This post was imported from the old blog I shared with my two best friends, Morgan and Mallory. It covers our trip to Tennessee.
This past adventure is debatably the best one yet! It went by incredibly smoothly (no castles!) and we had a ton of fun! Only complaint: it ended too soon.
Where: Knoxville and Nashville, TN
Why TN: We didn’t discuss where we were going intensely but a big reason we decided to go to Tennessee was Morgan’s friend Tay Tay. In addition to generously letting us stay at her apartment, she drove us around Nashville and served as an excellent and resourceful tour guide.
Lodging: Baymont Inn and Suites in Knoxville – while it wasn’t the greatest (beds were tiny and breakfast was disappointing (aka vegetarian friendly?? nope)), after experiencing Ravenwood Castle (see Ohio post), we’ve learned hotels are an inexpensive way to go. As previously mentioned, in Nashville we stayed with Tay Tay and it rocked. S/O to her.
Shopping: Shopping was pretty much the main focus of this trip and we sure did a lot of it. Here are some of the places we went and most definitely recommend:
The Market Square in Downtown Knoxville – Soon after arriving in Knoxville, we learned just how small the downtown area was. We covered it in only a few hours but still managed to have a lot of fun and even bought a few things. We shopped at an Urban Outfitters, wondered into the famous Mast General Store, purchased some super cute baseball tees at the Knoxville Visitors Center, and ducked into Earth to Old City and a cute boutique when a torrential downpour almost washed us away.
Parnassus Books – While driving us around, Tay Tay took us to her favorite bookstore.
The Mall at Green Hills in Nashville – Hashtag fancy. This is the rich people mall. This is Rachel writing to say it just made her wish she had a rich boyfriend that would spend money on her. Also once I walked into the mall I checked my bank account and saw more money in it than I was expecting and went crazy aka someone bought Lilly Pulitzer shorts. The most affordable store was Charming Charlie. In a mall where the average price for a shirt is $90, a $29.99 shirt looks awfully cheap.
Opry Mills Shopping Center – This mall basically has it’s own area code. You could get lost here. You could get trampled by thousands of rambunctious teens strutting around the overcrowded mall without parental supervision. You could die here. Go at your own risk.
Nashville Flea Market – For Mallory and Rachel, the Nashville Flea Market, which only takes place once a month, was a first and also a disappointment. None of us really found anything this time around, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it out.
Goodwill in Hendersonville, TN – Sucker was huge and took us awhile to find. Imagine the biggest Goodwill you’ve been to–it’s still smaller than this one. However, it was a little more expensive than any other Goodwill we’ve ever been to.
Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green, KY – Truly a classic.
Food: Rachel being a vegetarian this time around made food a little more difficult but not impossible. In fact, Rachel was finally able to go to a restaurant she had been following on Instagram for over a year. We won some folks. Here is where we stuffed our faces:
The French Market Crêperie (Knox) – Hashtag delicious. Highly recommend this place for some delish crêpes. It was lunch time so we opted for savory instead of sweet but if we ever return, we’ll def be trying a Nutella or Cinnamon & Banana Crêpe. While it’s not cheap (and you can’t take any photos??), you’re paying for what you get. Ours were super filling and we couldn’t even finish them. The Spicy Vegetarian is a must!
K Brew (Knox) – Morgan stopped in here for a little pick me up. Dirty chai was DIRTY. Morgan here, seriously so so dirty. That espresso, man.
Chipotle – On the way to the hotel Rachel said, “Wouldn’t it be crazy if there was a Chipotle near the hotel like on #journey2withthecrew?” Let us tell ya, it was crazy! Right in front of the darn hotel. So obviously it was a sign and that’s where we ate. Also, the chips were crazy good that night. #SponsorUsChipotle #InsertVineOfTheKidSayingILoveChipotle #YayForNoEscherichiacoli
AVO (Nash) – Raw vegan dining with a kicking Instagram feed. Rachel has wanted to go here for months and even though she goes to school an hour away from it, this was her first and certainly not last time eating there. She really was the only person excited to eat there as Morgan and Mallory eat meat for basically every meal but they took one for the team and stopped in for lunch. That day’s special (tacos) were AMAZING. Highly recommend them! We also had a yummy fudge brownie. In addition to being raw vegan, they’re also gluten free for all our GF friends and family!
