Trip Report: Long Weekend in Nashville, Part 1

Howdy, y’all! Wanna hear a little country ditty I just wrote about our weekend in Music City? Ok, then!

Nah, just kidding. I don’t write country songs, I blog. But I am going to tell you about Nashville, and our recent trip there including where we stayed, what we ate, and all the things we did. Cool? Cool.

So first off, Nashville is yet another destination that we got to see primarily thanks to our Southwest Companion Pass, which allows you to redeem a free ticket anytime the pass-holder has a ticket on any Southwest flight. As such, we transferred some points over to Southwest from our Chase Ultimate Rewards account, and were able to book nonstop, roundtrip flights that would have normally cost $736+ for the two of us, for free instead.

Then, we took a look at our hotel options. We knew we wanted to stay downtown to minimize the need for ground transportation costs, and so combined with the fact that we had plenty of Chase points that would also transfer to Hyatt (and that I currently have Diamond status on Hyatt) and it was an easy decision to book at the Hyatt Place Downtown Nashville.

And what a wonderful decision that was! I have stayed at Hyatt’s all over the country — the Andaz Maui, the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, the Hyatt Olive 8 in Seattle, the Hyatt Regency in San Antonio — and yet I think I can say that this was my favorite Hyatt property to date.

First of all, the property is in a great location. Walking distance to most of the major attractions like Lower Broadway, the Ryman Auditorum, and the Country Music Hall of Fame, but also just a short cab or Uber (usually under $10) from the trendy Midtown and East Nashville areas. Plus, since we booked using points, we were able to stay for free – saving us another roughly $900, and meaning we’d only need to pay out of pocket for any activities we did on our trip. Winning!

Upon checkin, we were informed that as a result of my Diamond status, our standard room had been upgraded to a Deluxe King Room. It was spacious, well-appointed, and had a fantastic view of the Seigenthaler bridge and the Ascend Amphitheater.

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Our spacious corner room at the Hyatt Place

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The comfy King bed at the Hyatt Place, with a cupcake and wine on the nightstand!

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A spacious bathroom at the Hyatt Place,  though sadly no tub.

Our checkin agent also retrieved a welcome gift for us, two bottles of water and two local candies – Goo Goo Clusters. But when we made it up to our room we got yet another surprise: we’d been chosen as “guest of the day” and received a free cupcake and mini-bottle of wine.  Thanks, Hyatt!

IMG_0981Once we’d unpacked and gotten settled into our room, it was time to go seek out some nourishment. So we walked over to the nearby Pinewood Social, a combo restaurant-bar-bowling alley-plunge pool spot in a former warehouse building.

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Pinewood Social’s large central bar, with plenty of bearded bartenders.

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Pinewood Social’s bowling alley

There, we tried an assortment of appetizers, including the specialty toasts, pork rinds, elotes (Mexican street corn for the yankees…which the restaurant described as something totally different, but it was just elotes with chorizo on it…), and tempura fried pickles. It was all….ok.  Nothing special.  Not great, not terrible, just middling.

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The apps we ordered at Pinewood Social were average, at best.

After dinner, we were pretty tired from our trip (and the hubby’s birthday shenanigans the night before), so headed home fairly early in order to get a jump on the next day.  We kicked off Day 2 with a tour: the Music City Rollin’ Jamboree, which billed itself as a “singalong city tour and comedy show.” It was entertaining, and we certainly did do some singing along, but I wouldn’t really call it a city tour.

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Our chariot for the “tour” was named Francis, the big red bus

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The performers/”tour guides “on the Rollin’ Jamboree

Still, we had a good time, and by early afternoon, we had worked up a pretty good appetite. So we headed over to the much lauded Arnold’s Country Kitchen for a plate of one of Nashville’s famed meat-and-three cafeteria style meals.

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At Arnold’s, I got the fried catfish with green beans, mac and cheese, fried green tomatoes, and a slice of strawberry pie.

This was a great choice, and we stuffed ourselves super full of great Southern classics like fried catfish, chicken and dumplings, mac and cheese, and slices of pie.  My personal favorite were the fried green tomatoes, which were some of the best I’ve ever had.  Excellent food!

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Afterwards, we decided we needed to wash down all that food, so we walked a couple blocks over to the Yazoo Brewery & Taproom.  We tried a tasting of the local Yazoo beers, and then full of good food and good drink, decided we should head back to the hotel to wait out a bit of the afternoon heat before setting out on our next adventure.

Stay tuned for part two to see all the other great places we visited during our Nashville excursion!

Whitney