If you aren’t quite ready for the Big Apple holiday but you just need to get out of town, I have the place for you. Grab your boots because we’re heading to the Nashville, Tennessee area.
Baseball Winter Meetings were held in Nashville again this year and I wasn’t complaining one bit. MC and I decided to tag along at the very last minute so we hopped in the car whether Matthew wanted us to or not. The Nashville area has so much to offer, entertainment, great food, and amazing places to stay. Let me share how this little quick trip went down…
- W H E R E W E S T A Y E D : the meetings were held at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Conventions Center but they were completely booked for night one so we logged on to our ever so faithful Priceline website.
- NIGHT ONE: We ended up with the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel in the heart of Nashville…stunning! The people were super friendly and because they weren’t crazy busy, they allowed us to have late checkout at no charge.
- NIGHT TWO: Hold on to your seats…we stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Resort using Expedia. She was all dolled up for Christmas and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Have you ever seen this place? How can I explain her size? Some might use the word, GIGANTUOUS? This place is beautiful year round but at Christmas, it’s indescribable. Our room was located in Delta Island and had an atrium view right across from Santa’s station so we could sit our on our balcony and watch Santa. I don’t have too many negative things to say about the resort but I will say that you’re paying a pretty penny to stay but the majority of the staff won’t go out of their way to be kind. What I’m trying to say is, don’t go thinking you’ll feel warm and fuzzy inside, they won’t make you feel that way. There are exceptions, one of the security staff members was so kind to MC and acted like they were old friends and then there was the concierge who should have received a raise after all that she did for us. Things that you’ll want to know about the resort: you have two options for parking, valet $32 + tax/day or self-parking for $24+tax/day. If you just want to visit the resort but you aren’t staying overnight, parking is the same amount which I find a little outrageous but some say that you can park at the neighboring mall parking lot and take a short walk over to the resort for free but that’s just the word on the street. I’ll get in to the resort food and activities in the next few sections.
- W H E R E W E A T E : other than the Krispy Kreme that MC and I snuck off to in Nashville, we did all of our eating in Franklin, TN. If Greenville, SC and Nashville, TN had a baby, it would be Franklin, and she is such a cute baby. Don’t get me wrong, Nashville has a crazy amount of restaurant options but we wanted to explore a little further out and had some recommendations from locals that we had to try.
- 55 South – We were told that we couldn’t go to Nashville without trying “Nashville Hot Chicken,” the area’s iconic food. Get your big boy/girl britches on because this chicken is packing some heat. So delicious! They served the sandwich with homemade potato chips that were also a win in my food book.
- Puckett’s – I honestly don’t know where to begin. Just blogging about it makes me hungry. I ordered the Piggy Mac, are you ready for this? …Cherry wood smoked pulled pork in an iron skillet, topped with smoked Gouda Mac ‘n Cheese. I cannot forget to mention the Cajun Corn Cake that topped my dish off. I die, I just die, thinking about this. I feel like the waiter may have thought that I hadn’t ever been out in public before after watching me chow down. As hard as it will be for you to believe, Matthew’s fried chicken was even better than the Piggy Mac. Unbelievable. I don’t even have to tell you what MC thought about their homemade salad dressing, just take a look for yourself. Also, they had a stage for live picking…give that girl a stage and watch out.
- Kilwins Franklin – If you know me at all, you know that I cannot pass up Kilwilns. Oh, it’s December? So what? We believe that it’s never too cold for Kilwins ice cream. Don’t even get me started on their salted caramel.
- Le Sel – when we visit again without baby girl, I am most definitely visiting Le Sel, if for nothing else, the pink velvet booths. I didn’t feel that it was kid friendly after reading over the menu so we decided on a rain check. Found out about this pretty pretty from Mary Ellen, whom you will want to follow on Insta because she is fabulous and as a local, knows all of the Nashville goods.
- Hog Heaven BBQ – Don’t judge the book by it’s cover, this tiny hole in the wall is most definitely a hog heaven. Gotta try their smoked chicken with their signature white sauce! Bless your heart if you don’t go.
- Opryland Restaurants – The resort houses a ton of restaurant options and we did eat at a couple on this trip out of sheer convenience but none were good to enough to write home about and they are ridiculously overpriced so get out and take a drive and eat good food because isn’t that why we came?
- W H A T W E D I D :
- Window shopping in Franklin is the best because of the little boutiques and the cutest little Anthropologie I’ve ever seen. We didn’t buy anything but it was fun to dream. Taking a walk to explore is our favorite.
- Take a drive around the city then keep going to see the country. There are so many interesting places around Nashville. Keep going past Nashville, past Franklin and you run in to charming Lieper’s Fork. I have never seen so many deer during the day just walking around the fields as I did in Lieper’s Fork. MC decided that she wanted to take a pic in a field for some reason, so we did that. We just enjoy wandering and if you enjoy the same, just drive.
- Opryland Resort had so many incredible things to do, some out of our price range, and some not. You do not have to stay there to enjoy the activities.
- Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt – SO MUCH FUN! They provided a book of clues and we had to follow the clues to find the 10 elves around the resort and then figure out each of their names with the additional clues. It took us about 2 hours but we’re slow and we took our time just to take it all in. Seriously, this was a blast and cost $12 total. At the end, you turn your information in to receive a prize (an Elf on the Shelf coloring book + crayons). Definitely worth the $12.
- Nativity tour – learn about the birth of Christ on the front lawn with a gorgeous narrated Nativity scene. FREE
- Light/Water Show – set to music, this light/water display is simply beautiful. It doesn’t hurt that it’s also FREE!
- ICE! – an indoor winter wonderland kept at a chilly 9 degrees housing 2 million pounds of hand-carved ice sculptures, four ice slides (yes, you read that correctly, SLIDES made out of ice), six individual rooms depicting the story of The Nutcracker, a live carving zone, and a full Nativity from crystal clear ice. We opted out of this activity because it was $40/person but if we were rich, we totally would have.
- other activities that are offered right inside the Opryland Resort include: Arctic ice skating/snow tubing, gingerbread decorating, Nutcracker Character Breakfast, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Musical, and so much more.
Whether you head to Nashville to enjoy the live music, the bright lights, the food or the shops, you will certainly have a great time. If you head to Nashville any time soon, let me know and I will start packing. Questions? Go ahead and ask away in the comments below.