Coming at you straight from Nashville, Tennessee…the next Taylor Swift!!!
Hey y’all I have a fun little TBT for you! Last fall (early Nov. ’16) our crew took a lovely long road trip down to Gulf Shores, AL to share our beach home-away-from-home with some of Matt’s family members. We were going to be driving over Matt’s upper-30-something-th birthday and so it wasn’t much of a stretch to convince him to take the long way down through Nashville then take the Natchez Trace Parkway down to our Sweet Home Alabama. We had only been home 3 weeks from our fabulous Colorado adventures, so I blogged about those first and just never got around to sharing this trip, what with the holidays and pregnancy and life-in-general bearing down on me. However, now we find ourselves in MAY, with no recent travels to share (hello Ryder) and I thought I should finally put up some pictures of that trip before A- I forget what we did and B- we start traveling again as a crew of 7. So, without further ado, I present…
Nashville Dreams, Hugg Family style!
Rocking out in front of Layla’s “Nashville Hillbilly Music” because Layla. 😉
Disclosure- we’re not big country music fans. Gasp all you want, but it’s just not our jam. We both grew up musical (all-state on the horn for M, jazz/marching band for J, both of us singing all the way) and have a pretty eclectic thumbs-up playlist on Google Play going, but you won’t find much country on it. Exception: Johnny Cash for Matt and Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton and Saltwater Gospel by whoever sings that for me. So honestly some of the appeal and draw of Nashville is lost on us. I just can’t stand all that twang y’all. 😉 The CMT awards were the day after we left town and although it would have been fabulously fun to celeb-spot, I don’t think I would have recognized many of the famous folks in town that week. Who knows, we probably had coffee at the table over from the Next Big Country Thang and we didn’t know it! However, as I mentioned Matt is a Cash fan and so I surprised him with a visit to the Johnny Cash Museum downtown for his birthday, followed by some kicking BBQ because it just seemed like the only proper thing to do. The museum was fantastic with TONS of cool memorabilia (the Folsom Prison jumpsuit, all the guitars, notes he wrote to June, Grammys, you name it!) and cool interactive experiences around every turn. The kids enjoyed it immensely even though they barely knew who JC was, and Matt was like a music-nerd kid in a guitar store, but more on that later. 😉 I bought baby-gender-unknown-at-the-time-Hugg a rockin’ onesie which our new son just wore the other day for the first time and it gave me a happy travel-memory-pang from that sweet day in country music heaven. Martin’s BBQ was a short stroll away (a very entertaining one through the downtown streets spilling over with live music, tipsy tourists, street performers, and hot sunshine). When we arrived the gorgeous patio, icy bottles of berry soda and ribs the size of Layla had us all licking our salty/sweet/smoky fingers with glee. Picture time!!
After all that BBQ and music history and steps on our fitbits, we needed a nice place to rest our weary heads. Airbnb for the win! I wish I had gotten more pictures of the cute and spacious guest house we rented for the night but it was such a great find- close to all the things but not too crazy of a neighborhood, beds and rooms for all of us, an old-school Atari, and plentiful coffee for the next morning. There was even room for Matt to get a BBQ-burning workout in, which doesn’t always happen on the road.
Day 2 Nashville left us looking for coffee (duh) and vintage guitars (double-duh) and world-famous biscuits before we headed further south. We Yelped around and found Just Love Coffee, a absolute gem of a place for caffeine and breakfast before we ventured to Gruhn Guitars. I did my research and read it was THE place for guitar fans in Nashville and a hotspot for famous and regular-Joe musicians. Matt was in music heaven and earmarked a gorgeous style for future purchase…he’s still saving his pennies. 😉 The kids were really quite well behaved around the pricy goods (after a stern warning from Dad) and got to handle/strum a few of the less expensive ukuleles and such. After a cool conversation with Mr. Gruhn himself, we walked out with some tshirts, pics (guitar and iphone), and a sweet little teal blue ukulele for the beach and beyond.
When we travel, we eat. I know, everyone eats, but what I mean is, we really go out of our way and add $$ to the budget to enjoy as much local cuisine as possible while keeping our waistlines and credit cards under (semi-) control. After guitar heaven aka Gruhn’s, we were ready to hit the Natchez Trace and head south, but first…The Loveless Cafe and their famous southern comfort food, namely, buttery homemade busciuts and jams. Honestly this is one of those times when I ate way more than I needed to for lunch, and Matt wandered around on a work phone call for half of our meal and the kids spilled a drink all over the table but man oh man were those biscuits good. 😉
On the Road Again…
As we said “so long for now” to Nashville, we pointed our headlights south via the Natchez Trace, which is a National Byway, part of the National Parks system. As it was the 100th year anniversary of the NPs we felt it was fitting to take the longer, slower, senic drive down to the beach via this historic and gorgeous byway. We didn’t take the entire Trace but we went from Nashville, TN to Jackson, MS. We’ll be saving the Jackson to Natchez leg for another time when our kids aren’t so tired of being in the car and Mama’s not so preggers. There’s a cute Airbnb guest cottage on the property of a historic southern plantation in Natchez with our name on it for next time. Along the way down we enjoyed vivid fall colors, several scenic hikes with waterfalls and views for miles, and a 50 mph speed limit that Matt especially loved. Our spot for the night was a bit of an adventure. I had booked us a lakeside cabin at a state park near Tupelo, Mississippi off the www but we arrived well after sunset and had to find the place in the darkest of darks. When our headlights finally found the cabin/shack it looked like a place where baaaaad things happen…and I don’t just mean the furniture. Matt seriouslly doubted my booking decision and wanted to find somewhere less sketch but it was late and I was stubborn so we stayed. That night was actually a really fun combo of frozen pizza, popcorn and a hilarious/nonsensical game of “Would you Rather?” and the cabin was actually much more comfortable than it looked from the outside. Wish I had taken more pictures for full dramatic effect. Surprise- when we woke up the next morning we saw we were on the edge of a gorgeous little misty lake, reflecting glorious fall colors. So in the light of day, this was actually a great and unique place to spend the night and no serial killers chian-sawed open our cabin door in the middle of the dark spooky forest. 😉
Ok music break…stop what you’re doing and go to your favoite music source (Google Play/Spotify/Itunes…whatever!) and look up the song Natchez Trace by Friendly Savages.
Not sure that link will work so my apologies if it doesn’t. But seriously, its a great song that I loved and listened to a lot on my thumbs-up playlist before I ever heard of the real, actual place the Natchez Trace. Honestly 90% of why we took this route was becuase of this song, so thanks Friendly Savages, for inspiring a pretty rad detour.
These last pics celebrate our arrival at our happy place (one of them anyway) Gulf Shores, AL. We savored a fabulous week with Matt’s parents, sister, and nephew sharing our love of the beach, fried shrimp, and many of our favorite local hangouts with some new fans. I won’t go into all those details, but if you’re interested in Gulf Shores I have a few early posts chock full of beachy goodness that I’d love you to check out. Otherwise I hope you enjoyed this trip down 6-months-ago-memory-lane and are inspired to take your own tuneful trip to Nashville and/or slow ride down the Natchez Trace with your crew. As always, if you have any questions about what we did, where we ate, where we stayed, etc I’d be more than happy to share alllllll the juicy deets with you- just reach out on fb or leave a comment here.
Keep walking that line friends,