Happy Monday, everyone! I’m back from a whirlwind weekend of adventures in Nashville, the third round in my post bar travels. I’ve gone from England to California to Tennessee, this time visiting my dear friend Lauren who moved to the area last year. We grew up together in Connecticut, but I hadn’t seen her since she moved, so I was really looking forward to this weekend. We did so much in a short time, squeezing visits to Centennial Park, Vanderbilt University, Music City, and a few great restaurants into our Saturday, and a wonderful brunch and visit to Cheekwood on Sunday before I headed home.
Lauren picked me up from the airport Friday night, and we spent several hours catching up before bed. Saturday morning we woke up, went for a lovely walk around her suburban neighborhood, and had some breakfast before heading to Nashville. We began at Centennial Park, with a stroll in the gardens and a peek inside the Parthenon. It was crazy – at the time of the Nashville centennial, they held a big fair celebrating their heritage and built a replica of the Parthenon to burnish the city’s self image as the “Athens of the South”.
Afterwards, we walked over to the Vanderbilt University campus and explored for a little while. Most of the college students were still asleep, and it was an overcast day with some fog and drizzles in the morning, but the buildings we saw were lovely and I could tell it would be a beautiful campus in the sunshine. I got a little nostalgic for the American college experience I never had!
Soon it was time for an early lunch. We were planning to go to Noshville, a New York style diner that’s really popular, but true to form they had a 45 minute wait and we had a tour downtown to make. So we opted for salads at the Mellow Mushroom, a Southern chain I really liked. I went for the make your own salad with romaine, cabbage, carrots, turkey, ham (I now eat ham!), provolone, artichoke hearts, and red wine vinaigrette.
The drive to downtown Nashville (Music City) was fairly short, but as Lauren explained, it wasn’t really a walkable distance in between. Something I’ve noticed is different in cities that are not New York! We met our tour guide outside the Bridgewater Arena for a two hour Echoes of Nashville tour that took us down the famous Music Row, to the riverfront park, City Hall and the public square, the Capitol Building, the Hermitage Hotel, and the Ryman Auditorium wherein lies the Grand Ole Opry.
There was so much to take in along the tour route, I wished we had longer to linger. I loved learning more about the history of the city, as I always do in a new place, being the consummate history nerd no matter how far I get from university days. I would definitely want to go on separate tours of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Ryman Auditorium if I returned. The only thing I can’t come back for is Taylor Swift’s 1989 world tour, which was rolling through Nashville this weekend and which I had no idea about until I landed at the airport… Alas!
We had dinner reservations at a lovely little spot called AMOT that Lauren researched before my arrival, because she is an awesome friend. The name stands for ‘a matter of taste’ and it is a totally gluten free eatery, which is rare not just in Nashville but anywhere. The restaurant itself was in a cute neighborhood slightly north of downtown Nashville, and when we walked in I felt like we were in a hip spot that happened to be placed in a quiet residential area.
The extensive menu has a lot of options, from appetizers and salads to sandwiches and entrees. I decided to go with the California Chicken sandwich sans avocado due to my allergy, and I was very pleased with the juicy chicken breast, melted Swiss cheese, and veggies heaped onto my Udi’s bun that arrived at our table. I opted for the shoestring sweet potato fries topped with arugula and Parmesan instead of the potato chips – I’m not a big chip person and I always like sweet potato fries. I definitely prefer thicker fries, but these were tasty indeed, and I polished off every morsel on my plate. After all, our adventures in Nashville that day had taken us far on our feet.
Stay tuned for the second day of our adventures in Nashville!
Have you ever visited Nashville? What was your favorite sight?
Are you a country music fan?
Do you like tours about a city’s history, the music and restaurant scene, or something else?
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