April 29-May 1, 2016 - Nashville, TN
First trip to Nashville for me!! Kristi had been before but it had been awhile. We were in town for the RNR Nashville race I recapped a couple of days ago and thankfully had gotten a list of recommendations from a friend. This list was our go-to all weekend long and everywhere we chose we were not disappointed.
Day 1: We got up pretty early and hit the road from Blacksburg. Kristi had come up the night before from Cary so we could ride together. It was about a 6 hour drive filled with endless conversation, laughs and a few pit stops. We finally pulled into town just in time for lunch (thank you time change). Thanks to our rec list we ventured to Edley's BBQ. HOLY COW was it delicious!!!! I decided on the pulled pork sandwich with sides of mac n cheese and black eyed peas. I mean honestly it's like me in a meal. The pork was mouthwateringly good. And the sides were delicious as well. The only thing that made the lunch sweeter was that mid meal we glanced across the street and there was Steven Tyler leaving the parking lot in his car. (He was definitely not driving- and I didn't get a picture :().
We were stuffed and decided against the sprinkles cupcakes up the street (if we hadn't been running a half the next day I might have changed my mind.. because yes cupcakes!) We headed downtown to the Expo, paid to park at Music City Center and the ventured inside for packet pickup. Kristi was running as a St. Jude's Hero and we'd paid to have access to their special gear check and party afterwards. We kind of got the run around on that but finally got our wristbands by the time we left the expo.
Inside the Expo we grabbed our bibs, t-shirts and gear check bag with miscellaneous info. Then it was time for the real fun. I LOVE RACE EXPOS. It could be because I'm a little obsessed with all the running and fitness things and my wardrobe is basically athleisure 24/7. Anyway, we headed down each aisle looking at the goodies, taste testing, taking free samples and finally I purchased some new Sparkly Soul Headbands. We also signed the St. Jude wall and of course got a photo! We got our wristbands for the beer tent just in case we wanted it after the race and then decided to walk around a little downtown. We had paid to park for awhile so we might as well use it right!?!
We strolled past the Country Music Hall of Fame and headed down toward the water. There's a small riverwalk with a nice view of the Titan's stadium and downtown in general. Of course it started to rain on us so we quickly headed back walking down Broadway (basically the main drag where all the Honky Tonks are). Gotta love indoor/outdoor bars with rooftops and the like. What a scene.
Thinking it was finally ok to leave (Friday, rush hour, rain storm, (oh my!)) we headed back to the car and drove out to out hotel. We had booked near the airport (hello cheaper) and because at the time we weren't sure if Kristi would be flying or not. Instead of going back downtown we decided to have dinner at the hotel. Thankfully there was a really nice place inside! Then we laid out our flatrunners and it was time for sleep!
Day 2: All morning was filled with the race- you can read the recap here. After I finished I met up with Kristi at the St. Jude's area where she had befriended Liz who was in town by herself. The plan was for her to meet us out later. I had tons of water and gatorade and wasn't up to eating any of the food. We finally made it back to the car and drove back to the hotel. Nice hot showers followed and then we relaxed for awhile. We had made tour reservations for a chocolate factory (yes that exists!) Olive & Sinclair's was so fun! We got a tour of their entire factory- saw how they put everything into production AND got free samples. Of course then it was out to the gift shop where I literally wanted to buy everything. I escaped with a Mexican chocolate bar, salt and vinegar caramels, muzzle loaders and sea salt chocolates. SO GOOD.
We dropped those back by the hotel and went down to our free happy hour (thanks hotel!) while we were waiting to hear about our dinner plans. Kristi had another friend in town with a group of girls and we were planning to meet up with them also. Well- they had their own drama so we ended up meeting Liz out at Jackelope brewing (delicious) and then headed to Whiskey Kitchen. Delightful cocktails and yummy pizza followed after fighting for a table! It was fun getting to know Liz- hopefully our paths will cross again at another race some day!
Liz headed back to her hotel for the night and we met up with the other girls for an interesting tour of Broadway. We went in and out of various honky tonks and bars. Our last stop at The Stage was the best with really good musicians. It was a late night after our race especially now that I basically go to sleep at 10pm every night!
Day 3: Brunch at the hotel yum! Then we packed everything up, checked out of our hotel and headed to nearby Percy Warner park. We walked for awhile- good for our legs and then it was time for a quick stop at Belle Meade for some wine. We each got a bottle and spent a few moments in the gift shop. For lunch as our last meal we went back to our recommendation list and decided on the 2nd best burger in town at Burger Up. Once again the meal did not disappoint. And they had homemade ketchup!! A perfect ending our to racecation! To the next one!!!