Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Weekend in Nashville

After three days away from home and a late Monday night at a Cardinals game, I finally have a second to tell you about my trip to Nashville! This weekend was my second trip to the city in the past six months. It's quickly becoming my new favorite place to visit. It's a quick drive from St. Louis, and there is always so much going on. Downtown and Broadway are a blast, but what I love most about Nashville are all of the diverse neighborhoods with unique restaurants, bars and shops. It was a fun, busy weekend and I can't wait to go back!

My mom and I were on our own Friday morning and afternoon, which obviously meant we were going shopping. First, we wanted to get breakfast at Pancake Pantry, which is super well known, but someone (me) was getting hangry, so we ditched the lonnnnng line and headed across the street to a little cafe for breakfast. Pancake Pantry is in a neighborhood called Hillsboro Village, which is super close to Vanderbilt and Belmont University.

Because of its proximity to tons of college students, the neighborhood was full of unique stores and hip restaurants.

It had a nice, small-town feel but it was still trendy and fun. I'd love to have more time to explore the area and try some of the restaurants. 

After Hillsboro, it was time to head downtown to the Rock n Roll expo to pick up our race packets. For a Friday afternoon, the expo was super hectic. There were people and lines everywhere! It was far bigger than either of the St. Louis race expos I've been to, and it was cool to see some of the local vendors I'm not used to seeing at home. And, of course, there were lots of free giveways! I'm now the proud owner of three new re-usable totebags, some snap pea crisps and some running nutrition supplements! 

The forecast for Saturday called for rain, so my mom and I got new moisture-wicking hats as a precaution and a way to fend off the bad weather. Is anyone else of the notion that if you have your umbrella/rain coat/dry-fit hat it most certainly won't rain? 

After the Expo, we headed down the street to Broadway to find some lunch, a few drinks and of course live music. We chose Rippy's across from the Bridgestone Arena, and it was awesome! First and foremost, the barbecue and the barbecue sauce were outstanding and the restaurant offered a long list of unique cocktails. 

 Perhaps my favorite thing about Broadway is that any bar you visit will have live music from 10 a.m. until at least 2 a.m. the next morning. I really don't think I've seen a bad band in the two times I've been to Nashville. There is so much talent in the city. I couldn't get over how packed the bar was at lunch on a Friday and how much fun everyone was having already. 

After lunch, my mom and I went back to the condo for an outfit change (duh) and met up with my dad and Matt. The boys hadn't eaten all day so it was time for another meal (most vacations I go on center around food). Dinner was Burger Republic in the Gulch. It was SO GOOD. All four of us ordered the same burger (the best in Tennessee, according to Zagat). It was appropriately titled The Tennessee and had bacon, onion, smoked ketchup and Jack Daniels Honey Glaze. I would definitely recommend checking it out. They also have tater tot fondue and boozy milkshakes. How can you resist? 

  After dinner, we hopped on over to midtown for a few drinks and live music. As usual, Midtown was a great way to end the night and get in some quality people watching. 

After a night in Midtown, my 4:30 a.m. wake-up call (proceeded by the fire alarm going off at 3:30 a.m.) came a little too early. It was off to the races! The only advantage of getting up that early was the spectacular view of the city on the way to the race. 

Although it was weird being a half marathon course and not feeling totally stressed and nervous, it was kind of cool to watch everyone finish their race, especially the winners. I cannot imagine sustaining that fast of a pace for 13 or even 26 miles.

My favorite part of watching the race was learning how running brings out the best in people. Whether it's guiding a blind runner, helping someone who is struggling or running for an important cause, you really witness some incredible acts of kindness on the course.

And of course I used a 5K as an excuse to have a beer and bloody mary at 8 a.m. 

After lunch and a nap and another outfit change, it was back downtown to enjoy a surprisingly sunny and warm afternoon. See, I told you it wouldn't rain because we bought those hats! You're welcome, runners. 

First up was Acme Feed & Seed on Broadway. I was a little bummed by this place at first because it was so crowded, but once I had a drink in my hand, I really started to enjoy it. It's gorgeous on the inside, has a great patio and is the place to be on a sunny Saturday, so the people watching was fantastic, especially since it's bachelorette/bachelor party season (though, I think those are always in season in Nashville). Matt, my parents and I had a great time enjoying the sun on the roof. 

After Acme, we headed to the 12 South neighborhood for dinner at Edley's. My mom and I had bbq nachos, and they were fabulous. In typical Nashville fashion, the place was charming, the atmosphere fun and the food delicious. After dinner, we headed back to Broadway and closed out a short night listening to more live music. 


Sunday, as is usually the case on weekend vacations, was a little sad because we had to leave/ sit in the car all afternoon/ go to work tomorrow, but we drowned our sorrows in coffee and biscuits at The Southern. Sunday brunch at The Southern is easily my favorite meal of both Nashville trips. The menu is unique, the staff is wonderful, the restaurant is beautiful and the food is amazing. I would drive four hours both ways just for brunch. It fills up quick though, so I would definitely hit up OpenTable to make a reservation.

Oh, and remember last week when I mentioned going to Kendra Scott during the trip? Obviously I couldn't let Matt drive away without visiting the store and picking up my first of her pieces. I can't wait until the St. Louis location opens. The staff was so friendly and the store was inviting and obviously full of gorgeous stuff. It was hard to pick out just one thing.

Are you going on any trips soon? What did I miss this trip that I should definitely check out next time I'm in Nashville?

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