TenISee Roadtrippin': Nashville or Bust

TenISee Roadtrippin':  Nashville or Bust

I was a huge fan of country music back in the 90’s.  I’m talking member of the Faith Hill, Shania Twain, Alison Kraus fan clubs type of huge fan.  I had a cousin who looked like a Dixie Chick and parents who indulged our love of 90’s now-extinct country artists.  We went to Garth Brooks 3 times, and I remember Faith and Tim’s first public kiss (it was in Chicago!) on the “Spontaneous Combustion Tour”.  Probably the crowning moment of my twang love was when my immediate and extended family squeezed into our family Suburban (13 people in an 8-seater car) and drove down to Nashville for what was then known as Fan Fair (CMA Fest for you youngins).  We saw a ton of concerts, got a bunch of autographs that aren’t worth much now (Anyone want to buy a David Lee Murphy signature?), and had a great time.  Since I was only 12, I didn’t even know there was a Broadway Street; I had to wait until I was of age to do some boot scootin’ and honky tonkin’.

Because I couldn’t bear to say goodbye to Meghan, and because she refused to let me say goodbye to her, we decided that we needed to have an adventure on my way from DC to Chicago.  We looked for exciting places that were in between the two cities to visit (Spoiler alert:  There aren’t any.) and decided that Nashville would be A) Awesome and B) Not too far out of the way.

We joined our friends the Kolbs randomly in Knoxville for the night because, hey, why not Knoxville?  We did a quick once around the campus before hitting the highway to make it to Nashville in the early afternoon.  Meghan had just finished reading “Girls of Atomic City” and had learned that the International Friendship Bell was located on the way in Oak Ridge, TN.  Although it took us a few wrong turns and one unexpected trip to what looked like a nuclear government test site, we made it to the Friendship Bell only to see…….. it closed off by a fence.  Fortunately, I had with my good camera and we were still able to get a few good pictures of the bell.  I love that Meggy was so into history; I’ve taught her well!

Friendship, my ass

Friendship, my ass

As we neared Nashville, we were able to see the Tennessee Titans’ stadium and the city’s skyline.  Since we had already taken a picture with UT’s stadium, we decided that we needed to continue the streak of stadium selfies.  We also cruised past a billboard advertising the Johnny Cash museum, which we excitedly said that we HAD to visit.  Well, we did end up making it to the museum but left after discovering that the admission price was $15.  And let’s be honest, we just didn’t have the CASH.  Womp womp.

It took us awhile for my little GPS to figure out where our condo rental was located, but we eventually found it just past the train tracks a few blocks away from the Capitol.  Meg had found a cute one bedroom condo on AirBnB that was close to Broadway and cost effective, and the owner Chris was incredibly helpful with tips for exploring the city.  He gave restaurant recommendations and pointed us in the direction of the Corsair Distillery (more of that to come later).  The condo was clean and was decorated as what I would describe as “classy dude decor” with bourbon barrel lids and framed records.

We decided that showering and putting on makeup could wait after exploring, so our scummy asses made our way towards the heart of Music City:  Broadway Street.  The cool thing about Nashville, among many things, is that no matter the time of day you can find a bar with live music.  In Nashville bars, particularly those on Broadway, artists and bands aren’t paid by the establishment when they perform.  Apparently, it was Willie Nelson who got this going.  So now, they work for exposure and tips, and boy do they WORK for those tips.  Song requests will set you back $20, and the performers aren’t above walking around the bar with a tip jar, shaking hands with the patrons and schmooz’a for their moolah.  It’s all in fun though, and people are using half in the bag when they put their rent money in the jar.

After a stroll around the Capitol building in the 90 degree heat, thus adding to our alluring odors, we had a great lunch at Deli Dave’s on our way to Broadway.  They had a great selection of sandwiches and salads, and we split a California Veggie pita and Greek salad; both of which were delicious.

Broadway was already hopping, and it took us a few minutes to take in all the sights and sounds.  Picture a whole lot of colors, neon lights, man-sized moonshine jugs, and twangy guitars…. on drugs.  It’s a sensory overload of awesome.  Before beginning our bar hopping tour on Broadway, we cruised through a gift shop that must’ve doubled as a shrine to Bret Michaels.  Never before have I been in the presence of so many rhinestone cross emblazoned cowboy hats.  Bandanas sold separately.

