Wandering Post: Beaching on a Budget

My happy place is the beach. It is where I feel most relaxed, no worries about work, school or life. Just the simple crashing of the waves and heat from the sun on my skin (that rarely sees anything but florescent lights). 

The only thing Nashville is missing is a beach. Don’t get me wrong we have some beautiful lakes within an hour drive. Thanks to my friends, I have only recently discovered how beautiful the Tenneessee River can be and has quickly climbed the ranks in my favorite escape vacation places. I love visiting these places and have made some fantastic memories on these trips they don’t quite feed my soul like the beach. 

At my last job it was a running joke that I always had my next beach trip planned before I got back from the last one. That’s semi-true. Knowing that there is a beach trip on the calendar, even if it’s 6 months out, makes 50 hour work weeks, 6 hours of night classes, and countless hours of homework more bearable. Since I love the beach so much I’ve had to find a way to maximize my time off work and budget to work together. 

Thankfully Southwest runs direct flights from BNA to ECP (Nashville International to Panama City Airport). This flight turns an 8 hour drive into a 1 hour flight. If you watch the sales you can catch these flights cheap. My round trip flight for this weekend was only $160.  I understand I’m just one person but making an 8 hour drive into a 1 hour flight is well worth the money.  

The next problem is that once you’re here, you have to be able to get around. I looked at Ubebred but a few uber rides can add up quickly. The last few times I have come down I have rented cars using Pricelines “Name your own price” tool.  This trip I have car from Thursday at 9 AM till Sunday night. 4 days for $139. 

For me this is ideal, I only have to take 2 days off work, get to enjoy 4 full days in my happy place for the reasonable cost of $299. If I had driven my vehicle down here it would have been at least 4 tanks of gas round trip, at around $35 a tank I really am have paid $159 and saved a vacation day I would have used to drive here.

Next you have to find where to stay. VRBO or Airbnb you can usually find very reasonable rates on places to stay. So gets group of friends together, split the condo, and make memories.

So get out there and wander! You need a break every once in a while. Nashville will be there welcoming us home- a little tanner and a little more relaxed. 

See you all on Sunday! Hope you have a smile half as big as my nephew’s is when he’s playing in the waves.

 

NASHVILLE (As Seen on TV)

When the television show Nashville debuted in 2012 I imagine a lot of locals had the same feelings I did.  A little excited that Nashville was getting some prime time attention, worried that the show would bring the masses to our local haunts, scared that our charming Southern accents would be very poorly represented on a big stage (ie. Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama- Come on Reese, you’re from Nashville!)  Or worst of all, not give our beloved city the justice it was due.

I DVR-ed the first episode- waited the appropriate amount of time to not have to sit through any commercials-  grabbed a nice glass of wine and hunkered down to watch the premier. I remember thinking after that first episode how amazing Nashville looked on TV.  The sweeping skylines over the Cumberland River, neon lights on Broadway as Rayna and Deacon headed over to Tootsies, the grandeur of The Grand Ole Opry, and the intimacy of the Bluebird were all there in my living room.

I am of the mindset that the show has done great things for Nashville.  There maybe more people to smile politely and say hello on Friday nights on Broadway now but if you want to buy a $5 beer, might as well buy it in my city.  More than anything I love sharing a little bit of the city I love so much with the rest of the world.  So for the rest of you that love Nashville the city or love Nashville the show, I’m going to give you a local’s insight (and tips) on some of the locations highlighted on the show.

Shelby Street Pedestrian Bridge

Episode: Premier, Rayna and Deacon share a moment on the bridge before they head to Tootsies

Local View: The pedestrian bridge it not only a convenient way to get across the Cumberland to East Nashville but it has some amazing views.  It is lit up every night, sometimes seasonally matching.  There is a event every fall on the bridge called “Wine on River” that is a must do for every local. This year it is on September 10th-so mark your calendars now.

downtown-nashvilles-skyline-and-the-shelby-street-pedestrian-bridge-03142015-1205922331-default-

Ryman Auditorium

Episodes: Multiple, most notably the Edgehill 25th Anniversary Show

Local View: Originally the building served at a church but the Ryman we know and love was the birthplace of country music.  All the legends played here- Johnny and June, Elvis, Patsy Cline, Willie…the list goes on. The Grand Ole Opry has moved out of town near the Gaylord Opryland Hotel but luckily for us, the Ryman was renovated and reopened in 1994.  It’s one of the best places for acoustics in the world and it should be on your bucket list to see a show here. Any show. And don’t forget the Hatch Show print, they are one of a kind and I promise will be a conversation piece hanging in your home.

