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!

Can't Slow Me Down: The Beginning of My Great Tennessean Adventure

Despite my advanced English classes all through high school, I’ve never been a great writer.  Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be great at it, but I have no natural writing talent whatsoever.  Like most things in my life, I may not be great at it, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy doing it.

Anyway, I originally created this blog to keep my friends and family updated during my two month stint in Costa Rica.   My intention was to keep it around until I embarked on my next big adventure.  Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet.  Or so I thought.

Something that has always annoyed me (whether I have the right to be annoyed or not is for you to decide) is people’s definition of the word “travel.”  People say they want to travel and see the world, and then jet off to the beach for the week.  To me, laying in the sand seeing how bronzed you can get is not travel.  But to each there own.

To me, traveling is exploring.  It’s trying new foods and walking the less beaten path.  It’s taking risks, and seeing new things. It’s doing touristy things, but also living like a local. Thinking about this is what inspired me to record my adventures again.  I realized that moving to Tennessee IS my next big adventure.  I all but literally threw a dart at the map and said, “I’m moving there.”  Last July when I packed up my brand new car and drove the 758 miles across the country to get here, I didn’t know a single soul in the whole state.  It could easily have been the biggest mistake I had ever made…but it wasn’t. 

I already knew that my definition of travel definitely did not include spending a week on some foreign beach, but I had forgotten that it didn’t have to include foreign adventure at all.  Growing up, my dad made it his goal to take my family to all 48 continental states before I (as the oldest) graduated high school. Because of this, over the past few years continental travel wasn’t even on my radar.  I figured that I had already been to (almost) all the states, most of them more than once, so why would I take the time to do it again when there is a whole great big world waiting for me?

Then I had the realization that I wish more people my age would have.  Our country is a vast land of various cultures and traditions and foods and adventures just waiting to be taken! That is what makes it such a wonderful place to live! Even though I have been back and forth across the country time and time again, there is still so much left to see.

 If you didn’t gather it from this post thus far, I have an adventurous spirit.  I firmly believe that I was not made to stay in one place or do one thing.  I feel like I'm always broke, but my money always goes to experiences rather than things.  I like to see and to do and to try.  My mother posted on my birthday last year that 24 years ago I came into this world 4 weeks early and I haven’t slowed down yet.  If that quote isn’t the epitome of my existence, I don’t know what is! Anyway, I digress.

(Clearly this is why I am not a blogger, short and sweet is NOT my style!)

My point of this 10 year long post is to say that moving to Tennessee is my adventure and I have all intentions of seeing everything there is to see for as long as I am here. I intend to blog my adventures mostly for me, but if it sparks the travel bug in someone else, then that’s cool too.