For our 12th anniversary, we decided a little getaway was in order. We’d initially talked about going to the East Coast, which I would still love to do someday, but decided against it because of the cost, and started looking at areas that were within driving distance for a long weekend.
We picked Nashville, primarily because Matt had never been and I hadn’t been in almost 20 years. Plus, it’s only about 5 hours away, and we felt like culture-wise, it would be a bit different than other Midwestern cities we could have chosen.
I could not possibly have been happier with our pick!
Matt’s parents arrived Friday night so that we could get up early and leave on Saturday morning. We took our time on the 5-hour-plus drive, stopping as we wanted at antique shops along the way (I have it in my mind that I will someday be able to find a Diehl fan sitting in a shop instead of buying one on etsy, which would also be fine, but I’d love the thrill of finding it myself!). I can’t tell you how many times Matt and I commented to each other how nice it is for just the 2 of us to be on a drive together…I do honestly love traveling with the boys, but there is something so freeing about being able to just hop out of the car, run in somewhere, and not herd children in the process.
Saturday consisted of:
-quick lunch at a college bar on the edge of Vanderbilt University
-a walk through Vandy’s lovely campus
-checking into our hotel to discover what we now call the “Priceline view.” Really, I’m not complaining, because we got a great deal on a 4-star hotel, but after 2 weekends in a row of staying in Priceline rooms, it’s becoming very clear who gets the crappiest room in the hotel.
-heading over to the Grand Ole Opry for a show on the Opry’s 86th birthday, featuring Rascal Flatts, who were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry as members. This was definitely a high point of the trip for me…I knew they were going to be there, but didn’t know they were getting this honor, and it was very cool to witness since I’ve been a fan for years and years. Getting through the old-timey music at the beginning was a bit rough, but the Opry is a neat venue and tradition, and I’m glad I got to experience it.
-dinner at Big River Grille, in downtown Nashville. The food was good, but the people-watching was great, as we had dinner on the patio at around 10pm. Fascinating.
-on the walk back to the car, I saw something that nearly made me double over with laughter. It was a group of 3 middle-aged women sitting at a table near the window of a popular corner bar, and one of the women had a GIANT paper hat on that said “Cougar Petting Zoo.” Tasteless, yes…hilarious, yes.
-breakfast at the Loveless Cafe. DELICIOUS. This place is everything that the popular southern-home-cooking chain restaurant wants to be. Service was exceptional, as was all of the food. This was probably the place that felt the most like we were really in the south, and we loved hearing the history of the restaurant. Loved it all.
-a tour of The Hermitage. Call me a dork, but I am utterly fascinated by American History. And, my apologies to Mr. Carr, my HS History teacher, but I don’t think I was paying attention when I learned about Andrew Jackson the first time…I was probably too busy daydreaming about boys. General Jackson was, it seems, not really a nice man. We would not have been friends. But touring his plantation? Beautiful and educational. This is a must-see if you’re visiting Nashville.
-drinks, and plenty of them, at Bailey’s downtown to watch the Cardinals get beat by the Brewers. We still had a great time despite the frustrating game!
-dinner at Capitol Grille, which was unbelievable. This place is really too nice for us, especially because we were TERRIBLY underdressed, but apparently dressed up enough to not have to sit in the bar. Happy Anniversary to us!
-one last stroll down Broadway, and into a couple of bars to listen to local acts trying to make it big. Really enjoyable.
-breakfast at The Pancake Pantry, the other place my sister Hayley had insisted we not miss. And while I like pancakes, it’s not like they’re a favorite of mine…but the pancakes here were unbelievably good. I had pecan pancakes and no other will ever stack up to these!
-driving back with a few antique shop stops along the way and…
-arriving in our driveway to see this chalk drawing from the kids, welcoming us home!
Sorry this is so long, but if you can’t tell, this was a great getaway. Plus, given my failing memory, having all of this written down is a good idea.
The funny thing is, on the way down to Nashville, Matt asked where I’d want to live if we weren’t staying forever in St. Louis, and I told him I really didn’t have another place in mind…we didn’t choose the Midwest for it’s beauty (though, don’t get me wrong, there ARE beautiful things about the Midwest, and I’m proud to be a Midwesterner), we chose it because it’s close to our families. But seriously, after a weekend in Nashville, I told him if we did ever have to move for some reason, Nashville would be ok. 🙂