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Country’s biggest divas including Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire and Martina McBride are in Nashville for the CMA Awards, and offer suggestions about how to best spend time in Music City.

“I go to bed,” Carrie, who co-hosts the show with Brad Paisley, tells me. “That’s my spot. Club bed. It’s wonderful, I tell you. Yeah, there’s just so much that goes on. I go home and I feel like that makes everything that much more tiring. I feel like I’ve been running a marathon all day.”

Reba has more specific suggestions.

“Go to The Station Inn with the Time Jumpers on a Monday night,” she tells me. “My favorite place to go is the Country Music Hall of Fame, The Ryman Auditorium – things like that. I’ve got family in right now, and they said ‘what do we want to do?’ and I said ‘I can’t think of a thing. I’m not very good at that. I need the tour manager to show me around. But one of the first places that we ever went sightseeing on when we came to Nashville from Oklahoma was The Hermitage where Andrew Jackson lives. That’s really interesting.”

What is the culture like in Nashville?

“Nashville has a lot of history from the Civil War,” she says. “That’s the number one thing that I find so interesting. Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn is a history buff, and I keep saying I’m going to get him to drive me around Nashville and show me all the historic points and give me a little of the lay of the land. I love history. It really intrigues me.”

Martina has an amazing abode, so it’s no wonder it’s one of her favorite spots.

“I love to go to movies, go out to eat, sometimes we go bowling. We don’t really get out a lot in Nashville. We’re gone so much that when we get home, we just want to stay home.”

She continues, “My favorite place is there’s a little spot in the kitchen by the fireplace, and I like to read and sit. That’s probably my favorite place – the kitchen. I read All Over But The Shoutin’. It’s a memoir by Rick Bragg that I really like. That was a good book.”

Taylor also prefers her home sweet home.

“My favorite vacation is my house because I’m never there,” she tells me. “I feel like whenever I have time off, it would be so pointless to get on another plane and stay in another hotel room. I live on a lake, and I like to go and paddle out to the middle.”

How does she keep from burning out?

“I get tired a lot, but I never get tired of it, because for me, I remember when I was a little kid, and I used to sit there and think about how lucky I would be if people cared about the words that I wrote,” Taylor says. “Or how lucky I would be if someday I was just walking through the mall and I saw some little girl walking by with my face on her shirt. And when you spend so much time daydreaming about that stuff, when that actually happens, you don’t ever complain about it, you know? When I go to a restaurant, yeah, I know that a line will form in front of the table, but didn’t I used to wish for that? Yeah, I did. So I never want to be the girl who wanted something so bad her whole life – just only one thing – and then gets it, and complains about it. I’m not going to be that girl.”

And now, for some photos:
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