wedding at CHeekwood Gardens

the wedding at Cheekwood Botanical GardensNashville

Imogene and WillieMonell's

snapshots from the wedding; Honky Tonk row on Broadway; Imogene + Willie; with our friend Jim Rash at Monell’s.

We are just back from a delightful and festive weekend in Nashville celebrating our great friends Kimberly and Justin tying the knot!  It was Mary’s first time to this southern musical mecca and Lucy’s second, so we did a lot of discovering.

We stayed at the Hutton Hotel which is modern and has great service and seems relatively well located.  We most appreciated the complimentary wine hour with good wines, the therapeutic rain/steam showers and Molton Brown bath products.  The hotel does not particularly offer any sort of sense of being in Nashville, but was certainly a pleasant home base.

Adventuring around Nashville proved a tiny bit tougher than we thought as it is something of a spread out city.  One thing we loooved for getting around are the city bikes stationed all over the city which can be rented for 24 hours for $5.  Even in drizzly weather on Saturday, we had fun cycling about.  Maybe helped balance out our intake of biscuits, fried green tomatoes and grits?

After an obligatory stroll downtown past all the honky tonk bars and touristy boot shops, we wanted to find the neighborhoods where the locals were.  Note: we would have loved another evening to put on our boots and see some country music at the honky tonks, but hungover on a drizzly Saturday morning, it was not a fit…

Lunch at Monell’s was however.  A true dining experience not to miss.  Located in the neighborhood called Germantown, this restaurant has a long wait but is worth it.  Put your name in and hop on your bike or drive the 5 or 6 blocks to Peter Nappi, a fantastically cool boot shop in an architectural gem of a space.  All the boots are designed in Nashville yet crafted in Italy!  Back at Monell’s, we were led to a huge table that sat 10 people—you sit with strangers and bowls and platters and baskets of Southern soul food are brought to the table and served family style.  We were brought back to our camp days in North Carolina as we ate biscuits and gravy, green beans cooked within an inch of their lives, fried chicken, corn pie, cheese grits, and banana cream pie.  Accompanied by iced tea—sweet and not.  It sounds horrifying to be foisted upon strangers, yet it was so much fun.  After lunch, our cab hadn’t shown up and Monell himself actually drove us back to the hotel so we wouldn’t be late for the wedding—amazing, right?  Southern hospitality at its zenith.

The wedding Saturday evening was an affair literally out of a movie.  The Cheekwood Botanical Gardens are an incredible setting and worth a visit. 

Sunday morning we hopped in a cab and headed to the neighborhood of Hillsboro which borders the Vanderbilt University campus.  We got coffees and divine chocolate chip pumpkin bread from Hot and Cold while we waited for a table at Jackson’s next door for brunch.  Jackson’s serves up ham, eggs, grits, and so on that is perfectly good but not setting the culinary world on fire.  We strolled the main drag after brunch– the highlight on the strip is Bookwoman bookstore.  Bursting at the seams with books both new and old, this is the kind of classic old school bookstore we love and wish would stop disappearing!

We picked up city bikes on the corner and rode back to the hotel through the Vanderbilt campus.  Determining that the other students did not mistake us for fellow coeds but rather visiting professors, we cycled off to hipster land 12 Ave South (through a few projects that were actually nice, but it wasn’t exactly a scenic ride).  12 Ave South is a strip that is “up and coming” with several cool shops, coffee shops (the Frothy Monkey was cute!) and restaurants.  After perusing Imogene + Willie (pictured above), a super hip shop whose praise lives up to the hype (Tanner leather goods, custom jeans, Warby Parker shades, Dream Collective jewelry), we headed across the street for BBQ at Edley’s where we sat out on their porch in the October sunshine.  The pulled pork sandwich and chess pie for dessert were standouts. 

And then it was sadly time to race back to the hotel and head to the airport.  We had so much we still wanted to explore—hearing live music at the Station, wandering around the shops in The Gulch, going to Ann Patchett’s bookstore Parnassus, going to a football game…. We’ll just have to come on back!  xoxo

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