Tennessee: Nashville & Franklin with April
Two weeks ago last night, April flew in to Nashville. I was BEYOND thrilled. The reality didn't even really hit me until I had blown up the air mattress and got ready to go pick her up.
We went straight to Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream (because I swear that's the best ice cream ever in my life so far (gelato is it's own category)) and then hit up The 5 Spot for their Monday night throwback dancing — making the oldie's good again.
Since she had just come from visiting her sister in Montana, I figured it was better to ease her into the Nashville city life. Instead of going straight into the tourist Nashville, we focused on a few key Nashville aspects before spending most of the day in Franklin.
The itinerary included:
- Breakfast at The Pancake Pantry
- Pictures with art walls nearby (like the one above)
- Carnton Plantation
- Lotz House
- Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge which also included a drive through some of Natchez Trace Parkway
- Dinner at The Loveless Cafe
- Music at The Bluebird Cafe
All the deets below...
The Pancake Pantry. Usually, there's a line out the door for this place. It's so well-known for these lines that they actually put it on the t-shirts they sell. It's supposedly that good.
No supposing anymore. It really is that amazing. I personally loved the French Toast the best.
We didn't even have to wait in line though. 9am on a Tuesday apparently is a good time to go. By the time we left around 10am there was indeed a line, and more limited parking in the lot in the back.
Art Walls. From The Pancake Pantry you can see this colorful Hillsboro Village mural. And just a little ways further, you can drive to the "I Believe in Nashville," wall too — it's on the side of a dental studio: 2702 12th Ave. S, Nashville, TN 37204
It seemed like a necessary "I'm in Nashville!" picture for April to begin her journey here.
Carnton Plantation. This plantation played a special role and witness to one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. The tour of the house was cool in the way you had the opportunity to see what they house resembled in th 1860's. During the bloody battle, the plantation, and especially the house, served as a hospital for the wounded soldiers. The blood stains on the wood are still there. That was a little eerie.
And then you have the opportunity to stroll through the garden, see the tree that has been around since the Civil War (or at least 100 years anyways), the slaves quarters, and the cemetery.
April and I especially enjoyed having the back porch with all the rocking chairs to ourselves... "Sometimes life rocks you. And you just have to rock with it."— Maddie Kleinman #rockingchairinspiration
We got the three-in-one ticket which included a tour/access to the Lotz House and the Carter House. Unfortunately, since we had several other things to get to that day, we opted not to see the Carter House and focused on the Lotz House instead. They're all very close by though, and the ticket doesn't expire — I'll hopefully be able to go to the Carter House soon.
The Lotz House. I personally loved this tour, and the guide was very knowledgable and loved all of our questions. I learned that pineapples were a sign of welcome to guests — there were pineapples on the dining room table at the Lotz House and the Carnton Plantation home. Also, the owner of the Lotz House, Johann Lotz, is an incredible woodcarver. There were so many interesting stories and tidbits around this one day of battle that changed so much and was a pivotal point in the war.
The picture above shows when April tripped and instead of helping her up, I took a picture of her in her despair. ha. But actually it was a pretty funny moment (when I knew she wasn't hurt or anything).
Natchez Trace Parkway Bridge is a good site point to see the Natchez Trace Parkway. I fell in love with Natchez Trace Parkway when I was here two and a half years ago. It's a truly beautiful drive. We went at sunset so we could still see the bridge and the trees as we drove through it. It was also right on the way to our next destination from Franklin.
The Loveless Cafe. Known for their AMAZING biscuits and fried chicken. Seriously so good. My plate was essentially fried everything: chicken, okra, and french fries. The fried okra was ok, but I prefer the okra the way I had it on the farm the best.
I also appreciated that they would give you biscuits to go. Don't miss this!
The Bluebird Cafe. I didn't have high expectations of even getting into this place. On their website they'll list the shows and the reservations fill up in about five minutes. From people I've talked to that live here, you can usually never get in.
So I was doubly surprised and excited when we came at 5:30pm for the 6pm show, walked right in and got two high-top seats with a clear view of the performers. And what a wonderful line-up it was. It included Denny Martin, Paul Scott, and James & Emma. They all had different sounds, levels of experience, and contributions to the set.
Our first day was very full, per usual, but very fun, per usual, and filled with a good combination of laid back learning, musical vibes, and so much good food.