My fourth Nashville trip, John’s second, and my Mimi’s first.
The first weekend in February, we spent a long weekend in Nashville for my grandma’s birthday. She had never been to Nashville before, only through. We stayed near my brother and sister-in-law who live about 30 min east of the city.
Our first stop on our way into Nashville was Loveless Cafe for a late brunch. John and I had been here before and we just HAD to come back. Their biscuits are so amazingly good!! They’ve also got delicious ham, fried chicken, and homemade preserves among many other things. We called ahead about an hour for the three of us, and only had to wait about 10 minutes once arriving (definitely recommend calling ahead if you have the chance).
It’s kind of out on its own in the middle of a residential neighborhood, but it’s a quaint little area with several buildings including a smokehouse, event center, barn, merchandise store, food/trinkets store, and a shipping place. We will stop here every chance we get, as their customer service is par none and their food is mouth-watering.
Next up, we headed to Lebanon (where our hotel was and where my brother and SIL live) to check out the Tennessee Boat and Fishing Expo that was going on. John is an avid fisherman, and enjoyed looking around at the different exhibits and merchandise. Mimi and I followed him around like little ducklings, oohing and ahhing over the pretty fish and boats.
We stopped in our hotel to check-in before meeting up with Justin and Holly. Together, the five of us made our way to The Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. I had always wanted to visit here, never making the stop. We learned that if you park at the Opry Mills mall and walk, you don’t have to pay for parking at the resort.
We were amazed at the massive resort, and all that it included. From shops, restaurants, a water park, live plants, a river, gazebos, to waterfalls/fountains, it seemed they had it all! We were lucky enough to catch a light show while we were there. It started around 8pm at the main fountain in the middle, and went along with synchronized music.
For dinner, Mimi requested Rainforest Cafe, she said she had seen pictures and wanted to go. This place is pretty cool because it’s literally like you’re eating in a forest. There are trees, leaves, and animals all around. The animals are constantly moving, and every 30 minutes or so they have a “rainstorm” come through and everything moves even more. It has a neat ambiance and is definitely a fun place to eat.
My favorite part of the park, was the 200-foot granite map of the state known as the Tennessee Map Plaza. We of course had to get a picture with “Nashville”, as was everyone else around. If you click here you can see the google maps overview of the map and get an idea of how large is really is.
Quick parking/getting around tips:
- You can park for FREE at any of the state/government buildings on the weekends. The area near the park/capitol building has lots of places to park. Sure beats the heck out of paying $20 for parking.
- You can take the Music City Circuit bus around town for FREE. They even have a pickup stop right at the park, and there are 2 different routes you can take that stop at the key places in Nashville. Super convenient, and avoids a lot of unnecessary walking.
The next place we went was right next to the park, and had been on my Nashville “wish list” for a while. The Nashville Farmer’s Market is open year round, and was one of the neatest experiences! We stopped in for lunch, and my favorite thing about it was that we could all eat something different and still sit together. They have a Market House, which includes around 20 locally owned shops/restaurants in the building and then they have tables set up in the middle to eat. I had a Nutella Crepe, John had some sort of sandwich from the Venezuelan Cuisine truck, Justin and Mimi had Chinese, and Holly had fried chicken.
Outside, they have 2 Farm Sheds, which are large covered areas (with heat lamps), where merchants can set up to sell their things. There was quite a mixture and I was pleasantly surprised to see so many people during their “winter market”. I was told by a local that we came on a good day, that there aren’t normally that many merchants during the winter. There were people selling meat, dairy products, homemade breads/donuts, soaps, crafts, jewelry, and other various items. They also had a couple of food trucks set up, and I’m sure there will be more during the spring/summer months. Lastly, they had a greenhouse and plant building with a variety of plants and pots inside.
After our time exploring the Farmer’s Market, we hopped on the Music City Circuit bus and rode it around for a bit before getting off near the Music City Center, where we popped in for a quick rest. We walked over to the Music City Walk of Fame park, to checkout the stars and inductees’ names. I have some pictures of a few of them from my previous Nashville trip, here.
We strolled down Broadway, wandering in boot shops and such, making sure to stop in Savannah’s Candy Kitchen, one of my favorite places to grab some sweets.
For a snack, we made our way to Mike’s Ice Cream and Coffee Bar. Their ice cream is delicious! Last time we went here I got the homemade strawberry, this time I went with banana pudding and oh my goodness!! It’s not just your normal ice cream, it’s so fresh and tastes like homemade ice cream. If you’re ever in Nashville, this is a must stop place in my opinion!
Nearing sunset we headed over to the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge. Overlooking the river and Nashville skyline, what a view! If you have some time to pop over to this bridge, it’s definitely worth the views and you can get some incredible pictures. We walked across it to the Cumberland Park, where we took quite a few of these pictures. The water was pretty high when we went, you can see that some of the railing/steps just go down into the water.
For dinner we decided to stop in the FGL House, after hearing great things about their food. It definitely did not disappoint! They have somewhat of a limited menu, but everything we got was tasty! My brother and I had the No Joke Mac ‘N Cheese, John had a burger, Holly had their soup of the day that came in a bread bowl, and Mimi had the Margherita Pizza.
Stuffed and done exploring, we headed back to Lebanon for the evening. We weren’t ready for sleep just yet, so we went to the movies. We saw The Upside at the Roxy Movie Theater. Although it’s became more popular throughout the country, John and I had not yet been to a movie theater with recliners. We’re not big movie goers, but I can tell you that if our hometown had recliners at the movies we might would go more often. It was relaxing, not close up on other people, cozy, and just down right comfortable.
For lunch we went into Mt. Juliet, stopping in Courtney’s Restaurant and Catering. The food was set up like pick 1-2 meats, then pick 2-3 sides, all home cooking. Afterwards, craving something sweet, we went into Hermitage and had some frozen yogurt at Yogurt Mountain. We then said our goodbyes to Justin and Holly, and headed back home.
Nashville is one of my favorite places to visit, I am always looking forward to going back. In case you missed it, I’ve written about 2 of my other trips here on my blog as well.
For a quick reference, I’ve put together a Nashville recommendations list and you can see it here. Between the 4 times I’ve been, I’ve listed my favorite things to do and places to go. Let me know if there’s any must see/do things that I have not yet experienced, and I’ll put them on my Nashville wish list. 🙂
Feel free to share!
“Welcome to Nashville, Nashville, Tennessee”
– Halfway to Hazard