Travel Thyme: Nashville, Tennessee

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As promised, my first ever travel review on Space-Thyme! A couple weeks ago, S and I took a short vacation to Nashville, Tennessee. We originally planned the trip for four days, but shortened our trip to 3 days due to some Southwest airline cancellations. Little did we realize that it was a blessing in disguise – three days ended up being the perfect amount of time to take in America’s music capital.

Quick heads up: Did not take as many pictures as I had imagined! Will make a note to be better about the next adventure.

Day One

After landing at Nashville’s main airport, we zipped over to our hotel in Vanderbilt and set out directly to East Nashville (thanks to inspiration from Emma Block‘s post on Nashville). We ate hearty burgers at The Pharmacy, then walked around the area to check out the scene. We did hear great recommendations to go eat at Mas Tacos, right across the street, but we never made it back to try it out.

East Nashville is fairly spread out and still largely residential. However, there are a couple tiny, adorable “outdoor malls” (like The Idea Hatchery) that displayed everything from art to antique clothes to quirky vintage items to a medicinal tea house. I’ve never been to anything like it before. I won’t go too far into the details of the stores, but there was a surprising encounter with a former California swim teammate, Gavin. Quite honestly the last person I’d imagine running into in East Nashville! But there I was with my boyfriend, walking into an adorable men’s vintage boot and clothing shop (Hello Boys), and there Gavin was chilling behind the counter. Both of our faces were in total shock and it was quite hilarious.

[Note: Most stores only open from Thursday until Sunday, so we missed quite a few!]

After fully exhausting the neighborhood, we returned back to Vanderbilt to grab a bite of delicious fried chicken at Haddie B’s and spent the night out on Broadway Ave. Though touristy, Broadway Ave was still a hoot and my boyfriend described the experience perfectly: “like changing channels on a radio station”. Three blocks with bars live music blaring out – all you had to do was pick and choose what you felt like listening to and enter the bar for no cover fee. Gloriously fun.

Day Two

S and I began our day with brunch at Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant, which was absolutely divine and the standout was my cornbread waffle with pork hash. We then checked out Hatch Show Print, which was definitely worth the visit especially for S who is a typography lover (who is also responsible of my falling in love with printing). This is the #1 thing besides Broadway Ave I would recommend anyone doing in Nashville, as it was such an amazing experience to see history through print form. The current printing blocks in use are all from the company’s archives in the 1950s, and the sets have not been replaced since.

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We toured the main printing area and were then taken to an “educational room” to complete our own quick print (we did not design it) and learn more about the history alongside a gallery of prints.

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After the tour of Hatch Show Print, S and I wandered over to the main pedestrian bridge to take some photos of downtown Nashville and of course, take some selfies. Next stop was the Gulch, an area with a vibe similar to Chicago’s west loop. We sampled beers at two awesome craft beer breweries: Jackalope Brewing Company and Yazoo. Of the two, I preferred Yazoo, but as you can see below, we may not be welcome back…

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We also got a chance to drop by Colt’s Chocolates and Barista Parlor (a wicked cool coffee shop). Tired and hungry, we dragged ourselves over to Peg Leg Porker for a final meal of BBQ. It was pretty solid and I had never eaten dry rubbed ribs before (they have BBQ sauce of their own too), but neither of us were blown out of this world by the flavors.

Day Three

S and I started our morning off with a trip to the Belle Meade Plantation. We toured the mansion which was full of vintage family artifacts, making us feel like we stepped back in time (1900’s mechanical fly trap? Who knew!). We learned that the plantation was not famous for producing cash crops, but rather, the plantation was known for being home to some of the best race horses in the world. The ancestor of Seabiscuit and the recently famous Pharaoh made its home at Belle Meade.

After several rounds of horseshoe throwing, croquet, and bocce ball, we decided to head over to The Parthenon. The hot weather forced us to retire our touring early, so we trumped over to Two Boots Pizza, an eclectic pizza parlor with amazing slices of Z. Our last bite into our pizza slices more or less concluded our trip.

America’s country music hotspot is something entirely worth experiencing. Gavin made the point that the cheap cost of living is attracting many young creatives, thus making it fun for a tourist to observe this quickly growing community in the city. I don’t have plans to move to Nashville anytime soon, but it is definitely a great place for a short vacation!

The quick and dirty (if you want just the main hit points so you know where to go in Nashville):

What we did? Explored East Nashville , explored the Gulch, explored Vanderbilt’s campus, a night out on Broadway Ave, Belle Meade Plantation, The Parthenon, walked over the main pedestrian bridge, Hatch Show Print

What we ate/drank? The Pharmacy (burgers), Haddie B’s (fried chicken), Peg Leg Porker (BBQ), Barista Parlor (coffee), Jackalope Brewing Company (beer), Yazoo Brewing Company (beer), Two Boots Pizza, Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant (brunch)

Where we stayed? The Holiday Inn at Vanderbilt (I’d highly recommend it!) They have a free shuttle service to downtown.

How we got around? Uber, uber, uber, uber, and walking (and a ride from the awesome shuttle driver at The Holiday Inn).