Nashville ~ The City of Music & Murals

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Another trip in the books and what an adventure to the south it was!  I had actually visited Tennessee once before {girl’s trip to Graceland and the Peabody w/ my grandma, mom, and sister} but that was all the way across the state in  Memphis.  Nashville had been on my “to-do” list for some time and since Lindsay was dying to escape the cold for her birthday, off to “Nash-Vegas” we went for a good time.

We flew out Thursday and it was possibly the worst flight I’ve ever had.  I had a drunk passenger who wanted to have a life chat and then get touchy feely.  In retrospect I really should have said something to the flight attendant rather than suffer the two hours of firmly telling him to stop and keep to himself.  Mostly I was worried they would turn the plane around and just wanted to get to Nashville.  I know this might be more on the personal side for the blog but I want to remind women that they need to speak up, especially if they feel uncomfortable.

We finally arrived to our Airbnb around midnight and it was off to bed.  Our home base was named the Cleveland Cottage and was quite possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen.  As a matter of fact, when I saw it, I was inspired to look into design classes and set the seed for my own organization side project.

I think the entire recent southern charm/Pinterest/hipster movement was encompassed in that cottage.  We had a loft, a record player with plenty of country and hits from the prime record days, a range of books for display and reading pleasure, and a faux fireplace that would turn off and on with the swipe of your hand.  If you are looking for a place to stay, DEFINITELY check this place out!  Oh, it’s also a mile or so from one of the tastiest Mexican restaurants called Mas Tacos.  What more reason do you need?

We had a slow start to day 1, allowing ourselves to sleep in (jokes on me there…my body won’t sleep in), attempting an ab workout, getting ready, and transporting ourselves (via  Uber) to breakfast at Biscuit Love located in the Gulch.  Even though it was a Friday, there was already a line to get into breakfast.  As Lindsay waited in line, Annelise and I grabbed some coffee across the street from Kellebrew.  HANDS DOWN BEST VANILLA ICED LATTE! The reason?  Who knows but I have a feeling it comes from that homemade syrups.  I also snapped a photo of the delicious looking cinnamon rolls but restrained from purchasing since it’s a no-sweets zone for me right now.

Luckily for us, the line moved quickly and we soon were eyeing all of the wonderful southern soul food options.  Rumor is the bonuts (biscuit donuts) are a hot commodity but again, Annelise and I were out of sweets commission this weekend.  Guess I’ll have to go back!  Each of us ended up with some form of biscuit – fried chicken for Lindsay, gravy for Annelise and grits + eggs/bacon for me.  All in all the biscuits were alright – not the best I’ve had but certainly not the worst. Tip: The grits are where it’s at.

After breakfast Annelise headed back to the Airbnb since she had to work 😦  Lindsay and I took our time walking towards Vanderbilt and soaking in the sunshine.  I’m 99% sure Lindsay saw Hunter Hayes coming off of Music Mile but can’t confirm since I had my head in the clouds.  We also ended up in Centennial Park where the only authentic replica of the Parthenon is located.

From the grounds of Vanderbilt to the Frothy Monkey for a quick latte (seriously best turmeric latte to date) and then a walk down 12th Ave to Draper James.  If you haven’t heard of Draper James, it’s a lifestyle brand created by Reese Witherspoon and talk about Southern style and charm.  It also happened to be located near some of the murals Lindsay had on list!  Unfortunately Lindsay was in a boot so we couldn’t walk too much but I would recommend creating your own walking tour in Nashville to see all of the sights and sites!

After a short stop and rest at the Airbnb, it was time for a NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN! For those of you who know me, I don’t usually go out and when I do, it’s once in a blue moon.  But in Nashville, you suck it up and dance!  We started the night at Acme Feed + Seed where there was live country music on the first floor and a packed house.  Dinner was in order and after getting our respective BBQ platters, we headed to the roof to sit.  Guess what?  I had another stupid drunk guy encounter.  This time, one guy from a bachelor party decided to walk over and start eating our fries.  No pickup line, no flirting, no questions.  We were not impressed and those sweet potato fries were the best part of the meal! Yep, the ribs and brisket were a bit of a disappointment so my recommendation would be to go for sides.

