The northern terminus of the Natchez Trace Parkway brought us to the vibrant city of Nashville, TN. After weeks on the Parkway, plus our week-long detour to Red Bay, AL, I was really looking forward to big city life for a while! In my excitement, I may have gone out on our first night to run a ton of errands…including a happy visit to Super Target.
Our time in Nashville spanned March 22-29, 2014. We had extremely cold weather for most of the week, dropping below freezing temperatures many nights. The weather put a damper on our sight-seeing, but we still made the best of our time!
We stayed at Nashville I-24 Campground in Smyrna, TN, about 20 miles from downtown Nashville. It wasn’t the closest RV park to the center of the city, but we got a good rate and – perhaps the biggest selling point – the wi-fi was awesome. We actually got to watch some Netflix!
We visited LifePoint Church, which was recommended by our camp host and located less than two miles from the campground. Stopped in at Starbuck’s next to study our visitor guides and decide on a lunch spot! We weren’t really sure what to try, but we finally went with Noshville.
Noshville now has several locations in Nashville, but we wanted to visit the original near Vanderbilt University in Midtown. The restaurant concept is patterned after a traditional New York Delicatessen. Love the atmosphere. The menu is filled with sandwiches, soups (online reviews raved about the Matzah Ball Soup), franks, many breakfast plates, and more. Noshville is known for their pickle bar, and you can help yourself to as many as you want with your meal!
Eric went with the We Dare Ya Breakfast, which comes with 3 eggs, 2 sausage, 2 bacon, and 2 griddle cakes, served with a choice of a hash brown, fresh fruit, or sliced tomatoes, and a choice of toast or a bagel. Yeah. Suffice it to say, 1.5 griddle cakes came home with us.
I opted for the Soup and Half Sandwich Combo – chicken soup and half a tuna salad sandwich.
The verdict on the food? “It was a good and hearty breakfast. I enjoyed it,” Eric shared with me (I enjoyed the leftover griddle cakes). For my part, the soup was like the comfort of home in a bowl. The tuna salad sandwich was unexceptional, and a bit on the dry side.
The service was stellar, and I did enjoy the atmosphere a lot. But our bill totaled almost $37, and that seemed rather steep for a breakfast platter, half a sandwich, soup, juice and a soda. For this reason, I don’t think we’ll be going back.
On the bright side, Noshville is near Centennial Park, a lovely space we’ve experienced in the past. We drove through on the sunny Sunday morning, and marveled again at The Parthenon. Through some online research, we learned that The Parthenon was built in 1897 for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. It’s since been rebuilt in concrete and now functions as an art museum.
Other magnificent structures were built for the Exposition, including a huge pyramid that was erected by The Parthenon. If you visit the Magnolia section of the Gaylord Opryland Resort, you’ll get to see a gorgeous, multi-wall mural that depicts the Exposition! We stumbled upon it and I loved the peek into the past.
We spent the rest of our Sunday driving around Nashville and familiarizing ourselves with the various neighborhoods. It was pretty cold, so a driving tour was the way to go!
Our visitor guide talked up The Gulch as a hip neighborhood, but we were unimpressed by the shops and the under-construction state of things. I guess there are a couple of restaurants and bars (Sambuca? Kocktails and Kouture?) in the area that may be worth a visit, but we passed! (Comment and let me know if we missed something good there.)
I did really like the look of 12South – it reminded me of a neighborhood like Greenwood in Seattle. Very walkable with multiple food options and local shops. Sevier Park was lovely, and my brother recommends Burger Up for food and The Frothy Monkey for coffee. Too bad we had already eaten!
After a long day of work, we were ready for sustenance! We do try to go local and experience whatever city we’re in, but we couldn’t help our excitement when we found an Old Spaghetti Factory in downtown Nashville. We LOVE Old Spaghetti Factory and have made many happy memories there (the first time we went was in Victoria, B.C. after we got engaged <3).
After dinner, we hit up B.B. King’s Blues Club & Restaurant a couple doors down. Eric loves Blues. We got there before the evening rush (around 7 PM) and found a seat right up front by the stage. We enjoyed the Stacy Mitchhart Band and I enjoyed $5 margaritas for the rest of the night! The band played a lot of their own stuff, which was good, but not traditional Blues. However, they did do some B.B. King covers, and that was a lot of fun. The whole band was extremely talented, and Stacy Mitchhart had some great lungs on ‘im.
Yes, we stayed close to home for a few days! It finally “warmed up” later in the week (did we actually hit 50?), so Eric entertained me with a visit to Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. He’s stayed there a few times, but I had never been. Thank you, E!
I loved the visit. When I first walked into Delta, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The space was so beautiful and expansive. Over the next couple of hours, we walked through the four different sections of the Resort and took pictures. My favorite was the Garden Conservatory. We also caught the 6 PM Aqua Fountain Show, which plays at 6 PM and 8 PM daily. The patio outside Paisano’s Pizzeria is a great place to watch.
Tip: It’s free to walk around the hotel, but parking can be pricey. To avoid the parking charge, drive through the Opry Mills parking lot, past the IMAX. As you approach the Resort, you’ll see the Gaylord Events Center. Park there and take the sidewalk on the left side of the building, under the green awning. A short walk with take you to the D3 entrance of Delta. Bam! Right in the center of the action, and no parking charge (thank you to Nashville Fun for Families for this tip).
On our last day in Nashville, we finally made it to a place that had been on the top of my list: Loveless Cafe. It was a 45-minute drive from Smyrna, but it was worth it! We should’ve gone at the end of the Natchez Trace Parkway because it’s right there, but it was going to get dark soon and we needed to set up camp.
Loveless Cafe has been around since 1951 and used to have 14 hotel rooms that were rented out to travelers along US Highway 100. Today, the hotel rooms have been converted to cute little shops. The area is definitely touristy and the owners are playing up what they have. But personally, I loved it, and I think it should be on every Nashville itinerary if you’ve never been before.
We made it around 6 PM, the close of the recommended time window to beat the dinner rush. Grab a menu and plan your meal while you wait (our wait was only about 15 minutes), or you can wander the shops nearby (they give you a buzzer to notify you when your table is ready).
Oh, the food! Eric ordered the Pit-Cooked Barbeque & Eggs, with Hashbrown Casserole on the side. I had the 3 Side Dish Meal with Hashbrown Casserole, Caramel Sweet Potatoes and Slow Cooked Green Beans. We also enjoyed a couple plates of biscuits, which come complimentary (so don’t order them off the menu!).
Everything was great! The Hashbrown Casserole was a big highlight. I managed to save room for a slice of key lime pie, which was definitely my other favorite.
We paid less than we did at Noshville, and the food was so much better!
And just like that, our week in Nashville was over. So crazy how quickly the time passes!
There were a lot of things we missed. We’re definitely counting on a few return trips in the future to see some other sights. On the top of future itineraries:
- The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson
- Antique Archaeology Nashville, created by Mike Wolfe of American Pickers
- Hattie B’s Hot Chicken, recommended by a friend on Instagram
So help me out! What do you recommend we see on our next trip to Nashville? Do you have any questions about what we saw? I’ll do my best to help you plan!