History: One of the reasons I wanted to move to Nashville was because it’s so good at preserving its history. I wanted to see the plantations, the Civil War battlefields, all the little meat-and-threes that are still going strong. What I hadn’t betted on was that I’d fall for its country music history. Walks down Broadway and stops into Ernest Tubb’s has got me listening to all the old country songs I can get my hands on: tuning into Willie’s Roadhouse on SiriusXM, putting on Dolly/Loretta/Johnny Cash stations on Pandora. I still have a lot of catching up to do.
Roadside: The Loveless Cafe sits right at the beginning (or end, depending on which way you’re going) of the Natchez Trace, and for over 50 years it’s been an iconic roadside stop. What once was a modest cafe/motel is now a bustling tourist site, complete with that same cafe, food shops, and a music venue. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the biscuits. They’re worth the wait. (and there will be a wait)
Food: Nashville is increasingly gaining notoriety as a foodie’s town, but good vegan meals can be still hard to come by here. That’s why we keep on returning to The Wild Cow. It’s a vegetarian restaurant with plenty of options for vegans, along with a constant supply of cakes and cookies and brownies from Khan’s Desserts.
Sleep: Disclaimer: I’ve never actually stayed at a Nashville hotel, but if I did I would definitely go to the Hermitage Hotel. At over a hundred years old, it’s easily one of Nashville’s oldest, and you can still eat dinner at the Capitol Grille or grab a drink at the Oak Bar. Both played big roles in Nashville’s social scene in the early part of the last century. Orchestras played and couples danced at the Capitol Grille, while the Oak Bar was something of a men’s club. Today women are welcome at the bar as well, and they can even get a peek into the old men’s bathroom. Which may seem like a strange thing to do until you actually see the bathroom—all black and green tile and art deco lines, it’s like something out of a ’30s musical.
Shop: Hey Rooster General Store is housed in a charming little mid-century building in East Nashville, and it’s a one stop shop for the best in local handmade goods and foods. I’m constantly amazed by all the creative people here in Nashville. Local makers create everything from jewelry to pottery, to cutting boards to candy bars, and you can find a lot of it here.
Museums: When it comes to museums I tend to like house museums best, and Nashville has some good ones. The Hermitage, home of the controversial president Andrew Jackson, is beautiful and thorough, and doesn’t shy away from some of the darker moments of Jackson’s presidency. And I have a soft spot in my heart for Belle Meade. It’s the first plantation I went to in Tennessee, shortly after my parents moved here, and I have great memories of touring the house and walking around the beautifully kept-up grounds. I couldn’t believe how beautiful those great big magnolia trees were, and I still can’t.
Parks: Our brother-in-law sang Percy Warner Park’s praises long before we moved here, and it only took one hike for us to understand why. Percy Warner, along with the adjacent Edwin Warner Park, covers thousands of acres of hills and forest. There are trails for biking, hiking, and horseback riding, and even though the park is (deservedly) popular and always filled with visitors, it’s still possible to feel completely isolated and so much further from the heart of the of the city than you really are.