Road trip to Nashville!
Why Nashville? Well mostly just because it was a good middle ground to rendezvous with my sister-in-law, who was coming from Kentucky. I had some reservations about the choice too because I’m not really into the whole country-western theme, but I can honestly say that the city took me by surprise, even with the rainy weather. We were limited in our time there, but it is definitely someplace I would like to have more time to explore in the future.
One of the highlights of our time in Nashville was the amazing food we sampled. On our trips I do the majority of the planning, but one task I usually give to Sarah is to find places for us to eat. She loves the epicurean lifestyle and is always in search of unique food spots. One day I’ll have her do a guest post on how she tracks down these amazing eateries, but for now let me just say that she knocked it out of the park in Nashville.
Our first night we had dinner at McNamara’s Irish Pub; a quaint pub that had live music and delicious, authentic Irish dishes. Eating there brought us back to our time on the Emerald Isle and sparked our desire to return soon. The next morning after sleeping in we ventured out for brunch at Fido, near Vanderbilt University, that was so popular that they had a line just to order. That night for dinner Sarah tracked down an off-the-beaten-path BBQ place near downtown. Again our meal included live music and we even got to talk with the musician after the show while we finished our drinks. Our last meal was as great as the first one; we stopped for lunch near Radnor Lake at King’s Market, Laos Thai Cafe in the town of Antioch. The café was actually located inside an Asian Market and the food was amazing!
The second best part of our time was the city itself. We spent time around Vanderbilt University, downtown, and a wildlife refuge south of downtown. The area around Vanderbilt had such a nice feel to it and was probably Sarah’s favorite place during our time in Nashville. The streets were lined with little shops and the side streets had houses converted into restaurants and stores. It definitely had some of the most popular restaurants as most of them had long lines, some even out the door.
During the first day we drove around downtown to get a lay of the land and to try to find a parking spot, which wasn’t the easiest task with a Jimmy Buffett Concert and thousands of marathoners in town. Once finally securing a spot we strolled along the river to Metro Riverfront Park and along Broadway where they had part of the street closed off for an outdoor concert. From there we walked down famed 2nd Avenue to pop in an out of the specialty shops for boots or hats and eventually into Printers Alley. The city has a wonderful charm about it and the people were friendly everywhere we turned. Though obviously the city had a country feel to it, especially being the country music capital of the world, it wasn’t as overwhelming as I had feared. Downtown was bustling with pedal taverns and music blaring out of every restaurant.
The next day we only had until the afternoon before we had to part ways; my sister-in-law back to Kentucky and us headed to Georgia to prepare for our hike. We grabbed a quick bite to eat in our hotel and headed for The Parthenon. I honestly don’t know why the citizens of Nashville wanted a replica of The Parthenon in their city, but it is certainly a sight to behold. The building itself was closed so we didn’t get to tour the inside, but we walked the exterior taking in the size of the building and its columns.
Our last part of the trip was to visit a wildlife refuge that Sarah had picked out, so we bade farewell to downtown Nashville and headed south. The wildlife refuge at Radnor Lake turned out to be an excellent park, if not difficult to find. There were absolutely no signs leading to the park and we made several u-turns before reaching our destination. During our hike we saw abundant wildlife everywhere. We saw cardinals, bluebirds, Canadian Geese, numerous turtles including one of the largest snapping turtles I’ve ever seen in the wild, chipmunks, and finally a deer. We also saw traces of beavers, but none of the elusive beasts themselves.
Overall our experience with Nashville was a positive one and even led to some talk on the drive to Georgia about Nashville being a possible future home for us in the future. The city has a lot to offer and a ton of charm. We’re not into the country music scene at all, but it’s not as overwhelming as I first thought when the trip was being planned.