I've lived in Atlanta for seven years, and only managed the short drive [barring any Chattanooga traffic] up to Nashville just a few weeks ago! I've always assumed Nashville was all honky tonk and country and not much else [though fantastic in their own right, they're just not my scene!]. But I was wrong. Nashville is a fantastic little [but rapidly growing from what I can tell] city and I can't wait to come back and explore it more!
My reason for making the trip was to see my FAVORITE band from my teenage years, Brand New, play at the Ryman Auditorium [an amazing and historic concert venue]. Some people had posters of NSYNC or the Backstreet Boys, but not me. It was all about Jesse Lacey. [I'll post about the concert more another time, since I could ramble on about it for ages!]
I accidentally left my phone at home, so rather than instagramming photos of random artsy architectural angles and every single meal [standard!], I spent my time actually enjoying this city. It was refreshing to be untethered for a weekend. I drove up with friends who used to live in Nashville, so I was lucky to have local guides taking me to all the best spots [and not just the touristy ones!]. If I lived here, I'm almost certain I'd make my home East Nashville; such a great neighborhood! Before we made it to Nashville, we took a brief stop in Bell Buckle, Tennessee [yes, it's as quaint and adorable as it sounds] to drop off my friend at his cyclocross race. [basically a crazy cross country style cycling sort of thing and clearly not my area of expertise!] We wandered around the tiny antique shops a bit [and I nearly purchased Pee Wee Herman, pictured below, and mess of Rainbow Brite paraphernalia [still regretting not doing so].
After enjoying some ice cream for breakfast [or brunch? neither a time for the tasty treat...] we headed over to Nashville and I started my indoctrination into local life at Mas Tacos.
I've never met a food truck I didn't like, and theirs was begging to be photographed.
We had to wait in quite a ridiculous line to get into the restaurant [and according to my friend, this was unusually long, heeding us of a changing Nashville]. But the wait was undoubtedly worth it.
The tacos were delicious [I had a fish taco, not pictured] but the soups are where it's at! Would it have been weird to order two soups for myself? Probably... But I did get to try my friend's order, the Sopa Tarasca. I'm not a big bean person, but that was a seriously hearty and satisfying black bean soup. A must try! My soup, the chicken tortilla, was also fantastic, though much lighter and more broth based. Moral of this Mexican food story: order two soups.
We continued to eat more, drink more [happy hour Pimms Cups at Holland House were great!] and later took the 'three hour tour' of downtown Nashville and the pinnacle of honky tonk town.
We drove through to see the mayhem [definitely not anyone's cup of tea!] but it felt something like a countrified Vegas.
I don't think I've seen quite so much neon [and traffic, ehh] since I'd last been to Times Square!
The bulk of our days involved hanging out with friends, going hiking [sans camera], and just enjoying the idyllic fall weather. But we did make a quick drive through some of the tourist spots, including Music Row and the home of much of classic country music.
Elvis apparently recorded some of his biggest hits at this very spot. Though not pictured, I loved how all the writing and recording studios can be found in little craftsman bungalows all along here. But then again, anything that happens in a craftsman bungalow makes me happy!
This here is a beautiful and apparently haunted hotel we drove by [the name is escaping me entirely!].
We then made a brief detour to Greece...err, sort of? Quite possibly the most bizarre find in Nashville is the reproduction of the Parthenon. Because why not?
Though I vowed never to return to the crazy street of honkey tonks after our traffic nightmare the previous day, I found it far more enjoyable on a Sunday afternoon [the drunken, rowdy population was significantly reduced]. We pulled up a couple barstools and enjoyed our Yazoo [a local brewery] beers over at Robert's, a traditional and historic honkey tonk.
Classic country music is actually something I could listen to [angsty punk-emo-rock Jo would never admit this of course] and the band performing was incredibly talented! [if only I caught their name...]
We checked out a more modern day spot, Acme Feed & Seed, mostly for their rooftop bar [lovely at first, less so when every single Titans fan poured in from the stadium across the river].
We had a nearly 360 view of downtown Nashville from the roof, and I'd come back here for sure, so long as someone could promise me it wouldn't be quite so busy [apparently I'm an antisocial drinker?].
Being a collector of screen prints, Hatch Show Print is a mecca for me [and merits it's own future post!]. It's located in the Country Music Hall of Fame now, and since I only got to pick up a couple screen print post cards this time, I'm coming back to feed my poster obsession!
Finally, my whole reason for coming to Nashville, to see the love of my musical life, Jesse Lacey [pictured right]. I'll save my review for another post, but there's nothing like two girls jumping up and down, singing [err, screaming?] every word to every song of their favorite high school band. Fan girl takes on a whole new meaning in instances like these.
Long story short: go to Nashville. Eat all the food. Drink all the drinks. Meet lots of great people. See as much live music [country and not!] as you can. I'll be back soon, Nashville. Just you wait!