A weekend in Memphis - what to do with 48 hours in the home of blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll.Read More
In my coming book there's a whole chapter on what I've nicknamed the rock n’ roll highway; it features quite a few backstage beauties that live and hang along the route from Nashville to Florence, AL to Athens, GA.
The backstage beauty is the type of girl that knows the words to every Rolling Stones song, and lives on a weekend diet of cheap beer and diner food (we can all have a cheat weekend now and then right?!). She throws the best house parties and she and all her friends are right on the brink of discovery. She’s always the most laid-back, glamorous girl in the room in her vintage band T-shirt.
Since I moved to Nashville I've been asked A LOT to share a list of where that type of girl shops and hangs here ... last summer I shared this where to hang for 24-48 hours list (and I stand by it still) so this is the expanded list of venues and shops that made it into my book.
This little tour today is where to get your music fix and find the most fabulous vintage gems all around town. So here we go: a music & vintage tour of Nashville.
Can’t Miss Nashville
For the Music Lover:
Most visitors to Nashville come for the music because there’s truly so much to see and hear. Here are a few favorite spots, and trust me... there's SO many more:
The 5 Spot: What I love about this place is that you can catch a killer early show on a weekend night (I saw my friend Andrew Duhon play to a packed house on a Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.) or go on a Monday night for the Motown Monday dance party. SO. MUCH. F'N. FUN.
Robert's Western World: If you’re ready to spend the night two-stepping the real deal, Honky Tonk is Robert’s Western World. Fried bologna sandwiches, dancing cowboys, and cheap beer make for a wild night down on the Broadway strip.
Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge: A world famous historic watering hole, legend has it that Tootsie kept IOUs behind the counter for the hungry musicians. At the end of the year, the Grand Ol’ Opry guys would pay off the IOUs for the up-and-comers to make sure Tootsie stayed in business.
The Ryman Auditorium: The Ryman Auditorium is the birthplace of the Grand Ole Opry. Not only have the famous feet of Elvis and Johnny Cash graced the stage of this stunning gothic auditorium, but the acoustics make it one of the best places in the country to see live music. Recently Phoenix was there (my fave) and I'm planning to see Father John Misty in September.
The Grand Ole Opry: “The show that made country music famous” continues to feature a broad spectrum of country styles nightly. Take the backstage tour and gaze into the mirrors where gals like Dolly Parton and Carrie Underwood get dressed before their shows.
For the Vintage Devotee:
An entire week could be spent diving into the vintage shops of East Nashville. On my personal best-of list:
Opium Vintage: by appointment only - stocked with a vibrantly obscure collection, including Japanese vintage sourced by owner Laura Citron. It's my favorite of the entire list.
Hip Zipper: great for well-priced denim and accessories.
Starstruck Vintage: gorgeous winter coats for under $100.
Local Honey: hand-dyed vintage by Magness Collection, and this is where I get my hair done... super hip salon and good vintage shopping, win win.
High Class Hillbilly: the place for authentic cowboy goodies and western wear.
Goodbuy Girls: located in the Idea Hatchery (a test kitchen shopping center for new brands) this shop is great for graphic T’s and loads of fringe.
Old Made Good (OMG): Just north of the East Nashville neighborhood is this kitschy vintage shop with a glitter covered floor and adorably charming handmade goods.
Savant Vintage: Over in 12 South, find this favorite of Vogue magazine, photographers, rock stars, and stylists—Savant has an extensive collection of highly curated pieces. Be prepared to spend a little more for the tremendous quality of the jackets, dresses, ponchos, and hats filling its racks.
Hope you guys put this list to good use, and if you haven't pre-ordered my book I would LOVE for you to do so now! Let me know how you love Nashville!
Hey you wanderlusters,
So Ben and I have officially been in our Nashville home for about 2 months. Wuttttt?! Well more accurately, our things have slowly been trickling into our new home for about that time. We closed on the house the first week of August (Ben had to FaceTime in from the tour bus to the closing, yep) and then we moved his downtown loft apartment that same week.
All the while we made an offer, did the inspection and closed on a house and he was out on the road, and then I was on the road, and then we were on the road together. The life of a touring musician meets travel writer means home time is a rarity.
Here's the actual count:
Days Ben has been in the new house: 7
Days Andi has been in the new house: hmmm like 5 more than that?
And! I'm finally moving the remainder of my New Orleans apartment up this weekend, and from there it will truly be official. Wheeeew!
This past weekend at Pilgrimage Festival was our first opportunity to spend time with some of our Nashville friends and really connect and make some new friends too. I am finally feeling like I can say when someone asks that Nashville is officially my city! Even though Ben and I together have traveled back and forth so much between Nashville and New Orleans having our first home together makes it all super real.
I mean, sure I've been around enough that writing my Nashville in 24-48 hours post felt great, because I totally feel like I've experienced enough to have a good grasp on what you guys might be interested in when you visit. However, being the new girl anywhere is always a little scary right?! And it's totally different than visiting or being around for a few weeks at a time. So, as the new girl I'm making a big commitment to myself to get out and experience things. I'm going to go to events and shows and (hopefully!) make some friends that are interested in the same things I am.
