I’m back, and my gosh am I emotional haha!
So, when I said 2020 was going to be my year, I meant it. My first venture this year just had to be to Nashville, Tennessee. I have always wanted to visit, and I knew it would be the most perfect place for me to start the year with. I am obsessed with Country Music, and Nashville is known as Music City and the home of Country Music. I always thought I would feel at home somewhere like that, and I was 100% correct. I have been so excited to write down my experiences from Nashville so that I can remember it forever.
I have been going back and forth trying to decide how best to write the Nash blogs. I have now decided to split it down into probably a four part blog. I am going to start with a two part blog in diary form, I then plan to do a travel guide, and then probably a blog on what I took with me, with the main aim of all this, to document the incredible holiday I have had.
So… Let’s begin!
Unfortunately from me, prior to a holiday you will never see a ‘What I Pack’ blog. My packing technique is somewhat chaotic, which I am embarrassed to admit when I am generally organised in every other aspect of my life. I just don’t understand why I can’t pack sensibly. I am definitely a ‘panic packer’ and always throw things in last minute, even if i have carefully planned out my suitcase prior. This trip was no exception. At 10.30pm the night before I was still frantically throwing around scarves and jackets, trying to decide on what I am taking! I also don’t pack light. For saying I travel a lot with work, you would assume I now had packing down to a fine art. Nope… think again. I will try and pack everything, for every possible occasion, totally over packing, and will then still forget the very things I actually need. And if you think a simple list would be the solution to this, think again, I am incapable of following one of those when it comes to packing!
It’s 4.00am ….
I’m so excited, but I would also quite like another hours sleep! I booked a really early transfer to the airport as I was worrying about timings. If there is something to go wrong, it would probably happen to me, so I wanted to make sure I had enough time to deal with anything. I flew from Heathrow, so arrived in plenty of time to get the airport transfer over to Terminal 5.
Of course, once I arrived , the day was to start with a cooked breakfast and a Bloody Mary… it was 5 o’clock somewhere after all! The flight was 9 hours in total, it was actually quite a good flight, I re-watched Rocketman which I had seen at the cinema and loved. British Airways were amazing, the team on the way to Nash had great banter and were so helpful.
I arrived into Nashville International Airport at about 5pm, we were 6hrs behind UK time over there. Taking the taxi from the airport to the hotel I started to feel a little nervous. Nashville was dark, but it was lit up so brightly, and the buildings were so tall, I definitely felt nervous about the fact I had just decided to get on a plane and travel across the world. I didn’t have any great plans for this evening as I knew it was going to have been such a long day, however, once I arrived I was already feeling bitten by the bug and was desperate to go out and see something. I met three lovely girls who were also keen to go out and adventure.
The Patterson House
We didn’t venture too far, but went to The Patterson House for a bite to eat and some cocktails. There was a wait for a table initially, we waited about 10/15 minutes for a table, and I think we arrived at about 7.30pm. It just got busier and busier after this! The Patterson House definitely isn’t your average bar, it was so small and cosy inside, and from the outside you also wouldn’t even know it was a bar! This bar is also recommended by Kelsea Ballerini as a top place to visit when in Nashville. The bar had the best of craft cocktails and was a great setting to find out all about the other girls I had just met, and their travelling stories. The girls had put me at ease and I was now so excited for the rest of the trip and who I would meet along the way. Patterson House was actually pretty dark inside but my phone was able to pick up the decor on its night mode.
At 2am UK time I was still sipping cocktails, so after we finished up at The Patterson House, I headed back, whilst the rest of the group continued their night experiencing everything Nashville has to offer. All three girls were leaving the next day, so they wanted to see what they could – whilst I definitely knew my bed was calling having been awake for now almost 24hrs!
Finding my bearings.
I couldn’t sleep very at all so I was up and out by 7am ready to explore. As it was Sunday everywhere was pretty quiet, especially at this time of the morning. I decided to go for a long walk around the city. The streets are really easy to navigate and it is mainly laid out by avenues so you can easily follow these and find out where you are, or how to get back. It seemed so huge compared to back home, but it just felt right, walking around I felt like I had already been there for days. I am not a big city person at all, by any means, I don’t like being in a city, I don’t find it attractive to me, I like rolling countryside that is pretty and peaceful. The thought of being in London or a big city for even a day sends shivers down my spine, but there was something about Nashville, something different. It was striking, but still quietly peaceful. It had a big attitude but a gentle feel to it. I just felt home.
