Just like last year, Nick and I decided to spend Derby weekend in Nashville. If you’re not participating in any of the festivities, it’s a great time to get out of town. (Although next year I plan to stick around!)
We woke up early on Saturday morning and started the 2 1/2 hour drive south. One aspect that makes this trip all the better is that the travel time is scenic. The rolling hills of Kentucky are beautiful and make the drive enjoyable.
Once in Nashville, we headed straight to Percy Warner Park for a trail run. We had chosen the Mossy Ridge Trail because it was rated “moderate” and was a good distance for my first run after my week-long break following the half marathon. Right away we knew this trail would be no joke; we seemed to go up forever! We did a fair amount of hiking on some technical parts, but that only gave us more opportunity to appreciate how beautiful it was. We were challenged the whole time, finished with about 1,000 feet of elevation gained, and are itching to go back and do it again!
Naturally we headed straight to grab some lunch, since we had worked up at appetite. We decided to go back to The Wild Cow because we liked it so much last year. Is it boring that we ordered the exact same items as last year? The chips and vegan queso were as good as I remember, but I swear the peanut sauce on my Far Eastland bowl was less flavorful. Nick’s Buffalo Beans & Greens were so good, I kind of had order envy.
We then checked into our airbnb rental, which was just a small room + bathroom in a house in East Nashville. We really only needed a place to shower and crash at night, and this served that purpose. We definitely recommend staying in this part of town, no matter the size of your place, as it’s removed from downtown but still has plenty of great restaurants to walk to.
After cleaning ourselves up (necessary after that trail run!) we were ready for some ice cream from Jeni’s. Last year we had wanted to try their ice cream, but they were closed because of that contamination issue… But this year they were back up and running! I loved that I could try as many flavors as I wanted (churro!) and that I could get two flavors in a one scoop bowl. I finally settled on salted peanut butter with chocolate flecks + milkiest chocolate with almonds; there was something special about the almonds…roasted? smoked?…I can’t remember for sure now, but it was delicious! Nick also got the salted peanut butter scoop, but chose darkest chocolate over the milk chocolate. We traded bites and agreed that we both made great choices.
In the afternoon we went to Centennial Park to see if the same Tennessee Craft Fair that we visited last year was going on and we weren’t disappointed. We strolled around there for a while, letting our ice cream digest and soaking up the sunshine. We had perfect weather while we were in Nashville.
By the time evening came around, we headed back to East Nashville to eat at Graze, a plant-based restaurant right near Wild Cow and Jeni’s. I chose the veggie burrito (roasted vegetables, potatoes, vegan cheddar, spinach, and quinoa) while Nick had the breakfast burrito (seitan chorizo, potatoes, vegan cheddar, spinach, and quinoa.) We also split the mini chocolate lava cake for dessert, because life is too short to not eat dessert twice on vacation.
As the sun started to set, we decided to check out Radnor Lake to see if we’d want to hike there the next day. This is truly a gem in Nashville! Within our first few minutes out of the car, we saw herds of deer. Deer are one of my favorite animals (and my spirit animal, if you will) and to see them peacefully drinking from the water was magical. We decided we definitely needed to go back the next day.
The next morning, we naturally woke up early and headed straight to Biscuit Love, another favorite from last year. Nick got the vegetarian grits again, but I chose the oatmeal (although I kind of wanted the “bonuts” – biscuit doughnuts.) I also picked up two mugs for a friend and me that say “Resting Brunch Face.” They’re perfect.
We drove back to Radnor Lake, and again within the first few minutes were rewarded. There was a large owl sitting in a tree along the path and was attracting attention from some bird watchers. I was surprised that it was still awake, but I guess us hikers were making enough noise. Later on, we saw another owl, and this one we got to watch take flight. Other animals we saw included turtles, frogs, more deer, and a wild turkey. The walk around the lake was the perfect ending to our time in Nashville.
A few more photos: