During the last week of May, my brother and I met in Nashville, Tennessee to celebrate a childhood friend’s wedding. It was so fun and felt so grown up to meet Aaron in a state other than Texas or Louisiana (by ourselves!) and have a little vacation.
Day 1: Thursday, May 29, 2014
After a slight flight delay on my end, we met in Nashville around 11am, rented a little car, and started our adventure. The weather forecast had predicted a chance of rain for each day we were scheduled to be in Tennessee, so we had both prepared by packing our rain jackets. Luckily, we were greeted by a warm, sunny day, and we were thankful.
Our first stop was to find some food. We had a couple places in mind, but incidentally ran into White Castle, and decided to stop in. We were both White Castle connoisseurs, but I have seen the movie (Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle), so I felt like I had been there before. We tried 4 different sliders, and they were all decent. I had just had some “gourmet” sliders from a food truck the week before, so it didn’t exactly compare to that; however, you can’t beat the prices (79 cents for the original).
Next, we drove around the Vanderbilt neighborhood and got a feel for the neighborhood. The area surrounding the University was walking friendly, with shops, restaurants, and supermarkets nearby. We immediately noticed that the hospitals/medical school/nursing school were located right on the main campus. Pretty neat that they were all situated within a couple blocks.
We then had our real lunch at Kalamta’s, a Mediterranean restaurant. You can’t really go wrong with hummus, gyros, and pita bread. It tasted good in the moment, but the leftovers tasted even better as an afternoon snack.
We walked around the neighborhood and found some visitor parking back at Vanderbilt and took ourselves on a tour. The campus is beautiful-large and lush with grassy fields, humongous magnolia trees, and interesting pieces of art scattered along the walkways. I’ll always hold Baylor close to my heart, but Vanderbilt was amazing to visit.
Walking around in the heat for an hour and a half took a little toll on us, so we treated ourselves to a popsicle at Las Paletas. Mango and strawberry + raspberry surely did not disappoint. I wish I could have tried all the flavors. They had fruit, as well as a variety of chocolates.
Aaron brought us to the spiciest fried chicken place for our first dinner in Nashville. I used to think I loved spicy food, but either my taste buds have changed, or there are crazier people out there (there are) that can eat way way way spicy food and not have their insides burned out.
The restaurant was called Prince’s Hot Fried Chicken. Aaron discovered this place on Lonely Planet, and we watched a video on the Food Network website that demonstrated the chicken frying process (we really are nerds are heart). Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted by a blast of warm air (on an already warm summer day), because apparently, they did not believe in the invention of the air conditioner. Luckily, our bodies adjusted quickly, and it wasn’t until we received our food was the heat a problem. We ordered our chicken “medium” spicy, because who wants to be the weenie that ordered “mild” chicken when coming to a hot fried chicken restaurant? Not me. The chicken was delicious, but probably the spiciest thing I have ever eaten. Aaron finished his portion, and I ate at a snail’s pace before I declared the need for a large Sonic Coca Cola. We packed up our left overs, headed to Sonic, and ate the rest of our dinner in the car. So much nicer with some cool air and a soda.
Our post dinner activity included walking around downtown Nashville. Music City was definitely alive this evening! For a Thursday night, there were plenty of crowds out and live music everywhere. We even saw a 3 story bar with a different band playing on each floor. It was all open air so you could hear everything from the street. Talk about stimulation overload, but it was all very cool!
I spent our entire first day thinking we were in a different time zone. I sure was surprised when I found out Nashville is still considered central time.
Day 2: Friday, May 30, 2014
This morning, we had breakfast at the Loveless Cafe and explored the Natchez Trace Parkway.
You may learn more about the Loveless Cafe’s history here, but it is basically a vintage motel converted into a restaurant and a few shops. The food was pretty tasty, and we devoured the biscuits with a variety of jams and jellies.
Our next adventure took us on a long scenic drive through the Natchez Trace Parkway, and a hike to find a waterfall. I had planned for us to do a 4 mile hike that appeared very well paved and laid out according to a travel website, but when we got to the start of the trail, I got creeped out by the lack of cell service (yes, I’m a weenie, but safety first! 🙂 ), the narrow path with tall shrubbery, and the clouds in the sky looked like rain. I had also been studying about Lyme disease and Rocky Mounted Spotted Fever, and this girl did not want to be exposed to ticks. I know. I’m a city girl on on the outside, but I really yearn to be more outdoors-y. We took an alternate, shorter hike that ended with a small waterfall. Still fun!
After our date with nature, we drove to the town of Franklin, and had a late lunch at Burger Up. We were informed that the burgers came from grass-fed cows that were given corn towards the very end. Definitely one of the better burgers that I’ve had. Their ketchup was also homemade, which made it that much more interesting.
Afterwards, we got ready to go to Jessie’s rehearsal dinner at Zach’s family’s home. We played with horses, ate barbeque, drank strawberry Abita, and visited with old friends.
Day 3: Saturday, May 31, 2014
I seem to be unable to sleep in, even when I am on vacation, and even when I don’t have a dog by my side waking me up around 7am (Professor’s internal clock is pretty dependable). So while Aaron enjoyed a couple more hours of sleep, I woke up and got ready for our day.
We spent the morning exploring downtown Franklin. It is a nice little neighborhood with many shops and restaurants. The stores were mostly local, aside from the fact that they threw in an Anthropologie into the mix (score!). Aaron was such a trooper when the morning turned into a shopping trip, but we managed to have fun browsing in all the shops.
We had lunch at Puckett’s Grocery and stopped in Merridee’s Breadbasket for a yummy ligonberry dessert.
Finally, Saturday night arrived and it was wedding time! The Legan wedding was held at their newly renovated barn, and the backdrop to the ceremony was gorgeous. The sun was setting just as the couple exchanged vows, and the barn was beautifully decorated. It was rustic and classy…think lace, burlap, twinkly lights, and beautiful flowers everywhere. Aaron and I had a great time, and it was wonderful to catch up with old family friends we hadn’t seen in years.
After a couple hours of sleep, we were up in the middle of the night to catch our 5am and 6am flights. It was such a good trip, it probably took me a week to adjust back to normal life in Texas.
I was thankful to have this special guy watch Professor while I was away.
Fall is upon us, but I am savoring the warm days while they are still here. Although I love cool weather, pumpkin spice lattes, and bundling up in a sweatshirt and Uggs, I do not look forward to the ice and wearing a billion coats while walking Professor. Until next time, Professor is bandanna’d (did I make up a word?) up and ready for the next season.
Courtesy of that same special guy 🙂