Is 27 days late, too late to post about the Fourth of July? I don’t think so! Better late than never right?
July 4th fell on a Wednesday this year which was a tad peculiar. Do you just celebrate on Wednesday and go to work hungover the next day after a few too many “AMERICA!!!” drinks or do you celebrate on a weekend which is either a few days early or a few days late. First world problem right here.
After some thinking, Matt and I decided that we would take off the second half of the week and take a little vacation. Nashville was a no brainer for our trip. What is more American than country music? This was totally our scene. Matt had been a few times before, but this was my first Nashville experience.
We I did some research and planning (because in my opinion there is nothing worse than getting somewhere and being like “uh…now what do we do”) and set off on our merry way to Nashville.
After a 5 hour car ride, our first stop was lunch. I found a kitchy little hot dog stand in East Nashville and I was soooo excited! Hot dogs + 4th of July = American. I Dream of Weenie was totally calling my name. I was soooo giddy and excited to try it.
Verdict: Super cute and creative concept. I loved the curb appeal and the name. The hot dogs on the other hand… not so great. Pretty lackluster actually. Hot dogs seem so simple but I can whip up a better one at home. I’m glad we stopped here. It was a good experience but we didn’t leave satisfied.
We wanted to spend the next couple hours exploring East Nashville, but it turns out 110 degrees isn’t really our kind of “wandering around” weather. We drove to an antique store in the area that we wanted to check out and it was closed. Bummer. Then we decided to check out a Nashville tradition, the Hot Chicken Festival.
The park was packed and each booth had extremely long lines. We thought we would give it a shot and we hopped in line. After melting in the sun for 10 minutes, seeing a woman pass out in line is what sealed the deal for us. Neither of us are huge spicy food fans, so waiting in a line that long, in weather that hot just wasn’t worth it to us. We hit the road and headed for a place that was more our style.
We ended up back across the street from I Dream of Weenie to fill our bellies with some delicious ice cream. There is something about being on vacation that just makes me want to splurge and indulge in a local confection. In New Orleans I licked on some Creole Creamery and in Nashville we sampled the Pied Piper Creamery. It was yum yum yummy!
Oh boy was the Pied Piper good! I had some sort of mint ice cream, but instead of with chocolate chips it had oreo chunks. Super delicious! Matt went with his usual cookie dough and was not disappointed. If anybody will be in Nashville, Pied Piper Creamery is definitely worth the trip over the river and through the hood.
By this time it was 3pm and we could go check into our hotel. We stayed at the Doubletree Downtown Hilton. It was a great hotel in a perfect location. We were just a few blocks off Broadway and super close to other attractions in the area.
After some much needed showers, Matt’s friend from college and his girlfriend came to the hotel. We all headed out for a night on the town in honor of America. We walked down to Broadway and right into Honky Tonk Central. There we met a hilarious couple from Australia who were on a 5 week American vacation. All six of us hung out for the rest of the evening and drank our way up and down Broadway.
After all of our drinking and dancing, we headed out with the rest of Nashville onto Broadway. They set the fireworks off on the river and standing in the middle of Broadway was probably the best view we could have asked for. I thought it was a bit strange at first because all of my other fireworks experience involved sitting on a blanket on the grass in some sort of park. Standing in the middle of a downtown street seemed a bit odd, but I was proved wrong. It was fantastic! These might have been the best fireworks I have ever seen. I wish I had more pictures, but I will leave fireworks photo taking to the professionals.
To start our day we headed back out to East Nashville for breakfast at a quint french bistro called Marche Artisan Foods. It was totally delicious. Croissant french toast? Yes please!
Our original plan for this day was to go for a morning hike, but I accidentally forgot my sneakers. Oops. So we went to our fall back plan of swimming which was probably a better plan due to the excessive heat. Thanks to my research, we knew that there was a lake not far from the center of Nashville. We drove about 20 minutes to the east and found Percy Priest Lake. It was a $4 admission per car, bargain! We had the place almost all too ourselves. It was a white sandy beach and clear warm water. It was seriously delightful. Possibly my favorite few hours of the trip.
After a few hours of swimming in the beautiful lake it was lunch time. We drove back to the city and for some reason we couldn’t find anything to eat that would please both of us. Then we stumbled upon Five Points Pizza. If there is anything Matt and I can agree on, its ice cream and pizza. We already crossed ice cream off our list so when we saw pizza, we were totally down. Five Points Pizza was at home in hipster East Nashville so I felt the need to drink a little hipster drink. When in rome…
The garlic knots were finger licking good and the pizza was the size of my head.
After swimming and pizza, what could make this day better? Oh yeah, shopping! How could I forget 🙂 . We got a chance to visit Wonders on Woodland and meandered around the old house turned antique store. They had things in every price range and from so many different eras. I even picked up one treasure to decorate the apartment.
From one antique store to the American Pickers store, we were in hog heaven!
From there we headed a few blocks over to the Yazoo Tap room. I love trying different beers and microbrews. Its not really Matt’s thing, but he gave it a shot for me. We got a beer sampler and realized that some of them just aren’t for us.
We relaxed the rest of the day and skipped dinner in favor of eating popcorn at the movie theater. We saw the movie Ted and I totally enjoyed it. It was quite funny, and of course I cried. I don’t think they expect people to cry in a slapstick comedy, but I did. Embarrassing.
We woke up early and made the drive down country roads out to Dickson TN. I had set up a tee time at Dickson Country Club for Matt. I am not a golfer and never will be, but Matty sure is so I took the liberty of driving the cart around for the 18 holes. Once I got the hang of driving it, it was quite fun 🙂 . I learned some gold lingo and Matt was totally in his element which I loved to see. It was a long hot morning, but I think we both loved it.
The rest of the day consisted of wondering around downtown Nashville . We stopped in Hatch Show Print (which I was dying to see), saw the Nashville Hall of Fame and checked out the Parthenon in Centennial Park.
We celebrated our last night in Nashville by going out to dinner at a really cool restaurant recommended to me by a co-worker and friend who had visited Nashville just a few weeks earlier. Merchant was right on Broadway and had a 1940’s vibe to it. The building was three levels and each level increased in cost and class. We ate on the first floor and it was delicious. I was totally impressed. Maybe one day we will make it to each of the other levels.
We only had a half day left in Nashville because we had to get back to St. Louis for the Dierks Bentley concert.
I took Matt to his first ever Farmers Market. Again it was painfully hot so we didn’t stay for long. We didn’t buy any fruits and veggies either, but in true vacation form, we indulged in some sweet treats. Does anybody make a cinnamon roll better than an Amish person? These things were sinfully good.
Before we headed home, we swung by an upscale shopping center because Matt found out they had a West Elm store. I love West Elm and I shop there frequently online, but we don’t have a store in St. Louis so I had never been. When he told me we were going, I was elated! We stopped in Anthropologie too, to admire all the visual merchandising and deign. Of course, I also picked up a few items 🙂
Sadly our little Nashville vacation was over. We had a fantastic time and can’t wait to go back!