Our move: Nashville, TN –> Rochester, NY

No matter your situation, moving is ALWAYS stressful. I, myself since graduating high school have moved 11 times… 11 TIMES! You would think I would be a pro by now.
Since our decision to move to Rochester, NY in November wasn’t at all expected, we put my things into storage and left it in Nashville. We bounced from house to house staying with family and wound up getting jobs in Rochester as we’d hoped. We bought a house and have since settled down with only the essentials.


Here we are 8 months later and we finally took the trek to retrieve my things that I’ve been missing. We booked our plane tickets, reserved a moving truck, and a hotel during 4th of July weekend as to not take too much time off for work. What was expected to be a stressful trip ended up being the “vacation” I’ve been needing – despite us throwing our existing 4th of July party plans out the window.


We flew into Nashville early Sunday morning and instantly asked ourselves, what food have we been missing? As soon as we picked up our Budget moving truck, we headed for Edley’s BBQ. Oh how I missed their brisket plates and banana bread pudding! If you want to eat BBQ in Nashville – we highly suggest this place. I’ve been to multiple Edley’s BBQ joints and each one has a great atmosphere, so no matter what area of Nashville you may be in, have no doubts.

Photo credit: https://hugginsgroupblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/edleys-bbq.jpg

We packed up my stuff from the storage unit with no problem and then we made it to our sleazy, but cheap hotel before getting ready for a night out in the city. Since I picked Edley’s for lunch, Shane picked Clyde’s on Church for dinner. We’ve always loved the easy going vibe of this bar restaurant with it’s ping pong tables, shuffleboard, and laidback seating. We met up with some of my friends and had some candy shots (a popular Clyde’s favorite) and played ping pong of course!

Photo credit: http://nashvilleguru.com/officialwebsite/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Clydes-on-Church-Nashville-42.jpg

Before heading back to the hotel, we had to go to our favorite park for a stroll before crashing – we had been up since 3am! We walked from Clyde’s to Centennial Park which boasts the ah-inspiring Parthenon. I love this building in Nashville – it was my first park I ever visited when I moved to the city and after this night, it was the last. (Read more about the Parthenon in one of my previous posts here: http://datesinthestates.com/2016/12/11/nashville-tn-parthenon/)


To tour and eat our way through a little bit of Nashville in one day was a fun experience. The next day, we rolled out of bed and took off to Knoxville – a pit stop on our way back to Rochester to see friends. Knoxville has been a popular stop for us passing through – it really is a neat city to visit with it’s “Old City” and it’s “New.”


For our friends birthday – a little bar hopping was on the agenda. We ate dinner for the first time at Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe – their veggie gyro was delicious. We made our way to downtown for a drink at The Library – my favorite speakeasy bar in Knoxville. (Read more about The Library in one of my previous posts here: http://datesinthestates.com/2017/02/12/super-fun-day-trips-knoxville/).

The menu – an old encyclopedia
A fake fireplace surrounded by books and creepy old-time photos

 

 

 

 

The entrance

There are no signs for this bar so you must walk down an alley way near The Oliver Hotel and enter through the door with a red light above it. May seem sketchy at first, but inside you will find a hidden gem.

After having a few drinks at The Library, we then hopped to the next bar in the same building, The Oliver Royale (part of The Oliver Hotel). Both bars feature one of a kind, fancy drinks so be ready to pay a pretty penny. Try a Grendel at The Library or a Friend of a Friend at the Oliver Royale.

Photo credit: https://i0.wp.com/www.kandradventures.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Oliver-Royale-Knoxville-Restaurant-Review.jpg

Tuesday, on the 4th of July, we made our way back to Rochester. After our 12 hour + drive we quickly greeted the animals and went out for a walk in our neighborhood to see fireworks. Every year for the 4th of July I would be somewhere watching fireworks whether it was in Conesus, NY or Millville, PA – I never missed them! So I was damned if I was going to miss them this year. We went to the lookout near our house and watched fireworks in the surrounding towns circling the bay. We walked through smoke and watched our surrounding neighbors light off fireworks one at a time. Even though it wasn’t spectacular, it was good enough for me.

