Nashville Bound!

Now that our children are all driving and two are off to college (Geaux Tigers!) my husband decided that we needed to trade in my suburban (soccer mom car) and get something smaller.  I love my new car!!  He gave me a BMW X6 and it is perfect!  Next thing you know we are telling our children good-bye, throwing our suitcases in the back and heading to Nashville!

We decided to follow Natchez Trace  most of the way between New Orleans and Nashville.  It was a beautiful drive. We saw wild turkeys, deer and beautiful scenery.

We enjoy staying in boutique hotels.  In Nashville we chose to stay at The Hayes St. Hotel.  The staff was very friendly and helpful.  The interior decor was modern with a twist of southern style.  It has porch swings inside with furniture that makes you feel like you are home.  The location of the hotel is within walking distance to some restaurants, bars and music row.  The hotel is not walking distance to the main part of Broadway where all of the action is happening, but, its a quick drive or Über ride away.  They are a dog friendly hotel as well!

One of our favorite spots to grab quick bites and drinks was The Row.  The Row has a large beer menu, great cocktail menu and the best bartenders who are full of Nashville knowledge!  My favorite (pictured below) is the Tn Blood Moon which is Picker’s Blood Orange Vodka and Yazoo Hefeweizen. It’s a Spirit Blended Beer and it was fabulous!  We enjoyed listening to live music and watching the World Cup!  Great Atmosphere.  The first time we went to The Row we just ordered an appetizer of pimento cheese, salsa and bottomless chips to share.  The next time we went we had to taste their version of Hot Chicken that is the thing to order in Nashville.  At The Row they serve their Hot Chicken with a spicy hoe cake, honey, slaw and a side.  Being from New Orleans we thought we should most definitely order the “hot” Hot Chicken.  Well, it wasn’t what we expected…it was more mild.  But, it was delicious!  Just needed to add a little kick of Tabasco!  During the weekend we made our way to Hattie B’s to try their famous Hot Chicken!  One tip that I have is to remember when you go that the line will be long, but it will go fairly quickly.  The line is outside and the dining area is also outside with limited seating.  It is important to be open to sharing a table with strangers if you are planning to dine in.  You can also order online or call in for togo orders.  Believe me when I tell you that it is worth the wait.  We decided to get the “hot” again, but this time we ordered the sandwich  that was served on a Brioché bun, topped with slaw, a side of fresh cut fries and a cold local beer.  So yummy!  Another fun place that we happened upon was Acme Feed and Seed.  When we first walked up we thought that it may be a tourist trap, but we saw that they had a rooftop bar facing the Cumberland River where they had a boat racing event happening. We were greeted as soon as we walked in the door with a smile.  We asked about the rooftop bar and he explained that there was a yoga class taking place until 11:00.  He showed us to the bar and handed us menus to look at while we waited.  Well, immediately I spotted the frozen moonshine lemonade.  Oh my goodness, this drink was so good and refreshing on such a hot and humid day!  We decided to have brunch and shared the Damn Good, a bowl with pinto beans, pulled pork, and bbq sauce topped with two fried eggs.  Very good and very satisfying.  After eating, we grabbed our drinks and headed up to the rooftop to enjoy a couple more cocktails and the boat race.  The Acme Feed and Seed had great atmosphere, friendly staff and a unique menu.  Definitely a place we will re-visit when we return to Nashville.

My husband and I were only in Nashville for two days so our time was limited.  We wanted to be sure to see the Grand Ole Opry.  We went for the tour, not really knowing what to expect, thinking that it may be corny.  Well, to our surprise it was fun and we enjoyed the tour and all that we saw.  Keep in mind that we are country music fans.  Seeing where the stars enter the stage, where they get ready, and where they hangout until it’s their turn to go on stage was exciting.  After the tour we purchased tickets for the show that evening.  It was a sold out show featuring the grand daughter and daughter of Hank Williams and Hank Williams, Jr. It was a good time!  It may not be something that I will do again, but it was definitely worth experiencing!

While walking up and down Broadway shopping, listening to music and people watching we were also searching for a place to sit down, grab a cold cocktail and enjoy the World Cup (we are huge soccer fans).  We found that place in Jason Aldean’s new bar, Jason Aldean’s Kitchen + Rooftop Bar.  The downstairs bartenders were hit and miss with the service and a smile, but the music was great and so were the cocktails.  We did try to go upstairs to grab a bite to eat and check out the atmosphere, but the wait was over an hour for lunch.  So we decided to go find a different spot.  We will give it a try next time.

Having our car with us was great because it allowed us to drive around the first day and get our bearings straight, scoping out all of the places we wanted to be sure to hit.  We also enjoyed driving up and down the Music Row area seeing all of the congratulatory banners for all of the stars who won CMA awards.

