So….while we were dealing with family issues in Kentucky, we managed to get a few days away to celebrate my 50th birthday. Our options were limited, as we had to be back in Kentucky the day after my birthday. After hemming and hawing for awhile, we ultimately settled on Nashville. Our conclusion about Nashville? It probably isn’t really worth a visit unless you are really into country music. (Admittedly, our view of Nashville is no doubt driven in part by our hatred of most country music).
Let’s start with the good. We did find a fantastic hotel that we would highly recommend: 21C Museum Hotel. It is — I kid you not — a combination art museum and hotel. The art in the bar was dark, dark, dark, they had good white wine, and Robert tells me the mixed drinks were nice and strong. In other words, just the way we like it.
And, we found a few fun things to do. I think our favorite was visiting Nelson’s Green Briar Distillery. The tour and tasting only lasted about an hour, but the tour was informative, the guide was funny, and Robert tells me the whiskey and bourbon were quite good. If you have to wait awhile for a tour like we did, you can get an Old Fashioned slushie while you wait. I don’t even typically like an Old Fashioned, but that was a damn fine slushie on a hot day!
And, you absolutely have to stop into Five Daughter’s Bakery and get their famous 100 layer doughnut. It is really just a cronut, which I honestly thought went out of style years ago, but it was delicious (and worth every penny of the $4-$5 — yes, really — price per doughnut).
There is quite a bit of street art in the same neighborhood as Five Daughter’s too. After your doughnut, a walk will be necessary so you might as well check out the art …..
Don’t miss getting your fortune told by Willie Nelson (he is in a gift shop at 323 Broadway). My fortune was fantastic, saying things like my “future life will be very sunny” and I will see “a chest full of money” and my “love life will be something for the world to talk about.” Robert’s was just a bunch of boring platitudes. Guess Willie likes me better….
You can also check out the men’s room at the Hermitage hotel — it supposedly was voted “Restroom of the Year”on more than one occasion. Yes, I went in even though it was a men’s room. Yes, I completely creeped out a guy who wanted to use the bathroom. No, I wasn’t that impressed. Yes, I was annoyed that the women’s bathroom was smaller and dingier and not nearly as impressive.
And, I’m guessing no trip to Nashville is complete without seeing the replica of the Parthenon. But that will take you all of about 5 minutes.
But, I will say we were pretty disappointed in the food scene. We had done a ton of research and had a long list of restaurants to try, but most were pretty disappointing. Martin’s BBQ was busy and popular, but we thought it was just ok and not anywhere close to the best BBQ we have ever had (in fact, we’ve had better BBQ in Chicago and that isn’t saying much about Martin’s). Arnold’s Country Kitchen was full of locals (which is always a good sign), but we both thought the food was overly salted (and I add salt to everything….). Robert liked the pork chop at Moto, but they tried to serve me a “margherita” pizza with no tomato or basil — it was just white and the waiter said the cheese was ricotta. Yeah, that is not a “margherita.” The hot chicken at Hattie B’s was good, but we don’t really understand the point of hot chicken and the sides were just blah. The biscuits at Loveless Cafe desperately needed some salt and weren’t at all flaky. We did really love the food at Nicky’s Coal Fired, and would highly recommend it if you want some good Italian style pizza or some porchetta, but it is a long way from downtown without much else around it.
And, we were pretty disappointed in the music scene. The honky tonks are loud and crowded and not our scene at all. We had hoped to get to some neighborhood places, but just ran out of time.
Bottom line, I’m glad we visited but we never need to go back. (Although I’m sure we would give it a second try at the drop of a hat if there was a reason to do so).