Rob and I are still recovering from our whirlwind trip to Nashville for a long weekend. Our heads our spinning and our bellies are full. Our official reason for traveling to Nashville was to do a Debt Free Scream on The Dave Ramsey Show. (You can read all about that experience in this blog post. Spoiler alert: it was amazing!) But first we thought we’d bring you along on some of our Nashville adventures. This post contains a few referral and affiliate links, which help to support the blog.
When Rob and I started booking our trip, we were shocked by the cost of hotel rooms in the Nashville area. They were so expensive! The vacation fund in our savings account was still recovering from our trip to Mackinac Island this fall, so we decided to go the budget-friendly route and find lodging through Airbnb. There were so many great options but we ultimately decided on the cheapest clean room we could find -- which meant renting a room in a shared residence. Our host, Erin, was unbelievably gracious and made sure we had everything we needed. We rented the second floor of her bungalow in East Nashville and it was exactly what we needed. We had our own bedroom, bathroom and lounge. Her house also happened to be adorably charming.
If you are feeling adventurous and want to try Airbnb for yourself, you can sign up using our referral link. You don’t always have to share a house with a stranger. Many of the listings are for an entire home/apartment and they are generally much more affordable than hotels. With our referral link, you will save $20 off your first stay and we get a credit too. It’s win-win.
We arrived at Erin’s house on Saturday night, dropped off our bags, hopped into an Uber ride, and hit the town. You can’t go to Nashville without taking in some of the local sights, sounds and eats! This is basically the story of how two crazy kids ate our way through the city of Nashville. Our first stop: Broadway.
If you’ve never been to Nashville, all of the locals will tell you that Broadway is where it’s at. There are dozens of restaurants and bars -- all of which feature live music and a really good time.
Our first stop: The Stillery. We’ve been told that the Stillery is one of the newer restaurants in Nashville, but that didn’t mean it was anything short of incredible. They featured American style cooking with a little Southern flair. Our drinks were served in mason jars. Rob had a beer and I tried some sort of whisky-strawberry concoction. As it turns out, I’m not much of a whiskey girl, but I still drank every drop.
Rob and I have a little competition going every time we dine out. We always try each other’s food and then determine who “won” dinner/breakfast/lunch/brunch/snack time.
The competition was seriously tough at The Stillery. Rob ordered a steak sandwich and I treated myself to their mac and cheese (I’m such a sucker for the combination of cheese and pasta).
Our first meal in Nashville was a tie. Both dishes were fantastic and we couldn’t choose a favorite.
After dinner, we walked around broadway and hopped in and out of a few different night spots. We couldn’t resist the opportunity to post for a quick photo with Elvis along the way.
It took a few attempts, but we finally found a great place to sit and relax that was just our style: Acme Feed & Seed. The bar/restaurant/nightclub had three floors and a rooftop for patrons to enjoy. We perched ourselves at the bar on the second floor. Our first night in Nashville was a success!
On Sunday morning (Valentine’s Day), we awoke and started our Sunday Funday on the right note -- with brunch at Saint Añejo. One of our readers actually recommended this as a brunch spot when we announced that we were heading to Nashville and we were immediately intrigued.
The wait for brunch was over an hour, so we moseyed over to the bar for some mid-morning spirits. I scanned the menu and immediately found the drink for me: the Bloody Maria.
It was delicious! Rob doesn’t share my same love of Bloody Mary’s, so he had his usual mimosa.
The best part was that all beverages had two-for-one pricing. We paid full price for our first drinks, then the second was free -- thanks to these little tokens!
We also ordered the Tres Amigos Dip while we waited for our table. No surprise -- it was delicious!
When we were finally seated, we jumped right to the main attraction. I ordered the short rib benedict and Rob had the huevos rancheros. If our meals are a contest, this one was another tie!
Thank you so much to Jessie for the great suggestion -- we loved dining at Saint Añejo!
After all of that brunch-time deliciousness, we needed to walk off some of the calories and keep the food comas away, so we grabbed another Uber ride and headed to Opryland for a few hours. We knew there was a resort in the area and several people had commented and recommended that we check it out, but Rob and I really had no idea what we were in for.
This place was sprawling and there was a massive garden throughout the hotel’s interior -- complete with waterfalls. Many, many waterfalls. There were even smaller buildings inside of the resort. It was a little surreal.
One of the coolest moments of the trip (you know … except for our Debt Free Scream) happened while we were walking through the gardens. Another kindergarten teacher that reads the blog and just happened to be in Nashville at the same time came up and said “hi!” Now, it’s always a fun and unexpected surprise when someone recognizes Rob and I and stops to introduce themselves, but this meeting was especially crazy because Katie left a comment on our Nashville announcement post -- saying that she and her husband would both be in town for the weekend and it was their first trip to Nashville, too. Naturally, I told Katie to stop and introduce herself if she happened to spot us.
Well, somehow fate surprised us with a fun twist when Katie actually saw us! Seriously, seriously, seriously -- what are the chances?!?! It was so so so cool to encounter another Stitch Fix-obsessed, first-time-in-Nashville kindergarten teacher that I had told over the internet to say hello if she saw me from a distance. The world is a funny place, don’t you think?
