Wow..I cannot believe that it has been so long since I wrote! Somehow September just slipped by and October is halfway done. No excuses today..I have got to write about this idea that has been brimming in my mind for weeks now. An idea that came to mind as I was playing host to my family who were visiting for the past 5 weeks: first came my sister and brother-in-law who visited for a bit, followed by my parents. Now you know how the months slipped by! In fact we just realized that we completed one year of living in The Music City! That went by fast...
So since I was the official city guide for my folks visiting Nashville, I started by preparing a list of things that make Nashville 'happening' for me. I had so many things I wanted to show them: parks, museums, bars, gourmet restaurants, music venues! But time was short, so each day I found myself narrowing the list down to the basics, the things that everyone just HAS to see when they come down here, and it turned out to be a pretty good mix so I figured I would share with you :)
- The thing that struck me the most when we moved here was The Green. I give it a proper noun because the greenery in this state has its own special appeal, its own identity. It's omnipresent. Being a nature buff, taking a visitor to a scenic spot is first on my to-do list, and my top two choices are Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Radnor Lake State Park. Both offer stunning views of the local flora and fauna, and Cheekwood even has special displays of natural, and man-made art.
2. Broadway St. in Downtown is worth a visit. Actually all of Downtown is definitely a must see. There is the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, Bridgestone Arena, Convention Center, Pedestrian Bridge, and not to mention an amazing mix of bars and restaurants. My favorite part is walking on Broadway St. from 6th Ave to Ist. Ave going towards the Cumberland River. Its very touristy, but its so exciting! Any visit to Nashville is incomplete without this stop. And who knows you might get to sit in on a live music show happening on the banks of the river, like we did here below. But I must admit, it will be our first and only country music show for a long time! But I still love you, Music City :)
3. East Nashville is one of my favorite neighborhood spots to hit up on weekends. It has rows of charming 1930s Craftsman cottages and bungalows that have still retained their appearance despite getting new upgrades. Of course, I could not afford to live there anymore! But I love its eclectic vibe, local community buzz, and bars and restaurants. If you have limited time to spend, definitely make a stop at Five Points Pizza..the BEST pizza I have ever had..sorry NYC!
If you have more time to spare, I suggest a quick tour of the Olive & Sinclair chocolate factory, home of the bean-to-bar artisan chocolates. They are simply divine, and if you are a chocolate buff, or a handmade, artisty person then you will enjoy the tour, and of course get to eat some of the best chocolates ever! Here are some snapshots of our tour..trust me I wanted to dip my finger in those bins many times. (p.s. these chocolates are available at most Whole Foods stores nationwide)
4. Continuing the culinary experience of Nashville, I highly recommend The Husk to anyone who wishes to taste true Southern Food. The food is made with only local produce that is in season, so the menu changes everyday. Needless to say, it is simply exquisite, and a bit luxurious in my opinion. So be prepared to pay a bit more than usual, but nothing too exorbitant. Also make sure you go make reservations, or call ahead, and yes, please go hungry :) Presenting the chicken wings with white barbecue sauce, and the vegetarian sampler entree, which is what I get every time because its different each time, and because I could never make veggies look, and taste this good :)
5. To round it up, one of my favorite things about this place has to got to be the people. They are absolutely lovely, and good-natured and make you feel welcome in every way. To be honest, I was afraid of what to expect considering this is the South, and we have only lived in major metros with a lot of diversity. But apart from a few odd glances and looks, I do not feel out of place at all. And those who look at us funny are such a small percentage that that could happen anywhere. There will be ignorant fools and snobs everywhere so why let that be the focus. We have met some wonderful people and made some really good friends, and that is the best thing about living in any place.
My family enjoyed their visit here without doubt. And we look forward to our next year of exploration in this great city with a small town vibe. So Thank you Nashville, and all the wonderful, warm and fuzzy things you offer that make this place close to our hearts!
All text and images © Shivangi Parikh. Please be nice and do not reuse content without permission.