Monday, July 17, 2017

{ GETAWAY GIRL } A LOW-KEY YET EPIC NASHVILLE WEEKEND GUIDE


{ I am basic, but this guide is not! }

Like every other young American woman with an Instagram account, visiting Nashville has been on my to-do list for a while. Regular non-social media people seem to be really into it too; the city was recently named Travel + Leisure's (reader) Destination of the Year.

Friends who've been told me it was amazing. I watched that episode of Master of None. I shamelessly enjoy(ed) Connie Britton on the show Nashville. I own cowboy boots. Apparently I was just biding my time for the right opportunity to come around—and come around it did. One of my dearest girlfriends was getting married in Memphis, another city in Tennessee. So I did what anyone in my boots would do—I booked a one-way Greyhound bus from Memphis to Nashville to extend my trip (and visit another one of my dearest friends, natch).

Without getting into what a strange and one-out-of-five "would not recommend this experience to a friend" decision that bus ride was—let's instead jump into what a great place Nashville is. I am proud to join the masses in saying I love this place and absolutely must go back soon.

// CLICK THROUGH FOR THE BEST  NASHVILLE WEEKEND GUIDE YOU HAVEN'T READ YET //




The best part of my trip was that I stayed with one of my all-time favorite friends (we go all the way back to high school) who lives in in East Nashville. Since my trip fell between a Sunday and a Wednesday, I didn't have that wild, bachelorette weekend-style trip that so many visitors have. I took my computer to coffee shops in the morning and we had people over to her house for dinner at night—it was all very civilized.

That said—I wanted to put together a more robust guide about what to do in Nashville, not just one that listed the places where I went, since my trip was on the more low-key end of things. So naturally I used the resources available to me and asked Caitlin (my host) to share a few of her insights as a local. Below you'll find things to do, places to drink and scenes to be seen all around Music City—brought to you by both of us.


// ESSENTIAL Q+A WITH CAITLIN //


WHERE DO LOCALS GO TO HEAR GOOD LIVE MUSIC?
"There is live music everywhere in Nashville. There are certain spots that you cannot miss to hear traditional country music: Roberts on Broadway, Station Inn Sunday Night Bluegrass Jam and anything playing at The Ryman Auditorium. It should be noted that Nashville has a lot more to offer than just country music. The East Room is a great DIY rock venue. The Basement East books really great acts and I love going to shows at Third Man Records."

WHY IS ROBERT'S WESTERN WORLD YOUR FAVORITE HONKEY TONK?
"Roberts is truly one of a kind. You can buy vintage cowboy boots off the wall, order a fried Boulogne sandwich for $3 and two step with a 90-year old all in one place! Plus, the music is classic country. You will not hear [expletive redacted] Florida Georgia line at Roberts. You will hear Johnny Cash, Elvis, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams. Locals deal with all the tourists on Broadway to be at Roberts, so you know it's worth it! Plus, you might see the headliner at The Ryman sneak in the back at Roberts after their show to get a PBR. WHAT UP JEWEL! (I saw Jewel there once.)"

WHERE SHOULD PEOPLE GO TO SOCIALIZE IF THEY WANT TO GET A SENSE OF THE REAL NASHVILLE?
"Wanna make out? Go to 308 and order a Bukowski.
Wanna feel like Rayna James? Go to The Bluebird Cafe.
Wanna feel like Miranda Lambert? Go to Losers for a whiskey.
Wanna hear some real music? Go to Station Inn on Sunday nights for the Bluegrass Jam.
Wanna see some trees? Hike Percy Warner Park.
Wanna buy some jeans? Go to Imogene and Willie.
Wanna eat some amazing food? Go to Rolf & Daughters, Henrietta Red, or 5th and Taylor.
Wanna pretend to write songs for a living? Sit at a Barista Parlor all day."

// MORE TO SEE & DO //



GO SHOPPING IN THE 12SOUTH NEIGHBORHOOD
On my first day in Nashville Caitlin handed over the keys to her car (don't tell the cops) and told me to drive myself over to the 12South neighborhood to shop and walk around. Even on a Monday afternoon, I wasn't the only young-ish woman wandering in and out of the really wonderful boutiques along this street in the sort of oppressive heat. Everywhere I looked, they brandished their iPhones, snapping photos and posing in front of the 'I Believe in Nashville' sign—as I did above! 'Grams aside, you don't want to miss the home decor and apparel stores including Imogene + Willie, Savant Vintage and White's Mercantile.

HANG OUT AT PINEWOOD SOCIAL
Want to do some work on your laptop? Want to eat avocado toast? Need a cocktail? What about bowling? Or swimming? Or just a cup of coffee to go? You can have/do all these things at Pinewood Social, and all of them will be very stylish and Instagram-worthy. 

