Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Weekend in Nashville

Last weekend, Scott and I were lucky enough to hand the kids off to my (awesome and spectacular) in-laws, and head out in the car to Nashville, Tennessee, for an adults-only weekend!!  My parents celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary on October 27th, and wanted for Scott and I, and my brother Ramsey and my sister in law Beth, to all join them in celebrating for the weekend, and we were so excited for the excuse to get away!  So on Friday morning, Scott and I hit the road in a movie-soundtrack and kids-singalong free car ride up through Tennessee!

As you can see, I was excited. :)  We stopped in Lynchburg, about an hour outside of Nashville, for a great meat and three for lunch to break up the trip a bit.  It was such a beautiful day, and since the Jack Daniels International BBQ Cookoff was in town, it was packed!

We stayed at Aloft, which is a cute hotel within walking distance of lots of bars and restaurants in Nashville.  We got checked in, changed clothes, and headed down to the bar!

Ramsey and Dad showed up matching, just like they always do. :)

We headed out for our first night to one of the highlights of the trip, the Grand Ole Opry!  Our family are BIG music nerds people, and we grew up listening to lots of classic country music.  I was beyond excited and the night did not disappoint.

Mom and Dad were even in the program, and announced on the radio during the show (did you know that every Grand Ole Opry show is live broadcast over the radio?!)!  

We had amazing seats and I sat in between Scott and my Dad.

If you've never been to the Opry, the way the show is organized is pretty neat.  It's 2 hours long, and divided into 4 parts.  There is a different host for each part, and 2 acts per part.  The host does a few songs and introduces the other two acts that do two songs a piece.  The lineup is only announced a few days before the show, so you don't know whether you're going to see brand new up and coming artists you've never heard of, or if you'll hear the likes of Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts or the likes!  We were really lucky to see a good mix.  We saw some young, new artists, a mandolin legend, a few amazing bluegrass bands, and Ricky Scaggs, a legendary bluegrass singer that we knew!

During the first few acts, I was really fighting back tears and trying my best not to ugly cry through it.  It was awesome to be in a place where musical legends had preformed, and in such amazing company.  Music has always been such an important part of my life, and so special to our family, that if I was going to be there at the Opry with anyone, I'm so happy that it was with the five people I was there with that night,  And all of the music was so great.

The Opry was such a wonderful experience, and I would recommend that anyone visiting Nashville should go at least one time.  It was definitely an item checked off the lifetime bucket list!  After the Opry, we went out to a college bar just down the road from our hotel.  We drank beer and ate nachos and pizza, and didn't have to rush home to a babysitter!  When we tried to keep the party going back at the hotel, I was the first one to fall asleep with my drink in my hand.  A successful night!!

We woke up Saturday morning without two kids between us, and a whole king size bed to ourselves!  No alarm clocks (though we still woke up by 7), no cracker crumbs, and we didn't even have to say a word before we had some coffee!!  So we got up, got ready, and met everyone across the street at the West End Diner for breakfast.  It was completely delicious, and though I'm not even a big breakfast person, it was one of the best meals of the trip!  Scott (and Mom, and Beth) had the Chicken and Waffles, which Scott said was some of the best fried chicken that he's ever had.  I did have a bite and agreed, it was amazing!

I went with the Huevos Rancheros, which was also muy, muy bueno.  It was two crispy tortillas, refried black beans, two fried eggs over easy, chunky salsa, house made hot sauce and cilantro crema.  It was the perfect portion size, and I nearly licked my plate it was so good.  Two thumbs up for the West End Cafe!  

We decided that we wanted to head downtown, to the Country Music Hall of Fame, and to Broadway, where all the Boot Stores, and classic Honky Tonks are.  We started walking, but quickly realized that we needed one of the little pedi-cab guys to help us out!  So we hailed down Patrick, who had a tricked out golf cart that we rode in, to the downtown area!

The Country Music Hall of Fame was another really, really cool (maybe slightly touristy) venue to visit.  Like I said before, music has always been important and a big part of our family, so it was really cool to learn about a wide variety of country artists, and see lots of memorabilia from some of our favorite artists.  We were so lucky to be there to see an entire exhibit to Kenny Rogers, which we all LOVED!  My mom and I both said that we could have stayed in that exhibit hall and watched the videos of Kenny all day long, during his tv sow appearances and duets with Dottie West and one of our very favorites, Dolly Parton (of whom, if you didn't know, Dolly the beagle is named after!!).  Below is Kenny's costume for the Gambler:

And this is Dolly Parton's and Kenny Rogers' outfits that they wore when they sang "Islands in the Stream," one of mine and Scott's "songs." :)  Love, love, LOVE that song, and them.  Yes, I'm a nerd.  Don't care.

Kenny and Dolly below.  Our next beagle will be named Kenny Rogers, BTW.  So we can have our own Kenny and Dolly. :)  Also, did you kow that Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie (another faves of mine) were big collaborators?  Lionel Richie wrote and produced Kenny's huge hit, "Lady."

Another Dolly dress.  It's hard to tell in photos, but her dress was teeny tiny, except for her ample (and I mean ample) bust. :)

Just like at the Opry, there were so many times that I had to hold back tears at the Country Music Hall of Fame.  We watched the video of when Carrie Underwood won American Idol (tears), and learned about how Merle Haggard met, married, and divorced his wife and his writing partner, but they always stayed together, worked together and influenced each other (tears).  It was justa  really neat place and a great place to visit.  Another Dolly costume below.  Couldn't help myself.


The rotunda was where all of the Hall of Fame inductee plaques were on display.  It was a really special place, and we all enjoyed ourselves!

After the Hall of Fame, we headed to Music Row, for some boot shopping and lunch!  We went to Robert's Western World and camped out for a while, with great live music and PBRs flowing like water.  It was a blast.

After about 4 hours there, we decided to try another bar and watch some of the football games that were on before we headed out to dinner.

We went to a bar called South, that was practically empty, and had great appetizers!  We ate Blue Cheese Chips and Fried Pickles, and it as the perfect precursor to dinner.

We headed back to the hotel, got dressed again for dinner, and headed out for a special anniversary dinner at 1808, and it was lovely!  We had pan seared monkfish, and I had a delicious spiced pumpkin soup.  Everything was really, really good.

The pastry chef even made a replica red velvet wedding cake for my parents for dessert!

After dinner, we, again, headed back to the hotel, changed, and went back out!  We went to an Irish Pub, and I drank a flight of IPAs (that I probably didn't need), and why not!  A gin and tonic too.  When we got back home, I was, again, the first one asleep.  I just can't hang anymore, I guess!

I was a bit slow to get up on Sunday morning, but we got up, got ready, checked out, and headed out of town.  We rounded off our weekend with a trip to Cracker Barrel for breakfast, and made our way home to the kiddos.  It was a weekend to remember, full of fun, music, drinking (haha), and great family time.  Both Scott and I were so happy, and honored that my parents invited us to their anniversary weekend, and to celebrate their milestone with them was so very special.  We had a blast, and can't wait for another trip!  If you've never been to Nashville, it is such an awesome place and we already want to go back!  It was pretty sweet to come home to three little ones that came running, full-speed into my arms, though. :)

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