Hey! My name is Lauren of Blooming Leopold. I met the lovely Jessica through Greenville College, where we both went to school and shared some good classes. And today, I’m introducing you to the best parts of my current hometown…Nashville.
My husband Neil and I moved to Nashville just over a year ago, so we’re very much new to the South and to Nashville. While we’re still new, we’ve had many chances to get out and experience some lovely neighborhoods, areas like Hillsboro Village and East Nashville’s Little Five Points.
I’d like to share with you some highlights of a city I now call home.
Going to a small town college near the Illinois/Missouri border afforded us many chances to drive across the state line and visit St. Louis. It became a city that we’d drive to every weekend, and we really fell in love with it. When Neil and I moved to Nashville, we found ourselves automatically comparing every detail of Nashville life to what we knew in St. Louis. The first point that was awarded in Nashville’s favor? The coffee.
For real, you guys. Coffee rocks here. Nashville has several local roasters and many locally owned coffee shops. Our favorite roaster is Drew’s Brews and the best coffee shops are Crema, Frothy Monkey, and Bongo Java…in that order. It doesn’t stop there, really. Bongo has three locations scattered across several trendy areas of the city and many more shops serve some good stuff, including Mike’s Ice Cream and Coffee Bar downtown (espresso milk shake? yes please) and Ugly Mugs in East Nashville.
If you’re ever in Nashville, try the Cuban at Crema – a latte served with sweetened condensed milk.
Besides the plethora of chain thrift stores, Nashville harbors a love for antique malls and vintage shops. Venus and Mars, a pretty place with a distinctly feminine feel in the Belmont Area, specializes in one-of-a-kind dresses and decor. If you want lovingly preowned 1930’s or 40’s dresses, including some glamorous maxis, you go to Venus and Mars. Local Honey is a shop run by Shea Steele out of a craftsman home in the 12th South Neighborhood. Shea has an eye for casual 80’s pieces as well as elegant evening wear, 60’s velvet minis or 1940’s lace dresses, and her prices are fantastic.
As for the best antique mall, Tennessee Antique Mall off Wedgewood has them all beat. Kim Brewer, a lovely lady who has collected vintage for 10 years, has filled two rooms with everything from Gunne Sax prairie maxi dresses to 1930’s evening gowns. 8th Avenue South also offers a strip of shops, places like Pre to Post Modern, that showcase quirky and unique finds.
And if indoor shopping isn’t your thing, hit up the Tennessee Flea Market every fourth weekend of the month, or perhaps one of the many craft and vintage fairs around town.
The 12th South Neighborhood.
Neil and I are lucky to live about a mile and a half from our favorite neighborhood – 12th South. A cute, hipster-run place with the best burger (Burger Up), the best vintage store (Local Honey), and the best popsicle (Las Paletas – try the hot chocolate jalapeno!). What more do you need in life, really?
Maybe a neighborhood bike shop (Halcyon Bike Shop) that uses old spare parts to craft unique cruisers and road bikes? Or a friendly park (Sevier Park) to walk your dog in? Or maybe a wandering taco truck (Mas Tacos, Por Favor) that frequently hangs around in a local parking lot. Maybe a cheese and meat shop (Corrieri’s Formaggeria) that smokes their own bacon, adjacent to a pizza shop (Mafiaoza’s) that makes their own cheese. Take your pick. 12th South has a lot to offer.
Contrary to popular belief, Nashville is not overrun by cowboy hats and country artists. While we do have our fair share, Nashville also supports a lot of indie musicians as well, bands such as the Dead Weather, Karen Elson, and Old Crow Medicine Show.
We’re lucky to have some nice record shops in the area that passionately promote vinyl renewal, as well as some intimate (and free) shows featuring local and not-so-local bands (Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Avett Brothers, Black Keys, Karen Elson). Places to go for new and used records? Grimey’s, Third Man Records, and The Groove in East Nashville.
I can’t really leave out the locals when I talk about Nashville. Maybe it’s the Southern stereotypes, maybe it’s all of the Northerners who move here for a change of pace or scenery, but it really is true – people are nicer in Nashville. Neil and I both have been given such a great welcome from those we’ve met, and the funny thing is, most aren’t even Nashville natives. Is hospitality contagious?
That’s it for a little glimpse into Nashville life.. Thanks to Jessica for inviting me to share, and thanks to you all for reading!