Every rose has its rhinestone cowboy hat

Every rose has its rhinestone cowboy hat

We did a primary stroll down the street to see what our first stop should be and discovered that even the street performers are incredibly talented.  Everything about Nashville is music, right down to the music sheet metal plaques on the sidewalks.  It’s an experience unlike any other, and I was pretty JAZZED (bad music pun) to be there with Meg.  A great send-off indeed!

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Robert’s Western World looked dicey enough, the music was loud enough, and the sign in front advertised beer that was cheap enough, so we made our way inside.  Meghan asked the bouncer if they had tv’s showing the World Cup game, and he looked at her like she had two heads and said, “This is a real honky tonk; we don’t have tv’s here.”  Point taken, young bearded sir.  A young guy was playing an electric guitar and singing, occasionally pausing to thank whoever contributed to his tip jar.  The bar was exactly what we were looking for in a Nashville bar:  absent of natural light, walls covered top to bottom with dust-filled framed pictures of former performers, rotting wooden furniture, and a tarp sign advertising a “Recession Special:  $5 for a fried bologna sandwich, chips and a beer”.  Now THAT’S a deal.

MmmmMmmmm Love me some fried bologna!

MmmmMmmmm Love me some fried bologna!

The guy took a break almost immediately after we got a beer, so we quickly finished our $2 PBR and went practically next door to Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.  The stage in Tootsies is immediately to your right when you walk in and practically sits on the window.  The bar has that “shotgun house” feel, with a long bar on the left and a narrow walkway that you can barely walk down without bumping into people.  It was awesome.  The second we walked in, the bartender pointed at Meghan and followed her as we walked down the bar to get our order.  We noticed that she did that with all the patrons who entered the bar; such a genius move because it guarantees that everyone gets a drink.  The lead singer of the band was a tall blonde with rhinestone jeans and three inch white heels singing on the bar, and the band genuinely seemed like they were having fun playing.  The singer then made the rounds with the tip jar, shaking hands with the bar patrons and encouraging the young girls in the audience to say hello the Wesley, the “sexy and disease-free guitarist, ladies!”  Well, how can you say no to that?

Carrie Underwood we aint

Carrie Underwood we aint

The atmosphere was so much fun, and Meghan and I tried our best to avoid bumping into other honky tonkers while dancing to the band.  We were singing along to “Before He Cheats” when all of a sudden a microphone is shoved into my face, and I’m now the lead singer of the band.  At the most difficult freaking part to sing.  Of course.  I summed up all the air in my lungs to try to warble out “carved my name into his leather seeeeee-eeeeaaa-eaaats!” with at least some small shred of dignity.  You know, because we had actively chosen NOT to shower or wear make-up to the bar, so it was obviously the time to be thrust into the spotlight.  The microphone was fortunately taken out of my face only to be quickly shoved into Meg’s; those lucky customers at Tootsie’s got a double dose of awesome in just those few seconds.

Hopped up on our own talent (or lack thereof), we danced our way upstairs to the more recently constructed (judging by the smell of fresh timber) second floor bar where a decidedly less talented band was playing.  One of the male singers was introducing the band and mentioned that the drummer was sitting in for their regular guy; damn, did it show.  I’m no Animal, but this guy’s drumming made the whole band tough to enjoy.  Fortunately for us, we can entertain ourselves and added our own graffiti to the hundreds of other signatures people had written into the tables and walls.  We decided on marking our territory with “Nation’s Capital” and the date.  If anyone happens to visit Tootsie’s anytime soon, check out the second high table on the right on the second floor; let me know if it’s still there.

Damn right

Damn right

After seeing my and Elliot’s friend Jeff’s doppelganger playing on stage, saying “Go Hawkeyes!” to a dude wearing an Iowa shirt (the ass looked at us like we had two heads; so much for being friendly), and having a few Bud heavy’s (We’re in the South, so our chest hair had clearly grown), we decided to finally make ourselves presentable and head back to the condo to shower.  It had been in the low 90’s all day, and humid as all get out, so we were sweating like hell.  Although we were only a ten minute walk from Broadway, it seemed like miles due to the hills and humidity.  Any cooler out, and the walk would’ve been a snap.