Ryman

hatch

Lower Broadway (Tootsies, Tequila Cowboy, Rippys)

Episodes: Avery’s first “big gig” at Tequila Cowboy, Will’s downtown debut show  at Rippy’s, Gunnar & Will crash open mic night at Tootsies

Local View: Lower Broadway is quintessential Nashville.  With the Batman building standing out above the neon lights there are dozens of bars, all with live music-day and night- you can wander into.  If you catch a show at the Ryman its a quick walk down the hill before you are right in the thick of it.  Recently, rooftop bars have been becoming very prevalent giving you a perfect city view and people watching perspective. Acme Feed & Seed,George Jones Museum (bar), Tootsies, and Rock Bottom Brewery all have a great rooftop you should check out.

MyItCity_ETubbs

Bluebird Cafe-

Episodes:All of them, Gunnar and Scarlett work here at the beginning of the series. Rayna, Deacon, Scarlett, Gunnar, Juliette, the whole casts plays here at one point or another.

Local View:  The television show makes the Bluebird look more like a restaurant and less like the music venue it really is.  The Bluebird is known as a writers’ haven that have also lead to industry breakthrough for some notable names, like Garth Brooks. Tickets go on sale through their website one week ahead of time. There are first come, first serve for pew seats but I suggest getting there early if you really want to go because there will be a line. The new Foo Fighters song “Congregation” was in part inspired by the Ryman but also inspired by the Round nights at the Bluebird. If there’s a round night at the Ryman try to get tickets. Writers gather together and take turns talking about their songs and playing them for the group. Another plus is you never really know who might show up and play.

IMG_6921

Percy Warner Park-

Episode: Rayna and Deacon talk on the steps at Percy Warner park in Season 1

Local View: Percy & Edwin Warner parks offer a variety of hiking, jogging, equestrian trails, athletic fields, and a golf course.  It also is one of the few parks that allow dogs to go on the trails with you.  It’s the perfect way to spend a weekend when the weather is nice. Make sure you check the trail level before you start out so you don’t end up on an advanced trail when you just wanted a leisurely walk.

MG_4698_699_700_tonemapped

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Things to Do on Your Nashville Bachelorette Party

If you are looking for the perfect place to have your destination bachelorette party look no further than Nashville, Tennessee.  Nashville was recognized in 2016 as the BEST  US city to spend a weekend which means it’s the best place for your destination bachelorette party.  How often do you get to plan a weekend trip with all your best friends?  Don’t waste this opportunity anywhere else than the best city in the US to visit.  Nashville is centrally located for easy travel no matter where your bridesmaid live and I am going to give you the best places to hit to ensure you have the perfect last fling before the ring. So go ahead, get those matching tanks printed up and tell your girls to get ready for a weekend full of memories. Here are the top 10 things you need add to your itinerary for your perfect Nashville Destination Bachelorette Party:

  1. Book your bridal party a spot on The Nashville Pedal Tavern

It’s the best way to do a bar crawl in Nashville. There are four different routes you can take depending on where you want to go.  The best part is it’s BYOB! Pack a cooler of your favorite beverages for the ride!

tavern

http://www.nashvillepedaltavern.com/

2.  Friday night dinner at Cabana midtown

You can make reservations here for your own Cabana.  Each Cabana has an iPhone hook up so you can play your own music.  They have an ample martini menu and it’s the perfect place to catch up with everyone Friday night!

http://www.opentable.com/cabana

Cabana

3. Get your 90s throw back on at Crazy Town on Broadway

Who didn’t love the music of the 90s. Crazy Town on Broadway has a floor dedicated to the golden age of Boy Bands.

4. Sing Karaoke and ride the mechanical bull at the Wild Beaver

If you didn’t ride a bull on your own Bachelorette party, then did you really experience it all? Don’t have this regret later in life.

5. Spend the Afternoon at 12th South: Grab some lunch and margaritas at Tacoria del Sol then wander into the boutiques for some shopping (be sure the visit Reese Witherspoon’s store Draper James). Finish the afternoon with some Jeni’s Ice Cream before heading back Downtown.

