Sunday, October 23, 2016

Pizza, Booze, and Musicals

I LIVE for the weekends! (doesn’t everyone?)

Bailey, Becca, and I bought our tickets to see Rent at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville months ago, so needless to say we have been looking forward to this weekend for a while.  Then, Carl decided to come up and found some more activities for us!

Our first destination Saturday was Two Boots Pizza.  Carl found four restaurants and told us to choose which one we wanted.  The first one we choose was called The Wild Cow, as we assumed it was burgers.  After Becca googled it and determined it was a vegan restaurant we quickly vetoed that and played it safe with the pizza.  It was definitely a good choice!  Carl and I split a full pie, half “The Kracken” (sliced sausage and jalapeƱos) and half “The Dude” (bacon cheeseburger). SO good!

Then we drove over to Marathon Music Works.  We were going to check out the American Pickers shop but the line extended much too far out the door for any of us to stand in it so we casually strolled around the building before heading into Corsair Distillery and Taproom for a tour.  The tour was pretty short, just one large room where they do all their brewing and distilling.  Then, we were escorted to their bar where we got to taste one beer, three whiskeys (I think), and a gin.  Now I am not a whiskey drinker, and I am certainly not a beer drinker so I was a little apprehensive about the tasting but Carl reminded me that it was an adventure so I opened up to trying them all (yes, even the beer).  The beer was an IPA (which means nothing to me) and it wasn’t horrible.  I wouldn’t choose to drink it but it wasn’t as beery (yes, that is a technical term) as the other beer I have tried. The first two whiskeys weren’t bad either, and the gin tasted like cucumbers. 

We wandered throughout the little shops in MMW before Carl took us to the TPAC Theater for RENT! It was AMAZING!  Mark sounded exactly like Mark from the Broadway production.  I wasn’t very impressed with Mimi or Roger.  They were kinda blegh (also a technically theater term I believe). Very little power and just as little chemistry between the actors.  Angel however was SPECTACULAR! It was definitely worth the $50.

We headed back to Clarksville afterward and Carl and I went to The Tilted Kilt to eat.  He made sure to remind me as we entered the establishment, “Remember, you wanted to come here.”  My first thought was, “I think someone forgot to tell these girls that the skanky Halloween costumes aren’t supposed to come out until next weekend…”  Unfortunately, the food let us down too.  Carl’s fish and chips looked good, but he said it was a little soggy.  I got Shepard’s pie which was good but tasted more like vegetable infused hamburger gravy than Shepard’s pie.

From there, BED TIME! It was a long (but fun) day!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fall Creek Falls

Bailey and I treked out to Fall Creek Falls today with the notion in our heads that maybe we would hit up more than one state park in a day...nope!

The park was kind of confusing, but it had much more signage than the last State Park we went to!

There were many paths and we weren't quite certain where any of them went.  There was a couple different overlooks that looked into two different gorges and a suspension bridge that, despite not being very high or overly long, was still terrifying to walk across!  Our intention was to hike down to the bottom of Fall Creek Falls, but it took us quite some time to even find the path that got us there. After walking back and forth across one side of the park we finally found the trail that brought us down.  I am not sure how so many families get down there!  It wasn't nearly as treacherous of a hike as Cummins Falls was but it was very rocky.

Anyway, here are some pics!


Labor Day Weekend in Tennessee(ish)

The post is a little delayed...the app for the blogger web page is terrible and doesn't post my posts...anywho, Labor Day Weekend!!

Grand Old Mini Golf

First stop Saturday morning was at Grand Old Mini Golf and Go-Karts.  I'll be honest, it was a little janky looking.  The black light arcade was little more than a handful of games in a dark room with a few neon lights.  The mini golf courses were fairly decent, nothing special but it was still a good time.  There were three courses: a nine hole course, and two eighteen hole courses.  We did the challenge 18 hole course first, and followed it up with the second 18 hole course.  Since we arrived almost right as they opened, it didn't get busy until we were finishing up.

Mas Tacos

Lunch was at one of my favorite Nashville staples- Mas Tacos Por Favor!  Unfortunately they were out of pollo so I got one beef and one pork instead.  Not as great as the chicken but still delicious!  If you're ever in Nashville this is a MUST!!  I've tried a handful of taco places in the area and Mas Tacos trumps them all hands down.