One other place that we visited was The Hatch Show Print.  We actually just happened upon this store and office, but it was really cool to see.  Two of our children are artist and have made a few of their own print stamps, so it was great to see such a large production and sharing the information with our children.

Nashville is definitely a place that I would like to return.  A few things to keep in mind when you are planning your trip to Nashville.  Staying at our hotel was a great experience, but staying closer to the nightlife and the busier end of Broadway may be a better choice for our next trip.  Be prepared to wait on tables and spots at the bars, just relax, kick up your boots and wait a while – it will be worth the wait.  One final tip that I will also remember for my self, try to be in Nashville the weekend of the CMA’s.  We have friends who were and they cannot wait to return the same time next year.  They said the music in every bar is amazing and the atmosphere is full of excitement. No matter when you decide to travel to this southern gem…Nashville will not disappoint.

 

 

 

Boston

I have a love for city life and all that it brings to the table.  I enjoy learning about the different cultures, walking through the paths of the history, experiencing the food, and getting inspired through the architecture.  One city that we recently traveled to was Boston, MA.  This is a city that much like New Orleans is very rich in history and culture.

After lots of searching, reading reviews of where to stay and why we chose The Boxer, a boutique hotel in downtown Boston on Merrimac Street. We chose this hotel because we wanted something small and intimate and we wanted to be centrally located where we could walk or ride a bike anywhere within the city. It is very close to the TD Garden which hosts basketball games, concerts, etc.  The Boxer has a wonderful restaurant, The Finch Boston North End,  with a nice variety of choices on their menu such as, clam chowder, crab cakes, fish and chips and burgers.  Their mixologist behind the bar are top notch.  We especially enjoyed their French 75 and Vieux Carré.

Blog Boston 1

 

We spent a lot of time walking and I suggest that you bring comfortable shoes.  Walking is definitely the best way to see everything.  One of my favorite stops was the Boston Public Market on Hanover Street.  This market is full of fresh and seasonal foods and products from local vendors.  I could have spent hours in this place.  It was absolutely inspiring.  There is shopping, dining, art, coffee, cocktails, etc.  You name it, they have it!

We enjoyed exploring this city, looking at the architecture, statues and landscaping.  Boston is a very clean city full of history and flowers everywhere!  We stopped in several hole in the wall bars for seasonal local craft beers and of course, being tourists, we stopped in where everyone knows your name…Cheers!

The food in Boston was very good!  We enjoyed clam chowders, lobster bisque, lobster rolls, and oysters.  The only thing that I can say that all of the above mentioned menu items needed was Tabasco. Being from New Orleans, we like our food to have a little kick of spice added.  We were so happy to find that every restaurant that we dined in had Tabasco!

The presence of Italian heritage was huge.  I truly enjoyed walking through Little Italy and soaking up all that it had to offer. We stopped at a little restaurant called Antico Forno for a quick pizza and glass of wine for lunch.  We ordered a Vesuvio pizza.  This pizza was made with fresh made crust, topped with fresh mozzarella, ricotta, prosciutto, roasted peppers and cherry tomatoes.  So delicious and not too heavy!  After lunch we continued walking, seeing the sights, shopping and people watching.  We stopped in for a cup of cappuccino at the Caffe dello sport.  This was one of my favorite stops in Little Italy.  First, they won me over with such an extensive coffee menu.  Then I noticed that every T.V. had soccer games playing!  Love that!  Finally, there was a group of elderly gentlemen who appeared to be regulars.  They were all speaking Italian.  It started with just a couple of them and grew to a group of 5.  They were laughing, enjoying soccer and enjoying whatever was in their flask along with their coffee.  These men were so happy to be together, hanging out, enjoying each other’s company.  Finally the last stop for us that day was the infamous Mike’s Pastry.  Just one word…WOW!  The displays were amazing to look at and made it very hard to choose.  It was like walking into Baskin Robbin’s where there are 31 flavors to choose from only there were more flavors and they were all cannolis! We picked out two to share, an espresso and a chocolate chip.  Well, needless to say we felt obligated to return on our way to the airport to pick up a couple of dozen cannolis for our children and friends to enjoy.  When we arrived  the line was out the door, but it moved incredibly fast.  So if you go to indulge at Mike’s and the line is long, no worries!  Their friendly staff is quick and very knowledgeable!  They also pack to travel!

We love sports!  Especially soccer, football and baseball (in that order)!  So of course we had to go see the Red Sox play in Fenway Park!  It was so much fun!  Our seat locations were ok, but the excitement in the air was the best part!  They, like the Chicago Cubs, have some serious Red Sox fans!

 

 

Our get-a-way to Boston was definitely one to remember and we will most definitely return.  I would actually love to maybe head to the east coast during the holidays.  maybe do a combination of New York and Boston. My biggest tips would be to check out some of the boutique hotels and to wear some comfortable shoes.  The best way to explore this city and all that it has to offer is on foot!