BlueShoe Nashville Travel Guide: Gear
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Outfitting your expeditions

Growing up in Florida, I never had a chance to wander into a climbing gear store, much less go rock climbing (we did scamper over the jetties at the inlet). Tennessee offers a gratifying answer to a flatlanded childhood: it has an abundance of both gear stores and the rocks on which to use those new carabiners. In fact, Nashville is a convenient base camp location for rock climbing excursions, cycling, canoeing (including white water canoeing), hunting, fishing, backpacking, orienteering competitions, bird watching, and family camping. If you fly into Nashville and plan to drive east--toward the Smokies--you can undoubtedly find more than adequate outfitters around Knoxville. But why go so far? Nashville has some prime outfitters that offer not only equipment, but the chance to do a little vicarious adventuring--you may not be able to afford a hand-made bamboo flyrod, but it's a pleasure just holding it in your hand. And those carabiners--the sound of the word suggests higher altitudes, ice-blue skies, and the quiet of working hard on a slope. Pocket knives, compasses, topographic maps--you don't use these things in your everyday life, but wouldn't you like to?

Even pedestrians need good equipment: good shoes are the first step for traveling well. If your feet hurt, you're just going to want to stop and sit and nurse the blisters. What fun is that? So, find some good shoes. For runners and walkers and soccer players, we recommend the Athlete's House near Belmont University or Team Nashville in Park Place. Specialized footgear for climbers and hikers can be had at Cumberland Transit, Wilderness Sports Outfitters, Blue Ridge Mountain Sports. More boots and galoshes available at Friedman's Army-Navy store (you can buy your Tennessee hunting and fishing licenses here also, along with just about any sort of fishing tackle and hunting gear imaginable.

Flyfishing enthusiasts will want to spend an unhurried time at Cumberland Transit going over the flyrods and the hand-tied flies. You can also get packs, sleeping bags, maps, guides, and how-to books (such as how to teach yourself fly-fishing). Along with an array of outdoor apparel, Cumberland Transit. Half the store is dedicated to bicycles and cycling equipment. Located across from Centennial Park, Cumberland Transit is a good place to start your Tennessee outdoor adventure. (And for a somewhat digressive suggestion: right next door is a wonderful South American import store called Scarlet Begonia. Cool dresses, very cool jewelry. Worth a peek after you leave the flyrod section of Cumberland Transit.) Here are the addresses of the stores we recommend here:

BlueShoe Picks for best sources of outdoor equipment and provisions in Nashville:

Cumberland Transit (backpacking: 615-321-4069) (flyfishing: 615-327-0557): located at 2807 West End Avenue, across from Centennial Park. Camping, backpacking, climbing, fly-fishing, footwear, clothes.

Friedman's Army-Navy Store at the Hillsboro location: 2101 21st Avenue South (615-297-3343) All matter of excursion equipment--fishing, hunting, hiking; fishing and hunting licenses for sell here.

Wilderness Sports Outfitters: 73 White Bridge Pike (615-356-5230)
backpacking and camping, climbing and rappelling, footwear and clothing, canoeing and kayaking, car racks, rentals, and instruction.

Team Nashville: Park Place Shopping, across from Centennial Park (615-321-5257)
Top brand running shoes and swimming gear. Located next to Bean Central (stop in for a coffee to go.)

Blue Ridge Mountain Sports: 108 Page Road in Belle Meade (615-356-2300)
Backpacks, tents, sleeping bags, hiking boots, outdoor clothing, climbing gear, rentals.

Athlete's House at Belmont: 1700 Portland Avenue (615-298-4495)
BlueShoe's favorite shoe store--great running shoes and good prices.


Want to use that new equipment? Go on to Natchville: Parks.

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BlueShoe Nashville Copyright 2000 Cheryl Hiers | | Updated March 20, 2000.