Gaylord Opryland Resort

Another of my favorite places to visit in Nashville- the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center.  Parking stinks because you have to be a guest there to park in the lot but you can park over at Opry Mills mall and walk over which was what we did.  I've been here half a dozen times but it is still just as beautiful every time, especially because I think this time I finally figured out how to get around without getting lost!! We wandered through the three different atrium to admire the view.  There were people dressed up as jungle animals to advertise for The Jungle Book.  Toddlers in Tiaras clad in more make up than I've warn in my entire life wandered about, as well as dozens of other "interesting" folk.  (The people watching is just as intriguing as the scenery!!)  My favorite part was watching the catfish and carp swim along in the indoor river.

Blue Collar Nationals- Clarksville Speedway

On Saturday night we stumbled across the dirt race track in Clarksville just in time for the Tennessee Blue Collar Nationals.  Time trials started around 6:30 and by the time we left a little before 11 they were just barely halfway through the actual races.  I had not been to the races in ages so I was pretty exciting.  Unfortunately I was also pretty chilly in my tank top as sitting outside all night was not a planned activity.  Totally worth it though!! The only downfall to the speedway was that since the grandstands were so close to the track, you got sprayed with all the dirt every time the cars came around.  That being said, sitting that close to the track was pretty sweet.

U.S. Space and Rocket Center- Huntsville, AL

Bright and early Sunday morning we drove down to Alabama for the day for a couple things.  We got to the space center as soon as it opened which was a smart decision because it was packed with screaming children by the time we left.  It took us about 2.5 hours to wander through all the exhibits.  I love space so this was pretty sweet.  They had a whole outdoor "park" of different military and space vehicles.  We got to try a couple simulators too- one where you played a video game in a hummer and shot people, the other where Carl "flew" a helicopter an we shot people.  (I wasn't very good at either...)  There was a lot of interactive exhibits which was neat and made it more child friendly (hence all the screaming children...)  Overall it was really cool, I'm glad we decided to make the trek down there.

Music City Hot Air Balloon Festival

Our weekend ended Sunday night at the Music City Hot Air Balloon Festival in Nashville at Percy Warner Park.  It was hot and we were exhausted by the time we got there in the late afternoon.  I got a snow cone and we laid a blanket in the grass to sit and relax.  Slowly the balloons were laid out and blown up.  I was mesmerized, Carl was a good sport about sitting out there with me.  I've never seen an air balloon up close before- it was so cool!! (I know it doesn't take much to amuse me, but seriously, it was sweet!!)  The pictures don't do justice to how awesome all the balloons looked lit up in the sky!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Red Bicycle Crepes and Coffee

Bailey and I went to church at CrossPoint in Nashville today and it was a really intense service. The whole message was about getting out of debt (as if I wasn't already stressed out enough about my student loans...) I can honestly say however that I did come home and re-look at my budget (unfortunately my income did not magically increase and my bills did not magically decrease) in hopes to magically squeeze another penny or two into my savings.

But I digress. My intention for this post was to share the new (to us) restaurant that we tried in Germantown today: Red Bicycle Crepes and Coffee. I had a savory BBQ chicken crepe with chicken, cheese, bacon, and barbecue sauce, and Bailey had the maple bacon crepe.  They were pretty big, I had to being half of it home for lunch tomorrow, and they were worth the $9 they cost. My only complaint was that there was so much BBQ on mine that I could barely taste the rest of the ingredients. 

The atmosphere was hip and trendy. It's a pretty small little cafe, so we had decided to sit outside. Despite the increasing temperatures we stayed cool under the shade of the trees around their little terrace. It was dog friendly (which I think led to the increase of flies around the outdoor area) with bowls of water for them and everything! 


4/5 ⭐️

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Summer Salute: Hopkinsville, KY

Finally, a free concert to go to!!

I have been in serious live music withdrawals the last few weeks, more specifically, FREE live music withdrawals. I mean hello, I'm 30 miles from Nashville, and the last free concert I attended was in May. 

