Jes and I are coming into the last couple days of our wonderful time away from work and we could not have enjoyed it more. For New Year’s Eve we knew that we were somewhat tired of what Atlanta had to offer so we decided to take a short trip up to Nashville, TN to celebrate in a new city. What a good decision that was! We got up to Nashville early Tuesday afternoon, which was perfect timing to walk across the river and see my Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets finish out their football season in the Music City Bowl. Unfortunately for the roughly 15,000 Georgia Tech fans that braved the freezing temperatures, the outcome was not what we were hoping for. I can’t say the loss was entirely unexpected, but it sure would have been some sweet icing on the Nashville cake. After the game we we hit Printer’s Alley, which was described as the place the locals go to get away from the tourists. I can’t honestly say that I 100% believe in that assessment, but it was a great time nonetheless. After dinner at an English pub, we walked across the alley and settled in for some live open mic night at a blues club. The house band that got the evening started was great, but the real star of the show was the first performer from the audience, who was breathtaking as he played Mustang Sally. We didn’t stay too much longer after that, partly because it was getting well past our usual bedtime and partly because we knew nobody else would be as good as the first performer. Even with the abbreviated evening, we came away pretty impressed with what Music City had to offer us.
Actual New Year’s Eve started with breakfast across the street from the hotel at 417 Union, which is exactly what a good breakfast place should be. After breakfast we decided to go check out the tourist areas of Nashville. Broadway (where they were setting up for the night’s festivities), the Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Country Music Walk of Fame, and a slew of other things to do are all located easily within a half mile of each other. I couldn’t believe how walkable everything is, especially coming from Atlanta which is the complete opposite. From some people who have been, we found out that if you aren’t seriously into country music, then actually going into most of the museums would not really be worth it so we were content taking pictures on the outside. Of course we had to get in our traditional run, so we went back to the hotel and got ready to run along the Music City Bikeway. I knew from the map that it might not be the most scenic route in the world, but I’m not sure I was quite prepared for running through cement mixing plants and water treatment plants. The Bikeway runs along the river after that, but since we had decided to keep it at a short 4 miles, we had barely gotten away from the industrial complex before we had to turn around and head back to the city.
Dinner for New Year’s Eve had always promised to be the highlight of the evening, and it did not disappoint at all. Jes had made reservations at a restaurant called Etch, which is relatively new in Nashville, but is already the most highly rated restaurant in the city. There was a 4-course meal, complete with wine pairings, and it was absolutely amazing. Without going into too much detail, I will just offer you a hint at my selections: Oyster & Apple Bisque with a kiss of foie gras; Kale Salad with a fig vinaigrette, candied peanuts, raspberries , and creamed sweet potato and ginger puree; Alaskan Sable that I honestly couldn’t tell you what else was on the plate because the fish was the best fish I have ever tasted; and finally an ice cream duo that featured an apple cinnamon ice cream and a goat’s milk vanilla ice cream. Everything was perfectly prepared and while the expectations were certainly high, I think it is safe to say that they were exceeded. After dinner we tried to check out the open block party on Broadway, but unsurprisingly, it wasn’t really our thing. There just wasn’t enough intimacy to venue like that (100,000 people crammed into a couple of city streets) for our liking, so we went back to the hotel and rang in the New Year in a much more suitable fashion for us.
New Year’s Day was spent with me dragging the world’s best model around Nashville as I continue to try and hone my photography skills. For the first time ever I actually was brave enough to bust out the tripod and get some pictures of the both of us, and while we have a long way to go to learn how to properly pose ourselves, I think we ended up with a couple of really good shots. After walking Jes around the city for a couple of hours, we stopped at a restaurant called Merchant’s and each had their “Soup and Sammy” which was a tomato bisque soup and a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich on sourdough bread. For being such an amazingly simple meal, it was incredibly well done. You might be noticing a theme so far, and you’d be right, the food in Nashville is incredible – apparently no matter where you go. Of course, what would New Year’s Day be without a little college football, so we watched some bowl games in the afternoon and then headed out for one last stop of live music at Puckett’s. Once again, great food, and great atmosphere. We didn’t even get to go to any of the “real” live music venues around the city, but I would love it if Atlanta had anything like some of the places that we did go to.
And now we find ourselves back in Atlanta with just these last 2 days to go before heading back to work. Bootcamp starts up again on Monday as well, and it is looking to be a frigid one. 2013 was a phenomenal year for Jes and I, on so many fronts, and we have big plans to make 2014 even better. I hope everyone had an amazing New Year and we look forward to seeing and hearing from everyone in 2014!