The reality is, those 12 or so days that I actually have been at home have looked mostly like this:
Me curled up, working on book edits or photo edits, or catching up on reading and just nesting. Go check my instastories, it's either this, or me driving some back country road looking for antiques.
Since I'm finishing moving the remainder of the New Orleans apartment this weekend next week I will officially no longer have an address in New Orleans at all. So, I'm filling up my calendar and heading out to really make Nashville my place!
I would love to hear from those of you that are Nashville locals, what are the places you love and things on your list that I absolutely need to do?
I'll be heading out to the launch of Karen Fairchild's clothing line next week, btw. (Karen's from the band Little Big Town, she's such a babe on stage and I can't wait to see what she's created.) The invite mentions vegan leather pieces and delicately feminine separates made to go glamorously from the street to the stage and I am desperately in need of a closet revamp. I did a serious clean out when planning for the move so you can bet those vegan leather pieces will be mine.
When I first moved to New Orleans so many years ago I found that fashion events like this one were where I really found my people! I would absolutely love to meet some of you guys there, so I've got all the deets below.
There's an RSVP required, but the event is free, so make sure to get a ticket to come hang!
Where: Macy's Green Hills
Date: Wednesday, 10/5
Hope to see you guys there, come be my friend k?!
This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency on behalf of Macy’s; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
This weekend was our first Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival in Franklin, TN. The festival takes place at The Park at Harlinsdale. It's a beautiful horse farm about 20 minutes south of Nashville, an absolutely stunning location for a festival.
From the festival website:
Established in 1933 by W.W. Harlin, Harlinsdale Farm has been called the most significant historic farm associated with the modern Tennessee Walking Horse industry. As famous as the farm itself is its prize stallion ‘Midnight Sun’. The famous horse became the first repeat World Grand Champion. The success of Midnight Sun has yet to be rivaled by any other Tennessee Walking Horse.
When my friend Clif & I arrived we were like giddy little girls, so excited to finally be back with my Ben, and also to catch some seriously amazing bands: Violent Femmes (hellllo middle school Andi), Shakey Graves, Beck and of course Grace and the band. We saw a few bands I hadn't seen before, Kaleo was a favorite of the day.
Day 1 was truly killer. Grace and the guys brought down the house per usual. I just love getting to see Ben, Grace and the band perform to such excited crowds day over day.
We closed out the night with a full on dance party. Beck's set was unbelievable. Everyone was talking about it Sunday morning. We watched from the soundboard, maybe one of the best spots on the farm! Afterwards there was an Electic Western Dance Party back in the Shangrilounge Artist tent. Vinyl records and about 100 people totally getting down.
On day 2 we headed back out, Ben played with New Orleans' stars Better Than Ezra and the line up continued to be one for the books (City & Colour and Hall & Oates topping my list)! I was totally fan girl'ing and snapped a shot of the City & Colour set list right before the show. They're so incredibly good.
The whole weekend was so perfect. I sent Ben back off on the bus late last night. Sad to have him go, and feeling happy that he's down to his last week of this tour, so thankfully he'll be home again soon.
I've been to a million festivals over the years and somehow this one felt different.... like a big family reunion.
Big thanks to Octer for dressing me for the weekend. If you haven't checked Octer do it asap. Their goal is to make online shopping easier than it's ever been. They feature the biggest US stores and something like 8,000 brands ranging from Topshop (which is where my outfits for the weekend came from) to ASOS to Farfetch to Net-A-Porter. Nobody's got time to search every store to find the perfect pieces and Octer definitely simplifies the game!
In all honesty it was so insanely hot (felt like Louisiana) that I was glad to have a few outfit options. I chose a couple of varieties of cotton dresses and stashed them on the bus so I could go change it up when I started sweating through my clothes, ahhhh! Always come prepared for fest weather you guys.
Hope you all had a beautiful weekend!
It's so great to be out West again. Today is the 100th birthday of the National Park Service and we'll be celebrating in Rocky Mountain National Park. On our road trip back in May we traveled from the border of Mexico all the way up to Canada. 20+ days on the road and you better bet we spent a lot of time listening to music and making playlists along the way.
"A Wanderful Life" will include recommendations on books to read, movies to watch and playlists for each trip that'll be featured too.
Out here in the Rocky Mountains we're doing lots of scenic drives, and even if you're not out on a mountain drive a solid road tripper's playlist can make even the afternoon commute feel like an adventure. Follow along over on Spotify!
Summer's almost over, cheers to end of the season travels, and btw if you missed it - for you Southerners here's 3 last minute travels I know you'll love! And to my fellow road trippers, let me know - what are you guys listening to on the long hauls?
It was a bizarre feeling taking off from New Orleans, the 100 degree heat, flood waters still overtaking the small communities less than an hour away to land in Denver, Colorado for another Red Rocks adventure. In the days before I left to travel back out to Colorado, I was home sick - literally, and also feeling sick for the tragedy that continues as the clean up from the floods last week in Louisiana goes on.
