The second weekend in December we took a trip with my sisters to visit our brother and sister-in-law outside of Nashville, Tennessee. We also celebrated one of my sisters 18th birthdays while there.
Y’all, I haven’t written a blog post in a WHILE. Between the pandemic, lack of travel, and busy personal/work life I kind of put my blog on pause. But, I’m excited to be back at it for 2021. I have a few blog posts to write over the next couple months, and I hope y’all will enjoy.
I love visiting Nashville, there is always so much to explore and do. My sisters had never been before, so for Mayzie’s 18th birthday we took a long weekend and stayed with our brother and sis-in-law in Murfreesboro.
We set out close to lunch time and made it to our first stop, Opry Mills Mall, around 3pm. We shopped for a couple of hours while waiting on our brother to get off work.
After we finished shopping, we met up with him and headed next door to the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. They had several activities for their Country Christmas set up at the convention center, something for all ages. We purchased tickets to the activities we wanted to do in advance, due to the COVID-19 restrictions there were limited tickets sold.
We enjoyed tubing, ice skating, and bumper cars. We also unexpectedly got to see a professional ice skating show, which was my favorite part of the night. Their ice skating set up was neat, as it wasn’t just one large ice ring, but instead had a path off it that you could make a loop around. While we ice skated there were Christmas Carols being sang, and they were dressed the part as well. I only fell about 3 times, but all in all good times were had by everyone.
Following our ice activities, we headed over to the actual resort to see all the Christmas décor. John and I had visited here a couple years back, but I had always wanted to see it at Christmas time. We oohed and ahhhed at the décor and lights, and the Christmas tree they had was HUGE. So huge in fact, that it had full size presents on it.
The resort also has a water show at night, which changes by the season, so we made sure to catch it and my sisters were amazed. The lights and music were of course all Christmas themed, and it was very enjoyable. After the light show we wandered around the resort taking it all in, it is a massive place!
Wore out and full of Christmas spirit, we headed back to my brother and sis in law’s house for the evening. If you ever have a chance to visit the Opryland Resort around Christmas, I would 100% recommend.
Once we got around we headed to the 12th Avenue South area for brunch and mural hunting. We planned to eat at Frothy Monkey, but their wait was 1.5 hours, so instead we headed over to White Bison Coffee. We enjoyed some pastries and breakfast sandwiches, and my sisters enjoyed some of their coffee. The atmosphere was nice, it was a mix of grab and go items along with an area to hangout.
The boys enjoyed lunch at Edley’s Bar-B-Que and said it was delicious. We all met back up after eating, and enjoyed taking pictures with murals and wandering in and out of little shops. This was my second time visiting the area and there were so many new murals from the last time I visited 2 years ago.
We stopped in Christie Cookie Co. and got some delicious cookies before heading to Marathon Village. It had been a couple years since I’d been here, but I figured my sisters would enjoy the local shops. The Antique Archeology store from American Pickers is located here as well as many other retail shops, food stops, and old memorabilia and parts. Marathon Village is located in the old Marathon Motor Works Automobile factory, for more history you can read here.
Next up, we headed to the Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park to show my sisters the HUGE granite Tennessee map. This is one of my favorite free places to visit in Nashville, there is a lot of history here and you can see the capitol clearly.
Right next to the park is the Nashville Farmer’s Market, so we walked over to see if any vendors were still set up. Most of the people had closed shop since it was an hour til closing, but we were mainly over there to take a picture with the Nashville sign. I’d been to the Nashville Farmer’s market one other time, and there’s more about it on this blog post.
Mayzie decided to try a bubble tea from Bubble Love in the Farmer’s Market before we headed downtown to walk around. We stopped in my favorite ice cream place, Mike’s Ice Cream & Coffee Bar. I always make a point to stop here when in Nashville because they have the best ice cream I’ve ever had, the banana pudding being my all time favorite.
Right before sunset we made our way to the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge to see the skyline at sunset. This is one of my favorite places to capture Nashville. It’s peaceful standing on that bridge overlooking the busy and bustling city.
As we made our way back to the car we passed by some iconic places: the “batman building”, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Walk of Fame, the Country Music Hall of fame, and Broadway lit up at night. Nashville is such a busy city, and I love the downtown lights. They had some buildings lit up in red and green for Christmas which I thought was neat.
After we made it back to my brother’s place in Murfreesboro, John and I decided to go on a date just the two of us. For dinner we went to The Alley on Main, which is a locally owned place. For an appetizer we had the shrimp wontons, and for our meal I had the Butter Garlic Pasta with Blackened Chicken and John had the Alley Sammie with Cabernet Mushrooms. Although full, we couldn’t pass up dessert and had the Salted Caramel Bourbon ice cream which was amazing.
