Apologies for the tardiness with this post. It’s been sitting in my drafts folder for weeks and I just realized it!
Just a week after D’s birthday celebrations, we packed up the car yet again for another road trip. This time to Nashville to see my cousin get married. We’ve never been to Nashville before, but we’re huge country music fans and I’ve never been to a part of Tennessee I didn’t like so expectations were a bit high for the land of the Grand Ole Opry.
That is, until we realized our little family event coincided with the city’s most jam-packed time of year – The Country Music Festival. Our hotel was about 15 miles north of the city, which ended up being a fine location, but our actual hotel? A dump. My step-dad is a die-hard Holiday Inn patron, mostly because of his points cards, but this place was the worst Holiday Inn we’ve ever seen. Our room smelled like an old gym sock or the inside of a sweaty gym bag. The carpets were disgusting, we killed more than one spider in our room, and even though it was only 3 floor building, the elevator took so long that it was just easier and faster to take the stairs (though you had to hold your breath in the stairwell too because the stench was so bad). Had it not been the damn Country Music Festival weekend, we’d have found another hotel. But everything was booked.
But, we weren’t there to sit around in our hotel room, so we tried to make the most of it by getting out and about around the city. Some of our favorite stops?
A true-to-size replica of the original Parthenon in Rome, there’s a cool museum underneath that talks about the history of the building from its first appearance during the World’s Fair in the late 1800’s. There’s a really big, colorful, and creepy statue of Athena in there too that was a big hit with most visitors but really just freaked me out. (ed’s note: Thought I had a pic to share but it must be on the hubby’s phone and I’m too lazy to find it.)
Marche Artisan Foods – for brunch
Almost all of our vacations center around good food and Nashville was no exception. Even though our hotel provided complimentary hot breakfast, dining out is part of the whole traveling experience for us so I consulted with Yelp to find a decent brunch place and it did not disappoint. And with a latte as big as my head, I can’t say one negative thing about this place. Very urban cowboy chic, if that’s a thing.
This latte was the size of my head. But much tastier. Unless you’re a cannibal.
The benefit of family trips is the abundance of babysitting options. My parents graciously offered to watch D so we could have a date night out on the town. The weather was spotty and we didn’t have anything planned so we just opted to brave the crowds downtown during Country Music Fest and check things out. To our delightful surprise, the downtown area was pretty much dead at 8pm on a Thursday night. We guessed that everyone was across the river at the amphitheater watching Miranda Lambert. We took advantage of the no cover charges and did a little bar hopping. Our favorite place BY FAR was BB Kings. The performers were just outstanding. The rest of the bars we checked out reminded me too much of visiting an empty college frat house. You could smell the dried jungle juice on the floor and our shoes stuck to the concrete under our feet. Just gross and totally not our scene, even if the place had been packed.
Inside BB Kings
The Dukes of Hazzard Museum
Though we never actually stepped inside the museum, there was a Dukes of Hazzard festival happening that weekend and we couldn’t resist pulling off the highway to look at all of the replica cars and characters.
A glimpse in to my (hopefully distant) future
Ever heard of the show American Pickers? The hosts of that show run two antique shops – one in Iowa and one in Nashville. We’ve heard there can be lines of a couple hundred people out the door and around the block to get into this place, but perhaps this was an instance where the Country Music Festival worked to our advantage because we were able to walk right in. It’s really more of a souvenir shop for die-hard fans of the show, but it was still cool to see and yes, we both bought t-shirts. There’s a little coffee shop a couple doors down that is also worth checking out and the owner is ridiculously nice. I recommend the spicy mocha.
As for the wedding, it was spectacular. Even though it had stormed all day, the rain stopped just before the wedding and held off the rest of the night making it a rather enjoyable evening. The bride was beautiful, the colors were neat, the food was delicious, the alcohol was flowing, and the dance floor was hopping. But most importantly, I want to share with you the chocolate fountain, which I was seated beside (smart move, family), and the cake.
However, I can see why people don’t usually bring a 1 year old to weddings. D was exceptionally cranky that night, resulting in the hubs leaving for periods of time (and completely missing dinner) to drive him around in the car and get him to go to sleep. But that didn’t stop us from getting a couple of cute pics together, and as a family.
And while this has nothing to do with Nashville, it happened to be National Donut Day that weekend, so I got my donut on at Dunkin Donuts. This here is a key lime pie donut.