This past weekend, I had three very dear Semester at Sea friends come stay for five nights—a trip we’ve only been playing since we disembarked the ship at the end of 2011. We hadn’t had a reunion since this very weekend last year, and only one of them had been to Tennessee prior. So I pulled out all stops and made sure they left wanting to move here (which, isn’t that always my ultimate goal?).
First—and most importantly—stock up on booze. You know this is never an issue in our house! If it’s a day of the week that ends with a “y,” it’s appropriate time for cocktailing.
Plan lots of tourist things. I mean, tourist things are touristy for a reason, right? I’d be a bad hostess if I didn’t point them in the direction of Jack Daniel’s, which is just 15 minutes away from my childhood home (which they also saw, of course, because dinner with my parents is always on my visitor route!). SVV and I had a wedding that night in Lebanon, so this worked out perfectly: Trina, Josh and Paula got to see a cool part of my state, and I didn’t feel like we were just abandoning them for the four or so hours we were gone. And the “I Believe in Nashville” wall that my friend DCXV Industries designed? Always a must-do.
Embrace the impromptu sing-along. This crew was called “the Footlight Fannies” on the ship for a reason. We love us a spotlight and four-part harmony, whether to the underrated Ivy Levan single “Biscuits”—seriously, you must watch it Biscuit video—or a night of 90’s karaoke classics out on historic Printer’s Alley.
Drink more booze. Summery drinks on the patio? Don’t mind if I do! Gotta put my new muddler to good use, after all.
Get outside. I rarely take advantage of all the gorgeous greenery this wonderful state boasts, so I figured Memorial Day weekend with friends was as good a time as any to head up to Foster Falls and do a five-mile loop on the Fiery Gizzard trail.
Eat a lot of biscuits (and all the Southern foods, really). That one’s a given. When in the South and all that. But bonuts from Biscuit Love and pork nachos at Edley’s with a peanut butter miniwhacker on the side? Also a must.
Work off said biscuits (and booze). You’ll likely be eating and drinking a lot—and if you’re in the South, go ahead and double that intake—so scheduling some workout time is clutch (if for nothing else, to free up the room in your stomach to eat and drink even more). Yoga and hiking aside, Paula also tagged along with me to an early morning Fit Factory class. (You know my life motto is “balance!”)
Allow for downtime. We were on the go the majority of the five days the fannies were here, but we also had lazy morning and late night hang time, too. Equally as important.
Schedule plenty of celebrity sightings. Paula saw Sam Palladio (Gunnar on the show Nashville) on her inbound flight and Mayor Karl Dean on the outbound. While at Exit/In to see Kree Harrison do a set, we also saw Santa (of Santa’s Pub fame) and Kacey Musgraves (our lovely Nashville Lifestyles cover girl for June as it so happens), and earlier that day Andrew Byrd at a coffee show and later that night, the cast of Newsies at an exclusive party. It was quite the star-studded weekend! Too bad my pals from both coasts don’t know a country music artist when they, almost literally, trip over them…
Don’t worry what anyone else thinks. As long as you’re having fun, that’s all that matters!
Take lots of photos. Pictures or it didn’t happen! Keep that iPhone on the ready. Or maybe just go ahead and hire a photographer for the weekend to follow you around and document all your follies. I wouldn’t judge you for that.