Good morning and happy Monday, my dears! Today I am so excited to introduce the first installment in my new monthly insider travel series. I have been tapping some of my favorite bloggers in cities all around the world to share their Top 10 favorite spots to eat/drink/shop/explore in their city. We can all go out and buy travel guides, but this is different: imagine having your favorite blogger grab you by the hand and whisk you off to all the best spots in town you never would have thought to check out. Our first guest is the lovely Heather Spriggs, founder and editor of Gatherings Magazine, and she will be showing us around her city – Nashville, TN! And p.s., the Spring Issue of Gatherings Magazine will release later today, so be sure to go check it out!
Take it away, Heather!
2013 marks my 15th year of living in Nashville after moving here from Texas after college. In that time, I have watched the city blossom and grow into a diverse cultural landmark. I also met and married my husband here, so together we share many memories in these places that shaped our own story. Long before Nashville gained a spot on prime time TV as a popular drama, my own narrative played out amidst these cultural landmarks. Some of our favorite spots have come and gone but this is a list of old standards along with new discoveries. I hope you can make a trip to Nashville and discover your own favorite hangouts because this list is constantly broadening as our city blooms. In fact, I had a hard time narrowing it down to just 10! (list goes clockwise from top right)
1. Pangea is a Nashville boutique that I’ve frequented since I moved here. They have always specialized in Mexican imports and unusual finds whether it be jewelry, clothing, home decor or gift and paper items. It is still my go to shop for unique gift ideas for those creatives in my life. (And I inevitably leave with a pair of earrings for myself!)
2. Twist Art Gallery. I love it that I finished my art degree at a small local art school that is now making its mark on the map. One of my school mates and good friends started this gallery in the downtown Arcade before the Nashville contemporary art scene boomed. Now, her gallery is still strong and continues to spotlight burgeoning artists and focus on new media. I look forward to what the future holds for Twist!
3. The Perch. Another new to me cafe that opened a location on my side of town. They specialize in crepes and I love it for a quick and delicious brunch. The Green Hills location is next to Brilliant Sky Toys so we always make our way over to let the little one play after crepes and coffee.
4. The Bellevue Antique Mall is one of my best kept secrets! (But I’ll share with you!) It is located right down the street from where I live and I love the Shabby Chic styled booths but the best part are the prices! It’s so affordable and a fun place for a quick outing when I need a Mommy break. Gaslamp Antiques is a huge, I mean HUGE antique mall with nearly anything and everything you can imagine. It is a fun place to browse when you have a good chunk of time.
5. Cheekwood. This lavish art museum/botanical garden once was an estate of a wealthy Nashville family, but has now become a cutting edge art museum and educational center for all ages. As an art student I attended many art openings and watched up-and-coming video art in what was once horse stalls on the property. Now, I look forward to taking my almost one year old son to the train exhibit and to walk the lovely grounds.
6. Margot Cafe. my husband knows to book this restaurant every year for my birthday because it is my favorite place to splurge. The food is Southern comfort with a French flair created with local/organic ingredients. Yum! I love their brunches and would go there every week if we could afford it, but then it wouldn’t make for very special birthday outings. Cozy, quaint, charming, and fabulous!
7. The Belcourt Theatre. This is another local landmark with a history more complex than my limited knowledge. What I do know, is that the Belcourt is one our first date night spots. This is a fabulous non-profit vintage theater with red velvet folding seats and curtains featuring current independent and foreign films vintage films, music and other events and of course wonderful beverages to fit the occasion!
8. Cake Vintage. You may have heard of this brand or seen its products in your own local boutiques, or West Elm stores. This local Kitchen Papers brand has exploded on the national and international market. But they still have a little storefront here in Nashville on Broadway with lovely displays and all their gorgeous new products. I pop in to see what is new and visit a friend that works there. Their items are perfect for the cook/hostess in your life!
9. Silly Goose. This incredible little restaurant in East Nashville boasts amazing flavor combinations from local vendors and suppliers. The atmosphere is Urban Farmhouse with a twist. Perfect for a romantic date night or lunch out with a friend. It is amazingly family friendly too. I love the food and fabulous Citrus Mint and Ginger Iced Tea but the environment is equally delicious!
10. The Well Coffee House is a new discovery for me. I came across it as I searched for a mellow place to work on my laptop. The atmosphere and decor are a wonderful mix of Modern Rustic featuring reclaimed wood, stained concrete, vintage sofas and lighting along with large windows for ample lighting. I tried my first aeropress coffee there and it was a wondrous smooth, rich experience on a cold January day. However if the decor and coffee weren’t enough, It is a non-profit missional coffeehouse where 100% of its profits go to support local and global causes, including clean water solutions to impoverished communities.
Thanks so much, Heather! I’ll be popping in later this afternoon with our Saturday Crafternoon link party (+ new DIY project!) so check in later and link up! xo Laura