img_1102As I mentioned last week, my super sweet husband surprised me with a weekend in Nashville for my birthday. Or at least he tried to. He did keep a few tricks up his sleeve like tickets to the Grand Ole Opry at the Ryman which was so fun!

We woke up early on my birthday, Thursday, and headed to the airport. At one point in the car we listened to Footloose and some other ‘80s hits to get the birthday vibe going. Neil also bought muffins at a local bakery for us the night before. We had a nice easy flight and when we landed we headed straight to our airbnb to change before dinner. It was a loft that was converted from an 1840s carriage house in Germantown. We were walking distance to a few restaurants we had on our list.

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We started the night with drinks and appetizers at Butchertown Hall. It had a great vibe and a good happy hour. We then headed over to Rolf and Daughters for dinner. The food and drinks were fabulous and farm to table style. Every dish was so interesting and it would have been fun to try more of the inventive dishes. This restaurant was a bit more cozy but had a great atmosphere.
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To keep the night going we went to the Broadway strip downtown where there are blocks of bars with live music going on all day! It is so cool, and full of tourists and locals. The first place we popped in was The Second Fiddle. This ended up being my favorite place. I had the best margarita of the trip, and believe me there were many, out of a plastic cup there. They also had the Wes Cook Band playing ‘90s country, so it was a winner. We headed out to try out some other places but after finding some places too crowded and others with bands playing mediocre ‘80s covers we found our way back to see this band finish off and a new band come on. For the next band we were sitting right up front and the lead singer said we looked like a cute couple and asked if we were married. When we said yes, he asked how long. Then he said he was dedicating the next song to us, Break Up With Him by Old Dominion. Joke was on him because I love that song!

We finished off the night hopping to a few more bars, watching the Warriors play and looking for some late night food. The only place open was the place called Paradise Park Trailer Resort, a kitschy diner, complete with the tots and shots sign. It was quite the night out to ring in my new year.

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On Friday we had a great breakfast over in the Fiver Points neighborhood at Marche Artisan Foods. We had croissant french toast (wow) and scramble with grits. The food was tasty and I was checking out their tea menu which had some super interesting blends and noticed they were made locally. After breakfast we went to check out the tea shop called High Garden and I bought some tea to bring home including, Toasted Fig, Lavender with Love, Spiced Maple Mate, Mocha Mint Mate, Ginger Mint Revive and Fancy Earl Grey. We also hit a local coffee shop Bongo East in the same neighborhood and I got one of the crazy signature drinks called Matcha Miruku. It was a matcha latte with vanilla and lime essence.

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Next, we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. It was so fun to see the special exhibits on Alabama and the Zac Brown Band as well as the history of country music and all the old greats! Quite the experience and I am generally a sucker for museums. After this we walked over the neighborhood the Gulch and had some beers at the local brewery Yazoo. We liked the Hop Perfect IPA the best as well as the Hefeweizen. We headed back to our place to change before going out to my surprise show.

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It was so fun to pull up the Ryman Auditorium, the original home of the Opry. It was originally a church so there is stained glass that is gorgeous and tiny pew seating, that is made for much shorter folks. Even though we didn’t know anyone who was performing too well it was still so much fun to hear new and old artists performing.

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We had a late night BBQ dinner before heading home for an earlier evening. We ate at Martin’s BBQ Joint right before they closed on a recommendation from an Uber driver and the food was really good. We just wished we had order a larger portion as we ordered the combo that served 1-2. We had tickets to Nashville Christmas parade early the next morning we had also heard about from another Uber driver, so many good recommendations.

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It was freezing at the Christmas parade Saturday morning, literally in the 30s but it was definitely fun to be at a live parade kicking off the holiday season. There were stars singing, large floats and lots of confetti. I was also glad we got reserved seating because we had a great view and didn’t have to get there too early.

Afterward we headed back to our place to get warmer clothes we went to stand in line at Hattie Bs Hot Chicken. We were told this isn’t the most authentic or the “best” but that it is the most popular. It was definitely an experience to wait for 30 minutes to get in the door to order food, but we were warned ahead and once you get in and order your food comes pretty fast. Basically your decide what kind of meat, light or dark, how much, the spice level (Southern -no heat, Mild, Medium, Hot!, Damn Hot, Shut the Cluck Up!!!) then you choose your sides. Neil got medium and I got hot, which was perfect for each of us. We tried mac n cheese, greens, slaw, and banana pudding. It was so tasty.
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Afterward we headed to a local distillery called Nelson’s GreenBriar Distillery to go on a tour and whiskey tasting. I am not much of a whiskey drinker but Neil loves it. It was a very cool tour with lots of history. About 10 years ago these two brothers found out their great (times 3) grandfather started the fifth whiskey operation in Tennessee. Their family had lost track of that history and connection after prohibition when it wasn’t popular to talk about connection to liquor. They started looking into the history and paperwork and were able to reopen with original recipe and original legal paperwork so they could maintain designation of DSP 5 TN and started selling in 2012. If you are interested to hear more you should look the story up or go on the tour. It was a great story and a fun look into the history of spirits and prohibition. Our favorite was that day’s single barrel bourbon and every single one is different. They hand bottle and label so it is a very cool small operation. They sell some of their bourbon under the label Belle Meade at Bev Mo in CA and over 10 other states.

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We headed over to The Country for a small show and killed time at The Springwater with beer and darts beforehand. Springwater is a Supperclub and Lounge which claims to be the oldest bar in Tennessee established in 1896. It was quite the little hole in the wall but nice to get away from the crowded tourist bars. We had dinner and drinks at The Country while waiting for the band Holy Smokes and The Godforsaken Rollers to start. We had found them when looking for music off the strip and looked them up on youtube. They were fabulous. The best way to describe them is a bluegrass Andrew Bird duo. They asked for tips and tequila shots so after they wrapped up Neil bought them shots and we ended up having drinks and chatting with them. They were so great, if you get a chance to see them you should!

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We had another drink out in Five Points  and grabbed a slice at the well recommended Five Points Pizza before we headed back for the night before our early flight. It was such a great weekend in Nashville. We had such a great time and everyone was so friendly! Best birthday surprise trip ever from the best husband ever!

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We are heading to Neil’s company holiday party tonight. Have a great weekend!

Nashville Guide: Birthday Edition
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