After saying goodbye to Katie, Rob and I headed over to the Grand Ole Opry for a backstage tour. We received several recommendations to check out the Opry and, while it wasn’t in the cards for us to catch a live show, we felt like we had to at least tour the Opry
My first impression was that it was absolutely pristine and such a well-kept concert venue.
We stopped in Studio A for a few minutes -- they occasionally shoot scenes from the show “Nashville” on ABC in this space. We even saw a little video clip that was filmed in Studio A. I couldn’t help but compare what I saw in the scene to the space around me.
Then the tour really took us for a surprise. We walked right through the artist’s entrance to the Opry.
And kept on going! We were able to look inside many of the dressing rooms at the Opry. Each one was decorated differently and every room had a unique story. It was so, so interesting and I was awestruck that they let the public see all of those dressing rooms.
After all of that, I was definitely not at all prepared for how they ended the tour -- we were able to go on stage and have our photo taken. The stage was filled with instruments from the previous night’s performance and the tour guide didn’t mind at all. I guess that must be the influence of Southern hospitality because I am still in shock. We could even sit on some of the benches that were on-stage.
If you ever find yourself in Nashville, you seriously have to go to the Grand Ole Opry -- even if it’s just for our tour. It’s worth every penny.
After all of the Grand Ole Opry excitement, Rob and I headed back to our little home away from home to rest up, change and get ready for our Valentine’s Day date night. We had reservations at Mère Bulles. The setting for the restaurant was an old plantation-style house.
Dinner was amazing.
We ordered the tomato & brie bruschetta as an appetizer and it was positively mouth-watering.
There was no contest for dinner since Rob and I ordered the same thing: seared filet mignon. It was divine.
And of course we couldn’t say no to dessert. We split a pull-apart cake that was made of cheesecake and red velvet cake. Yes, it was as amazing as it looked!
As you might imagine, we left the restaurant happily stuffed that night.
Monday finally arrived and we decided we stopped by Sky Blue cafe for breakfast that morning. We didn’t really know what we were getting into, but we knew the restaurant had great reviews.
Each table had a pack of questions from an old version of Trivial Pursuit for a little table side amusement. Rob and I entertained ourselves while we sipped our coffee and waited for the food to arrive.
We were seated at a long table that ran down the center of the restaurant and were literally elbow-to-elbow with strangers on each side of us, but even that added to the charm of Sky Blue cafe.
And the breakfast? Amazing.
Rob ordered the Tuscan 2.0:
two eggs over easy on toasted French bread, topped with pesto, tomato, garlic, chiles, melted parmesan cheese & a drizzle of olive oil.
My breakfast burrito was good, but it was no match for the fantastically fresh and savory deliciousness of his Tuscan breakfast.
Rob won. Again.
Our next adventure is WAY too big to fit into this blog post. We went on the Dave Ramsey show to do our Debt Free Scream. We met Dave and so many other wonderful people and it was positively incredible. You can read all about that amazingly wonderful experience in this blog post.
For now, I’ll just say that I was truly in awe of Dave, his dynamic personality, and the extent to which he truly does care about helping people take control of their money.
Now let’s continue with our culinary adventure …
We had one last meal in Nashville and we had yet to try Nashville’s signature dish: hot chicken. We headed straight to the hottest place in town -- Hattie B’s Hot Chicken.
We arrived just in time to beat the out-the-door line for dinner that night.
We placed our order, were given a number, found a table, and waited for our food to arrive.
My chicken had mild spice and came with a side of cole slaw and potato salad. Rob opted for medium spiciness with sides of baked beans and mac & cheese.
Every bit was outstanding. The chicken was crispy outside and juicy inside.
The side dishes were equally delicious, but I was the clear winner of this contest. My mild chicken was more than spicy enough and I was able to find relief in the cool potato salad and cole slaw. Rob’s baked beans and mac & cheese were both fantastic, but they each packed a slightly spicy punch that didn’t offer much relief from the heat of the chicken.
We split all of the side dishes so I guess that made us both winners for dinner that night.
On Tuesday morning, it was time to say goodbye to our Nashville getaway. We made one last stop for breakfast at Bagel Face Bakery and ate a bagel sandwich before heading back to Michigan. I’m not going to lie, the establishment looked a little questionable from the outside, but the food inside was satisfying and the atmosphere had a rustic charm reminiscent of your family’s basement -- complete with old hand-me-down sofas.
It was good enough for us and the perfect way to wrap up our little Nashville getaway.
I just have to take a moment to talk about our amazing little camera. Around the house, Rob and I take most of our photos with our Canon t6i, but we didn’t want to drag a bulky camera with us for our weekend adventure. We bought a little point and shoot over the summer and that itty bitty camera packs a huge punch. Almost every photo in this post was taken with our little Sony DSC-RX100M III camera and I’m still in awe of these shots, which were all taken in auto mode. (This paragraph contains affiliate links to check out the cameras on Amazon -- just in case you’re in the market for a new camera.)
Thanks so much for following along on our Nashville journey. We shared many photos on our Instagram account while we were in Nashville and your sweet, supportive cheerleading for our Debt Free Scream was (and still is) greatly appreciated. You can find all of the details in our Dave Ramsey Show blog post. See you there!
Photos from the Dave Ramsey show courtesy of Cody and Allison Photography.