How We Vacation: Nashville

By Natalie

A while ago I wrote this post about how when Brandon and I vacation we typically do little planning. We pick a place, find a few spots we might want to see, a few restaurants we want to try and maybe a coffee shop or two. We’ve had lovely encounters where we stepped into a shop straight off of the street and that always seemed to work for us. In the past we’ve preferred a nice place to stay with a lighter itinerary because vacations are meant for resting.

On our recent trip to Nashville we planned things virtually in the same manner. We were hoping to lounge around in our airbnb most of the day, having been beautifully decorated by the owner, an interior decorator. However, Felicity was not one to sit and relax for the next four days. There seems to be no telling a toddler, “Hey we’re on vacation this week, we’re all just going to sit and relax for a few days.” Being in a new space she was anxious to explore everything on her level, most of which was breakable. The best thing for us to do was to go out exploring and though we’ve wanted to see Nashville for some time we wondered if this really was the best time.

We wouldn’t be able to catch live music because it seemed that was more of a late night scene. Our trip would consist of strolling Felicity through an unfamiliar city, grabbing coffee, grabbing lunch and then heading back for naptime. Was driving 6 hours out there worth it? Were we exhausting ourselves further than we already had been in our daily life? Should we have traded the Nashville airbnb for the beach trip? Should we have skipped the packing and driving altogether and finally planned a staycation to visit all the places in Charlotte we’ve been missing?

Our first road block came when we realized that the time had changed during our drive. Crossing over into central time pushed our clocks back an hour. Because it was only an hour we decided it was best to keep our clocks on Eastern time and stick to our same schedule so as not to disrupt Felicity’s routine. Because of this fact however we found ourselves arriving to places too early. As we’ve naturally become early risers with our early riser babe we’re typically looking for lunch spots by 11:30am, meaning food hits our bellies by noon. The three of us are all very susceptible to hanger, we’re very on our mealtimes.

The problem we ran into was that most lunch spots didn’t open until about 11, which meant we had to wait them out an extra hour, our internal clocks telling us to eat at 11:30am, Nashville telling us to slow down it was only 10:30 after all. We found ourselves peeking into restaurant windows, circling blocks, trying shop doors that remained locked until the very minute of opening. We decided to run to the grocery store and make all but one of our dinners at our airbnb so we wouldn’t push Felicity’s dinner so late. It wasn’t all bad but it did seem preventable had we done some research and known about the time change, we maybe could have planned our days better.

Unfortunately our expectations for this trip were misaligned and our last minute poor planning caught up with us in the midst of parenting as things always do. There seems little room for error when kids are in the mix and I think Brandon and I both felt that from now on we needed to schedule out our vacation days ahead of time.

The best thing for us to have done was fall back on our favorites. What were a few things that each of us loved that could turn this trip around? For starters, I can sniff out a library from miles away and Nashville had a lovely one. Felicity spent over an hour playing in the children’s area. She also loves water fountains. We spotted one in the library courtyard and another during our visit to Franklin TN (about a half hour away).

Brandon and I both love coffee. We tried two coffee shops, Crema & Frothy Monkey. We all love donuts! Five Daughter’s Bakery saved us with their outdoor playground. We were able to kill some time there before heading to Franklin.


In the end we made the trip work though it wasn’t what we’d expected. I’m glad we checked this one off of our travel bucket list but I’m not sure that we see ourselves going back in the near future. Charlotte and Nashville had some similarities and Charlotte seems to suit our needs just fine. I think our little trio is feeling like maybe our city vacations can wait awhile. Maybe it’s time to lounge on the beach or start planning trips that revolve around our kiddos for all of our sake. I’ve already started looking into farm airbnbs that allow you to see their animals! If you have any good suggestions for trips with kids send them our way!

Like every life lesson I’m trying to look at this one in a positive light. Now that we have a kid our life is evolving rapidly. It’s not that we can’t do the things we used to do, it’s just that they’re not nearly as enjoyable as they once were. I was chatting with a mom friend about this recently and we both had the general consensus for so many things in our lives that are now different. Going out to eat, it’s just a different experience, vacations apply, they’re just different with kids. Our trips are more about family bonding now. Having Felicity has taught me to let go in ways that I’d never known I needed to.

I’m glad I wrote that post from Charleston so long ago. It serves as proof of a time that’s now gone. A time where we read books on the beach and didn’t fret over a little one getting too close to the water’s edge. A time where we could sleep in and catch brunch and mosey around town with no agenda. Brandon and I are nostalgic beings, him a bit more so than me actually. We knew at the time that the trips we’d taken before children we’d look back on fondly. But now that we’re here, actually looking back on those trips we’re so glad we vacationed that way while we could.

Leave a Reply