Uh, hey Wayne's World version of Jeff

Uh, hey Wayne’s World version of Jeff

After a much needed shower and glass of red wine from one of the bottles I was transporting cross country, we made our way back towards the center of town and the Wild Horse Saloon.  My good friend, Naima, is from Nashville and had given me a list of must visit places for our trip, the Wild Horse naturally being one of them.  Outside the Wild Horse, there was a father and son duo grilling hot dogs, and they must’ve heard me say to Meghan, “Man, those smell good” because the son who was about our age said, “You know you want one!  I saw you checking me out.” To which I  replied, quicker and more clever than I normally can produce, “No, I was just checking out your wieners.”  Zing!

We hadn’t thought to make reservations ahead of time, so even though we got there around 7:30, the boot scooters were already going full steam ahead and the place was packed.  There were stuffed horses everywhere, the lights were already off, and live music was already hopping.  The wait for a table by the dance floor would be about an hour, so we decided to wait and have a drink in the bar.  Fortunately, almost as soon as we had ordered our Budweisers (gotta keep up the tradition), a high top table opened up at the bar.  While Meghan asked the hostess if we could sit there, I parked myself in one of the chairs and waited for the waitress to wipe down the table.  We got the go ahead from the hostess to sit there, and Meghan and I high-fived each other over our good luck.  We had a great view of the stage and dance floor, so we were able to be impressed by all the dancers strutting their stuff.  Anytime the band took a break, a young guy and girl would come enthusiastically on stage and teach the crowd a new line dance.  We went under the hot lights and learned a dance that very much resembled the Electric Slide (don’t all line dances though?).  It was a lot of fun, but we were clearly in over our heads compared to the other people on the floor.  There was this young couple in particular, couldn’t have been older than 22, who looked like they’d been dancing together for years.  We basically stopped what we were doing to watch them, much to the chagrin of the people around us who were still moving.  Even though we weren’t the best dancers out there, it was an experience to be line dancing on the floor of the Wild Horse Saloon in Nashville, under the hanging stuffed horses (plush, not taxidermy) and lights of the stage.  I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Music City.

Someone call PETA

Someone call PETA

Cuz I'm a moooooooodel

Cuz I’m a moooooooodel

Boot scootin' boogy

Boot scootin’ boogy

After stuffing ourselves with the most generous portions of southern barbecue I’ve ever seen, we closed out our tab and sat at the bar that was right next to the dance floor.  We were so stuffed from our pulled pork and brisket that moving, let alone dancing, would be enough to make us boot (scoot) all over the floor.  Like the lazy asses we are (#weusedtobefat), we drank our Budweisers and danced to the music from our chairs.  We went nuts when Wobble came on, because I think we were the only people in the bar who actually knew how to do the dance.  Gotta love us city folk.

After finishing up our beers, we decided to brave Broadway street again and check out another bar.  We dodged all the drunken bachelor and bachelorette parties riding the booze bikes (seriously, they were EVERYWHERE.  Meg and I were the minority NOT being in a group of six or more), we bypassed a traditional honky tonk for a more “spring break” looking three story bar that had a huge outdoor deck.  The place was absolutely packed, and we went up to the third floor, where it was less crowded and hot because the windows had been opened.  A young band had just finished playing, and everyone seemed super shit faced, so we didn’t even stay for a drink.  Even though it was only 11pm, people were BOMBED and Broadway was insanely packed.  Not exactly feeling the rager vibe, and slightly weighed down from two pounds of BBQ, we decided to head back to the condo.  We weaved around lines of people waiting to get hot dogs at a stand between Tootsie’s and Roberts, and some drunk bachelor party attendee held his yet-to-be-eaten hot dog out to me and slurredly asked if I wanted a bite.  Never one to shy away from a challenge, I took a bite despite my filled-to-capacity gut.  There was some serious spice on that wienie, but I forced myself to choke it down and keep walking.  As we walked away, we could hear him say, “Oh my Gooooood” to his friends.  Note to dude:  Not a normal reaction to having a hot dog being BITTEN.

After a night’s sleep that was one for the ages, we woke up around eight and got ready to avoid anymore uncomfortable moments in the spotlight.  We had been told by Naima that Pancake Pantry was THE place to get breakfast, and my friend Katie had seconded that sentiment, so around ten we made our way towards Vanderbilt’s campus where the cafe is located.  Unfortunately for us, we got there around 10 am and there was already a line down the block.  We decided to grab a coffee at this French cafe across the street before getting in line, but the service was so freaking slow at the cafe that it took almost twenty minutes to get our coffees.  By that point, the line for Pancake Pantry had grown twice as long, so we made a new plan to wake up early the next day and try again.  In the meantime, we grabbed muffins from a local bakery and sat on a street bench to enjoy our breakfast.  The area we were in, Vanderbilt’s campus, was a quaint little main street that had several coffee shops and boutiques that catered to hipsters and fashionistas alike.  It was basically Wicker Park with a side of y’all.  We wandered into Tennessee Chic (PS, I want that Willie Nelson tank top), found about 80 things that we wanted to buy, and I eventually settled on a necklace with a horse on it.

