I had similar expectations for Nashville that I had for Atlanta. I had heard through the grapevine that Nashville was known for, and usually overwhelmed with, Bachelorette parties. So I booked a week in Nashville as another short week stop-over and kept very low expectations.
I didn’t expect to Love Nashville and wish I had stayed longer.
The weather had been absolutely incredible. While I knew I was traveling south into warmer weather, I hadn’t expected to be wearing shorts well into October. I’ve barely worn jeans or sweatpants this entire trip, minus the chilly September mornings in the mountains of Asheville. It was 70-80 degrees the entire trip, it was even so warm that I booked a kayak trip down Cumberland River on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It was a short trip, about 3 miles and took less than an hour (so kind of a rip off for the $45 I paid) but it was the only kayak company that allowed you to kayak in the middle of the city, which was pretty cool.
During that kayak trip I learned a local parking life hack that I used the rest of my stay.
I’ve been nursing a bit of a sprained ankle that’s kept me off the trails and away from running so I spent the past couple of days just walking around the city. Nova and I walked around Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park which was home to that State Supreme Court and Capitol building
We also swung by the farmers market where I picked up some local goodies. I had a dream of living off local farmers market finds since before this trip started, and now I’m about 5 months into this trip and I have been absolutely terrible about lining up grocery store visits with farmers market days and mix that with trying to reduce food waste and my dreams of farmers market meals has been crushed. This trip was on of the first times I had been able to pick up some things I’ve actually needed for the week. My favorite haul was these small packages of spices. Including this once spice called Mango Tango that was incredible sprinkled over chicken.
Nova and I also got to check out some of the local dog parks. Our favorite was Centennial Dog Park, it was a large sweeping park with plenty of trees and grass for the dogs to run around in. It was a nice change from Piedmont Park in Atlanta which while sizable was really nothing but mulch and a couple of large boulders.
Continuing with easy strolls, one weekday took Nova for a stroll around downtown. Broad Street, the most famous street in Nashville was packed full of Tourists and brimming with Live Music pouring out of the open windows. It was pretty crazy for even a Monday night so Nova bypassed it and went towards the Walk of Fame.
When then walked all the way to Tennessee Brew Workss where I had a couple of beers and grabbed a quick dinner. I’ve been trying to train Nova to be calm at bars so I can take her our more often and she had some pretty great success at this place with the exception of one waitress she befriended and then tried to corner for more pets any time she passed by our table.
I met some women who were seated a few spots down from me on this long table, we started discussing my trip, my visit to Nashville, New York City and our dogs. One woman owned a rescued Rottweiler while the other owned a Chihuahua/beagle mix. The pair asked me about my travels and gave me some recommendations that I didn’t have time to followup on.
After leaving Tennessee Brew Works I knew I had walked a bit too far on my busted ankle, by the time I made it back to the pedestrian bridge it was dark and the city was aglow. Even though my ankle was throbbing the view I got of the city was worth it.
I happened to be staying extremely close to one of the few queer bars left in the country. I found out The Lipstick Lounge was hosting a group called RNBW (pronounced “rainbow”) that hosted a bunch of queer performers for a sort of open mic night. I entered the bar around 6:30 and was embarrassingly THE ONLY CUSTOMER IN THE BAR. In my defense it said the flyer for the started at 7:00 but I was apparently the only person (aka loser tourist) in Nashville who took that start time seriously. The bar didn’t start filling up until after 7:00 and performances came soon after.
I found a little table in the corner near the bar but of the way of those looking to order their next round. Sometime during the performances, this man, also solo, squished himself into the corner to escape the growing crowd looking to order drinks. He tried to finesse his way behind my chair but didn’t have enough room and he violent thrashed against my chair as he struggled into the corner. While it was initially annoying he immediately apologized and we eventually started talking between performances and songs. We both were immediately enamored with Christine Havrilla’s performance. Her songs were fun and she was a hell of a performer.
When Christine ended she found a place next to us at the bar and we all started talking. She was just starting to tour again, she coincidently had some shows coming up in a bar in Asheville. We quickly discovered that we all had connections to the east coast, Christine was from Philadelphia, Greg, the man in the chair, had worked at Hershey Park in Pennsylvania. We got to talking about my trip and my travels and what brought me to The Lipstick Lounge of all places. Christine bought me a beer but I probably should have bought her a whiskey after the performance and she Christine mentioned she was performing the next day at another bar in Nashville and that we should stop by.
After the sets all ended without a single bad performance in the bunch I headed home to Nova, happy to get my fixed on queer community and my taste of live music in Nashville in an all-in-one package.
I also attended the opening night of the Nashville Predators NHL team. They played the Seattle Kraken, the newest expansion team for the NHL that was only playing in their second game. It was a hell of a game with the Kraken leading 3-2 well into the third period when the Predators pulled their goal and turned over the puck a couple of minutes later and the Kraken scored on the empty net with only a couple of minutes left.
The Predators retaliated with one goal with just 45 seconds left but that didn’t change the outcome, they lost their home opener to the Seattle Kraken.
This was another event I was a little anxious about attending alone but I found myself so enthralled by the game that it just whizzed right by, I didn’t feel lonely or bored, or even out of place.
As my week wrapped up and the pain in my ankle worsened my last day in Nashville was a little lackluster but as everyone always says when I leave a new city I loved, I can always come back.
So for now see ya later Nashville,