Ever since I knew what Nashville was, I’ve wanted to go there….
The land of country music, old farm houses, rolling hills,vintage flea markets, porch swings and fireflies. I think I should have grown up in the south… seriously. Aside from the Birkenstocks and my downhill ski racing background, everything about me screams the south, and nothing about me screams Portland.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Oregon and the PNW, but aside from the Birkenstocks and my downhill ski racing background…. everything about me screams the south, and nothing about me screams Portland. I am the antithesis of the modern, minimalist, vegan, hipster, musician with an anything-goes personality… I’m an old fashion, eclectic, carnivore, conservative, athlete, with stubborn beliefs and a heart to base my opinions on the Scriptures.
As the country song goes…
“I love my boots broke in, I love my camo hat, don’t mind a little paint on my jeans, yeah I roll like that, I love driving my truck across the railroad tracks, If you hit it too quick, it’ll hit ya right back…”
I like swimming holes, corn on the cob, floral, harmonica, cowboy boots, quilts, fairs, history, old churches, old barns, old trucks, anything old, and even the humidity (since I’m always cold).
Roadtrip from Chicago to Nashville
A little over a week ago, Jer and I went to Chicago for the TLC Summer Block Party, which is basically just a giant promo event open to the public! We had to be in Santa Barbara for a wedding (Jer was the best man) 2 days after the event (and my birthday so happen to fall in between those days), so…. instead of flying home to Portland, and the driving back to Bend, and thennnn flying to Santa Barbara, we decided to make a trip out of it and spend a few days in Nashville! Jer and I had both never been there before, which is an extremely rare thing in our marriage because Jer has been basically everywhere, so we were stoked to make a little trip out of it!
After the Block Party, we wandered around Chicago that evening and found a fun country bar called Bub City that had live music. We stayed for a while (prob too late considering the lengthy drive ahead of us), and then headed back to our hotel in Chicago. We got a few hours of shut-eye, and woke up at the butt-crack of dawn to get our rental car and hit the road.
Eagle Creek Park
After about an hour and a half of driving… the 4 hours of sleep we got the night before and our lack of food and coffee caught up to us. We ended up pulling over at Eagle Creek Park in Indiana to take a 20-minute nap, which turned into a 45-minute nap. We just stumbled upon Eagle Creek while we were looking for a good spot to pull over, and we were surprised to find that it is the largest park in Indianapolis and one of the largest municipal parks in the US. It covers 1,400 acres of water and 3,900 acres of land and it was breathtaking. I was drooling at all the running trails and bridges. If we had more time we would have explored, but napping was the priority. We woke up from our famished and irritated which is never a good thing for Jer and I. Which brings me to….. our first every Waffle House experience!
I’ve always wanted to go to a Waffle House because my college cross country and track coach would always rave about them (he used to coach at Alabama). When we walked into the door 3 of the employees in excited unison said, “Welcome to Waffle House!” We sat down at the diner style stools and told the egger bodies behind the counter that had never been to a Waffle House before. To which they exclaimed, “WHAT?!? You’ve never been to a Waffle House?!” And then we got free breakfast:)
One of the things I love most about Instagram is how connect you feel when you are traveling. Whenever Jer and I post that we are in a new city, we always get flooded with the raddest suggestions of places to go, things to do, eat and see! So thank you to all of you that commented with your recommendations on my Instagram:)
As I was sifting through comments I came across one from someone who suggested stopping at the wall of dreams in Louisville, Kentucky. I looked it up and instantly had my heart set on the pit stop. Before scrolling down too far, look at the photo below and see if you can guess what Jer and I wrote on the wall!
Before we die…
Did you guess correctly?! I wrote that I wanted to, “Raise a family on Roloff Farms.” Jer wrote a “x2” next to it;) I also wrote, “Run a marathon,” and, of course… we had to write #beating50percent up there.
The Pharmacy Burger
No doubt one of the top restaurant recommendations we got was The Pharmacy Burger, so we made it our first stop. We headed straight for burgers and fries before even checking in to our Bed & Breakfast. Conveniently, it was just down the road from where we stayed in East Nashville. We walked in and Jer and I looked at each other in googly-eyed awe. Without saying a word we both said, “I love this place already.” And we only grew to love it more and more with time… We ate one of the best burgers of our
We scarfed down one of the best burgers of our lives and drank homemade orange cream soda which was too good to not make it on my snapchat story;) A few minutes after I posted the snapchat revealing our location, two sisters and their mom came up to us to say hi. They’ve watched LPBW for years, and both the girls follow me on social media and read AUJ POJ! Talking to them made me instantly love all Nashvillians. Their heart for Jesus, genuineness, and joy, was compelling and admirable. Here is a photo we snapped with the two sisters!! Aren’t they the cutest?!
Broadway Street aka live country music heaven
After Pharmacy burger we headed to our Bed & Breakfast to check in, meet the owners, change our clothes, and then we headed straight for downtown Nashville. Specifically, Broadways Street, which is where all the live country music happens. We went to the same bars that Tom Petty, Rascal Flatts, Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, Eric Church, Kid Rock and many more… Below is a photo Jer snapped of me from on top of the famous Tootsies – a historic honky-tonk 4-story bar, with different live bands playing on each floor. Every single bar on this street has live music every night. Wild! We also went to Robert’s Western World, which is a famous old school country bar that used to be a boot shop by day, and bar by night! After getting our fill of country music, we slammed some Mike’s Ice Cream and headed to our beautiful Bed & Breakfast for some much-needed sleep. WHAT. A. DAY.
