Two weeks ago, sandwiched between trips to Georgia and Alabama, two of my dear New York friends came to visit. And not only was it the perfect weekend weather-wise, but it was five blissful days of laughter, bear hugs and—what we do best—photo shoots.
You may remember Josh and Trina visited me the Memorial Day before last, along with our California pal Paula—the four of us shared an office the size of a dorm room while we worked for the fall 2011 voyage of Semester at Sea; in other words, we are very close—and I was stoked to get a second shot at showing them Nashville. Wanderlust 108 brought Trina to town for work while Josh decided to join us as it would have been really awkward to celebrate what we’ll refer to as his 33rd birthday without him.
And since Paula wasn’t able to fly out from California, we let her tag along in spirit anyway.
As the majority of emails I receive from blog readers are often pleas of help to plan the perfect Nashville weekend, I figured I’d share with you what all we got into while they were here.
Here’s how our weekend went down:
I was teaching a writing workshop at the Porch when they arrived, so they let themselves into our Music Row condo, then I met them at Taco Mamacita for dinner late after I was done. This casual taqueria is one of my go-tos for a quick bite and, bonus, it has delicious margaritas, too. We had planned to go to the old speakeasy bar Old Glory next door, but the margs proved to be stronger than we anticipated, and we decided to walk back to my place for a late-night giggle fest instead.
Up and at ’em early. After we each knocked out an hour or two of work, it was off to Fido Cafe for breakfast. This Hillsboro Village restaurant is one of my favorites as it offers a delicious all-day breakfast menu, but it’s so ridiculously crowded on weekends that I’ll only go during the week.
Since we were already in Hillsboro Village, we walked around a bit as I showed them some of my favorite walls and murals.
From there, we hopped in my car and drove Downtown, parking at the Pinnacle building (pro tip: validate your parking at The Southern, and it’s free!).
Their last visit was over Memorial Day weekend—plus, it was raining—and so we had avoided Broadway for the most part. This time, it was a blissfully gorgeous fall day, as so many had been, and even though the street was already packed at just lunchtime on a Friday, we decided to take a mosey anyway.
Trina, who could make a garbage bag a style statement, picked herself up a new outfit.
I, on the other hand, decided hats just aren’t my thing. (You’re welcome.)
By this point, we needed a drink, and to escape the masses on Broadway, we walked up Second Avenue to the George Jones Museum instead.
This was my first time at the rooftop bar—and no, you don’t have to pay to get into the museum to take the elevator up—and it was a total winner.
I hadn’t made dinner plans for the evening as I anticipated us being pretty wiped, and I was right: Instead, we arrived at Bastion the minute it opened, had a couple rounds and some nachos and called it a night. This is one of my favorite bars—usually—but we unfortunately had pretty rude service this time around; I really hope this was an isolated incident, a bad day for our server and the host, as Bastion has become one of my musts on many out-of-towner itineraries.
After heading back to the condo and crashing—midday drinking is tiring, y’all—we all woke up around 9:30, planned to get up and head out, then went to bed for good at midnight instead. I guess this is the difference in celebrating a birthday in your mid-20s vs. your mid-30s: You’d much rather spend your Friday night catching up on sleep than losing even more of it!
On Saturday morning, Trina had to get up at 5am to head down to Bicentennial Mall for Wanderlust. About a year ago now, she quit her job at an architecture firm to pursue teaching yoga full time and has been working the yoga festival’s one-day events all over the country.
Being the good friend that I am, I headed out to check out the event, as well—though not at 6am, ha, more like 9.
I did arrive as the runners were taking off to do their 5K and would have loved to have stayed and done some acro and aerial—Wanderlust offers them both—but they didn’t start until the afternoon, and Josh and I had big plans in store.
So what exactly did we have planned? Why, sabraging champagne, of course!
My good friend Vivek, head of the Sabrage Society, was kind enough to let us come over to his Gulch apartment for a couple of bottles of champs before we had to be at our next engagement. His parents came up from Brentwood and his cousins visiting from New Jersey also dropped in, so it quickly grew to be a very fun Saturday morning party!
But we couldn’t stay long, as our next stop was Nissan Stadium, home to the Titans and also host to the weekend’s Bacon and Beer Classic, for which we had won VIP tickets.
This one-day event travels around the United States but focuses on beer and food from the host city. We tried so many of my favorites like Ole Shed, in addition to breweries that are coming soon like New Heights.
We got to hang with several of my media friends and even made new ones (bonus points to those of you who recognize who this is … I didn’t!).
After that, we toyed with the idea of going home as we were all nodding off into our beers, but then we rallied and went to Church Street, home to Nashville’s small collection of gay bars and also home to Play, where the drag queens congregate.
We had a blast watching Deception and the other queens do their routines, then SVV and I headed back to the condo around 1:30am, just in time for him to catch a dumpster and fence aflame, call the fire department and prevent the whole building from going up in dust. A very exciting evening indeed!
Somehow I’ve never been to drag brunch—like, ever—and Josh’s actual birthday seemed like the perfect time to go to Suzy Wong’s House of Yum. I was surprised to find that not only was this brunch a whole lot of fun, but the food was pretty tasty, too.
We ordered the fishbowl drink to share, and quickly polished it off.
And Josh even got a little serenade from Dolly herself (who had played Taylor Swift the night before at Play … Nashville’s a small town!).
I’d seen on social media that the Shops at Porter Eastwere having their First Sunday market, so we swung by there to support my friends.
And, well, take more photos, because how cute is Amelia’s Flower Truck? Paula sure seemed to enjoy it.
After the market, SVV and Ella went home, and Josh, Trina and I went down to the Entrepreneur Center for another winter market, where we were sidetracked when we saw S’MORES. Naturally, we had to get some.
We had a couple hours to kill before our dinner engagement with a couple of Trina’s friends, so popped over next door to Pinewood Social for cocktails in the meantime. Is there anything better than a lazy Sunday Funday with your best people? I can’t think of anything.
Our dinner ended pretty early, then it was back to the condo for an early bedtime.
We took it easy on Monday, doing a little work before heading to East Nashville for lunch where we settled in for a feast for cheap at Mas Tacos.
Last time Josh and Trina were here, I’d taken them all over East Nashville, so we skipped the Eastland Avenue corridor and the shops on Woodland and made our way to Cornelia Street Airpark. Every band needs an album cover, wouldn’t you say? I think this is our new one.
This former airport was acquired by the city five years ago and is now part of Shelby Park. It’s also a popular spot for runners, bikers and—if you’re us—photo shooters.
We stopped by Barista Parlor, one of my favorite Nashville coffee shops despite its snobby hipster vibe, for a tea before we continued onto the Gulch for one last stop.
I’d been meaning to swing by the Gulch to check out Kelsey Montague’s WhatLiftsYou wings mural, and it was truly worth the wait. At 60 feet tall, it took Kelsey 60 paint pins to create! Cool, right?
Then, it was off to drop these two at the airport, and since it was the height of rush hour, we had a good 45 minutes ahead of us, in which we picked up Hattie B’shot chicken for the drive and belted out 90’s tunes in true footlight fanny style, already plotting the next time we’d all be together once more.
Looking for other Nashville-planning tools? Check out these previous posts I’ve written:
- Eat + Drink Nashville: The Best Restaurants & Bars
- Planning a Bachelorette Weekend in Nashville
- Bachelorette Reboot: Planning an Epic Weekend
- The Ultimate Nashville Vacation
- Nashville Neighborhoods: SoBro + Rutledge Hill
- Nashville Neighborhoods: The Best of the Gulch
- Our Nashville Urban Adventure