Nashville Travel Guide

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With its unique mix of small town charm and big city excitement, Nashville won the hearts (and eyes, ears, and taste buds) of our Dabble travellers.

We all have preconceptions of a city based on its place in history, its politics, the vast generalisation of its people, its traditions and pastimes, food and landscape. Nashville, Tennessee, our first Dabble Does destination, is one of those places that is rife with cliches and presumptions. Home of country twang, the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, southern cookin’ and Miley Cyrus. Music City. Cashville. Nash Vegas. The Buckle of the Bible Belt. The list of sobriquets goes on.

So when our three contributors: Nyla Free (design), Lena Diaz (food) and Eric Parker (travel), scoured the city to uncover its riches, its wealth and diversity surprised them. The eclectic mix of design and art turned Nyla into a shopaholic. Lena’s hunt for the city’s best fried chicken became a discovery of a cuisine tied to its roots but with flavours of the future. And Eric’s love of music opened our ears to a city offering more than just country.

Stay

Stand in the well-dressed lobby and watch case-carrying musicians check in at the fc bercool Hutton Hotel.

Rooms are comfortably sleek with gracious rain head showers and a hopping Nespresso machine on every floor.Union Station, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977, is a luxuriously restored 19th century railway station with soaring ceilings and Tiffany-esque stained glass windows. The setting makes you want to dress in your Sunday best.

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Eat

No typical hamburger joint, Burger Up sports industrial chic decor, with mismatched cutlery and dishcloth napkins. Stylish plaid-wearing servers greet you with a smile while you mingle with locals in a community dining atmosphere. Try the fried pickles. Divine.

Locals claim Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack is the best and I can’t disagree. A Nashville specialty, hot chicken is battered in buttermilk and cayenne pepper and then pan fried. Better have a beer beside you; when we say hot, we mean hot.

Order a Dark & Stormy (Rum, Lime, Cruzan Black Strap and Ginger Syrup) at prohibitionstyle bar, The Patterson House. To avoid weekend lineups arrive early.

If you can, try and spot the ever-moving Grilled Cheeserie Truck. Once you find it, let me know. I searched for days and never got to try the Brie, buttermilk cheddar, egg and bacon sandwich a friend said is to die for.

Enjoy a late morning coffee at popular brew-tiques like Crema. Celebrities blend in unassumingly; Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman like to hang out at Frothy Monkey and Taylor Swift is a Fido fan.

Do

Visit art galleries like Ovvio Arte, The Arts Company and Gallery One.

The oil painting seen here is by Veta Cicolello, owner Ovvio Arte.

Get to a honky-tonk where you’ll find freeflowing beer and Tennessee whiskey as well as the best live country music in the state. You might even spot a Nashville celeb like Reba McEntire or Tim McGraw.
Visit Nashville for the 2011 CMA Music Festival, June 9-12. It’s the ultimate country music experience. Get there any way you can.
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See

Take a drive to neighbouring Franklin, 30 minutes away, where the countryside reveals humble churches, antebellum homes and amiable design shops like The Iron Gate, Rebecca’s Furniture and Design and Franklin Antique Mall.

The first African American college, Fisk houses an impressive permanent collection in the Fisk University Galleries. In addition to Cezanne, Picasso, O’Keefe and Stieglitz you’ll find important African American artists like Aaron Douglas, whose murals adorn Cravath Hall walls.

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Buy

Vintage dishes, linen tea towels, graphic memo boards and a stunning selection of upscale handcrafts make Knobstoppers & Cake Vintage Table & Home a must visit.Get your hands on some locally produced Olive & Sinclair dark chocolate, available at most coffee shops. Try the Mexican style Cinn-Chily.The letterpress posters at Hatch Show Print are nearly as famous as the acts they’ve been advertising since 1879.

More on Nashville: Dabble does Nashville, Issue 1 Mar/Apr 2011.

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