I went to find the What Lifts You Wings mural, this is the Instagram selfie spot of Nashville. I had read that people actually queue up here to get their pictures taken, and when I arrived there was markings on the pavement to guide you. Nashville peak time runs from about April to October, and I can imagine the spot being crazy busy then. When I arrived there were just a few other people there, we were all taking photos for each other and everyone was so friendly, and so pleased there wasn’t a queue!
Having had quite a wonder around the streets, I ended my tour at Ole Red, which I had on my bucket list to do, for some brunch.
Brunch at The Lookout at Ole Red
Nashville has some insane rooftop bars, when I say insane, I literally mean that. I knew I wanted to come to The Lookout, which is the rooftop bar at the top of Ole Red, which is the Blake Shelton inspired hideaway! I arrived here bang on 11am when it opened, and I was honestly starving having walked around since 7am. You take the lift up to the rooftop where the staff are there to greet you, and they were so helpful. Initially I sat outside because the view was too incredible not to soak up, however, I did have to admit defeat and move inside before my food arrived as it was freezing.
I ordered a huge plate of french toast, and of course a Mimosa. The menu was great in here and the place had a very relaxed vibe. It wasn’t too busy when I arrived, but by the time I came to leave the tables were starting to fill up.
Note to self, if you order french toast in Nashville, they have smothered it with whipped butter, not ice cream. I only found this out, after consuming what I thought was a large chunk Ice Cream in one go, which was in fact a massive piece of butter. I also love that it said it came with fruit, which consisted of just 4 blueberries! My type of fruit portion haha!
Exploring a museum..
Following brunch, I headed over to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. This is a must do tourist attraction in Nashville, and will feature in every single holiday or travel item that you read. It is based centrally so it is really easy to get to. The ticket price for this was about $25, so not bad, and they suggest you leave a couple of hours for your visit. There is something for everyone in this museum, and it was fascinating to delve into the history of country music. There were also cars, outfits and instruments in here from country legends themselves – such as Elvis Preley’s Gold Plated Cadillac and Taylor Swift’s outfits for the music video ‘me’. The museum is also opposite the Bridgestone Arena, which is one of the world’s busiest venues, and is also home to the NHL’s Nashville Predators.
My favourite bar in Nashville..
It was on just day one that I met my true love in Nashville … Cerveza Jacks! I was walking back down Broadway on my way back to collect my things this evening, ready to go to a new hotel, when I head the most amazing voice that stopped me in my tracks out on the street. It was that of Carl Wockner. His voice was completely INSANE, and he has a magical way with performing country music. I was immediately drawn into the bar. This bar was amazing, it had a great vibe, it was also a little quieter than some of the crazy ‘Honky Tonks’ that I had walked past on Broadway. I enjoyed a couple of Margaritas and Sangrias in here whilst listening to some amazing live music – exactly how I imagined my time in Nashville would be, before heading off to collect my things.
The Westin Hotel..
I had really wanted to book The Westin Hotel in Nashville, so I headed over here at the end of the day. This luxury hotel has amazing reviews, and has some beautiful rooms on offer with full length windows offering stunning skyline city views. The hotel is located centrally so it is again, really easy to get to.
I ate in the hotel restaurant which was lovely, it was peaceful and I was able to just have a bit of a rest after a manic couple of days. I simply had a salad in here which was huge and delicious. Following my meal, I had planned to go to L27, which is the rooftop bar, 27 floors up, at the highest point of the hotel. When I got back to my room however, my eyes were closing and I actually ended up having a half hour power nap. I woke up totally shocked and disgusted with myself, and managed to get in the lift and on my way to the rooftop bar.
This is something else… oh my goodness. The lounge is currently decorated as a ski chalet. The decorations were remarkable, so pretty and cosy. The bar has the most incredible skyline views, Nashville looked dazzling lit up by night. They do light bites in the bar, and I enjoyed a couple of glasses of champagne overlooking Nashville by night. There is also an outdoor terrace which was currently closed for the season, however, there is a rooftop pool out there, if you google the images, it is phenomenal, I was absolutely gutted that it was closed as I would have been straight in no matter how cold it was! This bar just oozes class, but had the ease and convenience of being right in the hotel – it was one of the reasons why I wanted to stay here, teamed with the beautiful decorations and cosy ski chalet theming- this was easily one of the nicest bars I have ever been to. Sipping champagne overlooking the city of dreams – I think I was in heaven yes!