The Well Coffee House – A lovely coffee place for a great cause (all proceeds provide clean water to those who need it most). Also chai was so sweet and good.
The Pharmacy – This was Mallory’s first time at Nashville’s beloved burger and beer joint. And it’s beloved for a reason despite the two hour wait you are bound to receive upon arrival. They have the greatest milkshakes ever, fantastic sweet potato fries, and burgers fixed up all kinds of ways. (For our veggie friends, Rachel suggests the falafel burger over the black bean burger. Morgan and Mallory LOVED the Farm burger!) Plus they have cute bartenders–if the guy who looks like a young, tattooed Mike Wolfe from American Pickers ever reads this, please add Rachel Blair on Facebook. This time around we did leave a note for our waiter that read, “You remind us of Shakespeare–your face does.” And it did. He also overheard Rachel say, “I won’t need any change, but I would like a change in my relationship status.” So good times.
The Peach Truck – Another Nashville legend.
Legato Gelato (Nash) – The cutest gelato shop in the world with the most adventurous flavors.
Panda Chinese Restaurant in Bowling Green, KY – This was our second choice dinner option as Morgan’s fav place in Bowling Green (El Mercadito Hispano) was closed. Tears were shed. Seriously, Morgan started crying.
Sonic – Is this even a surprise?? We went to Sonic three times in the course of three days for either drinks or snacks.
What we Netflixed: As we mentioned in the #journey2withthecrew post, we set aside a night to watch Netflix together. We’re allowed to pick a movie or episode of a TV show that we want the others to watch. Mallory picked How to Get Away with Murder, Rachel picked comedy special It’s About Time by hottie and comedian Gary Gulman, and Morgan picked Nikita. We love this tradition because we get to share the shows and movies we love and talk about all the time.
Sights we saw: While some of our outdoorsy adventures were unfortunately rained out, we had fun nonetheless!
The Fruit and Berry Patch – Before going we did check out the growing seasons on their website and knew there wouldn’t be much to pick but we decided to go anyway and couldn’t be happier with that decision. Initial thoughts included “this place is sketch AF” but we ended up picking lots of strawberries, eating homemade fried pies, and were given free fruit slushes. S/O to the girl working there who was super nice and chatty and gave us said free food.
World’s Fair Park Sunsphere – Turns out you can’t go inside it but still pretty cool to look at. The surrounding area was also very beautiful and had lots of potential (aka Rachel is getting married at the Tennessee Amphitheatre and needs a husband with enough friends and family to fill it.)
Downtown Knoxville Old Courthouse – Pretty place to walk through!
Knoxville YWCA – Rachel is a Y-kid for life. The engraving on the building said, “Dedicated to the glory of God and to the service of Womanhood 1925,” which is also what Rachel would like to be engraved on her tombstone.
Mallory’s — I had many favorites on this trip. One in particular is that my musical choices overpowered the choices of Morgan and Rachel. Why, you ask? I was the last one to add my songs to the playlist and added over 100 of my own while Morgan and Rachel barely added 100 between the two of them. Another favorite was the crepes! They were amazing and I highly recommend them even though Morgan and I got into an argument in the middle of the restaurant and caused a minor scene.
Rachel’s — The city “focus” of this trip. I would literally drop everything and move to Chicago or D.C. if given the chance. Being in downtown Knoxville and Nashville just confirmed that I’m not cutout to live in the country or a small town.
Morgan’s — I really enjoyed how smoothly this trip went. Not having any problems just made the trip relaxed and fun. One of my favorite parts was that there was this conference going on in Knoxville and it was an International conference so people from all over the world were walking around downtown with us (ya’ll know my love for people from places outside the US of A, man.) I tried to get in to see people from the conference but security kept me from doing so. Another favorite part was probably Tay Tay getting to join us for a day and graciously taking us around Nashville and getting to experience what a journey is like with the three of us. I really love Tennessee too so all-in-all, it was a really great trip. My only regret is EL MERCADITO HISPANO BEING CLOSED; I MISS YOU SOO. Next time though. Also, heck yeah to all the chai I experienced. I like it sweet and smooth but dirty definitely grew on me each sip….contemplating comparing this to my taste in men but I’ll refrain.