I was scrolling through my concert app this morning, pouting about my lack of recent adventures, when low and behold I found I had somehow missed the fact that Diamond Rio would be up in Kentucky tonight. Bailey and I decided to take a break from our never-ending work lives to venture across the border. 

We decided to leave a little early to do some exploring around Hopkinsville prior to the 7PM performance. Unfortunately, it started raining at about 5 on our way there and didn't stop for nearly two hours. 

Since the rain interfered with our plans to explore, we grabbed a funnel cake from a food truck and sat under the farmers' market pavilion and people watched. Kentuckians, man. They're some interesting folk. The type of people at free concerts in KY are a whole different sort from the ones that turn up in MN, I'll just leave it at that. 

Luckily the rain stopped just in time for the concert to start only 45-minutes late and left us with a beautiful rainbow.

Some Nashville recording artists I had never heard of before named Adam Hall opened. He was pretty good, but I would have appreciated him more if I wasn't wet and cold from the rain. (Still hard to believe we were cold after the 100 degree heat index during the day). Just as every band has done at every concert I've been to since Prince's death, he played Purple Rain.

It was pretty exciting to see Diamond Rio again. It's been years since I've seen them last. I feel like they're a band that flies under the radar, but then you see them and realize how many great songs they have.  We made a few friends as we sat in the front section of chairs that (I think) we were supposed to pay to sit in (we didn't). The lady behind me told me about her leg problems and needed us to help her with her phone problems, and the (toothless) guy next to us was not too shy to express his disappointment in our early departure. It was late, we were tired, but the music was great! There's something about 90s country that never gets old! 

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Great Tennessean Adventure (Since April)

Since clearly I’m too busy adventuring to remember to update this, here are some snip-its of the last 4 months…

April 12, 2016 – All for the Hall Concert
Great night at Bridgestone Arena with some of my best girls!  All for the Hall is a concert fundraiser to raise money for the Country Music Hall of Fame.  It is hosted by Keith Urban and Vince Gill (who play in the band throughout the whole show as the other artists perform).  Each artist only performs a few songs, but it was great to get to see so many artists, especially because there were a few I hadn’t ever seen before!  To make it even better, it was Vince Gill’s birthday.  Bet you never got to sing happy birthday to a country music star before, have you? ;)  We got to see: Vince Gill, Keith Urban, Chris Janson, Tracy Lawrence, Maren Morris, Sam Hunt, FGL, Luke Bryan, Emmy Lou Harris, Peter Frampton, Jason Isbell, and Maddie & Tae.

April 16, 2016 – Rivers and Spires
The next concert was Kellie Pickler at Rivers and Spires festival in Clarksville!

April 17, 2016 – Bicentennial Mall State Park

My next adventure was to Bicentennial Mall State Park.  It’s right next to the Farmer’s Market in Nashville so I got to check that out too! 

And randomly venturing around Nashville…

May 26, 2016 – Last Day of Second Grade
Then came a bittersweet day- the last day of school.  As excited as I was for a summer full of adventures, it was hard to say goodbye to my second graders and my first real class of kiddos.

May 28, 2016 – Randy Houser
And another to add to the concert list- Randy Houser in Oak Grove, KY.

May 30, 2016 – Camp NASH
For Memorial Day there was a concert called Camp NASH at the Fontanel Mansion stage.  Artists that performed were: Raelynn, Chuck Wicks, Parmalee, Thompson Square, Cowboy Troy, and Big & Rich.

June 21-26 Besties Take on Tennessee!
One of my favorite weeks of summer!! I was in MN for most of my summer break, but I did get to bring my best friend down to see my new home for a week!  We started our trip off leaving WI around 7:30AM and deciding before we hit IL that we wanted to see Cassadee Pope at the Grand Ole Opry that night so with minimal potty breaks and getting ready in the Opry Mills parking lot, we made it in time!  We also got to see William Michael Morgan, The Whites, The Del McCoury Band, Bill Anderson, Tracy Lawrence, Chuck Wicks, and the Charlie Daniels Band.

Country Music Hall of Fame
We ventured down to Broadway and went to the Country Music Hall of Fame where I just so happened to come across Chris Janson standing by his exhibit!


