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Posts Tagged ‘Nashville’

Nashville Area Attractions

Cheekwood Botanical Gardens

Chihuly

I believe this is one of the most beautiful things in Nashville. It is an extensive garden and art museum and wow…it is beautiful. I would highly recommend it if you want something low key and beautiful. The Chihuly exhibit will be there through the end of October and it will take your breath away.

http://www.cheekwood.org/Home.aspx

Centennial Park/Parthenon


This is one of the iconic places of Nashville and also how Nashville became “The Athens of the South”. If you don’t stop by while you visit Nashville you must be out of your mind. Centennial Park is a cornerstone of our city and the Parthenon sets this park apart from all others. It is an accurate replica of the Parthenon in Greece. Just standing in the park and admiring its beauty suits me but you can also visit the art museum inside if you like.

The Frist Center for the Visual Arts

Nashville’s version of a sexy and hip art museum bringing fine art from all over the world. Another one of my favorite places and worth seeing if you give a hoot about art at all. The exhibits change every few months but every piece is worth seeing

http://www.fristcenter.org/site/default.aspx

Union Station

When you drive by The Frist, make sure you check out Union Station. It’s free to take a gander and worth the stop. I have brought family here and would recommend it to anyone who likes to appreciate yester year. The Union Station was once a 19th century train station converted to a hotel. Word is, it was scheduled to be torn down before it was saved and converted. Check out their website for more fun facts and how to book a room

http://www.unionstationhotelnashville.com/history/index.html

Broadway/Downtown/Honky Tonks/Bluebird Cafe


Nashville is the Music City and no trip would be complete without a visit to what made us famous. Even if you despise country music I can guarantee you will have a good time downtown and specifically at the Honky Tonk bars. Brandon puts a full endorsement on this activity even though he isn’t very fond of country music. They are a draw for locals and tourists alike so don’t forget to check this off your list.

http://www.gactv.com/gac/nw_feature/article/0,,GAC_26499_4728636,00.html

Shelby Street Bridge 

A pedestrian bridge that crosses the Cumberland River and leads you from Downtown Nashville to the Titans Stadium parking lot. It offers the most beautiful view of downtown Nashville night or day. What’s more it’s free to take a walk along the bridge and enjoy the beautiful October weather. This has become one of Brandon and I’s favorite things to do.

The Hermitage

Located in Hermitage, TN on the outskirts of Nashville the Hermitage is another gateway to the rich and sometimes heartbreaking story of the South. Originally the home of President Andrew Jackson you can thoroughly understand his life as well as the lives of the slaves who worked this plantation. It is a beautiful place and offers a lot of perspective.

http://www.thehermitage.com/

Belle Meade Plantation

Another window into Nashville’s past is Belle Meade plantation currently located in the most affluent part of the city. It was once a horse farm and is now preserved as a museum and event venue. If you want to get a feel for the wealth and history associated with plantations in the South you can’t go wrong.

https://www.bellemeadeplantation.com/

Farmer’s Market


Fall is an amazing time to visit the Nashville Farmer’s Market and highly recommend a quick stop. One of the things I have really appreciated about living here is the readily available fresh fruits and vegetables. I love this place and come here multiple times a month! There are restaurants and vendors available all the time.

http://www.nashvillefarmersmarket.org/

Grand Ole Opry/Ryman

If you are a fan of country music, music, or just want to really explore an important part of Nashville check out the Ryman. Located in Downtown Nashville it is really the epicenter, where country music really took off and first location of the Grand Ole Opry. Although typically Grand Ole Opry concerts take place at the Grand Ole Opry house in Donelson (suburb) they have been moved back to their beginning location because of the May 2010 flood. If a concert isn’t in the budget or schedule you can tour the facility and the museum.

http://www.ryman.com/

Country Music Hall of Fame

The Country Music Hall of Fame is quintessential Nashville but I wouldn’t recommend going unless you really LOVE country music. It is everything you need to know or could ever care about. Also, it’s a little pricey. I have heard it is worth every dime but something Brandon and I just haven’t been able to cough up the money for yet.

http://www.countrymusichalloffame.org/

Art Scene-Downtown, East Nashville, Belmont/Hillsboro Village

Nashville has a beautiful and amazing art scene I would recommend checking out if you are at all interested. There are art galleries everywhere by the main ones are in the areas listed above. You could spend days just wondering through them. Also, on the first Saturday of each month there is free art crawl downtown which is one of my favorite activities ever!

