It’s been a month since our visit to Nashville, but I’m only just getting to write about it. Such is life...
We spent roughly 3.5 days in Nashville, and I wish we had stayed for as many more. Nashville was definitely my favorite! Something about it just made me feel like I could live there. It was vibrant, it was pretty, and I totally fit in with Nashvillians. They also had amazing food and coffee and a huge crafting scene! Or maybe it was the contrast going from Memphis and Jackson...As a side note, apparently Nashville voted Democrat! So that may also have to do with the fact that I felt like I was surrounded by like-minded people. But, I won’t dwell on politics.
We arrived on a Sunday afternoon, and headed straight to our Airbnb (which was perfection, by the way)! When I was looking for places to stay in Nashville, I was impressed by how many gorgeous spaces there were. Ours was not an exception. It was an entire house a few minutes drive from downtown. It was a lovely space: the perfect marriage of minimal modern furnishings and a few rustic vintage pieces here and there to add some warmth and a home feel. It was beautiful, spacious, and full of light. There was even an old piano in the sitting room, where Anya got to practice her music (read cacophony)!
We enjoyed taking walks through Centennial (we may have gone here twice) and Bi-centennial parks, as well as neighborhood strolls through the Gulch, 12th Ave South and Downtown.
Memorable things we did during our stay
Walk through Centennial Park. It was very fitting that we were visiting a full scale replica of the Parthenon exactly a year after our trip to Athens, Greece.
- Dinner at Rolf and Daughters. For me, this was probably the most memorable of all the dinners we had during this trip. It may not have been the best, necessarily, but the experience as a whole was great. First of all, this restaurant is tucked away in a relatively residential neighborhood. And it was such a beautiful evening that we got to eat outside. It had the feel of sitting in someone’s back yard. We had an amazing waiter (the best of the trip); so knowledgeable and personable you wanna invite him to join you for dinner! Plus, don’t get me wrong, the food was incredible! Add a few cocktails and people you love to the mix and you get a lovely dining experience!
- Coffee at Crema. Urgh, such good coffee that I’m still thinking about it and daydreaming of when I get to go back to Nashville so I can have some more. Next time, though, I would like to get a “to stay” cup!
- Steadfast Coffee. My brother in law and I went to this coffee shop right before dinner at Rolf and Daughters, and we both left wishing we had more days in Nashville so we could go back and try all their cool coffee drinks and also just enjoy their space. I just got their flash chilled coffee, but we also got to try their matchless coffee soda, which has orange peel in it. What we would’ve liked to try, but we didn’t have the time, was their coffee cocktails. And you can’t get those to go, unfortunately! So, yea, going back to Nashville just so I can do a coffee tour!
- Nelson's Green Brier Distillery. We knew we wanted to do a bourbon distillery tour, but none of us had done any research. So we were thrilled when our very knowledgeable waiter at Rolf and Daughters recommended Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery to us. It’s in the city, so you don’t need to go far, and the tour was so fun! It was $10 and we got to taste a bunch of their bourbon, which, I thought, was a great deal! We even brought a bottle back for a friend. Hopefully, he’ll invite us over so we can drink some!
- Craft South. I went to Nashville with a plan to visit this maker's haven, and, boy am I happy I did! I splurged on lots of fabric from the Wonderland collection, a collaboration between Cotton + Steel Fabrics and Rifle Paper Co. I seriously wanted all of them, but I had to limit myself to only getting four. Then I came across a children's sewing pattern called Anya, and I knew I had to get it. Obviously! I also bought a super awesome loom kit by Fiber Farm, who are local to Nashville and who naturally hand dye their fiber and fabric. You guys, the loom kits they put together are so stunning! I'm not even a weaver. In fact, I have never even tried weaving before. But I just couldn't resist! So this was my one really selfish purchase of the trip! From Fiber Farm I also bought a bag of Nashvillian osage, which I am so excited to use in my upcoming collections! One purchase I did want to make when in Nashville was yarn from Camellia Fiber Company. You can get them in New York, but I thought that somehow it would be more special if I got them in Nashville, where they're made. I wanted to make it out to Earthen studio for this, but when in Craft South they told me Earthen had closed and was in the process of relocating or something. So I was limited to the few skeins that they had in their shop, and I didn't really love the two colors available. So I decided I would just have to make a trip to Brooklyn General instead!