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Plant & Sip Event

Surely, a lot of you have probably attended a paint and wine event – but have you ever attended a Plant & Sip event? As many paint and wine events popularity are slowly declining, businesses are looking for more and more ways to bring customers in and build relationships. For a local floral and wine gift shop, Stoney Acres, I pitched an idea of a Plant & Sip event and we all ran with it. With about a month of planning, we were able to come up with a unique idea that only few across the nation have done before and it was a hit!

Stoney Acres’ Plant & Sip Event – Feat. Elk Mountain Winery

The Plant & Sip event consisted of a creative afternoon making a tabletop terrarium garden while tasting Elk Mountain wines. It was such a blast to see how popular the event became with mostly word of mouth, tickets sold out in a snap. Events such as this is a great date idea to do in your local hometown. It is also a great idea to do while traveling so you may act as a local and meet people. The people you meet may also help you discover what else in their town you should see and do.

A lot of events like these I tend to find on Facebook Events. I love looking up in the city I’m in to see what may interest me. You can find anything from free to cheap events such as local festivals, yoga classes, and small release parties. Instead of looking for a tourist activity to do, why not look for a local event to do? They tend to be cheaper and more fun anyways!

Side note: – “Facebook Events also helped me find a face painting event for

dia de los muertos at The Flwr Shop in Nashville!” See photo below, post to come soon.

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Super fun day trips in Knoxville

Near the Great Smokey Mountains lies a beautiful and unique city just waiting to be explored. Knoxville, TN offers a little something for everyone whether you like bar hopping, shopping, paddle boarding, kayaking, or hiking, then you MUST read on! Here are some super fun day trip ideas to take in Knoxville.

The Square in downtown Knoxville

The Square in downtown Knoxville offers a unique variety of shoppes, restaurants, and bars. Two of my favorite places to eat is Blue Coast (on the corner with plenty of outdoor seating) and Downtown Grill & Brewery. Both offer a wide variety from Brunch to Dinner. The Square is a very popular bar hopping location in Knoxville. I love these bars that offer fantastic views from their rooftop such as Preservation Pub and Scruffy City Hall. If you want to get away from the party scene, there is a great little speakeasy bar that is hidden from many tourists. The Peter Kern Library is by far my favorite bar anywhere in the United States. Hidden down a dark alley on Union Avenue you will find the entrance. Just look for a red gleaming light and a security guard out front, as there is no sign. It is a nice, relaxing place to grab a pricey drink named after many literary characters and the menu is literally a thick, antique book.

The Armstrong/Strong Alley is a great spot for a quick walk through to see beautiful graffiti art. Artists have been given permission from the building owners to use this alley as an artistic outlet. The popularity and the love this alley has placed upon the city have inspired people to fund and donate to help preserve the art on the walls. You can find this alley between Market Square & Gay Street.

The city of Knoxville burned down long ago, so you will come to find that part of the city is labeled, The Old City, and the other part is labeled, The New City. Part of The New City was built up above The Old City. Some streets actually allow you to look down from the top of the street to the old buildings down below. The picture below doesn’t do it any justice, you have to see it in person!

The old burned Knoxville city underneath the new city. Those are apartments down there that people still live in!
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Valentine’s Ziplining Adventure

On a frigid Valentine’s Day morning, he whisked me away from our tiny Nashville apartment to a town in the middle of no-where called Kingston Springs. He told me which direction to drive, but not where we were going. I was built up with excitement and nervousness. We suddenly had to take a turn on a dirt road, that my Mustang barely could handle, up a hill and into the woods. I figured it out once I saw the signs for “Adventure Works” and zip lines. He had planned to do the Sweetheart Zip Tour. I had been wanting to zip line what felt like forever! We walked by a burning bon fire and approached the gazebo where our tour guides and gear were waiting. They gave us the run down on how to use our gear and properly put it on. They then continued to explain we would be going on 9 different zip lines covering about a mile and a half of wooded terrain as well testing out some of their tree top challenges. A few other couples showed up and we were good to go to the first zip line. They were very thorough in explaining how to ride down the zip lines and what to and what not to hold onto.

