We just got back from a little get away to Nashville, Tenesse, where we had the absolute best time with my good friend Angie, and her husband, Ryan. This was my first trip to Music City USA and I enjoyed every second of it! Take a look at where we stayed, what we ate (hint, it was a lot) and what we did on our trip. –
Our friends are air bnb hosts. (They also own and rent out this house on air bnb, how beautiful is that???) I’ve talked about my love for staying in air bnb rentals in the past (like this post), so I won’t rehash the million and one reasons why I love traveling with air bnb. But I will say this: If you haven’t used it to travel yet, you are seriously missing out. There is no way we could afford to travel with our family otherwise! It’s fun, it’s super affordable, and the places you get to stay in are incredible and offer a true taste of the area you are visiting. Anyways, back to Nashville…
Day one: We hit up The Post for breakfast. It had delicious coffee, incredible omelets, and scones that made me want to sing. We only had Beatrice with us on this trip, and my friends have son who is just a few months older.
Can I just say it was glorious to eat without chasing after our two oldest, constantly putting utensils back on the table, and generally able to enjoy a conversation? WordPress doesn’t have emojis, but if they did, I would totally be using the praise hands right now. #canigetanamen
Ryan and Angie live in East Nashville, which is just so stinkin cool. Like, the coolest. After breakfast, we explored some of the shops and, wouldn’t you know it, I found myself a pretty wall to get my picture taken in front of. Poor Mike, livin that blogger husband life. Wink
We completely fell in love with East Nashville. So much so that we even went so far as to pick out a few potential homes. Aren’t they just the cutest? (And, apparently, really expensive.)
I feel like everyone we met knew someone famous. We walked into one cute little boutique and started chatting with the clerk. She told me the shop’s owner was a stylist and currently on tour with Drake. The triangle on the wall was for her Prince memorabilia, whose tour she worked on. (She has also styled Katie Perry.) The dressing room was covered with the set lists for a bunch of other artists that she has styled. So fun!
That afternoon, my friend stayed with the babies during nap time while Mike and I visited Corsair’s distillery. It was way more fun than I expected, and such an interesting learning experience! We learned everything from the science to distilling, how they infuse herbs into the mix, and the fun story behind both their name and logo.
That night, after some yummy Thai take out, the four of us left the babies at home with a sitter and we ventured downtown, to Broadway. We started at the famous Robert’s and had a blast listening to a fun honkey tonk band.
Afterwards, we ventured into the alley between The Ryman and Broadway, where Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings used to hang out after shows, and went to Tootsies.
Tootsies, like the other places that night, were packed. Take the busiest place you’ve ever been and multiply it by 10. It was crazy. We walked up to the third floor, worked our way into the room, and had so much fun dancing and singing along with the band playing Shania Twain songs. SO.MUCH.FUN.
Day two: We started with coffee from Ugly Mugs (amazing, by the way), and then the six of us went to Mitchell’s Deli for lunch. I was a little worried about my eating situation in Nashville; I didn’t know how vegetarian-friendly this part of the South would be. My fears, were quickly erased. Not only are Ryan and Angie wonderful at making thoughtful food recommendations, but Nashville is bursting with great vegetarian and vegan friendly places.
The dads: matching tanks, matching babies.
We went back to Broadway to do a few touristy things. We went into a boot shop. We bought the boys souvenir hats. We sat on the river. That sort of thing.
Downtown Nashville is covered in some amazing graffiti. The city paid several artists to tag buildings with their art. I loved walking along a normal street to all of the sudden discover a gorgeous art installation.
That afternoon, Mike and I went back to Ugly Mugs because, well, does that really need explaining? Coffee is LIFE. We also got some Jeni’s ice cream to go with our coffee, because that’s what you do on vacation! I chose their honey pistachio and lavender flavors and wowzers. This ice cream made time stop and the heavens part. It tasted like fruit loops on crack and I wanted to marry it and have it’s babies.
Again, Ryan and Angie generously offered to watch Bea while she took her nap, so Mike and I spent the next hour at the Grand Ole Opry Hotel. It was really incredible to see, and the photos just don’t do it justice. I don’t think I’d ever want to stay there, it was so big and busy! But it was worth seeing. It felt like an American landmark that everyone should visit at some point in their life.
Wearing the hat we bought for Oliver, because touristy activities require touristy attire. Shh. Don’t tell Oliver.
That night, we ordered pizza from Five Points and took it to a local brewery to enjoy. My pizza had roasted garlic, tons of cheese, and arugula with a lemony vinagrette on top and yes, was basically the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. (Sweet baby jane I love food.)
That night, we headed back, put the babies to bed, and spent the rest of the evening on Ryan and Angie’s front porch. Ryan is an incredible musician and plays in a local bluegrass band, Angie has the voice of a southern angel, and Mike rocks a mean harmonica. The three of them jammed the night away with me doing what I do best – being an adoring groupie.
For me, this was by far the highlight of the trip. There was something so special about being out on that porch together: enjoying each other; enjoying Ryan and Angie’s hospitality; and enjoying music the quintessential way – together, on a porch, on a hot summer night.
The next morning, we packed up and said our goodbyes to Ryan and Angie and hit up one more East Nashville spot for breakfast – Mad Donna’s. The beignets were deep fried and delicious and served with this raspberry syrup that made you want to take a bath in it and trust me, no one would fault you if you did.
45 minutes and one billion calories later, we were back on the road.
Before we left town, we went on a search for June and Johnny Cash’s grave site. I had done a little research in advance and got us to the right place, but we still had to do some exploring to find the exact location.
I was touched by how normal and peaceful it all was. The gravesite is a little fancier than some, but not flashy by any means. It wasn’t touristy or commercialized in any way. Mike also noticed the dates of their passing: Jonny Cash died only a few months after June. All in all, it was a sweet and touching memorial for two incredible musicians who loved each other very much, and I’m glad we stopped.
Traveling with Bea meant we needed to stop every three hours for a nursing break, which made the trip feel nice and relaxed. At one stop, we ventured into the Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, found a path, and took a little stroll. We discovered a beautiful pond, gorgeous (and huge) butterflies, and to my horror, a snake. Ew. Ewwww. I can’t even.
We had a great time in Nashville. We got to do a few touristy things because some things you’ve just got to see first hand, and we really enjoyed experiencing Nashville native life. The food was wonderful, the music scene was so vibrant and fun, and the heat – oh the glorious heat! I was made for that kind of weather.
My favorite part of our trip was definitely being in a new city with a friend whom I hold so dear. It is so special to visit your friend’s on their own turf, to see things through their eyes and walk in their shoes for a bit. It also adds so much depth and meaning to a trip! I’ll be forever grateful to Ryan and Angie and their sweet little guy for welcoming us and showing us such a great time.
Road trips like this are so refreshing. Mike and I love taking trips together where we get to be in the car for hours, just having the kind of conversation you never get to have during your normal week to week. We love taking random roads to see where they lead. We love experiencing new places and meeting new people. We love meeting up with old friends for new adventures.
I know everyone tells you things like “those who wander are never lost” and to “go explore your world,” but it’s just so true. You learn so much when you step outside of your little cocoon and try something new. Life really is what you make it, and I’m so grateful for my fellow traveller, Mike; for friends like Ryan and Angie; and for destinations like Nashville.
They make my life so much more vibrant, interesting, and fun.