Rachel and Jason have 20 weeks left in Nashville until they move to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Their goal is go do at least 1 memorable thing every week.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Week 4: Nolensville Feed Mill

One of the things I've found about Nashville is the fact that if you go off the beaten path, you can find some cool little surprises in and around the Nashville area. We have ventured to the Jack Daniels' Distillery in Lynchburg, and on a couple of occasions we have ventured out to some of Rachel's favorite spots. One of my new favorites is the Nolensville Feed Mill.

Nolensville is a tiny little community about half an hour south of Nashville. It is one of those towns where if you blink, you'll miss it. No big fast food chains, no big supermarket stores, and before I found the feed mill: no real reason for me to drive out there.

I was a little apprehensive the first time she took me into the feed mill. I'm not much for history, and the idea of a little general store in the middle of nowhere didn't suit me very well. I'd much rather just stop by and pick up what I need at Walmart. I recently did a little history and found out the mill had been around since 1890. The original one had burned down in 1933, but the existing one has been standing ever since.

As you pull up, it looks like this place would be a great stop for the guys from the show American Pickers. Antiques strewn about the patio, visible junk/treasures under the building, and a kitchen sink next to a rocking chair. I wondered what I was getting into but headed inside.

I felt like I was wandering back into time. A time life was simpler, and for the most part, much better. As soon as we entered we were greeted by Darin, whom we later found out was the owner. Without knowing us, he sparked up a conversation. "Ya'll like cheese, you gotta come try some of this stuff, it's amazing." He ushered us over to a counter where he had already set up a few containers and let us sample about 6 different items. Chicken Salad, jellies, cheeses, banana bread, and the bread itself...it was ALL incredible. A lot of the stuff he gets in are sent from an Amish community in Indiana, and it is awesome. Where can you get such amazing customer service like this thesedays?

Looking around the store, we found some of our other favorites. Sprecher Root Beer, and Sprecher Orange Dream, Hatcher Family Dairy chocolate milk, and seriously...some of the best banana bread I have ever tasted. Later this month they are opening a deli, and I cannot wait to try that.

We visited again this last weekend during the Nolensville Buttercup Festival. A cute little festival that only took up a block or two. Seems like the feed mill was the heart of the action with live music on their porch, bake sales and other groups selling their goods. Quite a neat little gathering. The store was absolutely packed, and I for one, am hoping that not alot of new people catch on to one of our little secrets.

For more information, visit http://www.nolensvillefeedmill.com

Monday, April 5, 2010

Week 3: The Food

I would be remiss if I wrote a blog about spending 20 weeks in Nashville and didn’t mention the food. I have always thought of myself to be a foodie, a food junkie, or a connoisseur of great burgers, and on this note…Nashville doesn’t disappoint. Over the last 20 weeks (especially the final month) we will be sure to hit all our favorite hot spots.

Of course, in Nashville, we have to start with BBQ. Granted we are not Memphis, but we are close enough that you can almost smell it. We have two favorites when it comes to Nashville BBQ. The most popular place is Jack’s. Jack’s is located on Lower Broadway, and is almost right across the street from the Bridgestone Arena where our beloved Nashville Predators play. It is so easy to stop by on the way to a game. One of our newest favorites is kind of a secret gem. It’s located in “Trendy” East Nashville, and it’s called Drifter’s BBQ. We stopped over there a few weeks ago and it’s absolutely delicious. I’m not a fan of Hush Puppies but Rachel said they were incredible. I had pretty much a Big Mac, BBQ Style. A yummy wheat roll sliced into thirds, with beef brisket on the top, and pulled pork on the bottom. It was as good as it gets.

The best pizza we’ve found in Nashville certainly has to be given to Jet’s. Hands down. The square crust is perfectly crispy, the BBQ Chicken pizza is a perfect balance of chicken and bbq sauce, and it is probably one of the best pies I’ve ever had.

As I mentioned before I’m a big fan of burgers and have found a couple favorites in Nashville as well. One of the first places I went to is called Paradise Park Trailer Resort. I guess back in the day they had fancy plastic lawn furniture as dining room seating. The burgers there are pretty awesome. The doublewide will make you feel exactly that…doubly as wide as when you walked in. No question the locals’ favorite would probably be Rotier’s. Located near the Vanderbilt University campus, this place is always busy with students, executives from Music Row, and sometimes the rich and famous. Simple, down-home goodness on a bun is the best way to describe their burgers. Their fried pickles are a favorite of ours as well. Speaking of fried pickles, another place we’ve hit up, and I’d like to hit up again is a place near Opryland called Scoreboard Bar and Grill. It is one of the few places down here that has both fried pickles and deep fried cheese curds. I can’t wait to take Rachel to the Wisconsin State Fair so she can have some deep fried cheese there; she has no idea what she is in for.

