Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Vacation Recap: Country Music & Pretty Horses!

Mr. 3's dad is a lifetime member to the Kentucky Derby and a Kentucky Colonel to boot.  Ever since Mr. 3 and I started dating, I've been invited to attend all the fun.  This year, Mr. 3 and I had enough of the 11+ hour drive from D.C. and we decided to make two part trip.  After some intense Google map searching, I found cheap tickets for flights for us to Nashville which is only 2.5 hours away from Lousivlle.  We left D.C. on Wednesday night after work and spent Thursday checking out Nashville before heading out to Kentucky on Friday morning in time for the Kentucky Oaks races.  We stayed about 45 minutes away in a hotel in Indiana and drove back to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby.  On Sunday morning, we headed back to Nashville for a fun afternoon and flew out on Monday morning.  The trip was a whirlwind and not what I would call a relaxing vacation but we had the best time.  If you were following me on Instagram (and you should!) you got to see some of the highlights, but here's a few more photos and a list of activities and yummy places to eat if you find yourself in the Nashville-Louisville-Indiana area.


Nashville is a great city and you can see a lot in a few days.  That said, it's not a walkable city so be sure to rent a car unless you are planning on only staying and seeing downtown.  It's also still a bit "gritty" so you be careful if you decide to take public transportation or walk.  Overall, the food is awesome and the people are so welcoming!  You can always find someplace to listen to a live band (there was even someone playing at an airport bar!).  I highly recommend driving through the residential areas to check out the adorable craftsman style and bungalow houses.

Place to Stay

American - OMG.  This place had a line out the door on a Thursday morning at 10:30...and with good reason.  The sweet potato pancakes and bacon were delicious.

Southern - OMG again.  I had a pimento cheese and fried green tomato biscuit, cheese grits, and bacon.  Mr. 3 had the pulled pork biscuit which was to die for.  Everything was delicious.  Just to be really egregious, I had a slice of coconut cream pie that was so good I bought the restaurant's cookbook so I could have the recipe.

Heaven on a plate.

Lunch & Dinner
Southern - I've never had pork belly in a salad, but it was a tasty treat.  Mr. 3 also enjoyed the beef tongue reuben.  There's also a retro bowling alley that looked like tons of fun if you have the time.

I sampled a ton of flavors (Savannah Buttermint, Black Coffee, and Banana French Toast), but I wound up with the Goat Cheese and Cherry and a scoop of the Brown Butter Almond Brittle.  Mr. 3 had the Brambleberry Crisp (there were bits of pie in it!) and the Askinosie Dark Milk Chocolate.

Happy Hour/Drinks
Southern - The crab corn dogs are AMAZING.  I also recommend their spicy margarita. 

Things to Do
Home of President Andrew Jackson

"Mother Church of Country Music" - the original Grand Ole Opry

Larry Gaitlin performing.  Sorry for the grittiness. My camera phone doesn't come with a telephoto lense.

Lots of antique shops

Fun neighborhood with Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams and local shops

White's Mercantile @ 12 South

Small bourbon distillery operation.  It's a cheap way to spend an hour or two ($8 for the tour).

Good grains with your booze.

Awesome honky tonk bar spread across three levels with a different band on each floor.  No cover charge.  Try to find a seat on the third floor which has a great view of the strip and is open air when it's warm enough.  The bands were awesome!

View from Rippy's 3rd floor.

Louisville is a crazy city during Derby weekend.  Unfortunately, we don't usually get to check out much of the city other than a couple of restaurants since we are at the races all day on Friday and Saturday.

Farm to Table - Order anything and it will be wonderful....but if you just can't decide go for the "biscuit and gravy."  It only comes with one biscuit, but it is huge.  Harvest also has a huge bourbon selection and you can order flights to get a sample of what you like.

Chilly weather = pants.

New Albany, IN
We like to stay in New Albany when we can find the rooms.  It's only about 20 minutes from the racetrack and it is a really cute town that is going through some revitalization.  The people here are friendly and the houses are adorable.

American - If they offer a bourbon champagne cocktail, order it!  I also highly recommend the bread pudding pancake.

American - The pear and gorgonzola pizza is awesome and be sure to get a glass of Riesling.

Seymour, IN
This year we stayed a bit farther away because we found a Hampton Inn cheaper than we could find a hotel in Louisville (a Day's Inn can go for $300 or more!).  There wasn't much going on in this town, but if you find yourself passing by, this Mexican restaurant is awesome!

Mexican - Awesome prices and great food - try the churros!

We had an awesome time and as you can probably tell...ate waaaaay tooooo much!  I'll have at least one other article on our Nashville stay tuned for more details of my fun adventures!