I went to Nashville for the first time in 2010 to present at a conference. My love for Tennessee had me worried that I'd visit Nashville and be hooked. On my first visit I wasn't able to get a good feel for the city, and I wasn't extremely impressed.
On this trip we stayed outside of town near Gallatin (northeast of Nashville). We rented a house on the Cumberland River, a serene spot just outside of town.
|Enjoying a rainy morning on the porch|
Lunch at 417 Union followed the capitol tour. I had a pulled pork hash that was delicious, but the best part was the southern biscuits and sweet tea. In our first vacation with our son we quickly realized that traveling with a 6 month old is way different than traveling without. The day in downtown Nashville was interrupted by nap time. We made up for our short day later by visiting Top Hog for barbeque. It was incredible, and the sweet tea served in mason jars was amazing.
On our second full day we headed back to Nashville after our son's morning nap to have lunch at Merchant's on Nashville's infamous Broadway. It was awesome. We had cocktails (Pimm's Cup for me), duck fat tator tots and I had mac 'n cheese (I'm a connoisseur of fine mac 'n cheese). Merchant's mac 'n cheese was among the best I've had; I credit the scallions.
I love exploring city neighborhoods, and we headed to Hillsboro Village near Vanderbilt University. It was a charming area with shops, restaurants and frozen yogurt (a perfect follow up to lunchtime pasta). I found myself warming to Nashville.
The President was visiting Nashville on Wednesday, and we decided it was best to stay close to Gallatin. I headed out for another very hilly run, and I was joined by dozens of cows as I ran past sprawling farm fields. My cow friends helped push me through a hard run. I may have stopped once and talked to one particularly cute cow. Don't judge me.
Gallatin is an extremely charming town. We checked out quaint local stores before having lunch at Swaney Swift's. I indulged in a dessert known as the "couch potato": ice cream, peanut butter sauce and potato chips. It sounds weird and kind of is, but it was also kind of awesome. The texture was impeccable. After lunch we discovered the Amberleaf Marketplace, an indoor collection of artisanal goodies. It was such a cool space.
We were back in Nashville the next day for my favorite day of the trip. We decided to wander down Broadway Street and found ourselves in the Swingin' Doors Saloon. It was quiet just before lunchtime, and I decided it was a great idea to have a baby in a bar as we ordered cocktails and fried pickles. The musician on the stage, Jimmy Charles, was awesome. As we walked in he asked what our son wanted to hear, and he played Country Roads immediately for this West Virginian. His music was fantastic. The staff (bartender extraordinaire Dana Marie) was awesome. We were there for several hours drinking and enjoying the music and atmosphere. Thankfully my baby carrier helped Will nap.
|New Jimmy Charles fans|
|A sleepy honky tonk baby|
On our final day of vacation my sister joined me to head back into the city early for the Music City 10k. While I've been raving about the great food and fun we had on vacation, I haven't talked about the fact that I was struggling with my health all week. I am severely anemic, and my doctor asked me to take liquid iron. I had looked for it in several pharmacies and couldn't find it, so I did the smart thing and ignored it.
At the start of the race I was feeling lightheaded, but I thought it would be fine. At mile two of the race I had to sit on a curb with my head between my knees to keep from passing out. The race was humid and hilly, and normally that's my jam. This time though I knew the smart thing was to stop after the 5k, and I did while being extremely disappointed in myself. The bonus is I got a medal for the race even with the 5k.
|Pre-race in Printer's Alley|
We had family from Alabama come up to visit in the afternoon, and we had dinner on the sprawling patio at AweDaddy's on the marina. My last southern meal of catfish and hushpuppies was the best way to cap off the week. Southern cuisine and I are in love.
|I could've eaten 47 of these hushpuppies|