Since I’m a huge history geek, and I’ve never been to Greece, we decided that the next best thing was to see the Parthenon replica in  Centennial Park.  When we got there around 11, the grass was already filled with groups of people crowding around mini trampolines and smacking balls into them with their hands.  During my Google search a whole five seconds ago, it looks like the game they were playing is called Spikeball.  Its website contains XTREME looking people who are looking for EXTREME entertainment (like gas station kayaking).  Anyway, it looked fun and we were kind of jealous.

EXTREME!

EXTREME!

We were able to get a parking spot in the park and walked across the park to the Parthenon….only to realize that it cost money to get in…and we had left our wallets in the car.  We looked at the Parthenon, looked at the car, looked back at the Parthenon, looked at each other, and decided that it was too far and too hot to walk to the car and back to get our money.  So we just took some pictures on the outside of the Parthenon, and walked back towards a festival that was beginning to set up.  After sitting and swinging on a park swing, and seeing a cliff that looked like the spot where Julius Caesar was killed, we walked over to the food and shop trucks that had already set up to see what was going on.  A band was doing a sound check on the stage, and some local artists and shops were setting up their wares for the people walking around.  We were drawn to the “2 Old Hippies” truck, where they had all sorts of t-shirts and tank tops on sale for $5.  The guy and girl running the makeshift shop (it was basically in a camper) were super friendly, and the lady kept having me and Meghan feel the tank tops because the quality was so good.  Well, we got suckered in and both ended up buying a tank top and t-shirts that said “Peace Love Rock ‘n Roll”.  Two Old Hippies, meet Two Young Hippies.

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Although the band wasn’t scheduled to go on for another hour, the beer garden was open so we got a Yazoo (a Nashville brewery) IPA and had a seat at a picnic table to enjoy our beer.  People were already starting to arrive with their picnic baskets and blankets, getting ready for a Saturday of music and food.  Nashville is seriously the best, guys; you get live music EVERYWHERE.

We had asked Chris, the owner of the condo where we were staying, if there were any good breweries or distilleries around.  He quickly got back to us with the name of a Distillery that was about a five minute drive from the condo.  The Corsair Distillery is located in this old Motor works factory off the train tracks and is a “micro” distillery that runs daily tours and tastings at its Nashville location.  Since it was Saturday, we tried to call to make a tour reservation, but we kept getting rerouted back to the distillery’s main menu.  We figured, “what the hell?” and decided to take our chances at making a tour without a reservation.  After wandering around the outside of the building for awhile, and accidentally stumbling upon the location of Antique Archaeology, we somehow Magellan’ed our way to the taproom of Corsair.  The bartender on duty was a chill, friendly guy who said we could probably get on the next tour and poured us a glass of seasonal Yazoo.  While we were enjoying our beers, this huge group of hungover looking brahs showed up and asked if they could get on the next tour.  When the bartender asked them how many they had, the lead hungover guy said 13 and that he had called earlier and was told that they could come on the 1:00 tour.  When the bartender told him that it was now 2:15, head honcho replied, “Yeahhhhh.  We’re late.”  No shit, buddy.  Even if you weren’t an hour and 15 minutes late to get “squeezed in” on the 1:00 tour, I call shenanigans that you actually spoke to someone.  Given our issues with the automatic phone system, there’s no way in hell your hungover ass was able to operate a telephone.

One of the workers, Lex, took us and two other girls to the main room where the whiskeys are made and shared with us the story behind Corsair Distillery and its various whiskeys.  The distillery is located in an old brewery, and some of the equipment dates back to almost 100 years ago.  Everything is done by hand, and we could see the employees in action while they operated the different pieces of equipment.  Lex walked us through the process of making whiskey, shared that the head distiller is a woman (hooray!), and had us get up close to the machines and malt in its various stages.  The best part of the tour (beside the tasting) was when we got to go into the barrel room, because the oak just smelled amazing.  Everything about the tour was very informative, and Lex was a really thorough guide.  I’ve been to a few breweries, never a distillery, so it was a unique experience to have while in the South.

