Music City left a huge impression on me after my first visit two years ago. I was on a press trip and 6.5 months pregnant with Lucas. With only a day to myself, I immediately hopped in a cab and headed downtown to see what Nashville is all about. I fell in love with the energy of the city almost immediately and vowed to come back (without child) as soon as I could. Two weeks ago I made good on that promise and returned to Nashville for a girls' weekend with my closest friends Jennifer, Colleen, and Erin. The trip was everything I'd hoped it would be: good friends, food, music, shopping, and mostly perfect weather.
We stayed in a suite at the new Omni Hotel, which I highly recommend. You can't go wrong with a shiny new hotel but the Omni is also in a prime location (right next to the Country Music Hall of Fame) and has a spa, restaurants, and coffee shop within. The people of Nashville are just lovely and that goes for the hotel staff that were incredibly accommodating. I made no less than 4 trips to the concierge and made good use of the business center, fitness room, and spa.
The motivation for the trip was the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon. My friend Erin had registered for the half marathon and we thought it was the perfect excuse to tag along. We all flipped when we learned the cast members from the television show "Nashville" were the headliners for the race concert the evening of since we're all big fans. When I went to buy tickets for the concert, I saw that the race series also included a 5K and suggested the rest of us register for that. I hadn't been running much and with the weather warming up I thought it would be great motivation to start getting back in shape. My friends, who'd never run a race before, agreed even though it was scheduled for 6:30 am! Turns out running a 5K was on their bucket lists, another wonderful coincidence of the trip.
Running a race in another city is an incredibly cool and unique way to see the landscape. I can't recommend it enough, even for the "non-runners." Think of it as a morning run and just do it!
One of the funniest things about the trip is that in true mom fashion, we all woke up between 5 and 6 a.m. every morning. There we were on our own with the ability to sleep all day if we wanted to but couldn't sleep passed 7. Old habits die HARD. The flip side is that we were extremely productive and the 3-day trip felt longer.
Here's what we did each day. Nothing disappointed and I think it's a great itinerary for a Girls' Weekend in Nashville:
Friday we had drinks and an afternoon snack at Barlines in the hotel to decompress. Of course we all arrived a little stressed. Packing is stressful on its own no less preparing to leave your kids and organizing their care for 4 days. Later that evening we had dinner at Etch. The roasted cauliflower appetizer was one of the food highlights of the trip, even though our waiters theatrics had us in stitches and we dined relatively early so the half marathoners could avoid sleeping on a full belly.
Saturday we got up bright and early and ran the 5K. My friends did amazingly well and may now have the running bug. It was a gorgeous morning and we ran around the quiet streets of the city finishing at the Tennessee Titans' stadium. We wore these cute inspirational t-shirts from Fellow Flowers. There was beer after the race (7ish a.m.) and lunch at Rippy's (pulled pork sandwiches). Colleen and I took a nap while Erin and Jennifer raged on. We met up at honky tonk (Whisky Bent Saloon), then had dinner at Kitchen Notes (oh the meatloaf and chipotle fried chicken!). Afterwards we headed over to the Bridgestone Arena to see Deacon, I mean the concert.
Apparently concerts in Nashville start on time so we missed Claire Bowen's performance but after the long day I was happy to just role in and see Deacon (Chip Esten) take the stage. A concert of real musicians that everyone knows as fictitious characters was strange at times (Chip kept referring to Raina and Deacon as if they were real people) but most of the music was good and we were standing right up front by the stage so it was really fun. Some of us left early and missed the Lennon sisters and photos with the actors/musicians afterwards but I was done at that point and needed to be in bed so I could wake up at six on the dot the next day.
Sunday we were out strolling and shopping bright and early. My friends were looking at little cowgirl boots (sniff sniff) so since I don't have a little girl to shop for I bought myself a pair of boots. We had lunch at Puckett's Grocery and some incredible peach tea with moonshine that I'll never forget. We also started hearing murmurings of a tornado watch. As the weather turned and it began to rain, we spent the afternoon at Mokara Spa in the hotel for facials and massages. We finished up the weekend with dinner and drinks at Pinewood Social (I was all about the cheeseburger) that has its own bowling alley so naturally we played a couple of games before bed. Totally unexpected and SO much fun.
Monday morning Jennifer and I went to the gym. As soon I stepped onto the treadmill I got a call that my flight was cancelled and re-booked for the following day. If I didn't have oh you know kids and job that would have been fine but I was anxious to get home on Monday to relieve my sitter. Luckily I headed to the airport early and was able to fly standby. Jennifer was stuck in Nashville the rest of the day and Colleen got caught up during her transfer but everyone made it home by bedtime.
The trip was pure fun and relaxation and we're already planning the next one (Austin 2015?). It's so hard to get away without the kids and there are a zillion logistics involved but I'm so happy we made it a priority to do it because it was worth every ounce of anxiety to get away and do things the way girls do. I have always cherished quality time with my girlfriends but being in the thick of motherhood makes a girls trip that much sweeter, especially with old friends that are like family.