Draper-James-Reese-Witherspoon-12-South-Nashville-8-480x320

6. Visit the Little Harpeth Brewery Tap room

Nashville has some awesome craft breweries but my favorite to visit is Little Harpeth. Not only are their brews amazing, they have an amazing view of the city in their tap room. Sample to local beers and get some great photos while doing it.

http://nashvilleguru.com/45280/little-harpeth-brewing-taproomLittle Harpeth Tap ROom

7. Book a tour of the historic Ryman Auditorium

You can’t visit Nashville and not see where the legends stood.  Take a break from the bar scene to see the iconic Ryman Auditorium.

http://ryman.com/tours

Ryman

8. The Nashville Food Scene is booming right now. I’m going to recommend a few places for Saturday night dinner with various ranges of cost. If you pick any of these you will not be disappointed.

Etch http://www.etchrestaurant.com/

Rolf & Daughters www.rolfanddaughters.com

Tavern www.mstreetnashville.com/tavern/

City House www.cityhousenashville.com

The 404 Kitchen www.the404nashville.com/kitchen

Josephine www.josephineon12th.com/

Pinewood Social www.pinewoodsocial.com/

Chauhan Ale & Masala House www.chauhannashville.com/

9. Honky Tonk the night away on Broadway.

Start at Acme Feed and Seed closest to the river because if you’re not there early you will waste too much time standing in line.  Head straight up to the rooftop for some good group photos. Don’t spend too much time at any one bar on Broadway. There are dozens of bars with live music. Grab a cheap pitcher of beer at Paradise Park the head up to Honky Tonk Central for 3 floors of live music. Make sure you don’t miss Robert’s Western World across the street.

broadway

10. Sunday Brunch at The Southern.

I save the Southern for Sunday because they take reservations. There’s nothing worse than trying to recover from the night before but having to wait an hour for your table.  The Southern has an amazing menu and everyone will thank you for getting to sleep a little longer before brunch.

the-southern

http://thesouthernnashville.com/reservations/

 

Spirit of Nashville Giveaway

It’s Friday!  As a thank you for hanging out with me all week I want to giveaway this set of framed “Spirit of Nashville” prints.

Leave a comment below to enter or like this post on my Facebook!

The Spirit of Nashville prints are designed by Nashville’s own Anderson Design Group.  They currently offer over 150 prints that perfectly capture Nashville’s unique style and history.

Winner will be selected Monday evening!

(Shipping to US residents only)

Nashville Hot Chicken(salad)

Nashville Hot Chicken has become a trademark “Nashville” dish.  Around the city most restaurants have taken their own spin on the dish.  For breakfast, Biscuit Love offers the “Princess” which serves hot chicken on a biscuit, drizzled with honey, garnished with a pickle. For lunch you can visit one of the many new Nashville Hot Chicken joints around town like Hattie B’s or Party Fowl.  If you are looking for a sophisticated twist for dinner you can start off at Josephine’s with “Nashville Hot Scrapple”. (Note: I’m not exactly sure what “scrapple” is but hey, maybe that’s what you’re into)

Any true Nashville Native should be able to tell you the original place that blessed us with Nashville Hot Chicken,a little place outside of town, Prince’s.  Nashville folklore weaves a tale of womanizer Thorton Prince coming home the morning after a night of escapades to an angry girlfriend who wanted a little revenge.  She made Prince fried chicken for breakfast but added some unexpected heat with cayenne pepper trying to make her beau suffer a little for his actions.  Her plan backfired, Prince loved it and when he opened his first restaurant,BBQ Chicken Shack,  it went on the menu.

Whether this legend is true or not we may never know. What is a fact though is that Prince’s Hot Chicken was awarded the James Beard Award in 2013 and is credited with inventing the dish.  Thanks to Thorton Prince (or his fed-up girlfriend) all across the globe you can find Nashville style “hot” fried chicken.

Here in the south, when the oil is heating up in the cast iron skillet and the chicken is being breaded, your mouth starts to water with anticipation for an amazing dinner.  While making dinner my family decided to experiment a little with our own style of Nashville Hot Chicken. I wanted to take that one step further and expand to summer dish we all love, chicken salad.