BBQ: ACME Feed & Seed ~ Martin’s ~ Monell’s (Germantown w/ family style food)  ~ Rippy’s ~ Edley’s (bonus: it’s near Jeni’s ice cream!) ~ Hattie B’s (hot chicken and considered by a lot of critics to be the best fried chicken in the country)

We stayed around for some staged music and live music and then walked down the strip to HonkeyTonk Central.  This hot spot has three different floors with bars and bands on every floor!  If we had played a betting game (dare I say drinking game) with every bachelor and bachelorette parties that we passed, we would either be rich (or very very sick).

BARS/SOCIAL SCENE: Patterson House (speakeasy style w/ great drinks) ~ Winner’s, Loser’s ~ Rebar ~ Tootsie’s ~ Paradise Park ~ Tin Roof ~ Honkeytonk Central ~ Crazy Town ~ ACME

By the time we got around to Tootsie’s (one of the most popular and well-known) it was almost midnight and we were ready to call it a night. Not to mention the length of the line outside the popular honky-tonk had us a little deterred.  So while we didn’t actually go into Tootsie’s, the picture counts, right?  One of our uber drivers told us that some people spend upwards of 4+ hours in that joint so maybe it is worth taking another trip down south one day.

Day 2 also started off to a slow start and despite the late night, I woke up too early and so I set out for a run.  It was refreshing to get out and stretch my legs and (attempt to) work off the late night garlic rolls.  We headed out to brunch around 10:45 and soon found ourselves faced with a very long line at Pancake Pantry.  My hanger was starting to emerge and so we walked to Fido and waited for about 20 or so minutes for food. Fun fact – EVERYONE brunches.

Post brunch, we walked and shopped – I spent more than I needed to – and we took a trip down to the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum.  This is a definite must do when in Nashville because it provides you with a full perspective of country music from start to finish and hey, it’s Nashville, the city of music!  Also, I would hope that you actually like country music if you are in Nashville…otherwise that’s a you problem. 😉

After a couple of hours of wandering through the museum, we adventured off to another part of town to walk and shop (something new and different…mostly window shopping this time).  We picked up another cup of coffee and then called it an afternoon around 4:30.  All of us needed a nap or chill session before one last night in Nashville.  Around 6 we met up with a couple of my friends who happen to be in town!!  One is an old family friend (Mia) and another is a friend’s sister (Lauren) from home.  Turned out they became great friends while working at Vanderbilt last year and all because I was a mutual connection on Facebook!

We met up at Mas Tacos, a quasi hole in the wall restaurant that was absolutely DELISH!  One can never go wrong with Mexican food – that is for darn sure.  I ordered elote (Mexian street corn), horchata, plantains, and a pulled pork taco.  Other solid recs include the chicken tortilla soup and chicken carne tacos.  Heads up – it’s cash only but have no fear, there is an ATM!

After partying ways with Mia and Lauren, we watched UNC beat Duke at a local sports bar and then headed home to pack.  It was in bed by 10 making it a successful night and a fabulous trip!

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“Country music is the people’s music. It just speaks about real life and about truth and it tells things how they really are.” – Faith Hill

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A Summer Weekend ~ NYC Does Country

What is your favorite thing to do on a summer weekend?  Boy the options are endless, aren’t they?  I would love to wake up and run, go to the farmer’s market and pick up some items for dinner, and then go to the beach or even a hike.  Somehow I’ve let those activities go to the wayside (well besides the running 🙂 ) and instead invested some time in more unique city opportunities.

How about road races (no, not that it’s new to this blog) and a country music festival?  Yes, the weekend started off with a November Project workout – Sunrise 6k race – compete with bibs (looking pretty spiffy right? they were actually handed to us as we finished), cold brew coffee (thanks Chameleon!) and deadly and delectable doughnuts (thanks to Strava)

IMG_0722 ^^ I normally look for the regular flavor of cold brew (rather than vanilla or mocha) but this wasn’t half bad!

Friday afternoon was the first day of Farmborough, NYC’s first country music festival.  Sure, if you know NYC, you may be thinking why in the world would they have a country festival?  Well, it seems that there is a demand for it.  Sure, there weren’t nearly as many people there as at Stagecoach (CA) or even the Governor’s Ball, which is held at the same location, but they did have a decent showing, even with the rain.  Yes, rain.  I”ll get to that in a minute.

