My family has never really explored the southern part of our country, and I guess my parents made a decision that now was the time. So this summer, we’re taking a road trip of 4 states: Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.
We left town on Dad’s birthday, a bright sunny day that reminded me of our trip to Maine last summer. Personally, I had my doubts that this vacation would be anywhere near as fun… Of course, I was looking forward to authentic Southern food, a Christmas hotel, pools, and cute towns. But it didn’t sound like the relaxing vacation that Maine and St. John were, or the curious trips like New Orleans and Boston.
It sounded like a whole lot of driving.
* * * * * * * *
After a smooth three and a half hour flight, we got to Nashville at around 5pm. We checked into our hotel, the Renaissance, and after taking a short rest, we headed down a few blocks to The Listening Room…and this is where the real fun kicks in and I know that I’m in Nashville.
I walked on the red and gray streets of Music City, and from every door came the sound of guitars and voices. While every singer-songwriter venue may not be as well-known as The Listening Room, they each exhibited such talent and a fun night out! It all felt like magic to walk the streets of Nashville and to hear a musician performing in front of a crowd.
The Listening Room’s atmosphere kept me smiling, with someone on the guitar and mic at every moment, great service, and a casual, positive vibe. The artists’ songs were about everything from high school love to positivity to grudges between women. It was very creative and a new experience for me because of how close I was to the performers. In all, it had a nice, relaxed feel to it and I enjoyed every second of my time there.
For dinner, I ordered a pork steak with a house-made bourbon barbeque sauce. It was really well cooked and had a pleasing texture. The smoked pork ribs that my dad ordered clung to the bone a bit, but had a great flavor (almost a mix of sweet and spicy). I was satisfied with dinner, but dessert upstaged it.
We ordered a slice of pecan pie with caramel sauce and whipped cream. While it couldn’t help but make me feel stuffed, I couldn’t stop myself from practically shoving it in my mouth. A thick caramel sauce was drizzled over the top of the pie and a sliced strawberry topped it off. It was gooey and sweet and just pure perfection.
My mom told me something I hadn’t known before. Pecan pie had been my grandpa’s favorite. My papa passed away when I was eight and although I loved him very much, I never knew him well and it meant a lot to me to discover something that we had in common. I thought about him the whole way home, and a memory of him as strong as the smell of his old sweatshirt came back for the first time in a while.
We walked back to our hotel in the dark, but the streets of Nashville were hardly deserted. Music still played at every corner, and I smiled the whole way home thinking of the adventures that would come tomorrow. Maybe this trip will be better than I expected.