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not the biggest modern country music fan. I love a little Shania and "Who's Bed Have Your Boots Been Under" and some "Jolene" every now and then... But that's about it. An hour or so at The CMHF was so interesting and educational, and turned me onto all kinds of country music that I actually really dig—most of it from the '50s and '60s. If you had no idea that Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan had a long and lovely relationship or ever wondered how big Elvis' gold Cadillac actually is, you've gotta go.

// MORE TO EAT & DRINK //


HAVE A CHEAP, DELICIOUS LUNCH AT MAS TACOS
Mas Tacos Por Favor makes a lot of people's "must do" lists for Nashville—and with good reason! There are often long lines out the door for lunch because their tacos are inexpensive and delicious. But I recommend (since you're on vacation, right?) sitting down at the bar in the back and ordering lunch there, and maybe a cocktail too. But if you're on the go, a refreshing Topo Chico will do the trick!

SIP COFFEE AND PEOPLE-WATCH AT BARISTA PARLOR
As Caitlin mentioned above, Barista Parlor is a great place to go if you want to feel like a fabulous person-about-town in Nashville. The coffee is expensive and delicious and prepared in fancy ways in a beautiful open bar setting. Their biscuits are also divine, but served on a very small block of wood so when you cut it the crumbs go everywhere and you are a bit embarrassed to be eating in such a stylish place but also not because the biscuit is too good. I spent a couple of hours working out of their East Nashville location on a Tuesday morning and it was really chic.

HAVE A HOT CHICKEN BUN AT OTAKU RAMEN
Okay so here's a confession: I do not love spicy food, so I did not feel particularly compelled to chase down some authentic Nashville hot chicken at Hattie B's or Prince's. However, on the last night of my trip Caitlin and her boyfriend Mike took me to Otaku for some ramen, and Mike insisted that we order the hot chicken buns. Once I got over the initial shock, I was delighted. Hot chicken is very hot and very delicious, so there you go. Also, the ramen at Otaku is very good, too!

DRINK A STIEGL-RITA (AND EAT A BURGER) AT DINO'S
If there's one thing I couldn't stop talking about when I got back from Nashville, it was the "Stiegl-rita." First, Caitlin made them for us when I arrived—slightly worse for wear—off the bus from Memphis. I had a shower and then we sat on the porch and sipped Stiegl Grapefruit Radler on ice with a shot of tequila. Good lord is that drink refreshing. Well it turns out they're serving them up fast and cold around the corner from Caitlin's at a place called Dino's, an awesome dive where they also happen to serve really good burgers. Go there and rejoice in this hot tip. You're welcome.

// WHERE TO STAY //

Since I stayed with Caitlin I don't have any expertise in this area so again, naturally, I asked for her input. She and her friends have put together an awesome Google doc full of recommendations, so I drew a few tips for you from there.

  • AIRBNB: They recommend looking in the neighborhoods of Lockeland Springs/5 Points, East Nashville, 12th South/Belmont and Germantown.
  • BOUTIQUE OPTIONS: For a lodging option that's a little less traditional and a little more Instagram-y, they recommend SoBro Guest House, Urban Cowboy B&B (this place is right near Caitlin's house and looks so amazing), and the 404 Hotel.
  • TREAT-YO-SELF HOTEL: If you want to be truly fancy, book a room at The Hermitage Hotel (historic, epic, old school).

// WHAT TO PACK //

In my humble opinion, Nashville is a place where you want to dress like you're not trying to fit in but you just kind of do, you know, naturally. Maybe try a floral "neckerchief" instead of a bandana, and a Bruce Springsteen tee instead of one emblazoned with Johnny Cash. If it's hot like it is now, A breezy slipdress from Everlane is all you need for going out at night, and some mules that won't slip off your feet are good for walking around in 12South with some chambray shorts and a pretty eyelet top. Caitlin is rarely without her Ray-Ban 'Icons' shades so maybe bring those, too. If you want to truly lean into the theme (you know I love to) kick around in your Levi's 501s and some authentic Justin cowboy boots. As far as beauty, I recommend a nice faux tan and some fancy texture creme so you can let your hair air dry in that heat.

3 comments:

  1. This is an awesome list and I adore Topo Chico! Would you mind giving my a mini-review of those cutie white Sam Edelmans? Just wondering about sizing, width and comfort. Thanks and keep the posts coming.

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  2. Hi Beth! Okay so the Sam Edelmans (currently on sale!) are so cute, but they are TOUGH to break in. I felt some uncomfortable rubbing on my big toe, where the top of the mule strap hits when you walk. I pre-emptively wrapped my big toes in bandaids the first time I wore the shoes and that worked out great. Not the MOST chic thing I've ever done, but better than cutting my feet to smithereens! They run true to size, and I have somewhat narrow feet. I think they are on the slimmer side in that regard!

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    1. Thanks so much! This is super helpful info since my feet are wide and as I get older am less and less interested in shoes with such a terrible break-in period. They are so cute that it is almost worth it to me though. Man, why is it so hard to find cute white comfy summer shoes?!?!

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