Good evening, all! Do you know what’s nice about Black Friday? Stores and restaurants are actually open!
After a quick hotel breakfast, we made way to Bicentennial Park near the State Capitol Building. The park’s carillon played the Tennessee Waltz; peacefully carrying across the plaza to all passers-by.
I really enjoyed the sense of pride displayed in this park. Several small monuments showcased Tennessee’s contribution to WWII, the transformation from territory to statehood, even the timeline from 10,000 B.C. to now. Clearly inspired by the monuments back home in DC, this was a stop worth making.
Next to the park is the Nashville Farm Market, an indoor / heated outdoor market featuring local vendors and uniquely local food. Q enjoyed walking through the garden center while I hemmed and hawed over coffee. Neither of us bought anything (some Black Friday shoppers we are!), but definitely a place we’d like to come back to.
“Onward!” shouted Quynh as we climbed in the RAV4. She had selected our next target: a coffee shop chain in the 12 South neighborhood, Frothy Monkey.
12 South is a cute neighborhood that has, for better or worse, been overrun by hipsters. This has brought an abundance of beards and boutique shops to the area, and murals on the buildings that set the scene for every Instagraminista’s next post. The coffee shop had a line out the door (I would find out why later), so coffee was abandoned for neighborhood sight-seeing.
Down a few stores is Imogene + Willie, a Nashville clothier housed in a 1950’s service station. Though the clothes felt solid, $265 for denim is about $200 more than I can justify. We left impressed with the merchandise (I can see why their jeans are raved about) but ultimately bewildered that enough people purchase to make the business viable.
As we bounced from store to store Quynh began to fall in love with the myriad yoga studios here- 3 on one block! We found a few murals, explored White’s Mercantile (purveyor of US Made and Southern Made goods), and enjoyed lunch at Burger Up.
Lunch was delicious, as burgers with fried eggs often are. This restaurant makes their aioli and Jack Daniels maple ketchup in house, and it’s so good: we bought some. Is it worth 8/10 dollars per bottle? Time will tell, but in the moment: YES!
Full of burgers and beer, we jumped across town to the West Nashville / Nations neighborhood to find a store specializing in ethically made products for Q. The store is small and honestly, shopping with me in tow is like hunting with the game warden. I saw myself out and over to a table at, you guessed it– The Frothy Monkey!
I now understand why the line was out the door. This “coffee shop” also serves beer and wine all day, as well as a full breakfast menu. I enjoyed my Irish coffee, caught up on the day’s news, and enjoyed a bit of people watching. Fact: the two barista I saw looked like Zoey Deschanel and Woody Allen. Shoulda grabbed a picture!
Folks, in case you’ve not noticed: all we do is eat and sleep while on holiday! I promised Quynh we’d go to a local vegetarian restaurant for dinner, but we’d have to clear some room first. We parked in Downtown Nashville and walked around a bit to burn off the day’s grazings. Some of this downtown reminded me of Philly, then you get to the honky tonks and you are definitely in Nashville. We missed a drunken performance from Kid Rock by six hours, bummer!
Q’s vegetarian choice is a recently relocated local favorite, The Wild Cow (or Mad Cow as I remembered it). We lucked out and got sat next to a couple of regulars who had, uh, enjoyed everything the bar had to offer. Great folks who gave solid recommendations for dinner as well as where to buy good beer for the trip back home. The food was great, but neither of us finished… How could we? All we do is eat!
I write this lying on the couch struggling to live, my stomach stuffed to the brim. Tomorrow we’ll be checking out and hitting the last few bits of Nashville before starting the trek back to Maryland. I have a few more boxes to check before we go, but so far this visit has me wanting to come again.