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Makin' da whiskey

Makin’ da whiskey

The last part of the tour was the tasting, and we were able to taste their vanilla bean vodka, award-winning rye, quinoa whiskey and a smokey whiskey.  Lex was pouring some pretty generous shots, and we probably would have gotten pretty blitzed if we took the whole thing.  I was driving, so I only took a super tiny sip of each one, but the flavors really came out in just that little sip.  We weren’t huge fans of the quinoa whiskey, but Meg and I both liked the taste of their smokey whiskey and vanilla bean vodka.  We each got a souvenir tumbler (only $4 since we had gone on the tour!), said bye to Lex, grabbed a sandwich in a coffee shop in the building, and made our way to the Grand Ole Opry.

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Small sip for me, thanks!

Small sip for me, thanks!

So FYI, the Grand Ole Opry is nowhere near downtown Nashville and is about a thirty minute drive away.  After resting up a bit at the condo, we drove all the way to the Opry…. found out that you had to go on a tour to go inside….. only to find out that the next tour wasn’t for another half an hour…..only to take pictures of the outside, get back in the car, and drive back to downtown.  It would’ve been cool to see the inside of the Opry, but neither of us were that interested to wait that long for a tour.  #ParthenonPartTwo.

Ain't life grand?

Ain’t life grand?

After freshening up back at the condo, we went back to Broadway and decided to check out the massive Tequila Cowboy bar that was across the street from Tootsie’s.  We ordered our Budweisers and sat at the bar to listen to two guys on acoustic guitars play everything from Johnny Cash to Blake Shelton.  They were both extremely talented, and their singing and playing was so hypnotic that at one point I looked at Meghan and said, “I’m like mesmerized by this guy.”  I immediately whipped out my phone and downloaded the song he was playing, “Parachute”.  Seriously, check out Jer Gregg; you won’t be disappointed.

Mesmerized!

Mesmerized!

We drink Bud Heavy

We drink Bud Heavy

Jer Gregg and co.

Jer Gregg and co.

The guys were going on break about the time we finished our beers, so figured that was a sign to go to another bar.  We heard music and clapping coming out of a bar a few down from Tootsie’s, so we squeezed our way in to watch this old version of Tim McGraw finishing up his set.  He must’ve needed an ego boost, because he hopped off the stage right away, only for his drummer to encourage the crowd to cheer for him to come back on.  Buddy, you’re standing next to the stage; it’s not a real encore if we can see you waiting to get called back up by your adoring fans.  Buuuuut, as predicted Meg and I joined the crowd in getting him back on the stage for “ONE MORE SONG!”  He gladly obliged, did this magic trick or something with a glowing light (it sounds just as weird typing it as it is reading it), before hopping down into the crowd with his tip jar.  He was heading right towards us, but the only cash I had on me was fifty cents.  As he held the jar in front of us, I reached my hand far down into it to mask the sound of coins clinking.  I don’t know how much he thought I put in there, because he immediately handed me his guitar pick.  Sa-WOON!  So worth the fifty cents.

One more song! One more song!

One more song! One more song!

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After hitting the jackpot, as if drawn in by some honky-tonk magic, we somehow found ourselves back at Tootsie’s.  We were pissed because we had JUST missed the band that had been playing the day before but quickly regained our happiness when the bartender followed us down the bar again to get our drink orders.  Once again, the first floor was packed, but we somehow lucked out enough to get seats at one of the tables.  Another band came on almost immediately and was headlined by two guys who were not too terrible to look at.  Meg and I took a shot of Fireball and bought each of the dudes a shot of Jack Daniels because they had hinted to the crowd that Jack was their favorite…. and because we’re dumb girls.  We were thanked for the shot, and Meghan plopped four $5 bills into their bucket and requested Cruise.  It took them a minute to figure out that she had actually put $20 (the going rate for song requests) in their tip jar, because who puts in four $5 bills?, but they played our song, and we danced and sang right in front of the stage.  It was so awesome.  Some old drunk guys tried to barge in on our fun, and the drunker of the two tried to dance with Meg; he clearly didn’t realize that Cruise is OUR JAM, and that there was no creeping allowed while our song was playing.