As we waited in line to go down the first zip line individually, my heart was pounding with excitement, and I could tell his was, too. He made me go first. I linked my gear to the line and down I went through the trees and gliding over the ground below. I approached the wooden plank where the other couples and trainer who went before me awaited my arrival. I pulled on the pulley to slow myself down a bit and instead I turned around in circles. Trying to get back to the front facing direction, I suddenly approached the plank and slid onto the light snow that covered it. As I stood upright and unhooked myself, I looked back seeing Shane getting ready to follow. My first thought was, “wow, let’s do that again!”

Half way through the tour, we got to the couple zip line where we could go down together. This was the moment we had both been waiting for. And it was so worth it. As we went down the line fast, he kissed me and said, “I love you”.

Not only were we able to zip line individually and together, the tour also consisted of tree top climbs. They had tree houses and ropes that you could climb across to get to the last few zip lines. It was a nice challenge rather than just stepping up to a plank. Afterwards, we were able to stand around the fire and hang out for a bit with the other couples and tour guides. It was certainly a chilly day in Nashville, but the Sweetheart Zip was the perfect Valentine’s Day date for the adventurous.

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Belle Meade Plantation Tour

Once a year, Belle Meade Plantation has an open house featuring a candlelight self-walking tour of the mansion and the grounds as well as free wine tasting in the gift shop, carolers, and pictures with Santa of course! It’s a fun, chilly date night activity in those winter months. You might not learn as much about the history of the property like you would in a guided tour, but there are plenty of employees (in costumes) in each of the rooms that will answer any questions you may have as well as tell you a story or two about the rooms and its contents. Having the opportunity to walk around outside with free hot cocoa and pathways lighted by candles certainly gives this night at Belle Meade Plantation a romantic night to remember.

If you would rather, Belle Meade Planation, it’s winery, and it’s restaurant is opened throughout the year and offers paid, guided tours and is a beautiful, popular place for a destination wedding in Nashville. Mansion tours are typically about 45 minutes, prices vary. You may also tour by Segway (could be fun!) and in groups.

After visiting Belle Meade Planation, we went and had a fun dinner at Sam’s Place. Great food, great prices, and fun, personable staff! It may not be a romantic dinner, but to eat in Belle Meade, you can’t beat their prices!

I hope you have a fun, romantic night!

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Evins Old Mill

Evins Mill is a small, very private resort featuring wonderful views and a romantic aura tucked away deep in the woods of Smithville, TN. Each room has it’s own private deck and scenic settings as well as access to hiking trails leading to waterfalls and gorges. It is the perfect getaway to put you back in touch with nature and to fall in love all over again.

Our Room w/ a View!

There are many resort packages including breakfast, boxed lunches, and dinner as well as spa services. On site there is a library, bar, game room, and more. My favorite part of our stay was not only the view of our room, but the hike to the waterfall. We took the daring, tough terrain hike complete with ropes along the edge of the trail to help you along the way. Once we got to the waterfall, the strenuous hike was well worth it. It was a beautiful and magnificent site that I could have spent all day admiring.

The game room, museum, and banquet rooms are located in part of the Old Mill. Take the walkway that stretches from the resort across the dam to get there. It is a beautiful location for a wedding or private party/function. At night, take a stroll across the bridge and you can hear the tree frogs echo throughout the gorges.

The walkway to get from the resort area to Old Mill

 

The resort with walkways to each cabin/room

 

Photo taken by: Ben Russell
Featured on Evins Mill FB page

Not only was our room and experience amazing, but the staff was so polite and accommodating. I would recommend this place 100%! He took me here for our 2 year anniversary and for my early birthday present, how amazing is this man?! I’m so lucky and blessed.

