Nashville or Bust

Last summer the Dixie Chicks, my most favorite band in the history of ever, came to Bangor, Maine. My mom and I wanted to go SO badly but I had a 5-month old baby and a toddler and nipples that leaked milk at even the thought of leaving said baby behind. Instead I sat at home and ate ice cream while I sifted through snapchats of all my favorite songs.

My mom must have felt bad about me missing the concert because that fall her and my dad surprised Dan and I with tickets to Nashville, TN for a long weekend the following Spring. It would be our first trip away from our girls for more than a night.

Last weekend we finally fulfilled our trip to music city and let me just say – best. city. ever.

The trip started out by almost not starting at all – thanks to an April 1st snowstorm (insert gigantic eyeroll) that canceled and delayed flights across northern New England.

Luckily – I am the master of weaseling my way out of situations like this and I used my undeniable charm to convince Southwest to let us change our flight and Dan to rent a car and drive us through 4 hours of sleet and snow to Hartford, CT where we boarded a 5am flight on Saturday morning.

snowstorm

We got to Nashville at 930am and head immediately downtown to check out the bars. Because, Nashville.

downtown nashville

As soon as I saw the cowboy boots, though, the bars got put on hold. I have never been in the presence of so many cowboy boots in my entire life and believe me, if I could live in that store, I would. Heaven on earth.

cowboy boots

I wasn’t going to actually buy any but then my mom bought a pair and they were buy one (incredibly overpriced pair) get two pairs free so, I mean, you can’t really say no to free.

Dan got a pair as well, despite my urging him to consider the fact that he will never wear them in real life, but as it turns out, I’m really glad he did because holy sexiness. Men in cowboy boots are just….yes.

After taking a couple of the required “I’m a Tourist!” photos we settled into a place called The Tin Roof for lunch and beer. The absolute best thing about Nashville is that no matter what time of day, or what day of the week, you walk into a bar and there’s live music. It’s incredible. So we walk into The Tin Roof and the band announces they’re going to play a Dixie Chicks song. Fate!

Immediately some asswipe in the front row tries to give the band leader $20 bucks to NOT play the Dixie Chicks. Still not ready to make nice, eh? Before I could even dump my entire drink over his dumbass face the lead singer dropped the twenty back into his lap and let everyone know she “could not be bought.” The band then proceeded to play Earl Has to Die – and the crowd went wild.

Score one for the non-haters. I like Nashville already.

After poking our heads into a couple other bars, and swooning over one very, very attractive cowboy at Tootsies, we drove to the hotel to rest before the Grand Ole Opry.

tootsies nashville

After we saw the hotel that whole rest thing went out the window and we spent the afternoon trying to figure out how to get out of the jungle and back to our room. Seriously the craziest hotel I’ve ever been to.

gaylord opryland

We hit up the Grand Ole Opry later that night, and saw an amazing bluegrass band called Flat Lonesome. I got really excited when I saw they were going to be playing a gig in Maine later this summer until I realized the gig was in Fort Fairfield, which is about as far away as Nashville. Oh well.

nashville

On Sunday we slept in, and by slept in I mean 7am. Then we met up with my parents and drove to a place called Radnor Lake State Park, where people wait in line in their cars for 45 minutes to “hike” for half an hour. While it wasn’t as much of a hike as a nature walk, it was incredibly beautiful and we made the most of our wait in line to park by staying on the trails for 2.5 hours. We saw a ridiculous number of turtles, a couple of salamanders and even an owl! We also saw green grass which was AHHmazing after like 20 years of snow.

After a quick bite to eat at the hotel (ok fine I had ice cream for lunch) we lounged in the outdoor hot tub and then watched HGTV from the hotel bed. Party animals! We did manage to make it back into town later that night so I could pick out gifts for the girls, listen to some more live music, and give my new cowboy boots a spin.

For dinner my parents took us to Husk (Dan’s pick) which is owned by James Beard Award Winner Sean Brock (who also happens to be a Johnson & Wales South Carolina alum). It definitely ranks as one of the top restaurants I’ve been to in my life – the food was creative but not pretentious and perfectly executed. The service was friendly without being overbearing and the actual location was beautiful, high up on a hill with a wall of windows overlooking their garden beds.

husk

After dinner we took one more crack at the bar scene before calling it quits and choosing sleep over beers, as boring young parents do.

Monday we had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel (shrimp and grits, again – when in the south, right?) and then drove a little out of town to hit up the Loveless Cafe, a casual diner famous for it’s biscuits. They brought about 10 of them to the table as soon as we sat down and we laughed, thinking how many biscuits can 4 people eat? The answer: all of them.

loveless cafe

biscuits

We followed up the Loveless Cafe with some last minute souvenir shopping and a trip to the candy store because I am basically a 10 year old. We grabbed a seat in one more bar and listened to just one more band before heading off to the airport for a rushed (we barely made our connection), late night flight home.

While I know the girls had a little bit of a hard time while we were away (we had at least one very teary Facetime session), it was amazing to be able to spend a full 48+ hours focusing on each other and taking care of ourselves. Thanks to our incredible village (i.e. Dan’s family) we were able to relax the entire weekend knowing that even if the girls got sad, they were in the best, most loving hands. We are lucky and loved in so many ways.

Also for those of you who are feeling bad for Mia being sad, know that you absolutely can buy love, and we totally did in the form of an $8.99 cowboy boot necklace that she now refuses to take off.

There’s just something about cowboy boots, I guess. The key to a country girl’s heart.

 

 

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