Sister trip to Nashville

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2016 sister trip to Nashville

I don’t get to see my sister often. Sometimes, we can go a year without seeing each other, but we try not to make that happen. You see, we live about 1,780 miles apart. I am in Myrtle Beach, S.C. and she is in Bismarck, N.D. Growing up, we did the sisterly fighting, as usual, but we have gotten a lot closer as we have gotten older.

Over the years, we have traveled to see each other — either with our significant others or with our parents. But, we had never embarked on a trip that was just us two.

A few months ago, Alicia got the great idea for us to go on a sister trip. How could I possibly turn down the opportunity to spend an entire weekend with my sister? I couldn’t. So, we started planning to find the best place for her to get out of the wintry weather of North Dakota and a place that  interested us both.

We talked about Chicago (way too cold), we talked about San Antonio and then we settled on Nashville. I’ve been there once before, but only for a day and felt like there was so much more to explore. We set the date for Jan. 15-Jan. 18, 2016. The weeks passed by and before we both knew it, the trip was here!

In this blog post, I will talk about some of the highlights from this trip and offer tips where two young gals exploring Nashville can go for a good meal and good times.

Once in Nashville, we got our rental car and headed out for an adventure neither one of us had experienced — a weekend together in a new city.

We had a few plans in place including dinner at Husk Nashville and at an Indian place called Chauhau Ale and Masala House, but for the rest of it we were going to go with the flow.

Hot chicken bun

Our first meal in Nashville was a delicious way to start what would become an epic culinary trip of Middle Tennessee. We went to Otaku and enjoyed ramen and ….hot chicken buns! It was the first time that Alicia got to try the famous Nashville hot chicken – and what better way than in a Japanese steamed bun!

We explored a bit of Downtown Nashville by car and then headed to our hotel – the Hilton Garden Inn near the airport. I highly recommend this hotel if you are looking for an inexpensive place to stay and have a rental car to get around.

For our first evening, we went to the Bar at Husk on the bottom floor of the restaurant. They have a spectacular whiskey and bourbon list and knowledgeable bartenders to help with the decision. My favorite part of the evening, however, was seeing the man who started Husk and many other of my favorite restaurants, Sean Brock!

Our dinner was very tasty with fried chicken skins with a white barbecue sauce and the charcuterie board being the highlights.

On Saturday, we headed out for breakfast at a local’s spot called Bongo Java. Friends, running partners and families were huddled at the tables enjoying delicious food and wonderful coffee. They have a set menu with eggs, bacon, hashbrowns and toast, but they also have specials.

After warming our bones with hot coffee, we decided to head out of town to explore the picturesque town of Franklin. The drive down was beautiful — even in January. The Downtown has plenty of fun shops and restaurants to enjoy. If you have more than one day to enjoy Nashville, I would recommend the short drive to Franklin, just to get another taste of Tennessee.

Nashville hot chicken from Hattie B’s

We chose not to eat lunch in Franklin for the sole reason of getting some Nashville hot chicken from Hattie B’s. So, we headed back to Nashville with a short pit stop at the Farmer’s Market and then headed to one of the iconic places to get fried chicken.

The line, of course, was out the door, so we decided that ordering takeout was better than waiting in the cold. Let me tell you – I can not get enough of Nashville hot chicken. The spice is just so amazing. #love.

Once we had indulged in as much spice as we could take, we headed to Downtown Nashville to see exactly where country music and honky tonk is made.

Despite it being a cold January day, the streets were packed with people having a good time. We popped our heads into a few shops, walked into the Coyote Ugly Bar just to see what all the fuss was about, and then settled on the iconic Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge roof top bar for a beer.

When we had our fill of honky tonk for the afternoon, we headed to the Grand Old Opry, which is surprisingly next to an outlet mall. We took a few pictures, peeked in the shops and then headed to dinner at the Indian fusion restaurant.

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Biscuits from Loveless Cafe

On Sunday, we got out of town again and had breakfast at the iconic Loveless Cafe just outside of Nashville. This place gets packed with people, especially on a Sunday, because of its history and because of its biscuits. They. Are. Delicious.

After a scrumptious meal and a victory on the word puzzle, we headed to Murefreesboro about an hour away to tour the historic Oaklands Mansion. This home was the site of one of the battles of the Civil War. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and it was great having a private tour…because we were the only ones there on a cold January morning. We checked out Cannonsborough, too, and then took our time driving back to Nashville.

After a quick snack of leftover hot chicken, we headed to the Nelson’s Greenbrier Distillery to take a tour and enjoy some bourbon and whiskey. The tour was very informational, but the samples at the end were my favorite. We then drove to see the replica of the Parthenon and then headed to get some tacos at Taqueria del Sol.

On Monday, we decided, even though it was freezing, to explore the Hermitage House where Andrew Jackson lived after his presidency. The grounds were absolutely beautiful and the tour guides had great stories to tell of the family. We both felt like the tour at Oaklands was better, however, because we were able to go into the rooms of the home and really get an idea of how they lived.

With only a few hours left on our sister trip, we had lunch at the historic meat and three  spot, Arnolds, explored an antique mall and walked around the indoor gardens at the Opryland Resort and Convention Center.

Sadly, we then returned our rental car and found a spot to sit until they called our flights. It was sad parting with my sister when I felt like we had so much more fun to have.

The past month has been an eye opening experience after losing a very young, hardworking, amazing coworker who loved life and showed the people she loved how much she loved them every day. I took from her that we need to spend more time with the people we love, take a bunch of pictures, enjoy life every day, smile more and have fun with the people you have in your life every day. I have really taken her way of life to heart in the last month and am trying to emulate that now. So, I will be taking more pictures, I will be taking every chance I get to tell the people I love that they mean a ton to me and I will be taking as many sister trips as I possibly can for as long as I can.

Safe travels — and take that next trip with your sister or brother…it is worth it. Trust me.

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