We stayed at the Hutton Hotel. We really liked it. Modern and comfortable. It is about a mile from the main strip. Nashville is spread out in very odd ways and kind of sprawls randomly in lots of difference directions. As long as you have a car, it's a good spot. Though, fair warning, there isn't much around to do and see within walking distance.
The first night we got there, we left the airport and went straight to dinner. We went to the Stone Fox - a hole in the wall place west of downtown. It has live music, a bar, and down home food. I wouldn't necessarily trek out there for the food alone but it hit the spot.
Thanksgiving morning, I woke up and went for a run up the road which happened to include both Vanderbilt campus and Centennial Park. Vanderbilt first. The campus is really big. Mom and I explored it in bits over the course of the three days, driving around and through it, and we concluded it is a really ugly campus. We couldn't find a beautiful part. Surprising, right?
Centennial Park is just really odd. The doorman at the hotel enthusiastically told me I had to run to Centennial Park which is "beautiful" and I would see the Parthenon. Umm...yeah. I ran there. It is a park. I wouldn't go so far as to say a particularly beautiful park. And the Parthenon....well that was just weird. It stands in the middle of the park, and is literally, to the inch a recreation of the Parthenon in Athens. It was built in the 1890s because apparently Nashville was known as the "Athens of the South". Anyway, in short, I found it really odd. In fairness, it was Thanksgiving morning and the park was completely empty and it was grey and they are doing a little construction around it - but yeah, it's still a full-scale replica in the middle of Tennessee...and not really worth seeing.
Mom and I decided to head over to check out the old Union Station which has been converted into a hotel - the Union Station Hotel. It was awesome. We both loved it. It is this gorgeous old train station...we went in and sat down at the big, old fireplace, admired the amazing ceiling and details. It still felt like a train station (and reminded Mom of the old train station in Louisville). Loved loved it - definitely wander in!
We then drove downtown and checked out these awesome old warehouse buildings...Gone Girl! Have you all seen it? We had both read the book. I liked it. Mom enjoyed but was less impressed by it...At this point, it was time to get dressed and ready for dinner!
For Thanksgiving dinner, we went to Adele's. It turned out to be a great, lovely spot. Obviously, nothing compares to your own dining room table, but this was a really nice second best. The food was very good, the service was right on, and the space is cool and comfortable.
This is getting long, so I am going to try to move the rest quickly. On Friday, we headed to Franklin. A small town about 30-40 minutes due south of Nashville with a rich civil war history. It is charming and bucolic and very pedestrian friendly. If I am not testimony enough, here is the link to the NYTimes feature of Franklin - though full credit goes to Mom for beating the NYTimes and suggesting it without knowing about this! We parked and stopped into Merridee's for breakfast - a restaurant and breakfast. We would recommend it.
Belle Meade Plantation. We ultimately opted out of the full house tour and happily wandered the grounds and went into all the buildings around it. The history of the plantation and especially the slaves there was quite something.
Cheekwood is basically right next door, and apparently a beautiful place to stop when everything is in bloom. We got on our way, and headed downtown to walk and see the honky-tonks and all else. Full disclosure - it really isn't that big or long of a strip!
Peg Leg Porker just east of downtown. We got there on the early side of dinner...but by the time we left, the place was packed. I opted for the pulled pork, Mom went for a rack of wet ribs and there is no question she won in ordering.
Marche Artisan Foods which is across the water, northeast of the city, but an interesting and cool little spot. After breakfast, we went and checked out the much touted about (mostly by the NYTimes in this recent 36 Hours in Nashville piece) 12 South Neighborhood. It is clearly as my Mom put it the "milennial part of town" and that means this is where you can find your hipsters. It is cool. I guess. We both agreed though that it is not cool enough to merit NYTimes attention...
Before we left and said goodbye to Nashville (and each other) - we ended up randomly happening upon Fort Negley. It was the "centerpiece of Union occupied Nashville" and you can hike up and around it. Here was a view on the top...
Grand Ole Opry - so make sure it makes your list. There is never enough time to explore it all - so including below the rest of the list I had put together of things and places to do/see/eat in Nashville in case they help you plan your own trip!
- The Pharmacy Burger Parlor and Beer Garden - it is supposed to be a great spot.
- Rolf & Daughters - mentioned everywhere as one of the best restaurants in Nashville right now.
- Martin's BBQ Joint - another supposedly great BBQ place to stop by.
- Lockeland Table - southern food and pizzas.
- Crema - a great coffee place.
- Barista Parlor - another awesome looking coffee place.
- Pizza Bella - they are only at the farmer's market but apparently are serving up fantastic pizza.
- Silo - yet another strongly recommended restaurant.
- The Catbird Seat - this could be really cool!
- Mas Tacos - gets strong reviews and sounds like a cool little place.