Other things we did in Nashville
- Bicentennial Park. A nice park below the State Capitol. It's basically a long rectangle with the whole history of Tennessee written out on a stone wall. More memorable than the history was Anya walked the whole length of the wall, which wasn't at all stressful for her parents... When Anya found a fountain of a globe, though, the wall was instantly forgotten. We spent the rest of the day with a wet but very happy baby!
- Walked to and around the State Capitol. The State Capitol is a generic, grand, government building. Think of the State Capitol building in Austin or Boston or every other state. It was pretty, the surrounding nature was nicely manicured, there was a statue with all of the different kinds of music that exist in Nashville, and it was a nice walk through downtown to get back to our car.
- Listened to live music on Broadway. We did a pretty terrible job of listening to music in Memphis, so we tried to fix that in Nashville. We went and watched a live country trio. We listened to them play all of the country hits, which means I recognized one song. We were in the clear minority. Everyone else was singing along, yelling out other requests, and arguing with the band members about the merits of hockey and Alabama. You can't make this stuff up. An interesting experience, even with a sleepy baby, a mother-in-law who said she doesn't appreciate "rock" music, and generic beer.
- Music City Walk of Fame. They were names, on the ground, some of which I recognized. There was nothing wrong with it, but I definitely wouldn't go to Nashville for it.
- Vanderbilt University Campus. I ran through the campus, so technically I'm the only one who visited, but it was gorgeous and reminiscent of university campuses in England.
Mealtimes, coffee and drinks
- Adele. After a pleasant walk through downtown, we ended up at the restaurant we intended to eat at, and found a stuffy, expensive, indoor place. So, a quick search found us the nearest highly rated place. We sat outside, had a nice drink and a refreshing kale salad. The rest of the dinner was also good, but somehow the kale is what I remember most. Who would've guessed?
- Hattie B’s Hot Chicken. My husband's favorite meal of the trip. We get there at 3:30 or so on a Monday, and the line is down the block. Apparently, Nashville has a thing called hot chicken, which is basically spicy fried chicken, and this is THE place to get it. The chicken was amazing and the sides as always were as good. The most interesting thing, though, was after grabbing our seat on their little covered patio, it started pouring. This wasn't a rain storm. This was one of those you park your car and you're soaked from head to toe by the time you get to the door kind of rain. We were in the middle of the patio, so we were dry, but everyone on the side tables got soaked. I felt for the poor employee who ran out with plastic tarps and installed them all around. When he finally finished, it stopped raining. The rain, combined with the amazing food and feeling that we were in a restaurant of the people made it Shaant's favorite, and one I really enjoyed too.
- Cafe Coco. I was somewhat skeptical at first, but they had a decent cappuccino and they are known for being open late nights!
- Frothy Monkey. A nice space with ok coffee and food. Nothing was very memorable except it was just nice to sit outside in the sun after a long winter indoors. This place came highly recommended and was on every single list, but we all felt that it did not merit such high praise. I would eat there if I worked in the neighborhood, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend a visitor to make a trip to Frothy Monkey.
- Arnold’s. Similar to Hattie B, this was a restaurant for everyone. This was Nashville's best meat and 3, a term for a place where you get meat and 3 sides. Arnold's was another place with a line at a weird hour, a nice price point, and amazing food. All of the sides and the meat were great, but honestly, the dessert stole the show. We had a spicy chocolate pie, which was out of this world, and a pecan pie. With how well and heavily we ate in Nashville, I understand why the obesity rates are higher in the South!
- Crema. Excellent coffee, as previously mentioned!
- Steadfast Coffee. Great coffee and interesting menu.
- Rolf and Daughters. Like I said above, we just had a great evening here. Everything from the space to the appetizers to the drinks to the waiter were all spectacular.
Our lovely Air BnB! Light, airy, and very nicely decorated, this whole house was by far our favorite stay of the trip. Anya played on the stairs, played on the out of tune piano, and had her own room for the first time in her life. Which means for the first time in her life, her parents had their own room! I used this freedom to play Settlers of Catan (I won every game!) and knit. Which means both my husband and I got to do our favorite activities. Combine that with the convenience to downtown, and it being somehow also the cheapest hotel we stayed at, means we were all super happy with this choice!
And because I took too many cute Anya pictures (and pictures in general), here they are! Enjoy!