Cheekwood Botanical Garden
After our big night out on Broadway, we went to explore the botanical gardens.  (In hindsight our timing wasn’t great.  We should have spent our day out in the sun BEFORE we hit Broadway, but I digress).  The flowers were really neat.  I’m not photographer, but I got a few snaps.


July 19, 2016 – MY2K
By far the best concert of the year, maybe even ever.  Ashleigh, Bailey and I went to the MY2K concert at Ryman Auditorium ft. Dream, Ryan Cabrera, O-Town, and 98 Degrees.  It was like my childhood came to life right before my eyes. I swear there is nothing better than watching a boy band dancing to the same choreography.  Well, unless Nick Lachey is one of those boys… (Seriously, I could not grasp how I could be standing in the same room as someone so hot.  Like it didn’t seem real that a person that attractive even existed in real life).  EXCEPT that it did get better.  We got to meet O-Town after the show!! Also, for the record, there are no bad seats at the Ryman.  I can’t wait to go back again!

July 22, 2016 – Bridgestone Behind the Scenes
I went to an open skate at Bridgestone Arena.  Luckily I got there early because the line was wrapped out the door and they had to stop letting people in.  They also had a behind the scenes tour to go see the locker rooms so that was pretty neat!

And now a new adventure begins- the adventure of teaching 5th grade.  I spent so much of my undergrad time working with 2nd graders that this is a big jump for me, but one I am excited to partake in!  I’ve been swamped between work and my Master’s program, but I am hoping to schedule in some adventure time soon!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Spring Break: Tennessee Style

I’ve been here for 8 months now.  I spent the first couple so swamped with work that I didn’t even have time to breathe.  I resolved not to let that happen again.  The next few I spent exploring Nashville and going to every Preds game I could get my hands on (because why would I not go to an NHL game for free?)

In the past 8 months I saw Cassadee Pope, Cowboy Troy, Big & Rich, Sam Hunt, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, Chris Janson, and Blake Shelton in concert.  I met Nashville Predators #59 Roman Josi and NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace.  I partied on Broadway and (sort of)  learned to two-step at the Electric Cowboy. 

This past week was spring break and you can bet I milked it for all it was worth.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

I spent the morning relaxing as I waited for Bailey to arrive.  She was riding down with some friends who were on their way to AL.  Their cousin worked at the Nashville Zoo so we got in for free and got the behind-the-scenes tour. (It’s good to know people who know people!) It was fabulous.  We went into a back room where we got to see frogs (yay!!), giant spiders (yuck!!), snakes, and chameleons amongst others.  We learned a lot about how they do things which I honestly had never thought of before.  You learn something new every day!  We explored the outside of the zoo for a while and then got to have a one-on-one session with a little kangaroo named Ruby!  We got to feed her and everything, it was pretty awesome!

After the Zoo, we went to Martin’s BBQ- a Nashville staple. Feeling adventurous, I got the Redneck Taco- pulled pork with a spicy slaw on cornbread.  Now I HATE cole slaw, but I’ve made it my goal to try things I normally wouldn’t, thus the redneck taco.  It was actually pretty good, I would definitely eat it again.

The kiddos (and quite frankly myself) were sleepy so it was time to head home and go to bed.

Sunday, March 27, 2016 EASTER

We met our friends at their hotel in Nashville so we could go to Easter church together.  The night before, we had asked the hotel manager for church suggestions and we ended up choosing Crosspoint, a non-denominational church right next the hotel.  It was incredible.  I have never been a church go-er for many reasons, one being that I have the attention span of a baby goldfish and by the time a service is over I’ve typically made a mental grocery list, planned a birthday party, and decided on my outfits and lunches for the week.  Not here.  It began with 20 minutes of music- and not your typical hymns.  More like Christian rock.  I could feel the bass in my feet.  They had me. (Bonus points for FGL sitting a mere 4 rows in front of us!) The pastor (or whatever they’re called at that church) wasn’t old and boring.  He was relatable and interesting, even if you take the religious aspect out of it, he definitely made me think about my life, and I liked that.