The festival was located on the upper upper east side of Manhattan on Randall’s Island.  Our best bet was to take the 4 train up to 125th street (practically a different world up there) and walk the 30 or so minutes across the bridge.  I wouldn’t advise walking alone up there but would recommend checking it out.   The festival lasted three days and “doors” opened around 2pm.  They had one main stage as well as a side stage with some up-and-coming folks.  I managed to get out a bit early on Friday but still didn’t make it to the venue until 3:30/4.

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^^ Boots and denim and I’m ready to go!  Note to self, don’t expect a cheap pair of DSW boots to last forever.  The heels somehow imploded and I was left with a soggy and destroyed pair of faux leather boots.  At least my outfits looked good! 😉

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^^ We were trying not to spend too much money over the course of the weekend, mostly because we had fished out a handful for the tickets and items were pricey, but with this mac & cheese being offered, I could not resist.  Some of the other popular foodie favorites included:

  • Savory and Filling Category:
    • Stuffed risotto balls
    • Key West Noodles
    • Southernmost Falafel (falafel, gyro, hummus…the whole gang)
    • Corndogs + Pizza + Burgers (duh)
    • Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (flagship, just jack, penne & chipotle…swoon)
  • All Aboard the Sweets Train:
    • Fried Oreos
    • MELT + Coolhaus Ice Cream Sandwiches
    • Risotto Ball w/ nutella
    • Rita’s Italian Ices (mango, raspberry, lemon, green apple, or cherry)
    • Funnel Cakes (allllllmost got this but refrained)

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^^ Friday night highlight was DIERKS BENTLEY!! I had seen him in concert last summer with my sister (Hollywood Bowl made for an awesome venue) and was stoked to see him again.  Arguably one of my favorite country artists.

**On Friday 6/26, the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. This weekend also happened to be Pride Weekend in both San Francisco and New York City.  November Project helped to cheer on runners at the Pride Run 5m on Saturday morning.  (yes, the signs are a bit explicit. watch the video here and a recent blog post here to learn more about the November Project movement before making any assumptions)

IMG_0787 ^^ I was on the cheer squad rather than #raceeverything squad.  my legs are screaming for a much needed rest.  I don’t know how some of my friends pull off marathon after marathon or epic 50milers (or even 100 milers…gasp)

IMG_0795^^ the festival view for Saturday.  yes, that time above where I mentioned rain. it started raining around 3 and did.not.stop.  it pretty much POURED on us.  stark contrast to stagecoach’s 100+ temps, right?

IMG_0800 ^^ those who love country music, stick together (also the fact that we are all roommates and sort of have to stick together. just kidding, love them lots)

I went into Saturday night, not really expecting to enjoy myself, mostly because it was so darn miserable outside.  But with an attitude adjustment, the realization that you really do only experience these things once, and some good company, it ended up being a blast.  We stuck around in the smaller side stage (the lesser known or blossoming artists) until Brad Paisley came on around 9:20pm.  I wouldn’t say he was my favorite but give him mega props for coming out and singing in the rain.

We dashed out a bit early and practically jogged our way home in the rain (absolutely drenched) and passed out a little after midnight.

Sunday’s set list might have been one of my favorite, mostly because it ended with Luke Bryan (oh the poor people who hashtagged #lukebrian on Instagram…not true fans).  I actually started the day with a kick boxing class, a first for me and one that left me sore to this day.  The benefit to having a festival in the city is that we can sleep in our very own beds and don’t have to worry too much about food or time outside of the concert.  We could just get ready at our leisure and I even brought my own dinner of stuffed bell peppers two of the three nights.  Yes, I was that person.

IMG_0875^^ Yes, that is my kind of night indeed! Or at least one of my favorite kinds of nights 🙂 Good times, good people, and good music.

 We pretty much arrived around 4:30, didn’t leave until 10:30, and stood the entire time.  Needless to say my legs really could use a break!  But the entire weekend was a blast, despite the rain (thank you east coast) and another item checked off the bucket list.

Do you like country music? (I know it’s a hit or miss)  How about festivals or concerts?