Below you will find my recipe for Nashville Hot Chicken(salad) and biscuits.  Try it out and become part of the Nashville Hot Chicken craze!

Ingredients:

for chicken salad:  

1/2 cup water

4 cups flour

1 cup corn starch

Salt

Pepper

Garlic

Onion Powder

6 eggs

1 lb of chicken legs (bone in prefered), let the chicken sit out of the fridge for about 20 minutes before you put it in the pan

Cayenne Pepper to taste (a little goes a long way, start off easy)

1 cup Lefty Spicy Chicken N Fish  Mix (optional)

3 Tablespoons Brown Sugar

1-2 Cans Crisco

1/4 cup mayonnaise

4 pickle spears, diced

for biscuits:

2 + 1/4 cups of Bisquick Mix

2/3 cup of buttermilk

Directions: In a ziplock bag combine flour, corn starch, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, brown sugar,garlic, onion powder and Leftys.  Blend the spices together well.  Heat up your frying pan on medium high heat.  Separate egg whites from the egg yolks.  Place the egg yolks only in a large bowl and combine with 1/2 cup water to create the egg wash.  Coat the legs in the egg wash and then put in the ziplock bag and give it a some good ole Shake N’ Bake action (shake it up real hard). Put Crisco into the hot frying pan to melt.  Once the crisco has liquified slowly put the well coated chicken in to the pan. Turn often to keep an even browning.   Cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes – internal temperature should be at 165 degrees.

Immediately after you take the chicken out of the pan sprinkle with a dash of cayenne pepper,brown sugar and Lefty’s if desired.

Shred the chicken off the bone into a bowl, add diced pickles and mayonnaise.

for biscuits:

Now these are from scratch biscuits but I promise, they are better than the can & a whole quicker.  Combine the bisquick and buttermilk and knead into a dough ball.  Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and roll out the dough to about a 1/2″+ thick.  Using a small cup press out biscuits and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Repeat until all the dough has been used to form biscuits. Bake for 9 minutes @ 450 degrees.

Now put your freshly made Nashville Hot Chicken Salad on the biscuit and enjoy!  Maybe pair it with a nice Yazoo Dos Perros to have the full Nashville experience!

Nashville Loving & Living

Hey Ya’ll! (let me translate that for all the non-Southerns: Hello Everyone!)

Nashville is America’s “it” city right now. For those of us that have called Nashville home since childhood, we really never saw that coming. Of course I have always loved my hometown. I grew up in what is endearingly refer to as L.A. (Lower Antioch), went to high school in downtown, and- after a brief stint living in Alabama- moved home four years ago to Green Hills.  When I moved home I had no idea how much more I would fall in love with Nashville and how much I would love hosting friends so they could experience MY city. Luckily being the “it” city gives me ample opportunity to host friends who want to visit for the weekend. I have the Nashville tour spots down to a ritual now.

Since I have come home to Nashville I have been lucky enough to see artist perform at some of the country’s top music venues. I have seen comics who were new to the industry at Zanies who are now walking red carpets in Hollywood.  I’ve spent Saturdays with friends tasting the local beers at breweries around town before we went Honky Tonking on Broadway.  As an avid sports fan I also enjoy supporting my hometown teams, from the NCAA National Championship Vandy baseball team to the Preds who Nashville fought to keep and yes, I also frequent the Titans games and always enjoy myself.

Probably my favorite aspect of getting to call the current “it” city my hometown is the influx we have had of amazing restaurants.  I’ve been able to eat so many amazing, unique dishes.  There are just SO many fantastic places to eat.  You also never know who you are going to bump into at one of these places.  I met DAVE GROHL waiting for my hot chicken one night! Dave Grohl! Maybe it’s just me but I probably watched the “Learn to Fly” video 100 times in a time before YouTube existed so this moment for me was amazing. I even broke the Nashville Native unspoken rule of not bothering celebrities for photos. He was in Nirvana, I had to.  (Our picture is on the about me page if you want proof!)

I want to share all of this with you and hopefully after each post hopefully you can see Nashville through my eyes and maybe fall in love with it a little more too.  Whether you are coming to visit for a weekend, moving here to start a new chapter of your life, or have lived here your entire life I promise you, Nashville has something to offer you!

Let’s Wander Nashville together!

xo-Nickolette