Our March issue was all about Tennessee and its state parks, and while working on that package, I made a vow to explore a new-to-me park each month. While that’s not happened—yet—I did check two new-to-me Tennessee pastimes off the list this weekend while my friend Emilie was in town visiting—because, well, spring. Finally.
On Saturday morning, we got up and rather than drive up the mountain to Sewanee for brunch or down the road to Bell Buckle—my go-tos for visitors—I got a wild hair and decided to check out Readyville Mill near Murfreesboro instead.
Readyville Mill is one of those places I heard mumblings when I was writing my book a few years back, but it never occurred to me to drive the half hour to see exactly what all the fuss is about. Having visitors is a perfect excuse to do just that.
After all, it is more than a century old. From 1812 on, Readyville was used as a water-powered grist mill on the Stones River. Over the years, it changed hands many times and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Five years later, it shuttered until 2009 when it was reopened as a working grist mill, restaurant and special events venue. I can only imagine having a wedding with this as the backdrop:
The new Goodness Gracious Cafe has only occupied the mill for a year now, and goodness gracious is it delicious. This might have been a dangerous discovery as I never want to try brunch anywhere else after eating my way through the cafe’s menu.
Goodness Gracious is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday for breakfast and lunch. It was prime dining time on a Saturday, so we did have a bit of a wait—nearly an hour—but it was so pretty outside and there was so much to explore, that hour flew by. Had we known we were going before midnight the previous evening, I would have definitely made reservations as the cafe takes them up to a day in advance.
The food came out pretty quickly, which is good because we were starving—and we didn’t hold back. I had the specialty eggs Benedict with spicy hollandaise and other fun accents and ordered the pineapple cheese casserole (a Southern must) and the hashbrown casserole (also advisable) for my sides. Emilie took one for the team and got the cinnamon swirl pancakes as her side, so we could finish with a hint of sweet.
After we rolled ourselves out of the dining room, I could have stuck around all day digesting and taking pictures, but alas we had another stop to make…
Next up, we drove the 40 minutes from Readyville to Arrington for an afternoon at the vineyards. Yes, Nashville has a vineyard, and yes, it’s owned by a country music artist (Kix Brooks). Would you expect anything less?
I admit this was my first time at Arrington as it opened sometime when I was flitting around up in New York, and it just hadn’t occurred to me to spend a weekend day out at the winery until my friend Kendall celebrated her 30th birthday there. From now on, Arrington will make it onto my ultimate Nashville tour itinerary (at least in the warmer months).
It’s also a great place for a bachelorette party, as evidenced by the gaggles of girls in sundresses and inflatable things they carried scattered about the lawn.
Still, blow-up penises aside, the day was gorgeous, the wine flowed freely, we were breathing in some much-needed fresh air, and we were surrounded by friends.
Because, really, you can’t ask for anything more than that.