Not long ago, my friend Jeff Bogle told me Kia was sponsoring a road trip from Atlanta to Nashville a few days before Thanksgiving and asked if I’d like to participate. He promised good food, good music, and good company.
The last time I’d spent any time with Bogle was when we walked 100 miles across England to raise over $40,000 for Camp Kesem last summer. As awesome as that was, the opportunity to drive a couple hundred miles instead was quite appealing.
We started with brunch at South City Kitchen, one of my favorite places to eat around these parts. Then, we took off in our Optima Hybrid for a stop for coffee in Chattanooga. Bogle found a mural and went to work creating artful photographs.
Once we arrived in Nashville, we walked to Third Man Records to check out some vinyl (the conversation during the mile or so walk there lead me to ask Santa for the record player Bogle has, so, hopefully, I too will want to walk to obscure record stores across train tracks in newly-visited cities in search of vinyl, too!). Then, we had dinner at Union Common and hit Winner’s Bar and Losers Bar in the Gulch area before sleeping at Lowes Vanderbilt.
The next morning started at Pancake Pantry, where obscene amounts of processed meats and maple drizzled carbs provided the base coat for a day of exploring Franklin (just south of Nashville). Our first stop in Franklin was the Factory, where we toured Artisan Guitars (and got leather guitar straps as gifts that I’ve already affixed to my Taylor) before visiting Honest Coffee Roasters and myriad other little shops.
Then, we toured Arrington Vineyards and tasted lots of wines and chocolates and cheeses, and even the most Philistine among us felt sophisticated. We all got to bring home a dessert wine and additional bottle of our choosing (I went with the Red Fox red; it was delicious).
After that, Bogle drove the Kia (he abstains from the firewater, so I tend to take his share, as I really can’t stand waste), and we headed back into town to let him take some pictures by the river and of Second Ave (where I could lament the absence of all the places I used to visit in high school and college, when I called nearby Hendersonville, Tennessee “home”).
Dinner was at Merchants, where I had dinner before one of my high school proms. Then, the whole group went out to hear live music and enjoy the Nashville night life on a Tuesday. Stops included the Valentine, Coyote Ugly, Skull’s Rainbow Room, Crazytown, Robert’s, Tootsie’s.
The next morning, I drove back to Atlanta.
This was a wonderful trip. I loved the conversation and scenery along I-75 north and I-24 west. I loved the myriad live music venues we got to experience Tuesday night. I loved the meals we enjoyed and the folks who surrounded me at each one. As someone who’s had a 6,000# vehicle for the past 5 years or so, I also enjoyed driving the peppy little Optima that never seemed to need gas! I’m grateful to Bogle for extending the invitation and to the folks at Kia for including me in this adventure (to read Bogle’s synopsis of this trip, click here).