When I was looking for places for us to stay in Nashville, this little gem popped up, and then a friend of mine that recently moved there recommended it! The Urban Cowboy originated as a Bed & Breakfast in Brooklyn, New York, but four months ago they opened up one in Nashville! This place has got to be one of the most unique places I have ever stayed in. We got to hear the full story of how The Urban Cowboy came to be, from the owner – Lyon Porter. He told us about how they acquired the Nashville location and turned this old Queen Anne Victorian Mansion into a Bed & Breakfast with 8 guest suites, 2 communal parlors, and an unbeatable aesthetic. Lyon did all of the interior design, and he referred to the style as, “Southwestern Deco.” I referred to it as, “glorious.”
Each room has its own clawfoot bathtub…. we definitely used this on our second night:)
We woke up to a spread of fruit, berries, pastries, and french press. MMMMMmmm…
Ok, now check this place out…
The name of our suite was, “The Muse.” Here are some photos of us playing in our room!
Since I missed about 10 days of teaching barre3 classes, I had to get a little work out in at least once while we were traveling. So I did an online class in our room! (I also got to guest-teach a barre3 class in Santa Barbara – which is where we headed after Nashville!) I can’t wait to come back to Nashville and guest teach a class at their studio!
We lingered in our room and enjoyed our B&B, while we made a lengthy list of all the things we aspired to do in Nashville (even though we knew we’d only be able to do a few of them). We only had two days in Nashville, but we wanted to see and do everything we possibly could!
This was out hit list of places (in this order):
- Barista Parlor
- Imogene + Willie
- Burger Up
- “I Believe In Nashville” Sign
- Savant Vintage Store
- Franklin, Tennessee
- Leipers Fork
- Driving for hours in the country
- Gray’s Restaurant
- Pinewood Social
This is the wall is in an area of Nashville called, “12 South.” The wall is attached to Reese Witherspoon’s store – Draper James, and right across from it is the “I Believe in Nashville” sign. Imogene +Willie is up the street, and Burger Up (where we had lunch) is down the street.
Franklin, Tennessee aka what made us fall in love with Nashville the most…
@aujb on Snapchat
Tonsssss of people were telling us to go to Franklin, Tennessee if we had time. We almost didn’t go because it’s about 30 minutes outside of Nashville and we had to return our rental car by a certain time so we only had 2 hours to go out there and back in Nashville to drop off our car. Per usual, we decided to push our timeframe and headed for Franklin. About 10 minutes into the drive we began relentlessly expressing how glad we were that we did!!!! IT IS FREAKIN BEAUTIFUL OUT THERE! Do any of ya’ll live out there?! Seriously…. I want to come stay with you. WHEN we go back to Nashville, this is the place I want to stay and explore more. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s a slice of heaven. I wish I had more photos but we didn’t stop driving because we had to get the rental car back in time…
We got to the rental place to return the car 5 minutes before the closed. I raced inside and quickly apologized for our tardiness, and the guy at the desk responded with, “You know there’s a dropbox if you got here after we closed….” I blurted out, “Wait so you mean we could technically have the car the rest of the night as long as we drop it off sometime tonight?” He smiled, “Well you aren’t supposed to tell me that….”
I dashed out the door, we got back in the car, and headed straight back to Franklin. This time, we had some time to snap a few picks. But mostly we took a ton of video footage for a vlog – coming soon on TLCMe:)
We just kept driving and driving and it only got more and more beautiful the further out we went! Before we knew it we lost sunlight, and instead the road was lit by fireflies. The images of the Franklin, Tennessee countryside and driving around with my love, will forever be engraved in my memory.
Captivated by the beauty around us… we forgot to eat, so I “googled mapped” the closest restaurant to us when we pulled into the town of Franklin. Gray’s – It did not disappoint. We had these terribly delicious fried cheese balls and Buttermilk Fried Chicken for dinner, while we sipped on “The Top Rated Old-Fashion In the South,” and watched kids running around in the streets of this quaint, safe, charming town (most of them playing Pokemon Go of course…)
I snapchatted our “Old-Fashion’s” and the menu of the restaurant, and one couple that lived in Franklin ended up coming to the restaurant just to meet us. They follow Beating50Percent and just completed the 7-Day Marriage challenge. We were so encouraged by our conversation with them, and the opportunity to put faces and personality to the little square profile images on Instagram. We talked with them for a bit before our dinner arrived, and got to hear some of their story. As I was listening, I was compelled to thank the Lord for the blessings that social media has brought into our life. So often I get frustrated, down, hurt, or feel defeated by the criticism, harshness, hate, and just plain mean words said about and against me on social media.. but it’s moments like this when I realize – It’s worth it.
After dinner at Gray’s, I posted a snapchat inviting any Nashvillians to come say hi at Pinewood Social (a top recommendation on our list). It was an honor to meet women hat have been following AUJ POJ for years and have been inspired or impacted by “ALWAYS MORE.”
Some of them enough to tattoo it on their body!!!! HOW COOL IS THIS!? I’m not gonna lie… she is tempting me. That typewriter font and everything? Ah! It was an honor to meet you Kendra!!
A Birthday Bath…
By the time we got back to the Urban Cowboy, it was past midnight. Which means…. it was my 25th birthday!!! Jer and I took a bath in our claw tub to celebrate my 24th year of life, and ring in my 25th year! July 19th 2016 – What a joy-filled day.
Also, if you missed my last blog post, check out my birthday campaign for charity:water. 100% of donations go to clean water projects. I didn’t quite reach my goal, but my campaign is still open for a couple months after my birthday so you can still donate >>HERE<<.
I love you Nashville, and I WILL be back.
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