Friday, August 19, 2016

Tips for Your Trip to Tennessee

I fell in love with Tennessee when I was in college.  My now-husband went to school at Belmont University and I made the 8-hour drive from Columbia, SC to Nashville at least once a month.

There’s just something about it.  Tennessee is beautiful.  Peaceful.  But there are also endless things to do, whether you like nature, or love nights out on the town.  So even though I’ve lived in Nashville for three years now, I still love it just as much.

And I want to share with you some of my favorite things to do and see in Tennessee.  I think you’ll come to love it as much as I do!


I live in Nashville so, I’ll admit, I’m a bit biased towards my city.  I’ve always said that it feels like a small town, but has all the benefits of a big city.  And the people that live here are amazing, full of dream and ambition.  It’s the kind of place where you run into celebrities at your favorite coffee shop, and they say ‘hello’ as they walk by.  

Here are a few of my favorite Nashville things to do:

Frothy Monkey:  If you’re looking for amazing coffee, and great local food, Frothy Monkey is the place to go!  I even attribute this little coffee shop as one of the reasons that I ended up moving to Nashville. The ingredients are all local and, in fact, many of their vegetables come from their own garden.  The lattes are to die for; try the white monkey mocha if you stop by – it’s not on the menu, but is a classic!  I’ve also run into Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman five or six times here, so keep an eye out!

The Escape Game:  The Escape Game is a really great activity for groups and families.  Similar to the Internet-based escape games, you get locked in a themed room and have to figure out a way to escape based on clues.  Your goal is to escape within an hour!  

Opryland Hotel:  Even if you don’t stay at Opryland, it’s worth a visit.  You see, Opryland isn’t just a normal hotel; it has an atrium, complete with waterfalls, a running river (with a boat tour) and a jungle – all inside the hotel!  Not convinced?  It’s also home to 17 amazing restaurants, some great shopping, and one of the best spas in town.

Broadway:  If you’re looking for local music without the expense of the Grand Ole Opry or the lines of the Bluebird Café, head down to Broadway Street.  Amazing local musicians and undiscovered talent play at the dozens of bars and restaurants lining this street.  You’re guaranteed to hear some great music!  Make sure check out Jack’s BBQ, the Goo Goo Cluster Shop, and the famous Tootsie’s!  

Percy Warner Park:  If you’re a nature lover, Percy Warner Park is a must-see!  Take your car through the road that winds through the Brentwood hills; you’ll see some deer along the way, with some gorgeous views.  There are picnic areas, horseback riding areas, and amazing running trails.  Percy Warner is also the home to the annual Iroquois Steeplechase!  And, when you come out on the other side, you’ll drive through the Belle Meade area, with some of the wealthiest homes in Nashville.

Franklin:  A short drive from downtown Nashville, the little town of Franklin is known for its festivals.  People drive hundreds of miles for “A Dickens of a Christmas”, “Main Street Fest” and “Pumpkin Fest”!  Even if you’re not around for one of these traditions, downtown Franklin is packed with local shops and restaurants.  Make sure to stop by Puckett’s for delicious Southern food!

M Street Restaurants:  M Street is a local, Nashville company with some of the best restaurants in town.  You can’t go wrong eating at one of their establishments!  At Whiskey Kitchen, try the wicked calamari, Kayne Prime burger, and blackberry Bellini.  And if you’re in the mood for fine dining, Kayne Prime has outstanding thick-cut bacon (with maple cotton candy!), Wagyu filet, and risotto tater tots.

Grimey’s:  If you’re searching for music, Grimey’s is the place to go.  You’ll get lost in the hundreds of CDs and vinyls in this historical record shop!  And make sure to go downstairs to the Basement to catch a local artist, or a passing-through celebrity!

Big Shake’s Hot Chicken and Fish:  Nashville hot chicken has become a must-try around here.  If you’ve been looking through the guidebooks, you’ve probably seen Prince’s or Hattie B’s listed.  Well, I would recommend heading to Big Shake’s instead!  Founded by Chef Big Shake, from Shark Tank, they serve the best hot chicken around.  Choose between chicken or fish, select your level of heat, and then dive into fried deliciousness with white bread to soak up the juices!

Love Circle:  Head to Love Circle for some of the best views of downtown Nashville.  The winding, hilly road is worth the drive, I promise!  Bring a picnic blanket and settle into this beautiful park just in time for the sunrise.  The views are unbeatable.  

Other Tennessee:

Even though I’m biased towards Nashville, there are definitely plenty of other places to check out in Tennessee!  Here are a few of my favorites:

Chattanooga:  This is the perfect place for outdoor-lovers!  Make sure to check out Ruby Falls, named one of the ten most incredible cave waterfalls in the world.  Go hang gliding on Lookout Mountain, and take the famous incline railway back down the mountain.

Fall Creek Falls:  One of my favorite state parks in Tennessee, Fall Creek Falls has some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Southeast.  If you can spend a few days there, book one of the cabins overlooking the lake.  Spend your time fishing from your private porch, exploring the waterfalls, and zip lining down the mountainside.

Lynchburg:  I make a trip out to Lynchburg every few months just to see the seasons change!  Home of the Jack Daniels’ Distillery, the town has a lot to offer even if you’re not a whiskey fan.   The free tour of the distillery is worth it, just to see the gorgeous Tennessee landscape!  And if you do like Jack Daniels, the whiskey tasting tour is amazing!  Then, check out little downtown Lynchburg to see the local general stores.


As you can see, Tennessee has a lot to offer, whether you love music, food, or nature!  I would really encourage you to make a trip over here if you ever have the chance.  You’ll fall in love with it, just as I did!

About the Author:
Kathryn Marr is the co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of Blue Ivory Creative, a digital marketing company based out of Nashville, TN. A graphic and web designer, as well as social media manager, she brings a passion for entrepreneurship and creativity to the table. Kathryn loves helping people pursue their dreams and be successful doing what they love to do.

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