A few weeks back, J and I were hanging out on a lazy Sunday and we got to talking about how our travel-itch was becoming too much to bear. We had not taken a real trip in almost a year (literally to the date) which was our trip to Jupiter, FL back at the end of the second trimester. This was much to long for us. So we began brain storming.
Currently, J’s parent’s are taking a trip around the good old USA so we figured it would be a great opportunity to meet them somewhere a bit warmer since they are currently enjoying the parts of our fine country that aren’t blanketed in snow. We began researching flights to various parts of Florida and also kicked around the idea of checking out Savannah, GA (after reading this post over at the Household Almanac I was dying to check out this great city). But then we got to thinking. J’s brother lives in Nashville and we’ve definitely had Nashville on our short list to visit. J’s parents were about the head that way to see him. Also, my best friend Lisa had recently moved there. Luckily, we found some very reasonable flights in a sale on Southwest and booked them right away.
So. We just returned from our awesome (sneaky!) trip to Nashville, TN. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from this trip because we had never traveled with A. On previous trips we both tend to try and pack as much into our time away as possible, lest we miss anything. Not really planned out, but more fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants adventures. While laying around and relaxing is nice, we both really just love to explore. Still, we knew that it would be a much more enjoyable trip for all of us if we were more flexible with our expectations and didn’t try to do and see everything. So we took it moment by moment. There were definitely a lot of breaks for naps and we certainly didn’t get to see everything we wanted but it was a really fun trip and we can’t wait to come back and check out more of this great city. Most importantly, we got a lot of great quality time with family and friends.
I would like to share a few of these awesome places to go in Nashville followed by a good amount of photos.
- Whiskey Kitchen– We ate here on our first day in town and can I just say, what an excellent introduction to Nashville’s culinary scene! Located in the Gulch which is a very trendy, hip area in downtown Nashville, Whiskey Market is described on the website as “tavern-chic” and this description couldn’t be more right on. Though it’s not exactly a family restaurant in the traditional sense of the word (no high chairs) everyone was very friendly with A and not once did we feel uncomfortable having our gal in there. They have an extensive Whiskey list and the cocktails looked amazing. I settled on a local brew called Gerst Amber Ale, which I enjoyed. We enjoyed some Fried Green Tomatoes and Jalapeno Fried Pickles for starters. Both were tasty but the Fried Pickles really stuck out as delicious- they had that amazing briney-ness accented by a nice, spicy bite. Just keep your eyes open, they mix a few actual jalapenos in, which are well camouflaged with the breading and they pack quite the punch (speaking from experience!). For our main entrees, J ordered the Chili Dogs without onions (actually, all three of the men ordered the Chili Dogs) and gave them rave reviews. I personally enjoyed the Shrimp and Grits which were incredible. I’m not a huge grits fan, but these grits were different. White cheddar and bacon added the most smokey, savory flavor. I literally could not stop eating them (and neither could A).
- Nashville Farmer’s Market– I am a lover of farmer’s markets in general. While there wasn’t much in the way of produce because they were using the month of March to do some renovations, we had some delicious food in the Market House Restaurants and Shops. Fear not, the renovations are set to be through in April. As for the area that we were able to enjoy, there were a ton of different options to choose from with a variety of different cuisines. We ended up enjoying a wood fired, margarita pizza, a shrimp po-boy and a piece of a Muffaletta. All three were delicious, but the star of the show was that Muffaletta, specifically the olive spread. It made me miss New Orleans.
- The Oprymills Mall and (3.5) The Grand Ole Opry– If you’re a person who loves outlets and malls this one is for you. It features over 200 stores, outlets, cinemas, restaurants and even an aquarium. A short walk across the parking lot will take you to The Grand Ole Opry which offers frequent show featuring various artists and even backstage tours. My in-laws enjoyed a show a week before we arrived and had an awesome time. We had to stop and grab a few photos while were were there.
- Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center– Bear with me here because when my brother in-law first said we should check it out and drove us over there from the mall, I was tired from all of my shopping and a bit skeptical. For some reason I had it in my head that this hotel would be a bit dumpy and not worth the $21 they charge you to park if you take more than 20 minutes to get out of the lot (Tip- if you don’t mind walking a bit more, you can park just behind the wall that surrounds the paid parking and there is a walkway to the hotel. I encourage you to do this because it’s huge and when you get lost it will take you more that 20 minutes to find your way out. Not if. When.). Boy was I wrong in my initial assumptions. We spent a good hour walking around and checking out this gorgeous property. I’m talking about a huge atrium with its own river running through it, a gorgeous waterfall situated right next to a bar to enjoy a cocktail and the view and lush gardens spanning various room. Do yourself a favor and get lost in here for a while.
- Broadway– Not the Broadway that I once aspired to perform on (shout out to all you musical theatre geeks out there!) but Broadway in downtown Nashville is a hub of all-things-country-bar. Even if you’re not a big drinker, it’s still a lot of fun walking it and checking things out- maybe do this during the day. Either way the people watching is excellent and there are plenty of spots to get boots at a discount. If you are into consuming some adult beverages, buckle up. The people watching gets even better and the drinks are flowing. While country is dominant, there really is something for everyone and most bars have live music playing (at least they did when we went out which was on a Friday night). We pregamed at Cinco de Mayo in Hermitage which had a nice dive bar feel with tasty Mexican food. Once we got downtown we started at Acme Feed and Seed and enjoyed an awesome band that was like a combo platter of funk with latin influences (amazing female singer and the guy on keys looked like Gandolf!). We then headed out to the Tin Roof and then made our way to roof top bar at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge. After this we stumbled over to Paradise Park which my drunk-self lovingly referred to as the Trailer Park(I couldn’t remember the name and it reminded me of a bar I used to go to in NYC called the Trailer Park Lounge). By this point we had been at it for a few hours and everyone but the driver was pretty well toasted so we headed to the Flying Saucer which is not on Broadway but had a huge selection of beers and the most delicious snacks (we tucked into the pretzel and nachos- both delish!). Overall, it was an awesome and exhausting night.
- Hattie B’s Hot Chicken– Ohmygosh STOP! I have always had a soft spot for fried chicken (to the point that we ate KFC on our honeymoon. Yeah. We’re classy. Sorry not sorry- it was delicious.). My brother in-law has been building this place up since he visited us in February and it did not disappoint. J got the chicken tenders with medium heat (what can I say, he’s a breast man…see what I did there? Hahaha). I stuck with the small dark meat combo southern style which means no heat- because I had planned to share with A. Also, because dark meat is just better. Both were delicious. The meat was really tender, even the breast meat and the breading added the perfect crispy crunch! We both enjoyed sides of pimento mac and cheese and fries. I also got the southern greens which were good but needed more acid (I added some vinegar) and J had a side of baked beans which had a delicious sweetness to them. We were over the moon about this entire meal. On Sunday’s they also have chicken and waffles, but we weren’t in the mood for the waffles. I literally want to go back right now. It’s probably a good thing we don’t live in Nashville because I would be eating a lot of hot chicken and definitely be holding onto a lot more baby weight than I already am!
We had a really awesome time on this trip and I cannot wait to go back. Here are a few more photos- they don’t even begin to cover how much fun we had.
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