Have a drink in East Nashville-Everything from Holland House to 3 Crow

Brandon and I love this neighborhood and will be moving to this side of town within the next year or so. It is a fun and trendy place with tons to do especially involving the food and drink scene. There are some upscale bars as well as some low key beer joints. We will be happy to show you our favorite spots should you get the hankering for a yummy cocktail, beer, or a sweet tea.

http://www.eastnashville.org/index.html

Belcourt Theatre 

Located in the Hillsboro Village area near Belmont this is a fun and not so obviously touristy place to check out, particularly if you are movie buff. They play independent and foreign films as well as some awesome documentaries. They serve drinks (of all kinds if you catch my drift) and your support helps keep and old theatre alive and well for many generations to come. It’s definitely a piece of Nashville’s history.

http://www.belcourt.org/

Adventure Science Center

If you have kiddos or just really want to crazy on some science check out the adventure science center. I have plans to take my nephew there as soon as he is big enough. Although I have not visited, Brandon did and said it was tons of fun for all ages.

http://www.adventuresci.com/

Nashville Zoo

You must be crazy not to love the zoo. Nashville’s is all around pretty good for a city of this size and once again, a prime spot for the young ones to have a grand ole time.

http://www.nashvillezoo.org/

Away from Nashville

Jack Daniels Distillery

If you like whiskey, want to check out the brewing process, or just want to check a rich piece of Southern History the distillery is only about an hour and a half drive from Nashville.

http://www.jackdaniels.com/age.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2fDefault.aspx

Greenways/State Parks/Metro Parks

Nashville is beautiful. Tennessee is beautiful. Even if you aren’t an outdoorsy person (I’m not) please make it a plan to go somewhere green while you are here. (Shout to my AZ family!) I am constantly struck by how freaking gorgeous this place is. It really is what sets Tennessee apart.

http://www.nashville.gov/greenways/

http://www.state.tn.us/environment/parks/

Historic Franklin

About a half an hour drive from my house downtown Franklin is like stepping into a movie. In my mind it is what people picture when they think of America (sidewalks, perfectly manicured streets and Southern influenced architecture). It’s is really beautiful to just walk the streets and grab a bite to eat. The other good thing is that is on the way to Arrington Vineyards (more info to come) and Natchez Trace.

http://www.historicfranklin.com/

Natchez Trace

Hop in the car and start driving and check out some of the most beautiful scenery the state of TN has to offer. Afterwards, grab a bite to eat at the famous Loveless Café.

http://www.nps.gov/natr/index.htm

Memphis

About a 3 ½ hour drive west from Nashville. Home of famous BBQ, Graceland, and the Civil Rights Museum it may be worth it if you are going to be in town awhile. Otherwise I would save it for another trip (one which you can invite me on).

Knoxville/Gatlinburg

Also about a three hour drive but going east Knoxville is the home of Brandon’s beloved University of TN. Gatlinburg is the jumping off point for the Great Smoky Mountains, Dolly World and other magnificent attractions. Although beautiful and worth a trip, I would caution against doing it in one day. Brandon and I made an overnight trip here on my first trip to TN and so it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Chattanooga

Two hour drive Southeast of Nashville and another TN jewel with plenty to keep you busy. Brandon and I fell in love when we visited last Christmas.

