finding fall & wagon wheels: a weekend in nashville

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goodness me, it has taken me forever to write this post. i mean, my trip was almost two weeks ago (get yourself together, shawna!). anyway, i promised myself (and you) that i would recap my latest visit to nash and doggonit i’m not breaking that promise. so here it goes.

after a crazy friday morning at the airport (seriously, where was everyone going?), i finally boarded southwest flight #487 en route to nashville approximately fifteen minutes after our originally scheduled 11:50 a.m. departure. but somehow the pilots managed to use the super jets or something because despite our tardy exit from the airport, we still managed to land just a hair over three hours later into nashville international. conveniently enough, i was thoroughly engrossed in gone girl  the entire flight, so the flight time made no difference to me!

once landed, i filed off the plane, made sure to exit on the correct level (you’d think after six times, i’d get it right) and found B waiting for me in the passenger pick-up area. a couple of squeals and squeezes later, we were off! first stop? FOOD. we got dinner to-go from baja burrito (think a fancier, non-chain, slightly hipstery chipotle), came home to B’s new(ish) abode, and inhaled it before throwing on our coats and venturing back out into the chilly night (what up, fall temperatures?!). we headed downtown to the iconic ryman auditorium where we had tickets for their evening performance of “the opry at the ryman.” basically in the off-season, the grand ole opry brings its acts to a more intimate venue. on this particular evening the two-and-a-half hour show featured a mish-mash of acts ranging from a husband & wife duothat guy that used to date julianne hough and competed with her on dancing with the stars, a contestant from last season of the voiceand the headliners, old crow medicine show. while i wasn’t super familiar with any one performer’s songs, i was just excited to get a chance to visit such a historic music venue. our evening at the ryman with a few dozen of our (mostly) blue-haired friends was nothing short of memorable. in fact, i’d say it’s definitely in the top three things i’ve done in nashville thus far. and as if the visit alone would have been enough, this happened:

[time out 2.5: you guys, i uploaded my very first video on youtube all by myself. i feel so techy.]

that’s old crow medicine show singing “wagon wheel” (made more famous by darius rucker, read more about the history of the song here, it’s pretty interesting!) and while you can’t see him, hidden amongst the seven members of the band is winston marshall of mumford and sons. because, why not? mind = blown.

following the show, we headed back to the car, drove home, changed into pj’s, and watched the latest episode of parenthood before calling it a night.

we awoke to a crisp and overcast saturday morning (again, fall, so nice of you to accompany me here). we threw on clothes and caffeinated ourselves at bongo java before venturing over to radner lake for a little morning stroll. though the views were slightly hidden from behind the lifting fog, i still managed to snap a few picturesque shots of the scenery. honestly, the photos don’t do the park justice. i literally felt like i had stepped into an ansel adams portrait.

finding fall

radner lake trail

after our jaunt, we stopped by B’s friend kyle’s house. during football season, he has a long-standing tradition of making pancakes on saturday mornings in honor of game day. it’s an open-door policy, so people weave in and out of the apartment as they please. kyle’s in the kitchen flipping flapjacks and friends from all walks of life line the living room, coffee in hand, clad in their team’s colors and swag. we visited for 30 minutes or so before taking off again for our brunch date with the girls (the girls being A, C & N, friends of B’s who have become friends of mine through time spent together over the course of my various trips).

per usual, tavern was hopping. but we passed the 45-minute wait time by catching each other up on our respective lives and discussing upcoming thanksgiving plans. by the time we were seated, we were starving! we ordered a mixture of breakfast and lunch dishes and after devouring my “monkey bowl,” i left full and satisfied. at nearly 2 p.m., B and i returned home for a little R&R before i got ready for my big evening out.

and by big evening out, i mean, i was going to be C’s plus one to a charity event hosted at his boss’ house. so i needed to ensure that i at least looked the part. luckily, this was the kind of charity event where jeans are acceptable, because, it’s nashville and well, awesome. they also catered in BBQ from both notorious p.i.g. (i mean, how great is that name?) and edley’s. YUM. C picked me up and we drove over to the event. though it was dark, i could tell that the home was beautiful, they even had valet!

the event itself was held in a tent out back. inside were rented tables and chairs, belly bars and four big screen tvs in every corner broadcasting that evening’s college football match-ups (mostly SEC, because duh). there were also two full open bars and the fanciest port-a-potties that i’ve ever seen. over the course of the evening, i mixed, mingled, and met a dozen of C’s colleagues (and their respective plus ones). i even made friends with complete strangers after i had accidentally backed into their conversation, then stayed to participate in it as well (what? they were discussing book club and i was high off of my recent time with gone girl). there was also a celeb sighting –scarlett from the show nashville, who was rocking a seriously impressive side braid (someone had to point her out to me, i unfortunately don’t watch the show). anyway, the event was a lot of fun and i was proud of myself for holding my own. i just wish i had gone back for seconds on that BBQ…

we arrived back at the house around midnight and it was clear that it was time for this carriage to turn back into a pumpkin. so C and i said our goodbyes and i was passed out soon thereafter.

sunday came just a little too soon for my personal taste and the accompanying rainy weather wasn’t exactly a motivating factor to get us out of bed. but B and i brushed our hair and the sleep from our eyes, got dressed, stopped by crema (nash has the BEST hipster coffee shops) and went to sunday service at her home church, midtown fellowship. still slightly exhausted from the night before, i suggested that we spend the remainder of the day indoors, in front of her big screen, watching football and/or whatever bravo had to offer. she immediately agreed. we stopped by whiskey kitchen on the way home for to-go lunch orders and came home where we spent the remainder of the afternoon cat-napping and watching a variety of programming that ranged from everything from bring it on to the 49’ers vs. saints game. a short venture out to trader joe’s and whole foods around 5 p.m. ensured that we were properly fueled for the remainder of our evening and a shower made me feel like a whole new woman, too. in anticipation of my (unfortunate) early morning departure the next day, i packed up and set out my airplane outfit before we called it a night.

B dropped me back off at the same curb she had picked me up from just three days before about an hour and a half before my flight. we said our goodbyes (wahhh) and i trotted inside only to find one of the longest lines through security that i had ever seen. and on top of that, one check of the departures screen and i learned that my flight had been delayed over an hour (double wahhh). but what are you gonna do? so after finally making it past the tsa officials, i made a pit-stop to starbucks and parked myself at gate c20 while i gave my mom a call to recount the tales of my weekend away. luckily that passed a good amount of time because about an hour and fifteen minutes after our original departure time were we finally boarding the plane.

based on head winds or tail winds or time travel or whatever, it takes longer to get back to san diego from nashville. like almost an hour, you guys. it’s so strange. anyway, i unfortunately finished my book a bit prematurely of our landing so i was forced to spend the remainder of our time in the air drinking sprite zeros and listening to the lady next to me click the keys of her computer working on some sort of report that looked fairly important. did i mention that i volunteered for the middle seat? it was closer to the front of the plane, so opportunity cost, y’all.

and despite the tardy take-off, we managed to land only about an hour after originally projected. momma was there waiting curbside to scoop me up and take me home. and just like that, it was back to reality. i spent the remainder of the day unpacking, catching up on my DVR, and attending an afternoon studio barre class. it’s always nice to have the rest of monday afternoon to re-acclimate to non-vacation life.

and that’s how i spent my sixth weekend in nashville, guys. it was a little mix of old and new all set to the tune of some deliciously fall-like weather.

a big thank to B for hosting me yet again and for making this particular trip so fun and memorable. i love you, friend!

p.s. is it too early to start planning my spring visit? nah, course not.

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