Last night, I flew back into San Diego from a 4-night trip in Nashville...and I'm already planning my next trip back.
If you didn't know, I went to college in Nashville. When I graduated with no job, I had to move home because...well, money was tight. Plus, at the time, I wanted desperately to move to Los Angeles (ha!). In a surprising twist of events (yes, really...no sarcasm), I ended up in San Diego and have been here since. While I love San Diego and the unexpected path I ended up embarking on career-wise, I miss Nashville everyday and constantly ponder moving back (it's my ultimate goal...sorry California...).
So, needless to say, this trip meant a lot to me. It's the city where I feel most at home, it's where my best friend lives and it's the location of so many of my precious memories.
This weekend, two of my best friends from San Diego and I stayed at an Airbnb with my old college roommate who drove from Atlanta and my best friend. It was the perfect girls' getaway...and I cried coming back "home" after feeling so at peace and at home in Tennessee.
So, for the first time, my Tuesday Ten is Nashville themed...because I can't get middle Tennessee off my mind!
Nashville is a foodie's dream city - there's so many good eats all around...and it isn't just limited to Southern comfort and BBQ! It's amazing. However, when in the South...you do Southern food. And, Edley's is my favorite stop in Nashville for just that. The atmosphere is friendly, the meat is slow cooked and delicious...and the cornbread & mac and cheese are to die for. Did I mention they have the best banana pudding? What else could you really need in life?! Pro tip: don't wear white when you visit!
2. Radnor Lake
Radnor Lake is just a short 15-20 minute drive from the heart of Nashville. This beautiful lake is surrounded my lush trees and plants and tons of wildlife. Every time I have gone here, I've seen tons of deer (aw)...and this time, I saw so many turtles! I typically start on the Lake Trail and take the Ganier Ridge trail on my way back. The Lake Trail is fairly flat and makes for a nice walk. The Ganier Ridge trail is a bit more challenging because of the steep uphill, but when you arrive to the plateau and downhill it becomes worth it. It's quiet and beautiful. I usually take some time to sit on the benches up there and reflect and relax. It's a beautiful escape, a nice walk, and a perfect place to see some wildlife. Plus, it's all shaded and can be a nice relief from the hot Nashville sun.
3. Mill Creek Brewing Company's Lil Darlin
On our final day, we were feeling pretty wiped from five long days of travel and fun! So, we headed up to the rooftop of Acme (one of my favorite bars on Broadway...more to come on that in a bit) to soak up the sun, watch the kayakers on the river, listen to live music and hang out. We all opted for a local beer to sip on in the sun - Mill Creek Brewing Company's Lil Darlin. It was so good - light, refreshing and citrusy. Perfect for a summer day hanging out with friends! I love finding local beers when I travel, so I was thrilled.
4. Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream
There is truly no ice cream like Jeni's. This small chain started in Ohio, and Nashville is lucky enough to have three locations! Every flavor here is smooth and light...and unique. Flavors range from goat cheese & cherries to Yazoo Sue to Peach Jam and Biscuits. I opted for Brown Butter Almond Brittle, Orange Blossom and Sweet Potato Eclair. Heaven!!
5. Olive & Sinclair
This weekend, four of us toured an artisan Southern chocolate factory Olive & Sinclair in East Nashville. It was fascinating to see how chocolate is actually made (cacoa nibs are so bitter!) and the entire place was hip and fun. Bonus: the factory produces unique brittles, like Bourbon Nib Brittle. YUM. My favorite flavor? Cinnamon Chili.
6. Live on the Green
One of my favorite parts of Nashville is the fact that there is music EVERYWHERE. Street corners, bars, lawns, parks, you name it. In this vein, Live on the Green is an annual event that celebrates live music (and community!) - for free. Hosted on the lawn of Public Square Park (in front of the courthouse), this music festival features huge bands and singers and dozens of food trucks. This weekend, we enjoyed The Bahamas and Delta Saints on the lawn in the sun. It was one of those days where my soul just felt happy and full.
7. Southern Thunderstorms
Hurricane Harvey hit Nashville on our way into town, but it reminded me of how much I loved Southern thunderstorms - the sound of thunder cracking, the flashes of lightning, the onslaught of lightning bugs and the release of humidity. I love the smell of the asphalt after the rain and how green and fresh everything looks after. You don't get summer thunderstorms in San Diego, and even though this one was an extreme, I loved it.
8. Jackalope Brewing
Jackalope Brewing is one of Nashville's local breweries (the beer scene is on the up & up), and we took a tour of the place on Friday night while it rained. The brewery was started by two ladies - who clearly knew what they were doing. Our tour was fun (and informative - who knew all the cans were marked with poems...) - and we spent part of the evening playing card games while drinking. My favorite beer we tried? Rompo - a red rye ale.
I am a huge proponent of Airbnbs. Not only are they typically cheaper than hotels, these accomdations let you actually see and live in a city. We stayed in a quaint Airbnb in Sylvan Park. Our house was painted in bright yellows indoors - with the cutest kitchen. On the outside, the house had a wraparound porch and a huge lawn. It felt like we were actually living in the city...and provided some new apartment inspiration as I begin to search for a new place in the next month!
One of Nashville's major attractions is Broadway - the major downtown street filled with neon lights, honky tonk bars, rooftop views and live music. We went out to Broadway on Saturday night to hit up Crazytown, The Stage and Honky Tonky Central (my personal favorites). I honestly forgot how much I loved to dance around to live music, to cheers with friends and to be out and about downtown. It was more fun that I can put into words - especially to see my San Diego friends' reaction to Nashville's unique nightlife scene.
What are you into this week? Any fun fall trips planned? Let me know in the comments!