Afterwards, Bailey and I went to brunch at Saint Anejo.  We had intentions of going to Adele’s, but there was a 45 minute wait and we didn’t want to spend the $32 on the buffet anyway.  It turned out we got the better deal.  We ended up eating at the bar at Saint Anejo.  We had chips and salsa as an app and since drinks were buy 1, get 1 free we both ordered sangria.  Note to self: Next time, share the sangria.  Halfway into my drink, I knew we would not be heading home any time soon.  I looked at Bailey and she thought I was crazy, until it hit her shortly after.  Never have I ever had a drink that was worth $7, but that one was. (And technically, it was only $3.50!) Ufda! I had the Omelet Tres: queso chorizo, caramelized onion, mex cheese, potato hash, and pico. SO GOOD. There are literally not words to explain how delicious it was, though maybe that is just the sangria talking…

Eventually we made it back to Clarksville, took a nap, then explored the trails of Dunbar Cave State Park.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Monday was our Nashville day. We took the Redneck Bus Tour and learned a little of Nashville’s history.  From there, we went to explore 12th South district.  It was like a whole new side to Nashville.  I felt like I was in San Francisco, not Music City.  It was very chic and hipster-esque. We stopped by Sprinkles, a little cupcake shop with a Cupcake ATM, admired the wall art, and explored some local boutiques. (For the record, the cupcakes were not worth $4 a piece!)

After a quick nap at the hotel, we headed down to Broadway for dinner.  I took Bailey to my favorite (thus far) place to eat on Broadway- Tin Roof.  We enjoyed our loaded hot tots and listened to music for a while and then ventured down to Bridgestone Arena for the Preds game.  After the first period, we ventured out into the arena where we found a line behind a table with a (very attractive) man standing on the other side of it.  We immediately got in line and I asked the guy in front of us what we were in line for.  He told us that Bubba Wallace, a NASCAR driver, was signing autographs.  I was willing to hold off on getting my hot dog for that!  The Preds lost, but it was a fun game.  We spent the remainder of the night at Honky Tonk Central where there was an awesome band, and even more remarkable fiddler!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

By far my favorite day of break! Thanks to advice from friends, we set out Tuesday morning for Cummins Falls near Cookeville, Tennessee. We got there around 11 and wandered to the overlook- the falls looked amazing!! Thank goodness, because we definitely needed the motivation once we realized what the hike actually entailed. The walk down the path wasn’t so bad.  The trail was narrows and rough, but it was a nice hike.  It was once we got to the bottom that we realized what we were in for.  We hiked about a mile downhill from the overlook, and then had to hike a mile back to get to the falls.  But it wasn’t just a hike, it was like flat rock climbing.  There were small rocks, and giant 10 foot boulders.  We had to climb over and around them and walk across the (freezing cold might I add) water multiple times. When we reached the falls, it was so worth it!  We met a girl who was there by herself and invited her to join our endeavors.  With our shoes sopping wet, and our legs numb from the cold, we walked up closer into falls. Go big or go home!  

When we were done at the park, I asked a local where we should eat.  She directed us to a local pub, then from there we stopped at a bakery called Ralph’s which had donuts that were comparable (though not as good as) Bloedow’s in Winona.  We drove back to Clarksville, officially drained of energy for the rest of the night.

Wednesday and Thursday were just spent exploring Clarksville: apartment hunting, showing Bailey the wonder that is Bargain Hunt and Ross, and eating ice cream made of liquid nitrogen!

On Friday, we woke up somewhere in the 3 o’clock hour and I took Bailey to the airport in Nashville.  I drove back home for a couple hours and watched Netflix until I got bored of laying around.  I drove to Harpeth River State Park but couldn’t for the life of my figure it out so I kept driving until I came across Montgomery Bell State Park and took a solo hiking trip there. 

Saturday was spent cleaning and relaxing followed by a BBQ with friends.

Today, I went back to Crosspoint to see if I still liked it.  They’re doing a 4 week series on, essentially, life’s purpose which sounds interesting so I think I’ll continue going. If anything, it gives me an excuse to explore new restaurants in Nashville!  Today I went to Marche Artisan Foods and sat at a community table which was really cool- more restaurants should have that option!  I had steak (again, not something I EVER eat, let alone for breakfast) with a red pepper sauce, eggs, and potatoes. It was pretty good, I would eat there again. I came home and have been scoring the internet making plans for upcoming adventures ever since.

Now, it’s back to school tomorrow and planning next weekend’s shenanigans!