By Amy Bennett | January 30, 2018
I’ve lived in the Midwest my whole life. I’m used to unpredictable weather and snowy winters, but this year, it’s just been icy and downright cold. On January 2nd, Indianapolis reached -12 degrees—that was colder than Alaska, Iceland, Montreal and, yes people, Indy was even colder than the North Pole! It was horrible getting in to work this morning with freezing rain coming down. There were something like 42 wrecks on I-465 alone. As I’m looking out my window, more sleet is coming down. Jeez.
By now, many Hoosiers have cabin fever. Thoughts of a March spring break trip are beginning to enter our minds, right? Just the thought of walking along a hot sandy beach with a mild 80 degree breeze sounds heavenly. If you’re lucky enough to be seriously planning a week away to someplace warm, I’m jealous. No work. No dishes to do. No house to clean. No alarm clocks. Sunshine. The ocean. How about fresh seafood and a cocktail with an umbrella? Come on! Nothing better. Liz, in my office, is planning a trip to Hawaii. I hate her.
Sadly, a week-long tropical vacation is not happening for me this year. If you’re like me, no money or no vacation time, maybe you can consider a long weekend trip. For many folks in Indy, that means heading north to Chicago. There are great theaters, museums, shopping, and of course, great food. But Chicago in March? No thank you! I lived there for 12 years. That wind along Lake Shore Drive in March can be brutal.
My new “go to” city for a long weekend is Nashville, Tennessee. I hadn’t been to Nashville until a couple of years ago when Marian began a 2nd degree accelerated nursing program there. The more I go, the more I love the city, and here are some of the reasons why:
- The weather is a little warmer. Sometimes just 10 to 15 degrees warmer can make you feel better!
- It’s drivable. Depending on traffic, how many stops you make and how much you push the speed limits down I-65, it’s only going to take you 5 hours.
- Live music is everywhere. Literally everywhere. And yes, even if you’re not a hillbilly at heart, you can find an awesome bar with music that suits your tastes.
- For those who do love country music, like me, you will appreciate the legends who have performed in the Ryman Auditorium and on the Grand Ole Opry stage. Soak up music history as you wonder through these iconic buildings or maybe even take in a show.
- There’s an energy in Nashville that’s similar to New York City and Las Vegas - hence the nickname "Nashvegas."
- Where else can you go to see a full-size replica of the Parthenon in Athens?
- Unique restaurants and coffee shops as opposed to chains. You have to try a bushwacker (a magnificent concoction of ice cream, coffee, chocolate and rum!), hot chicken and “meat and three” when you’re in Nashville.
- Nashville Predator games are great fun since Indy doesn’t have an NHL team. Plan ahead. Tickets can be hard to get and / or pricey.
- Southern hospitality! Nashville relies on tourists and they welcome them. Nashville usually ranks in the top 10 every year for the friendliest cities in American polls.
- So much to do and see depending on what you’re into. Nashville is divided up into neighborhoods and each neighborhood has a distinctive vibe when it comes to bars, restaurants, shopping, and coffee houses. Here are just a few:
- Downtown Nashville – Broadway is definitely honky tonk central. Day and night, music and craziness. I’ve never on Broadway when I haven’t seen several large bachelorette parties. Come on; that’s some fantastic people watching. There are also constant shows and events at the Bridgestone Arena and Nissan Stadium.
- The Gulch – One of the trendiest areas in Nashville. Upscale bars and restaurants but be prepared to wait at peak times.
- East Nashville – Historic yet growing; there’s a lot of revitalization happening on the east end. It definitely has a diverse, hipster, and laid-back vibe, embraced by musicians and artists. You’re bound to run into more locals on the east end.
- Marathon Village – Eclectic shops in the old Marathon Automobile car factory dating back to the early 1900s. If you’re into the TV show American Pickers, you’ll want to visit Mike Wolfe’s store, Antique Archaeology Nashville.
I get it. Going to Key West in March will give you tan lines, but you will have plenty of fun if you go to Nashville, I promise. I’m going on February 7th. Okay... It’s a work trip, but I will still manage to have at least one bushwacker.