Travel

I Heart Nashville, So Hard

I went to Nashville recently for a business trip, and OMG y’all it was glorious. Seriously the love I have for this city is so freakin real, I can’t even take it. I heart Nashville, like big beating heart.

I’m not often starstruck when I land, and I travel a lot of work, so I wasn’t expected to feel anything different in the Nashville airport. But as I started to see the city’s name posted all around me, with all of the music I grew up listening to, my jaw started to drop and I felt like I was embarking on a real adventure.

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Welcome to Nashville

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Johnny Cash

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Nashville Airport

I landed in Nashville in the evening, so I didn’t do much more than get my rental car and head to my hotel for the night.

I stayed at the Marriot Aloft Hotel in Nashville West End and saw this amazing painting:

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Dolly Parton

Jolene is the first song I ever learned to play on the guitar and sing at the same time. It’s also the first song I ever performed at an open mic. When I was a kid we used to listen to a Dolly Parton tape whenever we went on long road trips, and her music and voice take me back to those magical car rides with my family. Her voice is tangled up in some of the best times and the best people in my life. It was this painting that made me realize I was on sacred ground in this musical city.

The next morning I woke up to a delicious hotel breakfast, which is not always a given. This one was called The Goodness and it had: grains, a poached egg, avocado, goat cheese (I turned down the goat cheese, cause I hung out with some goats a few months ago, and they smell like goat cheese and I just can’t), grape tomato, cucumbers, basil, honey lemon vinaigrette, and salt. And even though the quote/unquote poached egg, was not at all poached, it was still really tasty.

Also, I don’t think the green things were really cucumbers, they tasted like zucchini, and they also look just like zucchini in this picture.

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Aloft Breakfast

After breakfast I went into work for the day, and after work I went downtown.

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Parking

I took this picture to remember where I parked, and it proves that you cannot take a bad photo in Nashville. Because it’s magical.

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Batman Building

This is the Batman building. Cause…it’s shaped like Batman, obvs.

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Pedestrian Bridge

Did I mention that Nashville is beautiful? These shots were taken from the pedestrian bridge. I Heart Nashville, So Hard | River

Broadway. The street where it all happens. Walking down the street is the most intense mashup of local music I’ve ever witnessed. Every shop door you walk by is letting out these awesome melodies from country to rockabilly and it’s all amazing. Everyone sounds like a rock-star.

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Broadway

And then, I unintentionally checked off a pretty big bucket list item, and sang on Broadway in Nashville. Sure it was karaoke, and it was “Time of My Life” which is not the song I’d envisioned singing during my Nashville debut, but it was phenomenal nonetheless. I SANG IN NASHVILLE! Boom! Rockstar level = unlocked.

Standing next to me is my friend Chris from Connecticut, him and his wife moved to Nashville a few months ago. His wife Marcie wanted to hear us together again, and I chose Time of My Life because Chris sings with a basso profundo that is perfect for that song. Also, who doesn’t love a good karaoke duet that makes you want to jump into your partners arms even though you know you’ll fall flat on your face, and potentially break his sternum?

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Time of My Life

I love discovering new food when I travel. I’ll look up things like foodie bucket list, or best breakfast places in whichever city. And for Nashville one of the listed best Breakfast places was Biscuit Love and the best coffee was Frothy Monkey.

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Biscuit Love

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Nashville Sign

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Mugs

When I’m in the south my weaknesses include: biscuits, sweet tea, and grits.

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Breakfast Biscuit

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Frothy Monkey

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Pastry

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Coffee Beans

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Coffee

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Monkey Mocha

I got the Monkey Mocha, and it didn’t taste like banana at all. Like, not even a whisper of banana.

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Mocha

The final meal of the trip was at a restaurant called Husk. And good god. It was so good.

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Husk

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Husk Welcome Mat

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Garden

This was the view from our table, and as we were sitting there, I saw one of the servers come in from outside with a handful of something that he picked out there in the garden. I know farm to table is considered cliche at this point, but garden to table is something special!

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Sweet Tea

Remember what I said about sweet tea? This was unsweetened tea served with simple syrup, and are you kidding me?! So good.

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Benne Wafers

This was Pimento Cheese and Benne Wafers. I asked what the Benne Wafers were made of but the server didn’t know. She did say that Benne seeds are similar to sesame seeds, and the wafers were super crispy.

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | A Plate of Southern Vegetables

This dish was listed as A Plate of Southern Vegetables which didn’t sound all that interesting until the server described each element. There was kale and summer squash in the bottom bowl, a spicy cabbage slaw in the bowl on the right, some eggplant dish at the top, and to the left was cheesy grits topped with a poached egg swimming in mushroom broth. Oh em gee. If I could have taken a bath in that soup, I would have. If I could have lived the rest of my life in that soup, I would have. It was so good. So. Good.

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Driving

Before heading to the airport I drove down Broadway one last time.

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Nashville

Nashville was a magical place, from the food, to the music, to the fact that it was essentially the birth place of some of my favorite artists like Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash. Also it was only three hours from Memphis, which is where my boy Elvis made his home.

Legends were made in this state, and you can almost feel it in the air. As a musician, it was really like a religious experience. It was like walking in a holy land, and I can’t wait to go back.

In honor of this trip, and the Parton goddess herself, please enjoy a recording I did back in college when I was first learning how to get my voice out of myself and into a microphone. Enjoy!

Jolene – Performed by (a very young) Ani Kay

I Heart Nashville, So Hard | Ani

Have you ever been to Nashville? Are you a Dolly fan? Are you up for some Karaoke when put to the test?

8 Comments

    • Ani Kay

      Thank you Hannah! And yes, if it’s not on your list, you must put it on! If you ever go, you must let me know, between the amazing city and your stunning photography, it would make for an epic post!

  • Kari Wagner Hoban

    Okay, so we were meant to meet in a seedy link party because I love this. And you. Mostly you but also just THIS.
    First, how are you NOT one of Nashville’s elite celebrities who walk around town in a ratty ballcap trying to dodge fans because DAMMIT I JUST WANTED TO GET SOME LUNCHMEAT AT THE PIGGLY WIGGLY?????

    We’ve been to Nashville four times as my parents lived in Chattanooga and we either drove through or flew into Nashville on the way to visit them. It IS magical and is one city other than Chicago that I could definitely see myself living in.

    Maybe we should do a blogger meetup in the ‘Ville someday??

    • Ani Kay

      LOL, you are wonderful. And we should definitely blog it up in the ville! I love that your parents lived in Chattanooga, because that is one of the best names of a place, ever. Did you ever hear the song Chattanooga Choo Choo? It’s so good, TRACK 29! Also I can’t tell you how excited I am to have Piggly Wiggle and Chattanooga in one comment! You’re so good to me 🙂

  • Tricia Murdock

    This makes me want to visit Nashville and sing Karaoke. I’ve only ever skirted the city and seen the Batman building from afar and me? I don’t sing karaoke, but that’s a story for another time I stopped singing when I went into high school. But this makes me want to pick up those voice lessons again and sing as loud as my lungs will let me. Beautiful pics!
    Tricia Murdock recently posted…August Plan With Me: Barnyard Vibes & Filling SpaceMy Profile

    • Ani Kay

      Thank you Tricia! You definitely should visit! And if you do, let me know cause we should totally duet! 🙂 And I think I need to hear this story, did you sing previously?

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