It will be a while before I can feel comfortable to travel again. Despite being one of the fortunate ones to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in January, until Mr Sweetie gets his , we will stay put to keep not just us but others safe as well. For now, I am just happy to revisit my travel memories through photos.
Nashville, Tennessee was the last city I traveled to just before the pandemic swept the US in full force. I was in Tennessee for work during the last week of February in 2020 almost exactly a year ago today. Two and half weeks later, San Francisco went into our first lock down aka “shelter in place.”
Five days after I arrived home from my trip, a small but deadly tornado devastated Nashville on March 2nd. It hit just few miles from where I was staying. It was shocking to hear the news. I would usually often extend my work travels to few more days of personal vacation. There were occasions when Mr Sweetie flew out to meet me when work was over. It has been a blessing that I did not stay longer in Nashville nor did I ask him to meet me there. I had been away on work trips in 2019 almost every other month and too exhausted to travel again. I just wanted to get work over with and go home. Only God knows what would have happened but it was the best decision at the time.
I only had one full day in Nashville for myself before I went to work. Instead of doing the tourist thing to see this legendary country city where Country Music Hall of Fame, Grand Ole Opry House and Johnny Cash Museum were just mere 10 minute walk away from my hotel, I decided to go to the opposite direction. All I wanted was to do the foodie thing.
I only had two goals while in Nashville — to eat at Biscuit Love and eat a Southern barbecue because when you are in Tennessee, that is what you do. And I got to do both. Although I did not go to music venues, I was still treated to a live country music. I told Mr Sweetie that I want to go back with him to eat a Nashville Hot Chicken and to do the touristy thing, then fly to Graceland. Someday…….
Here are the highlights of my visit to Nashville:
PULLED PORK, BBQ BEANS AND COUNTRY MUSIC
I was a little disappointed at first that I did not get to choose the hotel where I was to stay at. I usually get to choose where to stay during business travels but not this time. However, my disappointment was short-lived because Holiday Inn Express in Nashville was fun. As soon as I arrived from the airport, a delicious Southern BBQ buffet was waiting for guests while a country singer performed in the hotel’s lobby. During my flight, I ran into a former work friend on the plane. She was staying at a different hotel but we shared an Uber together. I invited her to hangout with me to catch up and we got to enjoy bbq beans, pulled pork and hot dogs at my hotel’s lobby before she took a cab to her hotel. This was one of my fond travel memories during this trip.
Even though I was not able to go to a music event, it was like attending a private concert where I got to enjoy a live music performance in the hotel lobby. For three nights, I sat in the lobby listening to the beautiful voice of Lacy Green, a Nashville country singer. We got to chat as well after one of her performances where I asked her to sign one of her CD’s that I bought for Mr Sweetie as a souvenir. It was the perfect country music experience for me.
BEST SANDWICH IN AMERICA AT BISCUIT LOVE
It was raining hard while I was in Nashville but that did not prevent me from exploring. I had one full day to explore. The following morning, I started walking to look for Biscuit Love. Biscuit Love has gained a celebrity status for serving the “Best Sandwich in America” in 2015 as declared by Bon Appetit. I braved the rain and 28 degree weather, and walked the long blocks of Nashville. It was worth the cold and rain as I really enjoyed my brunch at Biscuit Love which I wrote about on this post.
EXPLORING NASHVILLE ON FOOT
I walked around after having brunch at Biscuit Love. I realized later on that I was in a posh area of Nashville which is The Gulch. It is situated between Downtown Nashville and Music Row. I had fun exploring the cute nooks and crannies of the neighborhood and window-shopping in the rain. On my way back to my hotel, I walked by Union Station Hotel which is a historic landmark. It was majestic and looked like it belonged to the world of Harry Potter. I went inside to admire the architecture and to sit for a spell.
WHERE I STAYED: HOLIDAY DAY INN EXPRESS NASHVILLE
Despite my initial misgivings about not being able to choose where to stay, I was happy staying at Holiday Inn Express. My room was spacious with a nice view of old architecture of Nashville. (I was given a room with 2 beds even though I was traveling solo. I just kept the room.) It made for a cozy stay from exploring the city. I enjoyed the solitude while resting and reading in my room. The meals — the Southern food during Happy Hour and and extensive brunch buffet — were nice convenient perks of the hotel. I would not mind staying here again if I ever return to Nashville. The hotel was directly across Frist Art Museum, less than 10 minute walk to Broadway, less than a mile walk to the attractions such as Country Music Hall of Fame, etc.
NASHVILLE SOUTHERN BBQ
On our last day in Nashville, my colleagues and I celebrated at Martin’s BBQ. I was walking like a zombie after the very long work day. I just followed my friends who chose Martin’s for dinner and drinks. I was happy as I was able to check off “Eat at a BBQ joint when in Nashville” on my “Nashville Mason Jar List”. (I hate saying Bucket List.) Martin’s was rustic, fun and had a great country vibe. I had brisket, mac and cheese and hush puppies with my beer.
Despite the exhaustion of work and travel, my short stay in Nashville was memorable. It was raining hard but it brought me comfort instead. Travel for me is not just exploring new and unknown places. Moments of quiet and peace, with my loved ones who hundreds of miles away but also close in my heart, and the rare moments to take the new experiences in without interruptions, are as equally precious to me. I hope to go back to Nashville someday with Mr Sweetie to enjoy the food and music that I did not get to try while I was there.
February 23-26, 2020