Rachel's Birthday Trip: Nashville, TN

As I stated in a recent post, I took a lot of trips this year, pre-Hipster's Hollow, that I intended to include in my blog. Luckily 2015 has been an adventurous, travel-filled year for me, so we have some catching up to do, Hipsters. What better place to start than at the beginning? Here we go!

Nashville Skyline

Nashville Star

Broadway - Meredith
Photo by Meredith Lydick

This January (yes, we're going back that far), I went to Nashville, TN with a group of friends to celebrate my best friend Rachel's birthday. Just a note for those interested: I did some research before packing for the trip and learned that Nashville fashion is more so hipster than country right now. After our trip to Nashville, I can confirm that this is indeed true (and it was awesome).

Niki & Rachel - Night 1
Me & the birthday girl, Rachel!

Day 1
We arrived in Music City pretty late in the day on day 1. After driving for 5 hours and making a trip to the mall, our group of intrepid adventurers was pretty hungry, so food was the top priority. Lindsey's friend who lives in Nashville recommended we try Demos' Restaurant. The wait to be seated was a bit long, but we saw that as a good indication that the food would be worth it. Once we were seated, we had an extraordinarily great server. He was funny, nice, and attentive - the criteria you want in both a waiter and a boyfriend (single ladies, head to Demos', ok?). Everyone ordered a different dish, and they were all very good. I got a lasagna which had a meat sauce; I in general don't like meat sauce, so the fact that I wasn't entirely impressed with the dish is more so my fault than Demos'. Rachel, Meredith, and Lindsey loved their meals, though, and the restaurant gave Rachel a complimentary happy birthday cupcake, complete with a candle! After dinner, we headed back to our hotel to get ready for bed and an exciting day two.

Day 2
Let me just say that there is a lot to see in Nashville, and as official trip planner - no one else wanted to plan our itinerary, therefore making me official trip planner - I wanted to make sure we saw as much as we could in our short time there. Our first stop of the day was a journey down Boardwalk. Boardwalk has a ton of restaurants and shops. There were musicians performing in almost every restaurant we passed, and there were quite a few performing on the street. Every musician we passed by was extraordinarily talented (no surprise, given our location).

Ernest Tubb

Boot Country

We made sure to step into the renowned Ernest Tubb Record Shop; the shop had great country music paraphernalia. This place is a must-see for vinyl record junkies. It didn't have as many records as I envisioned it would, but it was still fun to visit. The most memorable shop on Broadway for me, though, was Boot Country. They had so many beautiful cowboy/girl boots, and they always have a "buy one-get two free" deal. I definitely didn't need three pairs of boots, and no one else in the group was willing to get a pair, so I left Boot Country with only the sweet smell of leather to soothe my broken heart.

Fond Object

Our next stop was Fond Object, on the outskirts of town. It's a record and vintage shop. Fond Object had a lot more records in their store than did Ernest Tubb; they even had some Beatles albums that I would have purchased if I had a record player (note to self: get a record player before you go to Nashville again). They had an entire room full of vintage clothing and other miscellaneous items, very similar to a shop in my neck of the woods, Finds and Designs. Even though I wasn't homesick on day 2, Fond Object was a nice reminder of home.

Cash Museum 2

Cash Museum 1

We traveled back Downtown and got a beautiful view of the skyline on our way to the Johnny Cash Museum. A trip in this museum will teach you almost everything there is to know about the Man in Black. They had so many historical pieces: Cash albums, clothes, clips from films he'd been in, even a portion of a room from his and June Carter Cash's home. There is, of course, Cash music playing throughout the museum. There was also an exhibit on Sun Records and the artists who had played under it, like Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley. The Johnny Cash Museum was a great stop, particularly for a Cash fan like myself.

Meredith and Rachel
Photo by Meredith Lydick (on the left!)

Niki & Rachel - Night 2

At this point, we were exhausted and ready for dinner. The night before, we had driven by Sambuca, thought it looked interesting, and made a reservation for dinner on day 2. The atmosphere was similar to a jazz club you'd see in a film set in the 1930s, complete with a live band and dancing. Our server was fantastic (Nashville has very good servers in general, apparently) and told us lots of great stories. I got the Margarita Shrimp and will never in my life regret that decision. It's the best shrimp dish I've ever had. The four of us were extremely pleased with our meals and with the restaurant as a whole. We were all so tired after our big day and our late dinner that we then went back to the hotel and went to bed to be at full-steam for our third and final day in Nashville.

Day 3
I may not be big on today's country music, but my Mama raised me right, exposing me to the country classics (anything past 1990s country is too new for me). This is why day three was personally my favorite of our trip.

CMHoF - Meredith
Photo by Meredith Lydick

We started the day off right by heading to the Country Music Hall of Fame. They have everything a country music fan would ever want to see: Carl Perkins' blue suede shoes, Elvis Presley's gold piano and Cadillac, a "Hee-Haw" exhibit, clothing worn by various country music stars (I was particularly impressed with Tanya Tucker, Crystal Gale, and Dolly Parton's outfits), artists' hit records, and much, much more. They also have a room full of plaques dedicated to everyone inducted into the Hall of Fame. Each artist's plaque has their likeness on it...some were not as accurate as others (I'm looking at you, Reba McEntire). There was so much to see! I was mesmerized, & I made sure to get my Mama a souvenir from their gift shop as thanks for teaching me what's what in country music.

Blue Suede Shoes

Tanya Tucker

80s Ladies


Jack's BBQ was our next stop in order to grab some lunch. We got there during the lunch rush, & the place was packed! I ended up ordering a pulled pork sandwich, which was pretty good, but I was more so impressed with the varieties of sauces they had available. Their green beans were wonderful, though. Jack's also had seating on the second floor of the restaurant, which was much less crowded and easier for us to chat about our Hall of Fame experience and plan our final destination before heading home. We had planned on seeing the Parthenon, but they are closed on Mondays (by the way, day three was a Monday). During lunch, we realized that the Ryman Auditorium was literally directly behind Jack's, which made it the clear choice for our last stop.

Ryman & Rachel  - Meredith
Photo by Meredith Lydick

Ryman interior - Meredith
Photo by Meredith Lydick

Coal Miner's Daughter

Minnie Pearl

The Ryman auditorium was originally a tabernacle and eventually became the home of the Grand Ole Opry, before it moved to its current location. The Ryman was the place to perform in its heyday, and many artists still do shows there. The building has a rich history that I suggest you look into (the Ryman's website is a great resource for that). Aside from being used as a concert venue, the Ryman also has a lot of country music memorabilia and is just an absolutely breathtaking building to behold.

Once we had seen all there was to see at the Ryman, it was time to head home. Although we spent just a short amount of time in Music City, it was an amazing experience. Nashville is definitely a city I could see myself living in; at the least, I hope to visit it again in the future.

What say you, Hipsters? What do you recommend checking out in Nashville?

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