Music City Love + A Night in Knoxville

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SITE SEEING IN MUSIC CITY

We made the nine hour drive from Washington, DC to Nashville for the start of our 1,500 mile road trip through Tennessee and North Carolina. Our first stop, celebrating the wedding of our sweet friends from college. Their destination wedding was the perfect backdrop for exploring all that Music City has to offer. Neither Adam or I had been, although it has been at the top of our travel bucket-list for some time—and it certainly didn't disappoint.

NASHVILLE LOVE

We so enjoyed celebrating with our college friends, Alexa and Chris, on their special day. With its open-air chapel, crystal chandeliers, and antique church pews, their ceremony and reception at Mint Springs Farm, just south of Nashville, was pure southern elegance.

GOOD EATS + DRINKS

Country music is alive and well in Nashville, as are the herds of bachelorettes and birthday parties at every turn. Nashville is certainly the place to come for a good time and is well known for its storied music history, but I was most surprised to find a capitol city with a thriving food scene and eclectic vibe.

Pinewood Social

My favorite place by far was the trendy Pinewood Social that came highly recommended. This restaurant, meets adult playground, is a funky, fun space with delicious food. Beyond the dining room and bar is a six-lane bowling alley, bocce court, coffee bar and outdoor pool. We were there for Saturday brunch and I honestly could have ordered everything on the menu. We opted to share the pork belly egg sandwich and chicken and biscuits—so good!

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MUSIC MUST SEES

From the Country Music Hall of Fame to historic RCA Studio B, Nashville is packed with music must sees. We tried to hit the high notes on our quick 1-day tour.

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NEXT UP, KNOXVILLE

We stopped in Knoxville on our way to Asheville and boy let me tell you was I surprised. It is truly a hidden gem nestled at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, with a ton of charm and Southern hospitality. I'm already wanting to go back. 

MARKET SQUARE

We rolled into town about 7 p.m. and made a beeline for Market Square, host to an eclectic mix of restaurants, shopping, and live music with a small-town flare. Established in 1854 as a market place for regional farmers, the pedestrian mall holds true to its roots with a weekly seasonal farmer's market (and food trucks!).

We had a hard time squeezing in all we wanted to see and do in the short time we were there but some of our favorites included:

  • Stock & Barrel – Burgers and bourbon and s'mores shakes to die for.
  • Preservation Pub - Great roof top and live music! (although be prepared to leave smelling like an ashtray).
  • Scruffy City Hall - Owned by the same folks that run Preservation Pub, $5 cover gets you into both.
  • Tupelo Honey - Southern soul cooking that comes highly recommended. They also have locations in Asheville and Arlington, VA.

And we didn't have a chance to try The Tomato Head and The Crown & Goose but they both looked fun and came highly recommended.

AU REVOIR KNOXVILLE

On our way out of town we stopped at The French Market Creperie. The French Market offers both sweet and savory French crepes and the best fresh squeezed orange juice I've had in awhile. We did a bit more walking around before hitting the road to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC (more on that coming soon).

Next Time

Hotel St. Oliver is definitely on my list of places to stay for my next trip to Knoxville. Just steps from Market Square, the 1876 building was renovated and re-envisioned into an adorable boutique hotel. We stayed at the Knoxville Downtown Hilton, which was lovely, pet friendly and just a few blocks from Market Square.

We also heard great things about Sequoyah Hills and would have loved to explore the 87-acre park along the Tennessee River if we had another day there. Next time!