North America

An Introduction to Tennessee

This was my first time flying standby alone so I wasn’t sure how my flight to Tennessee was going to go.
It went mostly without hiccups, except for the single most annoying thing that could probably happen –  I wasn’t able to make the flight I had wanted to!  This happens, though, especially on a busy weekend like Memorial Day.

I got to Midway at 3.30am, ready for the 5.45am flight.  With standby, you have to get to the gate an hour before the flight to check in at the kiosk and let them know you’re trying to fly standby.  From there, they put you on a list.  I was the first in line (yea!), then a woman stood behind me.  And then another guy, with his two friends.  He asked the lady and me if we were employees, and that’s when I had a feeling things weren’t going to work out.  He was an employee AND he had two people he was bringing with them.  Sure enough, it’s 10 minutes before the flight and he’s the one that gets on with his buddies.  Lady and I have to get on the next one an hour later.

But soon enough I was in Tennessee, picking up my rental car and driving up&down hills admiring the varied terrain.  One cool thing to note, though – as our plane had landed it drove over a bridge that cars were driving underneath.  WHAT?

I was a little stunned by the surplus of trees here.  Very lush, very green.  It was nice to be surrounded by all that oxygen.

Then it was off to Nashville!  But wait, the phone charger I brought is totally crappy and doesn’t connect to USB well – only to walls.  And my phone’s at 10%… damn.  I immediately have to stop at a gas station to spend $10 on a new one (I wanted to try and return it when I left but the dude working said only his boss could do that and he wasn’t there).  The part that really sucks is that I had just bought 4 chargers from Amazon for $20 back home.  Leave it to me.

Let me preface what comes next with the awareness that I did hardly any planning at all prior to this trip.  And I am. a. PLANNER.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go travel or if I wanted to spend my 5 day weekend laying on my couch watching Netflix.  I decided to travel, but it was all very last minute.  One bit of planning I did do was look up on Reddit to see where there’s free parking in the city.  Nissan Stadium provided it and also provided me with a great view of the city.  Pretty small, right?

First order of business: food.  I needed to eat!  I found this cute little cafe called Wild Egg and was really glad I stumbled upon it.

This is super cute, is it not?
And this, too:

Always gotta gender things, amirite?

Eating alone can sometimes be an uncomfortable experience and to be honest, I’m not too experienced on it just yet.  My first bout was in New Orleans and I felt very uncomfortable at the time, but this go-around was a lot better.  I didn’t feel very self-conscious at all.

For the next several hours, I walked around the city.  Yes, it was humid.  Yes, I was too excited to change out of my jeans and into my shorts.

Near Cumberland River, Broadway St. is bustlin’!  It was 10am when I started wandering and music was already playing out of every bar.  Very cool, and reminiscent of New Orleans for sure.

An indoor outdoor mall!  There were actually streets going through the mall that cars drove through.

“Bitch, he asked ME to marry him!”

I saw a lot of cool stuff in the heart of downtown from specialty cowboy boot stores (buy 1, get 2 free! yea right) to Country Music Television to City Music Center.  Country Music Hall of Fame Museum as well.  I didn’t go into any of these places, though, ’cause I just wanted to wander about.

On GoogleMaps, I saw this area called Parthenon, so I definitely wanted to check it out.  25 blocks later, I found it!  Parched at this point, by the way.

It’s a replica of the Greek Parthenon!  What?

After the Parthenon, I was pretty tired of walking and my neck was starting to get red from the sun (uh-oh), so I decided to head back to my car… 25 blocks back.  I stopped at Krispy Kreme to get a donut and a bottle of water.

A million years later, I was in the comfort of my air conditioned car.  YES!  Finally.
It was probably 3pm by this point and I had so many aspirations for the remaining hours.  But it was hot out and I was tired of walking consistently.  So instead I drove around the city and stopped at cool spots.

A World War II tribute.

And then Fort Negley.  I guess there was never actually a battle here, but the grounds were really neat.  The aerial view shows the fort is kind of star-shaped.

My AirBnB for the night was a 45min drive outside of Nashville so I decided to scope it out and find some food as well.

On the way, I saw old antebellum houses, farms, bluffs, and lots and LOTS of trees.

Quite possibly the most serendipitous part of this trip was the Loveless Cafe.  Matt – the guy I owe this trip to (THANK YOU FOR THE COMPANION PASS, YOU ARE AN ANGEL!) had mentioned the very same cafe.  I had looked it up when I was in Nashville but was like “oh, that’s so far out of town” and kind of shrugged it off.  Well, when I got to the area of my AirBnB and looked up food on GoogleMaps, none other than Loveless Cafe shows up as the closest food place.

I am SO glad I went here.  The cafe started off as a couple who would feed travelers passing through, and they would let them rest as well.  It’s really taken off since then and is now it’s own mini-enterprise.  There was a motel there, cafe, a barn where a wedding reception was being held.  Just a very cool, unique place.

How cute!  And let me tell you, they had THE. BEST. BISCUITS. EVER.

And then it was off to my AirBnB for the night.  How perfect it was.  My host was incredibly warm and accommodating, and her place was tucked away in a forested mountain, away from the world.

Just so happens she was sober, too!  We really hit it off and she made me tea and strawberry muffins.  When I left the next morning, she had bananas and apples for me to take on the road and sent me off with a C.S. Lewis book.

My “pink room” for the night, hell yea!
I read my book on her patio for a while but ended up going to bed around 9pm.  I. was. exhausted.  The coolest thing was turning off the lights and having it be completely pitch black from lack of light pollution.  I slept better than I probably ever have.