down South

Nashville, TN: Days 2+3.

Those boots were made for walkin'. Somehow, I did not purchase any boots whilst in Nashville. Although, I own a fair amount of boots, which I attempted to tote along every pair of for this country themed trip (I always have to dress the part). In the end, I could not bring them all, sadly, as boots are heavy in suitcases and more sadly, suitcases are expensive to fly with these days. During our short time in Nashville, we focused primarily on checking out the local parts of town.

We discovered the real Nashville is due East, across the Cumberland: the Fatherland District, an outlying (walkable, by New Yorker standards) neighborhood of East Nashville, with cafes, restaurants, bars, and hipsters-a-plenty. At Shoppes On Fatherland, I found an awesome tank that reads 'Good Girls are Made of Sugar & Spice/The Best Girls are Made of Whiskey On Ice' (adore!) from a charming local boutique called Whiskey Water. There was a well-curated, variety antique + vintage store as well, Rusty Rats, which was a hoot - filled with an array of zany, retro 'wares and one-of-a-kind art pieces, great for souvenir kitschy finds for friends! On the last Wednesday of each month, they do a Shoppe Crawl party in the area, with sales, wine, and food trucks - all things I love, and wish we hadn't missed that week!

What I wore: sunnies - NYC street vendor, crop-top - Aritizia, choker - antique, shorts - Rag+Bone, cowgirl boots (nearly 10-years-old, necessary) - Sheplers.

We unexpectedly ran into an adorably kitschy Volkswagen Bus, which turned out to be a popular hot dog stand around the city, with the best, most appropriate name: I Dream of Weenie. So rad - it's hilarious. If we hadn't already eaten, we definitely would have had a tasting of their weenies, which get quite the hype - next time. Nearby, we had to make a stop at Five Points, where there are cool local bars, restaurants, but most notably, great graffiti (see slideshow, below).

Our AirBnb was also towards the historic section of East Nashville, close to a fantastic coffee shop-come-restaurant-come-music-venue, The Family Wash. We ate our first meal there, and a couple others. The space is super cool, modern - with retro rock' n 'roll and country nods. The food at Family Wash was great, along with the coffee - AND, they serve boozy coffee and cocktails all day! BONUS - at least when you're on vacation, right? Like many places in this town, it is also a music venue, which we were really disappointed we missed during our short visit.

I love to get a taste of the local dining and watering holes wherever we travel. One night, we had a delicious dinner, upscale-yet with Southern coziness, at Husk. It's in a darling old carriage house, but with very modern inside decor. Everything we ordered was fantastic, creative, Southern (see slideshow, above). If you're looking for a hearty, mouthwatering, cute breakfast spot, I have to mention Biscuit Love - recommended to us by one of our numerous Uber drivers (TIP: if visiting Nashville sans vehicle, Uber is very affordable, friendly, and quick). We had some mighty fine country cooking there, in a modern, very casual setting. Go there with an appetite and some time!

Our last night, we tried a well-rated (online) speakeasy-style lounge + restaurant for dinner called Skull's Rainbow Room, in historic Printers Alley (above photos). We are suckers for a well-renowned speakeasy (who isn't, as of the past decade?). The food was great, and there was live jazz, but we were awkwardly seated in the too-brightly-lit outer section of the lounge, unable to truly enjoy a bygone-era vibe with music and craft cocktails, as we had hoped. We scooted out of Skull's early (maybe it would have gotten better later or with a better seat), for good reason because we wanted to catch a show at the famous Station Inn, for an authentic bluegrass show. The Inn is located in an up-and-upcoming, might I say, posh, area of Nashville called The Gulch. In The Gulch, you'll find chic stores, brand-new condos, pilates studios, high-end country western stores, faux Irish pubs - nice, but you could be anywhere - so it was amusing to find such a historic music venue standing as a beacon of culture in this, now mostly sterilized, neighborhood.

I love me some good ole fashioned bluegrass, so although my husband and I did not quite fit in with the crowd - it felt like everyone looked at us when we quietly walked in (think: two New Yorkers dressed for a stylish, sexy night out, with a crowd of t-shirt, jeans, cowboy hat-wearin' older folks) - it didn't matter. You drink beer or tea out of disposable cups - a far cry from the martini glasses and burlesque boasting at our previous locale. The music was awesome, and just what we were looking for - a low-key, but fun, local experience. We had a lovely last night, capping a fab first trip to Music City, with my guitarist hubby!

An extension of Printers Alley, adjacent to Skull's Rainbow Room, Downtown Nashville, TN.