Perhaps our favorite restaurant in Nashville is a place called Dalt’s American Grill. I tried this place on a whim once, and have never had a meal that was less than incredible there. From the burger, to the club sandwich, to the philly cheese steak, I’ve always been impressed and never left hungry. Rachel is a huge fan of the chicken tenders, and we both love the onion rings. Definitely the best we’ve tried in town so far.

The final food I have started to become addicted to is subs. Not as many great options here as there are in Milwaukee but my favorite would be Sub Stop. Oddly enough we found out recently that it’s also a favorite of the Nashville Predators coaching staff. One would think it is not hard to mess up a sub, but few can get it as right as Sub Stop. The bread is untouchable, the meat and veggies are always fresh, and the fact that I can usually find coupons for it makes a big difference too. Jersey Mikes is alright too, but the better value for the money is definitely at Sub Stop.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Week 2: Discover Nashville Tour

Through a nice little gift at work, I was given some sweet little VIP tickets to the Gray Line Tour company. They run all kinds of tours around Nashville, and I was given a free pass for 2 to four of them.

Today we decided to take advantage of the Discover Nashville tour. Despite the fact that it was kind of a crummy day outside, this 3.5 hour tour gave me a brand new appreciation for this little honky-tonking city I chose to move to. I realized during the tour that exactly 1 year ago I was here visiting Nashville, and that couple days ended up changing the course of my life. Who would have known a year ago that I will have moved to Nashville, and been planning a move back to Milwaukee.

We boarded the bus at the hotel I work at and headed through the downtown area. Rachel and I got an upclose view of some of Nashville's most famous landmarks including the State Capitol, Fort Nashborough, Printers Alley, LP Field, and the Parthenon. One of the cooler aspects of this tour was it also included stops at two of Nashville's most treasured attractions.

Our first stopping point was the historic Ryman Auditorium. We got off for a self guided tour of one of the oldest music venues in America. It was built in 1892 and was home to the Grand Ole Opry from 1943 to 1974. It still is home to the Opry show during the winter months. We've been to a couple shows together here and it is such a breathtaking venue. We sat in the first row of the center balcony for Zac Brown Band, about the 8th row for an Opry show and about 5th row for Lady Antebellum. Our seats for each show have been simply incredible but its really nice to be able to check out the venue during the day and absorb all the history of the legendary performers who have been on that stage.

We decided to pony up the $5 to get our picture taken on the stage, and its honestly something I will cherish for a long time. They let us get on stage, grab a guitar and they snapped a picture. I have no idea how to hold a guitar, let alone play one, but I felt the need to have to strum out a few notes just to say I have. We spent another 45 minutes or show checking out a small film presentation, and checking out some costumes that performers have worn there in the past. I'm not the biggest fan of old time country music but it was still some pretty awesome stuff to see.

We got back up on the bus to go check out the Parthenon and Music Row. The Parthenon is a pretty incredible building, and we look forward to checking out the inside another week. Music Row is full of history, but sadly all of it is inside, and the general public can't see much. We headed back downtown for our second stop of the day...The Country Music Hall of Fame.

Again, I'm not the biggest country music fan, but this was still a neat thing to see. There is so much music history gathered in the Nashville area, it was pretty neat to see it all in one place. There were so many old guitars, fiddles, and famous outfits, it was alot to absorb in the hour we were there. Everything from a Pasty Cline dress, a platinum Jeff Foxworthy cd, to a pair of shoes and car owned by the King himself, Elvis Presley. Definitely some cool stuff to see. Not sure I'd pay $20 to see it on my own, but very glad it was part of the tour.

We hopped back into the bus and headed for our final stop at Legends Corner. There we got to get a small taste of a Nashville honkey tonk. I'm not gonna lie, the band playing while we were there was AWFUL. Hopefully the Austrailians on the tour got to see some other music while they were here, because I sure don't want them taking the memory of this dude with them. It was pitiful. After about 15 minutes we finally got back onto the bus and headed back to our hotel.

All in all, the tour was REALLY cool. The tour guide was hilarious, informative, and we were sure to hit all the main spots of Nashville. I'm totally glad we went. After the tour, we met up with Rachel's friend Jamie and her boyfriend Jason to take in another tradition....Jack's BBQ and a Nashville Predators game! It was quite an awesome day.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Week 1: Predators and Honkey-Tonkin

We officially got the blog off to an awesome start last night. We picked up tickets to what may be the best show in Nashville, or at least the best show in SMASHVILLE. Our hometown boys with the Nashville Predators took on the hockey team from the "State of Hockey" the Minnesota Wild.