Thank you all for reading, Happy Holidays!

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Christmas Eve Holiday Lights Date-Cheekwood

During the holiday season, one of the best places in Nashville to go and see Christmas lights is Cheekwood’s Holiday Lights in Belle Mead. Cheekwood Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place for weddings, romantic dates, and extravagant events…Swan Ball anyone? On a side note, Belle Mead is the one place in Nashville I loved taking a drive, whether I was working a local house party at one of the mansions or just passing through, mainly due to the beautiful homes that wealthy families and music stars own. On your way to Cheekwood, be sure to drive down Belle Mead Boulevard until you reach the end to see everyone’s Christmas lights. Once you reach the park at the end of Belle Mead Boulevard, turn right and then take your first left to drive along the golf course until you reach the entrance to Cheekwood.

Cheekwood Holiday Lights is a fun date after your Christmas Eve dinner whether it’s just the two of you or the whole family. They feature about 1 million lights throughout their gardens making it the prettiest nighttime winter stroll. You may purchase the tickets online or at the gate. You can walk around sipping a hot toddy from their various drink and snack stands throughout the gardens. They have a gift shop as well as a restaurant on site and you may also take a free walking tour of the mansion.

  

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Nashville, TN Dates

Living in Nashville for a year, we realized that it’s a great city to visit, but certainly not to live. The city itself is growing at an enormous rate and the interstates and byways just can’t handle it. As a result, in my opinion, there is too much traffic, and people! On top of how many people are currently living in the city, you have tourists. Don’t get me wrong, the city is beautiful. There is always something to do, rain or shine. Many tourists will flock to Broadway (the well known party and bar street in the city), but I have a lot of other places that I prefer to go to with my date. Here are just a few…

The Parthenon:

DSC06491

In Nashville, there is a full scale replica of the original Parthenon that is in Athens, Greece. Located in West End, in the middle of Centennial Park of Nashville. It was originally built for 1897’s Centennial Exposition. I heard it was supposed to be torn down, but it was such an exact replica and adorned by many, that it was kept standing and now serves as an art museum. It’s free to walk around, and there is a one mile loop behind around a pond.

Nashville Flea Market & Bicentennial Park:

photo taken by: Julianna

Even if you’re not looking to buy something, its a fun place to walk around and take in all the different smells. Food trucks tend to gather here, including The Grilled Cheeserie which is my favorite! There are many restaurants and vendors inside and outside of the building ranging from pizza and baked goods, to yummy organic ice cream and Jamaican foods. Behind the flea market is Bicentennial Park.

You can see a beautiful view of the State Capitol as well as learn and see some of Nashville’s history. Make sure to walk towards the west side of the park and listen to the towers play some bell music every hour on the hour. I bet a beautiful place to propose to someone is right in the middle of the towers as the music plays 😉

Go to a Titans game:

It may not be the most romantic of places, but its a great place to have fun with your loved one and friends. Not only can you watch the game, but there are places throughout the stadium where you can play corn hole, have a drink at the bar, and lounge on couches while the sun sets. Did I mention the stadium food?! YUM!

Walk around 12 South:

12 South is the infamous street where you may see celebrities such as Lady Gaga shopping as well as graffiti wall art. You can do an art crawl, but I will get to explaining that in a later post! There is also some great restaurants such as Bar Taco and Flip Side (great chicken and shakes)!

Tour Gaylord Opryland Resort:

You may be thinking, why would I tour a resort? Well, you must haven’t seen Gaylord Opryland, yet! This resort not only has restaurants and shops, but breathtakingly beautiful conservatories. Orchids, waterfalls, palms, greens and plants of all kinds reside in the resort perfect for picture taking.

Those are just a few of my favorite Nashville dates! Stay tuned for more great ideas in Tennessee!

As always, thank you for reading. You all are amazing.

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