One Day in Nashville
A Stop on the Retro Advice Road Trip
In the summer of 2011, I somehow convinced my almost 13-year old daughter to embark on a 50-day road trip in search of adventure, fun, and coming-of-age wisdom from women around the country. To get her to agree to leave her bosom buddies for an eternity, I was bound to one term—“There shall be NO learning in the summer.” I agreed…with my fingers crossed behind my back. I knew that we would both learn invaluable lessons on this trip whether we liked it or not! We launched our Retro Advice Road Trip from San Diego and cruised the highways and byways around the perimeter of the U.S.—until Day 45 in Seattle, when my girl ran out of gas. This is the story of one of our stops—for one day in Nashville, Tennessee.
Being a professional virtual farmer, my tween daughter had definite opinions on the state of the farms we passed by on our way from New Orleans to Nashville.
Some people just don’t know how to farm. My Farmville farm is SO much better than these.
While there was the positive that it enabled her to correctly identify several crops along the way, I’m not so certain Farmville is furthering her social skills as evidenced by this confounding declaration about one of her farming peers:
Oh, he’s my Farmville friend…we don’t talk in real life. That would just be weird.
My search for accommodations in Nashville covered a lot of ground, from small hotels, bed & breakfasts and vacation rentals to hostels. The only option that fit our budget, and would have us for only two nights, was a four-star rated independent hostel.
Music City Hostel was not far from downtown Nashville and had me with these magic words. “Yes, we have a private room available.”
About 45 minutes outside of Nashville, a thunderstorm hit with a deafening bang. In just 10 minutes, the sky darkened to charcoal gray and the temperature plunged by at least 25 degrees. Ten minutes later, we were stunned to see state troopers hauling a massive tree out of the fast lane. Tennessee lightening is no joke.
We walked through a white picket gate into the yard of Music City Hostel, smack into four semi-grown men soaking in a bright blue blow-up pool. My hostel-hating girl turned to me with that “Really, Mom???” expression I’ve become accustomed to at this point of our road trip.
Karma helped me out and gave us an upgrade from a standard private room (in the dorm area with a shared bath) to a semi-private 2 bedroom/2 bath condo room (who we would share with two young women from England, who of course I already planned to ask for Retro Advice).
As soon as we lugged our bags up two flights of stairs, and down a never ending hallway, we freshened up and hailed a taxi to Nashville’s Municipal Arena where the Nashville Roller Girls would challenge Chicago’s Shade Brigade to a boisterous game of roller derby.
Of course, tween freshening up occurs in very slow motion. When I told my daughter that I wanted to get to the game in time for the national anthem, she frightened me.
Is it the same as ours?
Just as we were walking into the stadium, I asked her who we should root for.
The team with the cutest costumes, of course.
Knowledge and depth were DEFINITELY two things I hoped to increase on this adventure!
It didn’t take us too long to figure out when to cheer, when to boo, and the basic gist of the game. Unfortunately, Nashville’s fashion sense didn’t bring them a win that night.
In honor of our fathers in absentia, we decided to eat a scrumptious Father’s Day brunch at one of Nashville’s most popular restaurants. A meal at the European-style Marché Artisan Foods is worth the wait. My girl and I beamed at each other from across the communal table as we devoured croissant French toast, multi-grain toast with ricotta cheese and fresh peaches, sage sausage, and decent tea (not as easy to find as one might think).
Next on the agenda was shopping on Nashville’s main street before the weather turned either scorching, thundering, or both. I reminded both of us a little bit of South Congress Street in Austin—however, with the exception of one store on Broadway, the shopping didn’t live up to their vibrant neon signs (which I could have photographed all day long). We spent about 30 minutes perusing the exotic inventory of Earthbound Trading Company and left with matching friendship bracelets.
As we walked by bar after country music blaring bar, I actually found myself momentarily wishing that my girl was 21!
You know you are in Nashville when there’s a guy with his shirt on inside out and backwards sitting on a bench eating a hamburger.
Yeah, maybe not. My consolation prize was the Country Music Hall of Fame.
If you like country music—and you like museums—you’ll love this place. Our urban California souls (and mild ADD) had us out of there in less than an hour…just in time for lunch.
Thai Phooket filled us with pineapple curry and sesame chicken and gifted us with our favorite dessert—mango sticky rice.
How did I get birthed from you??? The first day back from our trip, I’m not going to see you. Too much ‘Mommy Time.’
I get it, girl. A week with zero separation is a LONG time for a mom and tween to be hanging. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wonder what the hell I was thinking when I decided on 50 days!
Here’s what my tween had to say about our one day in Nashville:
“On our drive from New Orleans to Nashville, we ran into a thunderstorm. The temperature dropped about 25 degrees within 10 minutes! After the storm subsided, we arrived at our next hostel. Let’s just say it was very welcoming and warm on the inside…the outside didn’t thrill me. We had two options of where we would like to sleep and shower…in a private room and shared bath inside the hostel or in a private room in a small condo next door with our own bathroom and only two girls in the room next to us. My mom left it up to me…I obviously chose the one with the private bathroom. After settling into the condo, we took a short taxi ride over to a women’s’ roller derby game. I decided to root for the team with the cutest outfit, which was Tennessee! They ended up losing, but at least they lost in style.
The next day was pretty relaxed. We walked around the main street and went into a few shops. Once we went through most of them, we headed a few blocks over to the Country Music Hall of Fame. It wasn’t anything special…just like any other museum. Part interesting, mostly boring. For the rest of the day we just hung out in our condo. Tennessee had great weather, but no big activities. I’m still glad I went.”
Click below to read the sage advice passed along to my daughter by the women we asked “What advice would you give your teenage self?”.