Following our dinner, we were in the town square and decided to walk around and admire the Christmas decor. The courthouse was decorated nicely, you could see it from miles away lit up green.
When we got back to the house we hung-out and chilled with my siblings and at midnight sang “Happy Birthday” to Mayzie then had chocolate cake. After a long day we called it a night after cake.
We started our Saturday morning with a full spread breakfast for the birthday girl.
After breakfast we headed to downtown Murfreesboro and stopped along the way to take a few pictures with murals. We also took some goofy sibling pics, I kept telling them it looked like we were posing for album covers, ha!
We then stopped in the town square to see this extremely neat town set up inside the windows of Palace Barber Style. Apparently, every year during Christmas time they set this little town up for the public to enjoy. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen before, with SO much detail. They even had a drive in movie theater set up with a tablet playing “Finding Nemo”. The coolest part of it to me, was there were things behind the buildings you couldn’t see unless you looked in the mirror.
The birthday girl wanted to throw axes, so that’s what we did next. We went to Murfreesboro Axe Throwing in downtown Murfreesboro. We got our own separate room with 2 lanes, and had so much fun competing against one another! They have a restaurant located inside as well, so for a snack we had their mac-n-cheese empanadas which were SO good!
It’s safe to say that John was the overall axe throwing champ, but nevertheless we all had a great time! It was our second time axe throwing but a first for everyone else.
Next up, Justin and Holly took us to a local ice cream that they love: Scoopy’s Ice Cream Bar. This place had Mexican ice cream which also meant real vanilla in their ice cream. They had so many different flavors to choose from, even some interesting ones like Cheese Queso (it was GOOD). I went with a scoop of Strawberry and a scoop of Ferrero Rocher and it was some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had!
After ice cream we headed back to the house to get ready for the evening. We had plans to go see the Dancing Lights of Christmas before dinner, but due to the insane amount of traffic we discovered once getting into Lebanon that it would be impossible. So, instead we killed some time by seeing a couple more murals.
For Mayzie’s birthday dinner we enjoyed Rodizio Grill in Downtown Nashville, which was delicious. This was John and I’s second time here, and it was even better this time! It’s a Brazilian steakhouse where they bring different meats around, and typically you help yourself to the salad/side bar. Due to the pandemic, they were doing it family style where we picked 3-4 sides at a time and they brought them to us. The food and service were phenomenal, and everyone thoroughly enjoyed their time here.
Following dinner, we drove around for a bit to see some Christmas lights in some of the Nashville neighborhoods. My brother was driving us and we passed an area of woods that I could see a HUGE tree through, so we turned around and went back to find this!! Pretty impressive for a homeowner to have this huge tree decorated.
Our last stop of the evening was The Avenue in Murfreesboro to see the giant Christmas Tree. All the stores were closed for the night, so there was no one else around. This tree was my favorite one of all the ones we saw, and we took turns taking pictures with it before calling it a night.
We had 2 more places to visit before making our way home on this day. Our first stop, McKay’s Nashville. My sister-in-law recommended this place and my sisters were overjoyed to visit here. They sell previously loved books, movies, video games, music, board games, and more. It’s a big two story building full of these items and we enjoyed thrifting through records and books.
Lastly, we made our way to Loveless Cafe! This is one of my favorite brunch places, and I was excited to share the experience with my family. Due to the pandemic, their rules have changed some, with that being no reservations. We had to wait a little over an hour, but in the meantime we shopped and looked around the grounds. As always, their biscuits and gravy did not disappoint, however the food was not quite as good as I’ve had in the past. We enjoyed taking some photos outside with their cute sign before saying our goodbyes and making our way back to Arkansas.
It’s so surreal knowing we were downtown (on the same street) just two weeks before the downtown bomb went off on Christmas Day. I am glad no-one was harmed but my heart aches for the businesses that were affected and I hope to see them all recover quickly.
We had the best time visiting Tennessee, and getting to see all the Christmas decorations. My sisters enjoyed their first trip to Nashville and I have a feeling we will be back again soon!
I’ve been to Nashville a few times now, and if you’re interested in recs here is my cheat sheet, along with the rest of my blog posts below:
– Visit Me in Music City
– Girls from Arkansas, Havin’ a Ball
– Welcome to Nashville
– Nashville, wouldn’t be Nashville, without you
– Murals in Music City
– It’s a Crazy Town full of Neon Dreams
Thanks for reading! Feel free to follow along with our adventures on Instagram.
Another tender Tennessee Christmas, the only Christmas for me. Where the love circles around us like the gifts around our tree. Well I know there’s more snow up in Colorado than my roof will ever see, But a tender Tennessee Christmas is the only Christmas for me. – Alabama