fans, but while in Nashville this summer, we figured it was only appropriate to listen to what the locals listen to and blend in with the crowd. There’s no better place to listen to, and learn about, country music than the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s located in downtown Nashville, close to many area attractions. (I’ll have a full list of our fun in Nashville in the coming weeks.)

I was uncertain if my children would be engaged throughout our self guided tour ( we decided to forego the audio tour). I was so pleasantly surprised at how child friendly the museum is! There is plenty to see and do, even for younger, non-country loving kids. We spent over two hours inside the museum and could have stayed longer had we not had another reservation.

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