I pushed my flight back two days initially intending to arrive in Aspen to spend a few days and then travel over to Red Rocks to be reunited with my love and his band for their final show of Summer tour. Once I finally arrived Friday morning I felt a small sense of relief as I made the trek from the Denver airport out to the Amphitheatre many considered to be the best in the world.
The night was one for the books in many ways.
The day started out sunny, I hiked to the top of the venue to watch sound check way down below.
An hour or so later rains came in... over dinner we heard stories about Red Rock's being a rain or shine venue... stories about opening bands diving under tarps with their equipment so as to keep themselves and their gear dry during torrential downpours. And then as 60 of us prepared for a champagne toast, the bottle popped and simultaneously lightening struck.
We were in the middle of the Grace Potter friends and family dinner to celebrate the last night of tour and in that moment the lights went out across the entire venue. The next two hours we waited in the dark. We waited, and then we snuck all around the venue by candle light exploring tunnels and hallways the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Jerry Garcia and so many more spent time in.
Miraculously right before show time the lights flickered back on and all was right again.
The night went on, rain drizzling down, the band playing to a crowd that came prepared. Rain ponchos and hours of dancing kept everyone dry and warm.
It was a perfect ending to the summer tour. I'm so incredibly proud to call this group on stage my friends. I've never seen a show like the one they put on from night to night - talent and musicianship at it's finest.
Ben and I left that night for Grand Lake, Colorado - a 2 hours drive through the Rockies - and my thoughts went back to Louisiana. The people back there at home know how to care for each other. Like Bob Marley's quote - it's a place of music and good feelings, when it hits, no matter the pain, everything's all right.
We'll be out here the next week taking a little down time before heading home to finish moving into the new house in Nashville.
More to come from Colorado!
Last days of summer... She'll leave me colorless, breathless, no more candles cutting through the sky. Only white stark nights to come. And how could she think I can breathe like that?
Wanna get a way before the summer ends? I know, it's hard to see the end now, 90 degree days aren't good for foreshadowing, however, autumn will creep in soon. I wrote those lines above last year on September 22nd. It took me until then to see summer was floating away. This year I'm committed to maximizing the last days of summer!
Today I'm sharing three of my favorite last minute Southern road trip destinations. Not every trip requires weeks of advanced planning, here's a few places that a weekend traveler or day tripper can enjoy on a whim! These trips are for artistic free spirited types, those of you with a case of the wanderlusts. Each is for the modern gypsy budget conscious traveler.
1. Lafayette, Louisiana
Louisiana is home to over four hundred festivals every year. Even when it's not festival time there’s juke joints and roadhouses with blues and roots bands throughout the Atchafalayan Basin all year long. No-frills never watered down places that are some of the last of their kind in America.
STAY: Rent a houseboat on the Atchafalaya Basin. Stock up on the local foods before boarding. Snack on beignets and au laits while playing cards on the porch or hop in your own petite bateau (translation: small boat) to be inspired by the swamp.
EAT: Pick a few stops on the Cajun Boudin Trail to experience the most authentic regional specialties. Don't over do it on stop 1 and 2, you'll want to sample delicacies from as many of the shops as possible.
HOW TO DRESS: The Southern Swamps cater to a girl that's confidently eclectic. Wear feathers in your hair, layer a vintage T’s with your favorite denim cutoffs (it's hot outside!) and sprinkle on the glitter even in the daytime.
2. Savannah, Georgia
Swirling all around like the waving limbs of the ancient oaks there’s an essence of old meets brand new in Savannah. There’s an art and fashion scene - of both the high end and street style variety. From the Telfair Museum to shopSCAD, no matter your aesthetic sensibility there’s something to be uncovered.
STAY: The Thunderbird Inn - a groovy motor inn on the edge of the historic district. Reminiscent of the free-spirited era of roadside motels, it's a casual and fun-loving joint.
EAT: Fried Chicken and Cornbread dressing at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room - take a lunchtime seat at a communal table in the family owned former boardinghouse. Sample as many southern dishes as possible: sweet potato souffle, black-eyed peas, and okra gumbo are must haves.
PLAY: The Paris Market - The francophile concept shop is a two-story market - part boutique, part flea market; it's full of the world traveling owner’s quirky international discoveries.
HOW TO DRESS: The Savannah style is a mix of fashion school and tropical goth glam. The Savannah girl is warm and unpretentious and her artistic know how shows up in the small details of her style.
3. Grayton Beach, Florida
The vibe is as free-spirited and quirky as the unofficial town motto: “Nice Dogs, Strange People.” Grayton is one of the oldest beach towns in the South.
STAY: Rent a beach cabin for a good price, and makes friends with the locals for a jeep ride or a night of bonfires on the beach.
EAT: Drop in to Chiringo for lunch and a freshly squeezed Strawberry Lemonade or the specialty Agua de Valencia. The open air second floor is a perfect place to relax and experience the Gulf breeze.
HOW TO DRESS: 30A, the nickname given to Scenic Highway 30A, is a dreamscape beach nirvana. It caters to the bohemian girl packing nothing more than a bikini and a caftan cover-up.
What's on your last minute travel bucket list you guys? Share your stories with me over on instagram with the tag #AWanderfulLife!