I hear that temptation

I hear that temptation

After our rock star moment, we sat back down at our table and talked to a local couple who was killing time before going to see Elvis Costello.  They were awesome, and it was so interesting to hear how even the locals frequent the honky-tonks on Broadway to hear up and coming bands.  Cindy, the wife, gave me her card and said that she does work in Chicago and to send her my resume.  I haven’t yet, but what the hell, couldn’t hurt, right?  After getting hugs from Cindy and her husband, Meg and I finished our beer and made our way a few blocks away to Puckett’s for our 7:45 dinner reservation.  We were having so much fun at Tootsies though, that at one point Meg looks at me and asks, “Should we just keep drinking and skip our reservation?”  We were both so tempted, but we made the smart choice to slow our role and eat some food.

We had read and heard from Chris that Puckett’s was the place to go for delicious Southern food, so we had called earlier to secure a reservation.  It was a good thing that we did, because the restaurant was already paaaaacked with bachelor/bachelorette parties and families having dinner.  Our table was relatively close to the stage where a three-guy band had started warming up.  We each ordered a Yazoo (the more I type, the more I realize just how much booze we consumed that day… Dear liver, my bad.) and a fried pickle appetizer while we perused the menu.  The pickles were out of this world delicious, so we knew that we had made a wise decision not to skip dinner.  Meg and I decided to go full fat girl (#weusedtobefat) and ordered country fried steak and Southern fried chicken, respectively.  My meal came with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans, but I’ve never liked green beans and asked if I could switch them out for sweet potato fries.  The waiter gave me a weird look and then proceeded to rip on me the rest of the evening for ordering two starches.  At one point, he walked by pretending to be on the phone with my mom, and said, “Yep, that’s right.  TWO starches.”  It was all in good fun, and I will NOT apologize for my potato parade.

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Double starch!

Double starch!

Much like at the White Horse, the portions were both massive and delicious.  I could only eat the thigh of my fried chicken meal, which left me the breast and plenty of starch for our lunch in the car the next day.  Similarly, Meg barely put a dent in her country fried steak, despite neither of us being shy about wolfing down our food.  Before our meal came, a woman who was standing at the bar asked if she could sit at our table.  Since we had already talked to everybody and their mother in the city, we readily welcomed her to our feast.  It turns out that she is a songwriter, and one of her songs *might* be on Blake Shelton’s next CD.  She was friends with the guy on stage, Ricky Ray, who we learned lived on a farm, liked bonfires, and apparently has a thing for her.  We also learned that she was a widow, and that she liked Ricky as a friend but didn’t appreciate solitude like he did.  Come to think of it, we learned A LOT about this lady in the span of a meal.  She was fascinating and very nice though, so it was enjoyable having her at our table.

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The food, company and music were phenomenal, and we ended up staying at Puckett’s until almost ten.  By that point, we were so full from our food that we briefly stopped in another bar to hear music, found out that there was none yet, and decided to call it a night and hit the hay early.  I think that we were both glad that we threw in the towel when we did, because that 6:30 wakeup would never have happened had we stayed at Tootsie’s.  With the early start, we were able to pack up the car and make it to Pancake Pantry by 7:30 and avoid the blocks-long line that would come with the church crowd.  Let me tell you, Naima and Katie were not exaggerating about how good the food there was.  I had these amazing sweet potato pancakes with cinnamon cream syrup, and Meg had cornmeal pancakes that came topped with chills and tomato.  I also ordered a side of sausage patties which were also fantastic.  This was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had, no hyperbole.  Not only was the food good, but after hearing we were going to have a long drive, the waitress set us up with to-go cups for our coffee, plastic silverware, napkins, and extra containers of syrup for the road.  She definitely earned that big tip we gave her.  Most helpful waitress.  EVER.  In the history of evers.

Gluttons for awesomeness

Gluttons for awesomeness

As we drove away from Nasvhille (but not before we added Vanderbilt’s football and baseball stadiums to our anthology of stadium photos), Meg and I both agreed that this needs to be a yearly thing for us.  Although the trip didn’t end until a few days later in Chicago, the adventures and calories we had in Nashville were ones for the ages.  The food, the music, the atmosphere, the hundreds of laughs, and our friendship made this one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.  Now all that’s left is to convince Meghan to move to Chicago… Hey Meggy, Nashville is only a 7 hour drive from here, and you’re the only Ten I See….

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