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Okay, so here’s the deal with Nashville.  Its a touristy place.  There’s a lot of hotels.  There’s a lot of crappy hotels, there’s a lot of overpriced hotels, and there’s a lot of hotels right in that sweet spot.  Since almost all of Shannon’s family/friend base is from out of town, she’s been pushing me to publish a blog regarding hotels in Nashville.  (The reason she thinks I’m the best man for the job?  Years and years of delivering pizza).

So here’s where we live in relation to the city of Nashville.  I’ve also circled the Airport, as well as the sweet spot.  See below:


So, you can probably tell, we want to put you near the airport/our apartment/Opry Area/Interstate/Downtown

You’d think that was tough to do, right?  Wrong!

The following guide is for the adventurous among you.

Hotwire.com is the best deal you can get.  The catch with Hotwire?  You don’t know for sure what hotel you’re getting until after you’ve booked it – and its non-refundable (although I believe you purchase trip insurance that will allow you to cancel).  Good thing you know someone who’s familiar with the area.

So, here’s my advice if you’re willing to use Hotwire to get your hotel.  First of all, only look at hotels in the “Nashville Intl Airport BNA area hotel” because those are the ones I’m most familiar with.  There’s currently a 3.5 star hotel available for $75 a night.  That hotel is the Sheraton Music City (Sheraton.com/MusicCity) (I’m about 90% positive on this one – it could be the Hotel Preston, which still a very nice 3.5 star hotel which runs about $110+ a night).   This is probably the nicest hotel in the area that’s not geared towards business travelers.  In addition, those rooms go for anywhere from $130 to $150 a night, typically.  Its a great deal.

If you’re not looking to spend that much, check out the 2.5 star hotel currently listed in that same area at $42 per night.  Now, the issue here is: there’s a lot of 2.5 star hotels in this area.  The nice thing?  They’re all pretty nice hotels.  There’s not a single one I wouldn’t stay in (Comfort Suites, Holiday Inn, Country Inn and Suites, Etc.).  So, if you’re not looking to spend a lot of money and still want to stay in a fairly nice place – go for the 2.5 star hotel in the Nashville Intl Airport BNA area.

Now, for those of you who aren’t quite as brave.

I would still highly recommend using Priceline to find your hotel.  You’ll get to pick your hotel, and are still going to pay less than you would booking directly through the hotel itself (typically).

My recomendations (once again, make sure you search the “Nashville Airport – BNA area within Priceline):

  • Club Hotel – $59 a night.  Quiet hotel near the airport, but away from the main road. Outdoor Pool
  • Wingate Inn by Wyndham – (currently listed at $69) – One of the nicest hotels near the airport.  Super friendly staff, above average rooms.  Nice common area in the lobby.  Free breakfast.  Indoor pool.
  • Radisson Hotel Nashville Airport – $78 – Another nice choice.  Set away from the road, similar to the other two listed above.  Considered a 3-star hotel.  Indoor Pool & Spa
  • Holiday Inn Airport/Opryland – $86 – Another good choice.  You know what you’re getting at this well known chain.  Nice rooms, indoor pool, restaurant, right by the interstate.
  • Country Inn and Suites Airport – $70 – Nice hotel.  Literally right off the interstate.  Closest hotel in Nashville to the airport.
  • Courtyard by Marriott Airport – $89 – Geared towards business travellers, but has everything you’d need.  Outdoor pool, restaurant, business center, store.  Up-scale business class.
  • Crossland Hotel Nashville (Not a BNA area hotel) – $45 – probably the best economy option (aside from the above discussed Hotwire option – an economy studio hotel room.  Its the closest hotel I would recommend staying at near our apartment.  Its not located in the greatest neighborhood, but it is set far back from the road and up a pretty substantial hill.  Given that, its pretty quiet and translates to a pretty good deal.

Now, you’re more than welcome to seek out your own deals and contact us for opinions.  Downtown area hotels are always an option – but be prepared to pay a premium for a hotel in downtown Nashville.  Good luck!

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So Shannon decided that our first two blogs should be about the proposal itself, from each of our perspectives.  I thought this was a cute idea and decided to get the ball rolling while I lie in bed.

