The past couple of years, Chad and I have taken short vacations for our birthdays. It’s such a fun excuse to get away and spend some time together, being silly and enjoying one another. This year, when I asked Chad what he wanted to do, he said he wanted to go to a sporting event of some sort. Last year, we went to Oklahoma City and went to a Thunder game, so this response didn’t surprise me. But the brainstorm was on!
Where could we go that maybe Chad had never been, would enjoy multiple things, and we could catch some sports? I quickly landed on Nashville. I have been several times, primarily for work. And Chad and I actually went together a few years ago when I ran the Nashville Marathon. But following me around a city while I only eat boring food, run for 4 hours in the rain, and don’t feel like doing much for the majority of the visit is not really a vacation for him. So I decided to take him back with only him in mind.
We flew out on a Friday and got there in the early afternoon. We got to our hotel and decided to find a spot where we could grab some local beers before dinner that evening. We discovered an unassuming hole in the wall called Homegrown. They have a fantastic beer selection, most of which was local. We relaxed for a couple of hours, laughing, and talking in non-toddler tones of voice.
We realized that time had flown by so we needed to hustle back to our hotel to get ready for Chad’s birthday dinner reservation.
In researching the trip, I knew that I had to find a fabulous steakhouse for Chad’s birthday dinner. This is typically his only request, so I had to make it happen. I was able to find Kayne Prime, which had a lot of recommendations and a menu that I personally could not wait to try.
We had such a fantastic experience. The food was exceptional! We were greeted with an amuse bouch crostini. From there, we ordered the Shishito Peppers appetizer. Always the perfect combination of sweet and heat! Next, we each selected a Farro Salad as our starter. Oh my! I am still having dreams about this salad, but it was massive and so very filling! We decided that it would have been best to share, because we were stuffed before our entrees arrived. But of course we had to power through! For our entrees, Chad selected a beautiful ribeye, and I selected a trio of side dishes: Brussels Sprouts, Sweet Potatoes, and Mac & Cheese. We were only able to stomach a couple of bites, because we were so full, but those bites were incredible. All of the flavors were spot on, and the presentation was exceptional. Our server was devoted to Chad having a memorable dinner, so knowing that we couldn’t fathom dessert, he brought their famous Chocolate Chip Cookies in a to go box, and a wishing candle on a plate. The birthday boy was happy and exhausted. We decided to go back to our hotel and call it a night.
The next morning, I let Chad sleep in, and I visited my 49th Orangetheory studio in East Nashville. It was an intense Power Day, and I could quickly feel the effects of the day before. It was a great visit, and I was ready to start our day.
Chad got some breakfast at the hotel while I was out, so he was satisfied until lunch. We got cleaned up and decided to make our way to The Pharmacy for some local burgers and beers.
Pharmacy is such a fun and funky little spot in East Nashville. I ate there after the Nashville Marathon, and it was easily the best burger of my life. (Mainly because I’d just run 26.2 miles, but also because it was delicious.) Everything was just as good as I remember! Chad got their Cheeseburger, and I got their Black Bean Burger. We shared some tots and sweet potato fries, and of course some of their homemade beer cheese for dipping.
After lunch, we decided to explore more of East Nashville. This area is really growing, and it’s quite the hipster hotspot.
While we walked, we happened upon a local bakery, Nashville Sweets, that specializes in cupcakes. That was an obvious choice.
The shop itself is absolutely adorable! Cute touches everywhere, and the dessert case is stunning. We were thrilled that each of our favorite flavors were present and accounted for: Lemon for him, Chocolate Peanut Butter for her. Not just a pretty face, these were perfect. The cake, the filling, the frosting, spot on. I really wanted to try everything else, but we decided to move on.
Next, we found a local brewery called Smith & Lentz Brewing Company. We decided to sit for a while and relax with a beer. We were thrilled with the IPA (him) and Amber (me) offerings, and it felt good to sit and be lazy with one another.
We wanted to check out some spots across town, so we grabbed an Uber and headed over to an area close to downtown.
First up, we had to visit Uncommon James. I know, I know, this trip was for Chad. But in all my trips to Nashville, I’ve never been, and he humored me for a few minutes.
I scooped up a cute gold bar necklace and a gift for a friend. With no Kristen Cavallari or Jay Cutler sitings, we were out.
We walked around corner to the local Yazoo Brewery.
This is one of the larger craft breweries in Nashville, so Chad was pumped to check it out. The weather was gorgeous, so we were able to enjoy our beers on the patio.
We quickly decided that we were growing pretty tired, so we got an Uber back to our hotel for some rest.
Saturday night was the main event: that requested sporting event. Nashville has a few options, but I landed on the Nashville Predators. Chad had never been to a professional hockey game, so that seemed like a great excuse. He was thrilled with this selection.
After some rest, we made our way downtown to walk around and grab some dinner before the game.
We found a local restaurant right on Broadway called The Stillery. The menu looked really good, and their pizza offerings were pretty unique.
Great choice for a pre-game dinner and drink. The servers were friendly with adorable accents. The menu had a lot of diversity. And they were quick and efficient, ensuring we were out the door on time.
I started with a beautiful Strawberry Gorgonzola Salad that had all the colors and all the flavors. Next, when I saw it on the menu, it was an easy choice: Brussels Sprout Pizza. Oh my! Y’all, so good. Currently planning how to recreate this in my own kitchen. Chad got a Philly Cheesesteak Pizza and said it was equally as impressive.
We walked over to the Bridgestone Arena, because it was almost game time!
We found our seats and settled in. That arena and its fans are incredible! There was so much energy, and this place was alive.
Of course we also had to explore the arena and grab some snacks. The Frozé was a fun (and bougie) choice, and of course we had to get some popcorn.
After the game, we were exhausted, so we went back to the hotel to crash.
After sleeping in, we ventured out for some breakfast to start our last day in Nashville. We picked out Pfunky Griddle, which has been on my list for years. The concept is fun, yet simple. You customize your own pancake batter, and then you cook it at the built-in griddle on your tabletop. We each selected our own concoctions, and we added some hash browns. It’s a neat concept, and the food was delicious, but we agreed that we would rather have our food cooked for us on vacation.
On our way into town, Chad saw a billboard for a Dukes of Hazard museum, so that was basically all he talked about. Naturally, we had to check it out. Um wow. Probably one of the oddest places I’ve ever been, but we had a blast laughing and taking pictures. Plus Chad loved every second of it.
We were within walking distance of Grand Old Opry and some shopping, so we walked over and did a little bit of exploring before flying home.
We got home on a Sunday night, and it was the perfect amount of time for our trip. We had so much fun exploring, being silly, and just spending time together. Chad is the hardest worker I know, and he rarely does anything for himself. Plus, he holds everything together at home when I’m on the road. It was a perfect celebration of my favorite guy, and he’s already talking about going back.