see the world

aka music city

My daughter and I visited Nashville this summer. It was a quick, overnight jaunt. Nashville is approximately three and a half hours from Lexington, our home.

I have asked myself….. “Self, why don’t you go to Nashville more often?” Truthfully, I’m not sure. Maybe because I don’t go anywhere outside a 90 miles radius all that often? I travel to Louisville all the time. But my son is a student at the University of Louisville, so I have a reason to visit. I go to Cincinnati a few times a year. But it’s much closer than Nashville. Atlanta? I was there a couple years back. But Nashville? I seem to have passed through a few times but never really have stopped much to investigate.

We had a purpose in going. My daughter just began studying at New York University. Due to the distance from Lexington to New York, as well as budgetary reasons, we were unable to visit the campus before she started there this semester. But, fortunately for us, NYU offered an orientation type event in different regions. Nashville was the closest offered to us, so I decided….hey, why not? My daughter happily agreed it was a good idea for us to attend.

The NYU event was on a Sunday afternoon. Not wanting to spend a great deal of money, yet wanting to at least enjoy a nice overnight trip, I decided to book a hotel for Saturday night. I searched a few online sites, and quickly realized Nashville is not the most inexpensive place to visit. At least not in the summer. After finding a deal utilizing Groupon, I booked a room at the Hotel Preston.

The Hotel Preston bills itself as a boutique hotel. Which appeals to me. Boutique. What fashionable woman doesn’t prefer, if possible, to purchase her clothes at a boutique, rather than a chain store? Same goes for hotels, in my book. So, like I said above….I booked it. [sorry for the ridiculous banter]

I stayed at an Aloft Hotel while on a business trip to Oklahoma City. I have visited the 21c Hotel in Louisville. The 21c Hotels are an “upscale” boutique hotel so it is a step above, so to speak. So in saying all this, my point is I felt I knew what a boutique hotel was all about.

The Hotel Preston, while not fancy, is a bit quirky. In a good sort of way. It is somewhat vintage. Somewhat modern. A good mix. There was a framed photo of Johnny Cash in our room. And Naomi Judd.

When seeking out things to do, I of course, researched the music scene a bit. Not knowing the best places to go for live music, I came upon a few venues. The one I felt would be the most enjoyable for a mother/daughter duo offered an online method of making a reservation, based on a time period before the performance took place. When I read the bios of who would be performing the Saturday evening we’d be there, I quickly realized my daughter and I would not enjoy it so much. One performer was the guy who wrote “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”. And another performer also wrote a song with “tractor” in the title. While I’m a fan of old country….and by that I mean pretty old, neither of us are fans of modern country music. And we are not really into tractors.

I suppose it’s alright to acknowledge one can visit Nashville and not engulf oneself into the country music scene. We did however, partake in a music performance, which my daughter greatly appreciated.

It was the Southern Girls Rock Camp summer concert. I found it by visiting the Third Man Records website. My son, who could not make it on this outing, is a Jack White fan. Or at least was at one point in his life. And he’s told us about Jack setting up a record store in Nashville. There is also a performance venue there, at the store, which is where the Southern Girls Rock Camp concert took place. The girls were, seemingly, middle and high school aged. And they had each been placed in a rock band with a group of their peers. They wrote multiple songs over the course of the week long camp, then performed them. My daughter was in heaven. I found it to be a great experience. What I liked most was it was all about the music. Not their outfits or created personas. The entire event was focused on the girls and the songs they wrote, then performed. Some of them were really good. And, as I’ve mentioned previously somewhere on my regular blog, I’ve always wanted to be in an all female rock band! So here were girls living my dream. Pretty awesome.

The record store itself is unique. Unlike any other record store I’ve ever been in. I bought my son a Third Man t-shirt and my daughter a patch for her backpack. Jack’s Grammy for Lazaretto is kept in the display case under the counter. Interesting. No, we did not see Jack.

Door to concert venue
Where the girls performed their show


Street art in Nashville


More street art

After the concert, which was about two hours of standing, we headed to dinner. My daughter and I do not eat meat. Which yes, means we are vegetarians. So I researched ahead of time and found a restaurant. Mind you, people in the south like their meat. So there are not an overwhelming surplus of vegetarian options. But I found The Wild Cow. It’s on Eastland Avenue, in a nice area consisting of residences, restaurants and businesses. We enjoyed eating there. It is especially nice to visit a restaurant in which we can eat anything on the menu. That rarely happens for us!

After dinner we headed to the above mentioned hotel. We ate breakfast Sunday morning at Frothy Monkey. Frothy Monkey is a coffee house. They serve an excellent breakfast / brunch. We are brunch people. Or are at least becoming brunch people. I could eat brunch every Sunday for the rest of my life. So you get the idea….. My daughter is a cappuccino lover. And thankfully she loved their cappuccino. If you visit Nashville, and you like a good coffee shop…..I wholeheartedly recommend you stop in at Frothy Monkey. The name alone’s enough, right?