First of all, the location.  I proposed to Shannon at the airport.  The reason?  The airport holds a lot of significance to us and to our relationship.  Obviously, since our relationship started off long distance, the airport was really our only means of seeing each other.  The first place I saw Shannon with my own eyes was at the airport.  BNA, to be exact.  Which is the place I proposed to her.

Now, how did I hatch this scheme?  Well, in part I have Brooke Boncher to thank for that.  Brooke was a senior swimmer at the University of Tennessee when I was working as team manager.  We began talking quite a bit on bus trips because while everyone else was goofing off we were usually doing homework.  We considered ourselves the elders of the group (Brooke had missed a couple years swimming due to an injury, so she was older than all the other swimmers).  We talked a lot about Shannon and I.  She herself had a boyfriend waiting for her, back in Massachusetts.  Therefore, we had something in common.  One day, she was asking me if I thought Shannon was the one.  With all Shannon and I had been through at this point, I couldn’t help but think that she was.  So, my response was, “Yes, I believe so.”

“How are you going to propose?”

Well, I had never thought about it extensively to that point.  Up until then, I had always had a specific spot in Nashville I wanted to propose – but I felt something else was needed for Shannon.  The idea came to me like a bolt of lightning.  “At the airport, of course.”

This was in March of 2008.

So that brings us to the second part of the proposal: The Ring.  After proposing, one of the first questions Shannon asked me was, “How did you find this ring?”  My response was the truest response I could think of: “Well, it sort of found me.”

Explanation?  You see, my sister-in-law’s father is a jeweler and has been for sometime.  So, when I decided to confide in my brother and sister-in-law that Shannon was the one, Sara immediately asked, “Do you want my dad to keep an eye out for a ring for you?”  Of course I said yes, not thinking he would find a ring that really suited myself or Shannon.

Several times Sara brought a ring to me that, although beautiful, simply didn’t fit what I had envisioned for Shannon.  Then, in October of 2008 she brought one to me that I absolutely loved.  I told her – tell your dad he’s got a buyer.

Unfortunately at this time, I was working a full-time internship for the Nashville Sports Council.  I say unfortunately because the internship was unpaid.  A couple weeks after committing to buy the ring, I told my brother I’d simply have to pass on it because I didn’t have any money and didn’t know when I’d even be able to start paying for the ring.  Sadly, I let it go – not knowing how I was going to find a ring anytime in the near future.

Then, in early 2009, my brother called me.  “Hey, I don’t know if you’d be interested or not, but Al (Sara’s father) got that ring back from the guy who had originally purchased it.”

I was all over it.  From that point forward I began making payments on the ring.  In early summer, I got a date for the proposal: August 12th.  Why August 12th?  Because Shannon was going to be returning from Phoenix on that particular day.  About a month or so away from August 12th, I ran into a problem.  I wasn’t satisfied with the ring.  I loved the design and I loved the layout, but the center diamond left something to be desired.  It was nice enough, but wasn’t exquisite.  So I called Sara and Thomas and talked to them about it.  She told me she’d ask her dad to keep an eye out for a nicer diamond to put in the ring.

On a day off, I made a trip to Genesis Diamonds to price a loose stone for Shannon’s ring.  They showed me one that was beautiful, albeit a little out of my price range, but I committed to buying it.  I put a down payment on the diamond and had two weeks to decide whether or not I wanted the stone.

A little off topic here.  It was at this point that I phoned Danyella (Shannon’s best friend) and asked for her blessing to marry Shannon.  She said yes and reassured me that Shannon was completely oblivious to the me proposing to her.  In fact, as Danyella put it, “I think she’s given up any hope of that happening in the near future.”

Al to the rescue once again.  A week after putting a down payment on a diamond at Genesis, Sara called me and told me Al had acquired a beautiful Marquise cut diamond.  I excitedly went and checked the diamond out and was in love.  This was the diamond that was going to complete Shannon’s engagement ring.  I committed to that diamond, and the next day, went and got my money back from Genesis.