For what its worth, the Predators put on an amazing product. On and off the ice. From the cheap tickets (We paid $10 for college night) to the live music on the stage during intermissions, to the complete butt-whupping they laid on the Wild....it was a great night. Now, I'll be the first to admit, the band during the intermissions was pretty awful but I've seen some pretty impressive acts as well. Heck, Vince Gill surprised the fans on Tuesday!

I may be a bit of a homer because I played hockey for 14 years, and worked with the Milwaukee Admirals for 3...but hockey is just an incredible sport to watch. Fast paced, hard hitting, end to end action with not nearly as many breaks as a baskeball, football or baseball game. The amount of skill it takes to tip a puck out of mid-air on a 100 mph shot from the point is just incredible.

The Predators dominated from the get-go and won 5-0 over the hapless Wild. A couple more efforts like this and the Predators will be on their way back to the playoffs. If you haven't been to a game, you really should check it out. Even if you don't fully understand it, you'll still have a great time.

After the game, we decided to check out some live music on Broadway. We started at Legends Corner and were pretty impressed with the singer there. We stopped in at Roberts only to find them in between a band change, and then spent some time outside of Tootsies, Second Fiddle, and Layla's Bluegrass Inn. We decided to call it a night, but will definitely be headin back down to check out Honkey-Tonk Row during the day when you can actually move inside of the bars.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nashville Predators and Honky Tonkin!

So, the Love Circle thing fell through last night. Its alright through, it was a little too cold to be venturing up the hills, plus neither Rachel or I really knew where we were going, so I decided to skip it.

Tonight will be the first night in our quest. My friends Rob and Chris are coming down from Wisconsin, and we will be hitting up the Nashville Predators game with them. Nashville certainly isn't known as a hockey town, but there is a solid group of hardcore fans who show up game in and game out. I truly wish more people down here understood how awesome the sport of hockey is. It definetly makes basketball seem lame and boring.

So, we'll hit up the Preds game vs the Minnesota Wild tonight, and follow that up with some good ole fashion Nashville Honkey-Tonkin. Maybe start at Legends and work our way down from there. I hope to hit up Legends, Tootsies, Roberts, and another one. Anyone reading yet? Any suggestions for a 4th place downtown?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Best view in Nashville

Well today is as good of a day as any to start our journey. We want to get as much as we can out of the last 20 weeks here in Nashville so we can felt that we saw it all. What better way to start than taking a look at everything Nashville has to offer from the best view in town!

Tonight, we shall venture up to Love Circle to check out what some have called the Best View of Nashville. No John Rich, we won't be bringing out flashlights, so don't worry. How about we make a deal, you don't clutter up my sky with spotlights, I won't clutter up your face with a flashlight. Deal? Deal.

I've never been up there, but have checked out a couple reviews online. Hopefully we can figure out where we are going.

I have also decided on a side mission to catch as much cheap baseball as possible. Today I'll be heading out to Shelby Park to catch Belmont University square off against Cleveland State. Hopefully I'll be able to check out Vanderbilt soon, and then even Cumberland, Trevecca, and Lipscomb.

Welcome to the 20 weeks in Nashville blog!

Hey there, and welcome to our blog!

Let me start out by telling you a little bit about us, and what we are up to here.

My name is Jason, and I moved to Nashville last August in search of the American dream. No, I wasn't looking to be the next Garth Brooks and win a Grammy....I thought I had a job lined up with the Nashville Predators hockey team. After working with their minor league team, the Milwaukee Admirals, for three years I thought I was making the jump to the NHL, to fulfill a dream. Well sadly, that didn't pan out, and I lost out to the "old buddy network" and lost my opportunity to a couple friends of the boss who had no experience.

After I got kicked in the gut by the NHL, I honestly never really gave Nashville a chance. I really haven't been happy ever since. My time here hasn't been all for naught though. I met an amazing woman named Rachel, and now I'm kidnapping her and taking her back to my homeland of Wisconsin. I honestly feel like the luckiest guy in the world for having an amazing girlfriend who is willing to move across the country for me.

We have about 20 weeks left in Nashville and are hoping to make the best of it. We will be looking to hit all the hot spots in the city. We will set out to do 1 "Nashville" thing a week and blog all about it. And hopefully, once we get to Milwaukee in August, we'll flip this around, and blog about our first 20 weeks in Milwaukee.

Here are some of the things we are thinking about doing. We would love some suggestions on what else we have to hit that is "definitely Nashville"

  • Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Ryman Auditorium backstage tour
  • Parthenon and Frist Museums
  • Nashtrash Tour
  • Monell's
  • A night of good ole honkey tonkin and have a beer on the Shelby Street Bridge
  • Tour of stars homes
  • Music City Queen boat tour
  • Make a piece of pottery at All Fired Up
  • Pie Wagon
  • Belle Meade/Hermitage/Cheekwood tour

We would definitely love some suggestions and who knows where we could take this :)

Thanks for reading,

Rachel and Jason