This Thanksgiving week, we headed down south yet again to visit Nashville, TN for the first time. I have to admit it wasn’t high on my list to visit, but I liked this city more than I thought I would! There was actually a lot of cool stuff to see and do. Check out what all we got into:
Country Music Hall of Fame: This place was a little pricey to get in but SO worth it! They had all kinds of history to check out in this place, from gold records, to famous outfits stars wore on stage, and even Elvis’s huge cars!
2.JS Pedestrian Bridge: Another awesome spot to hit up in Nashville. No cars are allowed on this massive bridge so there’s just hella pedestrians (get it) walking around enjoying the beautiful scenery of downtown and the Cumberland River.
3. Find all the Murals: Ok so we didn’t find them all but we found a good number of them. There are some in every neighborhood you go to pretty much so it won’t be hard to stumble upon one!
4. Hit up Broadway: What’s a trip to Nashville without hitting up the bars?! This street of honky tonky bars had a big ‘Las Vegas’ vibe to it, hence the name ‘Nashvegas’. There’s no cover anywhere but it stays quite packed and busy. There’s so much action everywhere you look; it’s like a huge block party right in downtown Nashville!
5.Find the Stix Sculpture: This is nestled right in downtown Nashville and is made up of large, multi colored sticks in a big patch of grass. It’s unique and worthy of your awe.
6. Snag Some Grub at a Food Truck: Nashville had so many trucks to choose from it was hard to decide! Just pick one and experience it, man.
Nashville is a pretty sweet city to hit up. Whether you’re passing through or plan on staying there for a few days, add it to the ole travel bucket list. I know you’ve got one!
Our trip to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park was awesome! Very tiring, but awesome! We spent only the weekend here but managed to get some sweet hikes in. As this was our first time ever visiting this park, we learned a lot of what to do and what not to do for our next trip someday. Here’s what I’d like to share with you:
The park is HUGE: This is a gigantic national park, the largest I’ve ever visited. It spans across two states-Tennessee and North Carolina. Because it’s so expansive, expect to drive from site to site for anywhere from 30 minutes up to 2 or 3 hours! I know, right. This was unusual to me but, like I said it is huge. Just don’t be disappointed if you only have time to make it to 2 or 3 sites/trails a day.
2. You’ll be driving through mountains, so plan accordingly: Hairpin turns resulting in nausea, anyone? Oh yea GSMNP has got ’em. I’ve experienced worse-but if you’re one to get car sick easily I would take some nausea medication before starting your day. Also-make sure you’ve got a good and reliable car to get you up and down all those mountain roads. They’ll take a toll on the transmission and brakes for sure!
3. No Internet service: Because you’re in the mountains, expect to get zero internet service. No internet service means you can’t just whip out your phone to look up a trail and how to get there. Grab a map at the visitor center, and be sure to look up as much as you can online before hitting up the park for where all you want to go and how to get there.
4. Avoid a holiday weekend in the summer at all costs: Nate and I went to the most visited national park on Labor Day weekend. Don’t be like Nate and I. It was PACKED. The visitor center, the roads, the parking spaces, the more well-known trails were totally crowded. Try going during shoulder season on a non-holiday weekend or during the week.
5. There is no shuttle service: Some parks offer a shuttle service but this park was not one of them. This results in the parking spaces being taken up quickly so either avoid the popular trails and sights, or get there early people!
7. Carve out a few days to visit the area: Not only is the park huge with so many appealing trails to go on, but the tourist towns surrounding it -Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg- are filled with sooo many attractions. It was overwhelming even to me and I don’t get overwhelmed easily. I’ve been to touristy spots like Las Vegas and Branson, MO but this place takes the cake with being just riddled with retail shops, attractions, amusement parks, restaurants, and countless other activities to take part in. You could easily spend a week or two in the park as well as these two towns experiencing all the fun.
7. Beware of the bears: We didn’t see any bears on our visit but they DO live here. I don’t want to scare you, but I personally wouldn’t go on any trails alone here. On the plus side, there are little to no bugs here. I would still advise wearing bug spray for ticks, though.
8. Strenuous trails are not for the weak: At GSMNP, when they say strenuous-they mean it, y’all! I like to think Nate and I are in pretty good shape but a couple of these trails completely wiped us out and we were drenched in sweat pretty much the whole weekend of hiking! If you’re up for the challenge, then go for it but avoid anything labeled strenuous if you’re not regularly working out.
We had a great time at Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We learned so much and we will definitely be back another time!
Ah, Memphis. The home of my favorite rap group Three 6 Mafia and the destination for my first plane ride ever! I have been here a couple times-once in 2011 and again with my fiance in 2017. I’m sure you’ve heard that Memphis is dangerous, but like with anywhere else in the world, use common sense and you should be fine. Don’t let what you read in the paper scare you from visiting this awesome city.
Activities Not to Miss
Crystal Shrine Grotto: This is definitely more of an off-the-beaten-path activity in Memphis. I’d even bet most locals have never heard of it or stopped by this place. This is on the grounds of Memorial Park Funeral Home. It was completely desolate when we went so we had the whole place to ourselves. You can walk around outside of the grotto as well and take in the pretty landscaping. It was super cool and we didn’t feel like we were in Memphis at all!
Bass Pro Shop: This is shaped like a pyramid (get it, Egypt) and you can ride an elevator all the way to the tippity top and walk out onto the huge balcony and gaze out at the Mississippi River. It’s scary but beautiful! The shop is huge with so many cool things to look at, you could spend a couple of hours here easily.
Graceland: It’s the King’s house y’all. Yup, you can stroll around Elvis Presley’s entire property -and his planes- for a nominal fee. All the decor and furniture were left the way he had it when he died so it’s like walking through a time machine. It’s super sweet and you get to learn a lot about this superstar who died before his time.
See the Ducks: Head down to the Peabody Hotel and watch the little ducks waddle around the hotel lobby and plop into the fountain. It is so. stinkin. cute! While you’re there, wander around the beautiful and classic hotel. It will feel like going back in time with throwback, elegant touches here and there.
Where to Eat
TCBY: This is a dying chain so please eat this delicious fro-yo before you won’t ever get the chance again. It’s also more popular in the southern states so if you’re not from the area that is probably why you have never heard of it. My favorite is Rainbow Cream yum!
Backyard Burgers: Another restaurant that isn’t everywhere in America, but it should be! This is a fast food joint but the burgers are from outta this world. When I lived in the south, I used to love me some BYB.
I don’t care what restaurant you go to for this– just do it! The meal I’m referring to is deep fried catfish. You can’t visit the south without consuming something battered and fried and I say catfish is it!