On the second leg of our Nashville trip, we decided to get out of the city proper and explore the scenic towns that surrounded it. Before we headed out toward the country, though, we did make it a point to stop at the Ryman Auditorium. We opted to see this over the Country Music Hall of Fame primarily because ticket prices were a little lower and the tour was shorter. As we had a toddler in tow, we didn't know how she'd do or how long she would last, and we didn't want to spend a ton of money only to have to leave 15 minutes into the tour.
The Ryman still had plenty of historic displays for us to take in, though! It's in a gorgeous old church with incredible acoustics. Just walking in there, I could feel the history and the significance of the place. The upper portion of the church was lined with display cases that held items from Minnie Pearl's shoes to Tim McGraw's Grammy's suit. As a lifelong country music lover who can quote you any song in the genre, lyric-for-lyric that was released between 1995 and 2015, I took it all in like a
sponge. I also took advantage of the chance to go onstage! Though there was an added fee to get your picture taken at the microphone (because you had to use the Ryman's photography services to do so), my husband managed to get one of me close to the famed platform, so that was close enough!
From there, we ventured to a late breakfast at Loveless Cafe, about a 30-minute drive from the city. Along the way, we saw tons of farmland and gorgeous estates so it made for a picturesque route. We ended up loving the cafe so much we came back the very next morning! The biscuits were heavenly, melt-in-your-mouth fluffs and the chicken and waffles I ordered each time were just divine. It was very family-friendly and quaint and felt almost like a southern diner we would have back home. We loved strolling the grounds and even bought some oven mitts and some salt and pepper shakers for our family members!
After fueling up at Loveless, we hit the road for nearby Leiper's Fork, Tennessee. I'd read about this small town during my research, and I knew I wanted to make it a part of our
itinerary. There is an old gas station there called Puckett's Grocery where musicians from all over the world come to play. It's unassuming from the outside and quite bare-bones on the inside, but they were serving up warm vegetable plates that were incredible. Even though we were all stuffed from Loveless, we still got one to go and shared it outside, soaking up the spring day. That was where my daughter had her first taste of chocolate milk! It was such a sweet memory. Though it was the weekend and some of the smaller shops were closed, we did manage to get some shopping in at the local mercantile, though it was quite a bit above our price range. I did leave with a small notebook titled "Dreams for My Daughter" that I plan to use to write letters to my daughter in.
After a fun-filled day away from the city, we headed back that evening. We had considered going on a family-oriented Escape Room
adventure in nearby Franklin before heading back, but after calling ahead and learning the earlier time was booked and we'd have to go later, we decided to leave it for next time. Besides, there was
an arts festival on the grounds near the town's replica of the Parthenon and that was a free event that we could all enjoy. We bought tour tickets and went inside the massive structure. It took our breath away! There was still plenty of daylight left, so we strolled the arts festival and enjoyed some works by local vendors and craft artists.
On our way home the next day, we stopped in and spent the afternoon at the family cabin in Lake Junaluska, NC. It was a sweet way to wrap up one of the most memorable and incredible family trips that we've taken yet. Our next goal is to go back and visit Knoxville, Tennessee. We saw road signs for the city on our way to and from Nashville, but our timeline didn't allow a detour. We're hoping to go in the next few months, and can't wait to make more priceless memories with our children.
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