Yep! I’d just seen Nashville for the first time with my in-laws last spring, then I went back for a weekend trip in the fall with my library ladies, Lane and Erin. I say “Library Ladies” since the three of us used to work at the Athens public library. Good times!
(Man, I miss my long hair…)
Pinewood Social, a bright stylish brunch place AND bowling alley! I thought the can art was pretty cool. Not pictured: five waiters with the same hair-do, longer and flipped on top, short on the sides. Lane’s friend Kyshona met us early for breakfast and a walk around a park. Like Lane, she’s a talented singer.
Third Man Records. That animatronic monkey band! Also, Erin and I cut our own record in the Voice-o-Graph that is mostly us laugh-singing “Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-basketball.” Hahaaa!
Margaritas and burritos with Rae and her husband Travis at Rosepepper Cantina. I’d been reading Rae’s blog for a couple years so it was fun to meet her in real life! She and Travis are fellow animal lovers with great taste in movies and roadside attractions. PS: They recently became cool parents.
Barista Parlor with Callie! I love meeting weird, unique ladies.
And of course, we library ladies had to pay a visit to Nashville’s library. I’d checked it out with Dean but it was cool to spend more time there. The whole children’s section is super fun. There’s a Wayne White/student collab sculpture where you can crank around the eyeballs.
More of Lane’s fun, talented pals. She’s got a lot of ’em.
Last view: the jade art deco men’s room at the Hermitage Hotel. A feast for the eyes if ever there was one. Until next time, Nashville!
Bits and bobs. Phew, that was a long, packed trip!
Touring the Carter house in Franklin, home of 1,000 Civil War bullets.
Earth mounds at the Kennesaw battlefield. “Wow, Steph. I didn’t know you were a Civil War buff!” The thing is, I’m not exactly. HOWEVER, like football, I grew up around a lot of enthusiasts–my uncle and cousin were Gettysburg reenactors. So before this trip I read Battle Cry for Freedom and we stopped at two battle sites.
Haunted hearse and chicken in Alabama.
Elvis’s birth home in Tupelo.
LOL, this hotel pool/DIY garden. Love it!
Alternate title: I fucking love William Faulkner!
Growing up, I read very few books that weren’t horror, comics, or E.M. Forster (can’t explain the how Forster snuck in…). Then in college, I got The Sound and the Fury as a required text and became instantly obsessed with William Faulkner. It was the most challenging novel I’d finished at the time and I can still remember feeling like I’d gained a brand new way of looking at literature/the world. Since then, other modernists have left me cold but my reading tastes have branched out considerably. Faulkner was kind of my gateway drug!
Anyway, as soon as I realized this road trip went near Oxford Mississippi, I made the executive decision to stop there. With only half a day, we dropped my in-laws off at a record shop and headed straight to Rowan Oak, Faulkner’s home. I can’t recommend a tour of the house and grounds highly enough– it’s the ultimate literary destination. Paintings, plaster cracks, a portable typewriter– all carefully preserved. Even Dean thought it was cool to see an outline of A Fable that Faulkner wrote directly on the walls of his study. I love imagining him drinking his cheap bourbon and scaring his daughter with ghost stories here. We’re also glad his wife had AC put in, supposedly the day after he died. Hahaa!
Here I am being a total ham and posing with my copy of Absalom! Absalom! which I re-read during the trip. The grounds at Rowan Oak are beautiful and serene.
Afterwards, we headed to Oxford Square which is lovely and kind of reminds me of an extra-southern Athens. Square Books has to be one of the best, most charming book stores in the country! I’m really sorry we didn’t have more time here. There are a few places we didn’t get to that we’ll have to see next time. :)
We didn’t have any whiskey or fine French wine bottles to leave so we tossed a couple pennies and hit the road again for Alabama. So long, Yoknapatawpha County!
Like Nashville, we had no idea what to expect in Memphis but we ended up loving it! You’d think I’d hate the crowds, litter and spilled booze permeating Beale Street but even that was fun: we drank beer on a patio with actual goats and window-shopped for fancy toilet seats painted with rock-and-roll scenes. I took so many photos, I haveta break this up into two posts. First chunk of pictures:Breakfast at The Arcade Restaurant. “Memphis Oldest Cafe, Since 1919,” or as Dean and I know it, the diner in Mystery Train.
The Crystal Shrine Grotto. I cannot recommend Memphis’ Memorial Park Cemetery highly enough. The grotto is a rainbow quartz cave of wonder! The outside has fake trees and a dreamy, dyed pool. Bonus: Isaac Hayes’ grave is close by.
Blues records sidewalk, awesome.
The iconic Lorraine Motel, commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. as the Civil Rights Museum. Right in front is a woman camped out in protest of the museum.
Mum & Dean napped at the AirBNB while Cliff and I went on a tour of Sun Studio. It was as charming as it was informative and, not gonna lie, the studio did feel a bit magical.
Ok, this is a chain but it is still delightful. So many Billy Bass!
The Stax Museum!All the memorabilia was cool but nothing was cooler than Isaac Hayes’ custom, gold-trimmed Cadillac, spinning in a frankly glorious display.
These were the greatest sno cones of my life and I swear they possess restorative properties! They sure hit the spot on this particularly muggy afternoon.
When Mum visited the states for the first time, she came with her rock-n-roll friends to see Nashville and Memphis. Over 20 years later, she made her second trip to the US to see Nashville and Memphis again. Hahaaa! Dean and I drove in with no concept of how big Nashville was or if there was anything beyond the Broadway bars (which are overwhelmingly sloshed with expensive drinks and cowboys covering Green Day)… but we saw lotsa cool stuff sticking to the touristy spots:
This public library is top-notch. A beautiful building and courtyard and sweet staff! I went back to Nashville with Lane and Erin a few months later and stopped in again. Love it!
Dogs of the Nashville Flea Market: Sweet Pea in the tub, Dolly the poofy pup, Madden by the clothing rack. Don’t ask me to remember your name but I will remember your dog’s.
In terms of deals, I’d say the prices are a little higher at Nashville’s Flea than, say, Chattanooga or Athens but the selection is incredible. There was a rainbow sea of Pyrex and Fire King dishes, plenty of boxes of 45s for Cliff to paw through, and I developed this fantasy of buying a ton of Pachinko machines to cover our hall walls at home… mmmm Pachinko.
The Ryman Auditorium!
Prince died the day we got to town and I thought it was incredibly sweet that this 90s country cover band played a cover of “Purple Rain.” Also, Tootsie’s orchid-purple walls are lovely.
Hatch Show Print
The mister and I chased down the last light of sunset on the way to Mas Tacos. It was worth it.