Nashville really took me by surprise. I was expecting a country music obsessed town, but also found an incredible musically diverse city. We decided to stay in East Nashville and I’m so glad we did. The area is further away from the downtown area with its main strip of Honky Tonks, which suited us perfectly. The newly opened Fieldhouse Jones Hotel was excellent, I wouldn’t stay anywhere else. It’s a brand-new property, where the relaxed, friendly staff really make you feel at home, and are always on hand with restaurant and bar recommendations. The styling is creative yet not overpowering, with dark tones and features of leather and wood. You can even purchase retro furniture pieces featured in the hotels shared spaces. In the mornings there’s fresh donuts, fruit juice, coffee & tea in the lobby. Launching soon the hotel will also have its own rooftop bar, Neon Mango.
On our first day we hired a car and drove out to Belle Meade Plantation. Getting a car for a day or 2 in Nashville is so worthwhile and gives you a completely different perspective of the city. The surrounds are beautiful, as soon as you leave the city area you drive down grand roads lined with stately historic homes – the drive to Belle Meade is gorgeous in the Fall. We took a tour of the Greek Revival Mansion, learning about its past owners the Harding-Jackson family, as well as the properties’ African American slave population, and the generations of their families that worked on the plantation even after gaining their freedom. Afterwards we visited the most charming town, Leipers Fork Tennessee, and strolled through antique and record stores along the one main street. Our last stop before heading back to Nashville was the town of Franklin. We visited the Civil War and McGavock Confederate Cemeteries, keen to increase our knowledge of American history.
The rest of our stay we stuck to East Nashville, an eclectic mix of creative bars, vintage stores, and some of the best vegan meals I’ve ever had. Before my trip people asked me why I wanted to visit Nashville, and my answer while sounding like a joke was completely true, I wanted to own vintage cowboy boots I’d found in America’s South. Black Shag Vintage was where my dream boots and I met. For our first night out together, we went to a local gig at 5 Spot to see Peachy and Taco Mouth, inspired by 60’s rock, Nashville’s girl band scene is alive and screaming. Another must visit for music lovers is Third Man Records, launched by Jack White, the store is also a recording studio, photography studio and distribution centre. They run limited tours on Fridays and Saturdays if you are in town on those days. Taking home some vinyl is my idea of the perfect souvenir.