Twenty years ago, Kelly and I embarked on our first major road trip together. Her dad was living in Dallas, and we decided to go down for a visit over spring break. We stopped halfway in Nashville for the night. Twenty years later, as a kick off to our list and our 40th birthdays, we headed back to Nashville for a girls weekend.
We followed the same route we did 20 years ago and even made some of the same stops, grabbing breakfast at the Pink Cadillac Diner in Natural Bridge, Virginia for breakfast. Our road trip necessities were a little different, instead of grabbing a bag of Now and Laters and a carton of cigarettes we opted for gluten-free pretzels, water, and a few bottles of prosecco. Also unlike the first time we took this trip, we used GPS instead of a road atlas and we did a lot more pre-planning. Months of research, studying city guides, Pinterest and the internet resulted in a pretty epic adventure, if I do say so myself.
We left at 3:30 in the morning, stopping for breakfast, gas and to do a little antique shopping in Crossville, Tennessee at a place called the Rocking Horse Antique Mall. We arrived in Nashville and checked into the Union Station Hotel at 1 PM. Side note, this place was stunning. Once the old train station, it has now been converted into a hotel and the main foyer is absolutely breathtaking. Also breathtaking, in a completely different way, was the fact the hotel elevator was being renovated and apparently our hotel room was one of seven in the entire hotel that could only be accessed by that elevator. So, we had to carry all of our luggage, cooler and other goodies up two flights of stairs. By 1:27, we were pouring our first, much deserved, glass of wine. The wine led to another necessity, a nap.
A few weeks out, I had purchased tickets for a show at Bluebird Café. For most shows tickets are free, with a $10 minimum food/beverage purchase. You can only get these one week in advance, and you have to wait in a “cue” online. By luck, they had a special performance you could purchase tickets for about a month in advance and rather than risk not going, I opted to buy these. The Bluebird Café was everything and nothing like I expected all at the same time. Its located in a rundown strip mall, inside is small and dimly lit, and our table was literally touching one of the performers. It was charming and intimate and felt more like listening to friends play on the back deck on a summer evening. The food wasn’t anything special, but people were not there for the food. And although the musicians probably were not some I would typically listen to (one of them, Kevin, sounded exactly like the lead singer of the Flaming Lips), I was entertained and we really enjoyed the whole experience.
We “Ubered” back to the hotel around 10 PM, and opted to go to bed rather than go out, because after all, we are 40.
Number 10 on our list, Nashville trip…check