Waking up and drawing back the curtains on Nashville city was amazing, my heart filled with joy being able to look right out over the skyline. I had a really leisurely get up and get dressed morning, especially with how tired I had felt the night before. I just had breakfast at the hotel restaurant, which was lovely. They had a really large selection for breakfast. One thing I keep seeing on the menu is biscuits and gravy, I kept asking what it was but I still do not to this day understand what it is, and how it doesn’t sound to them like what we would give our pets for breakfast here! I actually went for a kind of fruit/yoghurt/granola bowl, which was actually really nice, but had some surprise ingredients on for me…. like peanut butter powder. Have you even heard of this before? I mean if you thought peanut butter wasn’t hard enough to swallow already, try it as a powder form, it was just sticking to everything and it was so dry it didn’t even mix into the yoghurt haha!
Today I decided to adventure over to Centennial Park over on West End Avenue. This is a little further out of Nashville so I got an uber over to the park. If i was missing a classic country feel, then this was definitely the place to come. There was greenery and a beautiful lake. The park spans 132 acres and was just beautiful. This was also the warmest day I had had in Nashville so far – no coat required! One of the main sights to see here at the park is the full scale Parthenon. This building is just incredible, it is so so beautiful and the sun was shining down on it, with it’s golden colour just glowing right back at me. There is a long history behind the Parthenon and its erection, which I will include in the travel guide for those interested in its history. I had such a lovely time just browsing the park, soaking up the sun, and enjoying being stress free, in a new country, just enjoying every minute of it.
The weather was so nice, and I love walking, so I actually chose to walk back from the park. This probably only took just over an hour, so it really wasn’t too bad at all, and it was such a lovely walk with the sun shining right on my back!
The most amazing hotel I could ever imagine…
Another hotel I was dying to stay at was The Gaylord. If you haven’t seen any pictures from this hotel, you are in for a serious treat, it is JUST stunning. I had got back from the park, and got an uber over the The Gaylord now. And my goodness this hotel did NOT disappoint. This was like a whole holiday in itself. It is set a little further out from downtown Nashville, so it wouldn’t be possible to walk there.
I had specifically booked a room with an atrium room balcony, as this is one of the reasons why I wanted to stay there, and this room did not disappoint in the slightest. When I walked into the room I actually remember jumping up and down like a little kid, in complete amazement about where I was. I sat for ages out on the balcony listening to the live country music that was playing below, just soaking up the amazing view that was inside the very hotel. I also have to add that the hotel has speakers down every single hallway and corridor, playing country music, I pretty much just swirled and twirled my way everywhere, with the biggest cheshire cat grin on my face!
I went down into the hotel to explore the vast atriums and garden conservatories. I was having such a lovely time just exploring, when I noticed a sign saying boat trips. Now I knew the hotel had a 1/4 mile long river running through it, but what I didn’t know was that you could get on a boat and sail along it! So I hopped on the next available flatboat, and did a tour of the hotel by boat. This was just ridiculous, it was so incredibly impressive. There are 9 acres of indoor gardens, including cascading waterfalls, which I just soaked up every minute of. The hotel also has several shops, bars, a spa and waterpark, and numerous restaurants to eat in. Having explored, I went back to get changed and go out for some dinner.
I ate in one of the incredible Mexican restaurants, which was surrounded in one of the garden conservatories. I actually got lost trying to find the restaurant because the hotel is that big.
I met some really lovely people at this restaurant and was able to have drinks with someone attending a marketing conference at the site. Travelling is such a fascinating way to meet so many new and interesting people. This was the most perfect setting having amazing drinks by a beautiful waterfall, with incredible company. What wouldn’t there be to love.
Following dinner and drinks, the night wasn’t over. It was time to head over to the hotel’s Jack Daniels bar, where they had live music and whisky cocktails. I was having a ball and was definitely not planning on leaving the party early! Sure enough I stayed until closing time, where I then found myself totally lost trying to navigate through a lot of similar looking greenery back to my room. I thought the first couple of nights couldn’t have been topped in Nashville, but how wrong was I. This evening had been perfect in every possible way, and I knew it was one I will never forget. Words for me just cannot describe how I felt about this hotel, it really was something else and it will forever hold my heart and love.
I will include lots of information about this hotel in the travel guide, so you can find out everything there is to know over there. But for now, that is me ending the blog at the end of day two!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this. It has actually taken me ages and ages to put this together, I didn’t quite realise how much I had crammed in to write about – I definitely underestimated how long it would take to relive the memories and get them down, but my goodness it feels good looking back over all the pictures and memories, and remembering exactly how it made me feel at the time!
Stay tuned for part two coming very soon!!!
Don’t forget a more travel friendly guide will also be available to read soon too, where I will include more about opening hours, venue choices, menus etc.
Lots of Love for now, Lucinda xo
‘Travel far enough to meet yourself’