Our NYU activity, aka our reason for being in Nashville, didn’t happen until afternoon. So we decided to walk from brunch to the Nashville Farmers Market. It’s more than a typical farmers market. There were other vendors, and what I’d consider an actual nursery where my daughter purchased a succulent. It seems succulents are huge amongst the female college age crowd. Incidentally, my daughter names all her plants. Whether she talks to them or not, I’m not sure.

Capital….or capitol….or capital?
Allie standing near her birthplace….Germantown, just outside Memphis

The farmers market is near the Bicentennial Capitol Mall, which offered a fountain, complete with people utilizing the fountain. As in running through, getting wet, enjoying the summer, etc. I, for whatever reason, always become a little happier when I see kids in a fountain. Why? I’m not sure. But nobody playing in a fountain ever seems sad. So there you go. Soon it was time for us to head for the orientation, which was in a downtown hotel. I thought I was going to receive a t-shirt at the orientation. You know, one of those “I’m an NYU parent” type. But I didn’t. They did have cookies and fruit available. Once the event was over, we drove home. Capitol of Tennessee…visit complete.

Downtown Nashville

Travel blogging is a thing. In case you didn’t know.

I’m a blogger. Which you probably did know since you’re on my site. Yet when I consider being a travel blogger, well, it seems it would mean pretending to be a travel blogger. Because I simply don’t travel enough.

But I decided, despite my limited forays into the big world, to maybe just try anyway. Mainly due to the fact that I have been a few places lately. And I think that perhaps I might be able to offer a perspective others haven’t.

Here’s the thing…..I am not wealthy nor have I been afforded the opportunity to peruse exciting places due to business travel. I am, primarily, a woman who earns a meager living working at a non-profit. A woman with two children, neither of which are currently children but college students. And I care for an elderly beagle. Because everyone else has left the house and her care now falls solely on me. So with all that said, you might be able to glean why I am not globe trotting around the world to exotic locales.

Travel though, is a priority moving forward. When I consider the next multiple years of my life, I sincerely hope I am able to visit new places. And unless I win the lottery….which means I most likely need to regularly play the lottery, I will not be jet setting. But I do believe, truly, it is possible to travel without breaking the bank, so to speak. There are ways. There are opportunities knocking. So maybe that’s what this addition to my existing blog is all about.

I also feel very strongly that there’s much to be seen in one’s own backyard so to speak. Or in your neighbor’s. In other words, I like to look around and see what’s happening, wherever I’m at. Which might mean I note something interesting on a walk through my neighborhood park. Or when I walk through downtown on the way to my city’s farmers market. I am ashamed to admit I have never walked through the African Cemetery No. 2, which can be seen outside my bedroom window. It is a few feet beyond my backyard, just on the other side of the railroad tracks. I need to walk over and observe the history there. Therefore, the title of this page….”see the world”….does not necessarily just connote world-wide globe trotting, but the simple act of heading out one’s front door and seeing something new.

Here are a few facts about me. As far as travel goes.

I am not so interested in the touristy things. When I visit a new place, I enjoy seeing where the locals live. Eating at the places they eat at. I research on the internet when looking for a restaurant in a city I’m visiting. Neighborhood places. Coffee houses. Not the chains. Not the ordinary stuff you can find in any city in America. What makes the place unique? Interesting? Different from other areas and regions? That’s what I’m looking for.

Likewise I’m not so interested in the destinations it seems many people flock to. Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, Tennessee? No thanks. Oh, it’s fine if you like them and I have friends who do. But there’s nothing there for me.  Smoky Mountain National Park? Yes. It is beautiful and a world apart from Gatlinburg, although only a few miles away. What I’m getting at is, I for the most part know what I’m looking for and what I enjoy. And it’s not necessarily the spots the average American wants to see in his or her lifetime.

Like I mentioned above, I have decided to make travel a priority. So I have made a commitment to myself, that I will seek out places to go and actually visit them. Even if it means going alone. Even if it means stepping out of my comfort zone a bit.

This section of my blog might seem a bit rudimentary to the seasoned travelers in the crowd. The purpose is not to compare with the norm as far as travel blogs go. The reason I’m doing this is to contribute, as much as I might, to those who like me, look for the extra-ordinary. Who are working under financial constraints or traveling with an elderly pet or don’t have the luxury of four weeks plus vacation time per year. People who aren’t looking for the next cruise to Mexico. Then again, maybe they are but need a little boost.

I’m not sure how regular I’ll become with this portion of my blog. Who knows? I suppose one doesn’t until one tries. So here goes.


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