Savoring Nashville

Savoring Nashville

Conde Nast Traveler ranked Nashville the #3 spot to go for a bachelorette party and I could not agree more.  In fact, I would rank it #1 for a bachelorette or bachelor party, girls’ trip, romantic getaway, family trip, for or a solo retreat.  Yes, I love Nashville!

I just got back from a 2 night girls’ trip there.  My girlfriend, Lisa and I visited her daughter Alexis.  Check out her blog Alexisteichmiller.com and her latest venture Creative Souls Tribe.  The latter is a networking community for women entrepreneurs.  Very cool.  She took us to some of her favorite spots around Nashville and Franklin.  The 3 of us romped around all over and had a blast.  I wouldn’t have changed anything!  If you only have 3 days and 2 nights to spend there, this is what we did and this is what I would recommend…

Day 1

Epice for lunch, located on 12 Ave. S, it has a light Lebanese fare and a open contemporary vibe.  It has convenient parking and outside seating, not that we got to enjoy that because it was raining like crazy.  They kept the giant windows open and we enjoyed watching the rain over lunch.  Don’t miss out on White’s Mercantile right next door.  You’ll find darling tchotchkes to adorn your own home or you’ll find a perfect hostess gift for that friend who impossible to buy for.

Epice restaurant review on lakeside table

If we weren’t eating or meandering our way through cute shops, we were taking pictures of our food.  I can’t tell you how much fun we had doing this!  And since we all were doing it, it never got obnoxious.

Alexis food snapping at Epice on Lakeside Table
Alexis food snapping at Epice.  Can we make that a word?  Foodsnapping… I like it.
Alexis's food snap at Epice on Lakeside Table
Alexis’s food snap at Epice

Later that evening, we went downtown and ate at the eclectic Pinewood Social.  We could have just as easily gone bowling there, gone for a swim, delved into the internet on their solo cyber bar, kicked back in their outdoor lounge and stared at the stars all night, or challenged someone to ping pong because it’s all there.  Unbelievably creative space and incredible food.  We saw fried broccoli on several menus in Nashville, but we had it here and the spread they serve with it… (smacking my lips right freaking now!) was this almond garlic spread that had me licking the little container.  I wanted to sneak back to the kitchen and be that little old lady who steals rolls of bread and puts them in her purse.  Yeah, I wanted to do that with the almond garlic paste, but I didn’t.  See, now that’s what I call self restraint.

Pinewood Social Nashville restaurant review on Lakeside table

By the time I picked myself up off the floor from ecstatic delight over my fried broccolialmondgarlicalapalooza, our fall off the bone braised pork shank over creamy polenta with sautéed mustard greens was there.  I’m sooo happy Lisa and I split that because it was a lot of food, but so good!  Man-o-mighty!  That pork was moist and meaty.  Yeah, get that too when you go.

Pinewood Social bowling on Lakeside Table

This Airstream camper at Pinewood Social is their outside bar by the pool. It was a little too chilly for it to be open.
This Airstream camper at Pinewood Social is their outside bar by the pool. It was a little too chilly for it to be open.

Like most cities, parking is a bit of a challenge and expensive ($35+ easy), but thanks to our insider, Alexis, she navigated us right around that.  You can park at Pinewood Social for free and walk over to Broadway or… for a few bucks ($5-$10) there are people driving golf carts who will shuttle you around downtown.  We got lucky.  One of those golf carts were dropping people off at the Pinewood Social and we jumped on before they pulled away.  Cute shoes do not equal walking shoes.  Off to Broadway we went and on our way there saw several Pedal Taverns.  These are cycling carts with 12 people pedaling away with a bartender, complete with a full stocked bar or just a keg in the middle, keeping them well inebriated. Do they have Pedal Taverns in your town?  They don’t in mine, but they do in Nashville and they look like a LOT of fun.

On to Tootsies!  We skirted the long line in front by going though the back door in the alley.  Even though there was someone there checking IDs, it still felt very cloak and dagger.

Lisa and I on Tootsie's rooftop
Lisa and I on Tootsie’s rooftop

We made a quick stop at The Valentine.  It had only been open a week.  Cool decor: a juxtaposition of old weathered barn wood with a giant chandelier, tin ceiling and polished dark mahogany.

Somehow, I don’t know how, we found ourselves in Savanna Candy on Broadway with our faces plastered to the glass ogling the candy coated chocolate dipped rice crispy bars.  Conveyor belts carrying taffy over head, fresh pralines (like the ones I used to make at Savanna Sweets in St. Augustine), and barrels of every individually wrapped confection you can think of is in there.  I’m getting a sugar high just thinking about it.

Savanna Candy store Nashville

Day 2

After a quick little nosh at Atmalogy coffee shop on West End, we headed to Franklin.  This is one of the best coffee shops I’ve been to in a long time.  It has several rooms that are specifically designed for groups of people to collaborate and work on projects.  They even provide you with creative “jumpstarts” like coloring books, doodle pads, and blocks.  There are spaces to drift away privately too.  Combine all that with great coffee, matcha, wraps, and muffins and you’ve got yourself quite a spot.  Oh yeah, they have easy free parking right out front and a wine bar.  What more can you ask for?

Atmology coffee shop review on Lakeside Table
Taking a moment to daydream with java in Atmalogy’s shoe free pillow spot.  My kinda place.

You can take 65 to Franklin, but why???  Franklin Pike is a beautiful stretch of road with fabulous estates, gentle rolling green hills framed with black wooden fences, low stone walls defining lush properties, and …

Nashville long horns on Lakeside Table

LONG HORNS!!!  I mean, really! How cool is that?!!!  We saw these handsome devils and did a U-turn and pulled over on the side of road.  These bad boys were more than content to star in their very own photoshoot.

In Franklin, the shopping (disclaimer: I am not a shopper) is off the charts.  That is, if you like little one of a kind boutiques, mom and pop antiques, privately owned general store reminiscent of the old 5 and Dimes (remember those?).  There are upscale shops too, but none of them (that I saw) are of the large chain variety.  Hallelujah!!! Talk about refreshing!!!

the Iron Gate
The Iron Gate.  Other darling places to check out: The Shop Around the Corner, T. Nesbitt&Co., Yarrow Acres, and Philanthropy.
T. Nesbitt & Co.
T. Nesbitt & Co. Several places offered people sweet tea as they looked around.  How civilized is that?

We found ourselves at Grays on Main St. for lunch.  They take pimento cheese to a whole new level.  Fried pimento balls.  Do I need to say more?

If you love music, Nashville is your scene.  It is bursting with musical talent.  Live music can be found everywhere from grocery stores, street corners, to coffee shops.  So of course we had to go to…

Grand ol opry
Carrie Underwood headlining

I mean, what is a trip to Nashville without the Grand Ol’ Opry?

Day 3

On our way out of town, we stopped for last bite before we got back on the big road headed home.  We met my cousin, Suzanne, and my aunt Katherine for brunch at Le Sel.  They tout themselves as New French cuisine and I’ll buy that.  Around the table we ordered: French toast, croquet madam, French onion soup, and eggs Benedict.  Their plush baby blush banquet seating is cozy and comfortable.  In the middle of the downstairs restaurant a fellow shucks oysters and plates them on ice.

Le Sel review on Lakeside Table
Foyer of Le Sel. Translation: “what’s up?”

eggs

Le Sel is a fun unpretentious place with clever design, friendly people, and lots of sunshine… hmmm, a lot like how I’d describe Nashville.

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