Which brings us pretty much up to the proposal, itself.  The day Shannon left for Phoenix, I went and picked up the ring from my brother and sister-in-law.  I was blown away by its beauty.  The new diamond looked amazing and the ring, at that point, was exactly what I wanted.  Now, I would just have to wait for the long week to go by.

The week did go by, very slowly.  Luckily, I worked at least one of my jobs every single day of the week.  Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble sleeping that week.  Not due to nervousness, but due to excitement.  I was truly anxious for Shannon to get back so that my plan could finally unfold.

It was the day I was set to propose that I phoned Shannon’s sister and mother to ask for their blessing.  I didn’t trust them to keep the secret.  I didn’t think they’d blow it maliciously, mind you, but I felt certain that they would accidently let something slip beforehand (sorry to you both, if you are reading this).

The night before Shannon was supposed to return, I didn’t get to sleep until approximately 6:30 AM.  Again, not because of nervousness, but because of excitement.  I worked both jobs that day and before I knew it, it was 10:30 PM.  Shannon’s flight was due in at 12:30 AM.  After finishing my shift at Pizza Hut I sped home, took a shower, got dressed, got a rose from the store, and headed to the airport.

My best friend, Travis, was meeting me at the airport to photograph the whole thing.  We arrived at the airport at around midnight, and it was pretty dead.  I paced anxiously, constantly checking the arrival board for any updated on her flight’s status (partially because they had left Phoenix almost half an hour late).  While waiting, and pacing, Travis worked on his photography skills, trying to get a feel for the beast of a camera he was using to document this momentous occasion.

Shannon’s flight from Phoenix had three other flights that had connected to it, Las Vegas being one of them.  The only two flights due in at 12:30 were hers from Phoenix and one from Charlotte.  12:30 came and like clockwork people starting streaming down the escalator.  I turned to Travis and said, “I think this is it.”  After a few minutes and no sign of Shannon, I asked one of the passengers waiting on their luggage where they were coming from.  “Vegas,” he replied.

This had to be it.  I could feel myself starting to sweat.  This was the only point at which I was nervous.  A few more moments passed and after talking to the gentleman again, I realized this was not Shannon’s flight.  His flight from Vegas was a direct flight, and half an hour early.

So, approximately 15 more minutes passed (although, let me tell you, it felt like an hour).  Then, once again, people began streaming down the escalator.  I turned to Travis once more and said, “This has got to be it.  There’s no other flights coming in.”

So, finally, after what seemed like an eternity, I saw her coming down the escalator.  She saw me immediately and began to grin and I did the same.  She ran to me and we hugged for a moment and then I started my speech.

“You know, the airport has held a lot of significance in our relationship over the years.  In fact, it was almost in this exact spot that I was standing when I first laid eyes on you…”

I continued and Shannon seemed utterly confused.  She was giving me a look that said, “I’m tired.  What are you talking about?  Let’s go home.”  It wasn’t until I said the line, “So I called your mother and received her blessing,” that she knew what was happening.  At this point, she began choking back tears.  And of course, right on cue, when she started to choke up, so did I.  But I took a deep breath and said, “Shannon.  Breathe.  Don’t have an anxiety attack.”

Then, I finished my speech, got down on one knee, and asked her to marry me.  She said, “Yes!” through her tears.

From this point forward, I was so excited.  It had gone exactly as I had planned.  I could tell from her reaction that no one had spilled the beans – she was completely shocked.  We spent the next 15 minutes at the airport.  Laughing, crying, kissing, and checking out the goods.  We went home and ended up staying up well past 3 AM because we were both so amped up and so excited about it.   The news spread quickly, once again thanks to Facebook and text messaging.  It wasn’t long before we had well-wishes from so many of our friends and family – something that surprised us both (not that we had well-wishers, but the number that we had).

So, that’s the proposal, from my perspective.  Sorry it was so long.  There was a lot of backstory here.  Hers should be shorter.  🙂

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