Travel Memphis: Tips & Tricks

Memphis is another one of those destinations I’ve wanted to go my whole life. I mean the music itself is reason enough to go, but add on the BBQ? The nightlife? The history? Oh my goodness, this is a perfect place to spend a few days for a history/food/music lover!

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My friend and I drove in for the night and part of the day. This was part of our road trip so we had limited time. To break it down, I’m going to tell you exactly what we did to pack in the most for our time!

  1. Go out on the town! There is no street more connected to Blues music than Beale Street. Don’t miss this opportunity. While the street itself is underwhelming as far as size, it more than makes up for it in music. Hit up Rum Boogie for the best live music!
  2. Need a midnight snack? The Blues City Cafe has amazing Gumbo Cheese Fries! I don’t think I need to say anymore here. IMG_5396
  3. You must tour Sun Studios! Packed full of memorabilia from the city’s music history, be sure to snap a photo with Elvis’ actual microphone.IMG_5410
  4. Another tour, and one that I think is the most important, is that at the National Civil Rights Museum. Centered at the Lorraine Motel, the site of Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, the museum chronicles the long civil rights movement. This means the information starts at slavery in the United States, giving cultural information about Africa, and continues up to the assassination of King. It’s amazingly well done and I highly recommend.
  5. Stop for BBQ, obviously! We asked several locals for their recommendation and everyone suggest Cozy Corner. It was fabulous and what dreams were made up.
  6. Last but not least, stay with airbnb! This is the cheapest way to have a nice and safe stay in Memphis. We stayed at the BB King with Jamie! Jamie is delightful. This is an older home, a mile from Beale St. and an easy walk to Sun Studio. It’s super comfy and decorated in an eclectic style, similar to a Portland coffee shop. Jamie also makes a wonderful breakfast!

I would highly recommend a visit to this amazing city. It’s full of friendly people, fabulous food, and amazing history. What else could you want!

Travel Nashville-Part II

I’m sad to say, the next morning we were a tad bit hungover.

But we pulled ourselves together and had some good old fashioned hangover food at the Pancake Pantry. A Nashville institution since 1961, I was delighted with the banana bread pancakes. Our waitress was hilarious too. My favorite part was the family feel of the place and it wasn’t out of the normal to chat with our neighbors.

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The day was spent roaming around Opryland, all in all, not my thing. But I did enjoy saying I’d been to the Grand Ole’ Opry! I was a rebel and sat on the guitar.

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The next day it was time to drive home to Charleston, but before we left we visited two more famous Nashville places!

The Loveless Cafe was top of my list and this is where we had breakfast. OH MY GOD. I had the biscuit sampler and it was just too good. A Nashville hot spot since 1951, the Loveless is located in an old motel off of US 100. You’ll see it from its bright neon sign!

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The decor is country vintage, and the walls are covered in autographs from famous country stars. Which brings me to the must see tourist attraction in Nashville: The Country Music Hall of Fame, duh.

My friend Rachel and I are huge country fans so the stop was necessary.

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Overall we spent about an hour admiring the exhibits. I have to say that Alan Jackson’s was my favorite! There was a little too much text in the exhibits, so after a while it was overwhelming. But I still highly recommend it as a must-do!

This was a fantastic trip. Although typically touristy, I had such an amazing time and hope to get back soon.

Plus the road trip through North Carolina’s Smoky Mountains was pretty cool.

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Visit Nashville-Part 1

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Ever since I was little I’ve wanted to go to Nashville. I was raised on 90s’ country music (think Alan Jackson and Brooks & Dunn).

This past summer I finally made it, and got to spend time with a college friend at the same time!

Oh my lord, it was amazing. My friend Rachel flew into Nashville, and I drove up to meet her. We were lucky enough to stay at her friend’s home in Nashville so I didn’t have to pay for a hotel!

The 8-hour drive was intense, but once I got there we went out on the town. Our trip began at The Row, a restaurant downtown Nashville. I had the most amazing hot chicken, a Nashville specialty, and we listened to some beautiful live music.

From there we moseyed on up the street to The Patterson House. Oh My God, let me tell you about this place. It’s a speakeasy, decorated in 1920s art deco fashion, that specializes in high quality mixed drinks. Patterson refers to the Tennessee governor during the early 1900s who vetoed restrictions on alcohol. The rules are, no cellphones, no fighting, and leave with the people who you came with.

I had the most amazing drink, the creole fashioned. A play on the original old fashioned, the taste of the whiskey mixes with flavors of orange and coffee. Lord have mercy. I snuck a photo through snapchat, sue me.

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We continued downtown via golf cart, yes that’s right, they have a golf cart taxi service in Nashville. We went up, down, all around Broadway. The live music was incredible!

All in all, it was an amazing first day. Stay tuned for part II.

Bryce Canyon & Zion

Fun fact: I’ve driven across the United States, from coast to coast, twice. The most recent adventure occurred this last August when I helped my best friend since high school move to Atlanta, Georgia.

I now have a deep appreciation for truck drivers. How do they manage to stay focused for so long??

Anyways..

Being the adventurers we are, we decided along the way to stop in Utah at both Bryce Canyon and Zion. Its been several weeks since I’ve returned to Charleston, but I’d like to share a little recap of my adventure!

Kelsey and I drove into Bryce on our way from Idaho, and arrived in the early afternoon. We had planned a hike at Navajo Trail, and to then drive through the rest of the park, as we were short on time.

Bryce Canyon
Bryce Canyon

Stopping at the visitor’s center first, we armed ourselves with water, maps, and adorable vintage postcards of the park (for home decor, of course!). We were a little tired at this point, and played around in the gift shop.

(Junior) Ranger Kelsey
(Junior) Ranger Kelsey

The Navajo Trail was incredible. Of all the places we went on this trip, this would have to be my favorite. There is something about the bright orange, contrasting with the rich blue of the sky, that makes everything more beautiful. Trust me, I’m not usually a rock fan.

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I also didn’t realize how many tourists from other countries come to visit our National Parks. Kelsey and I met so many wonderful people hiking the trail, most of which were from Europe or Asia! It put it in perspective how lucky we are in America to have such beautiful natural scenery, especially since, we as Americans, don’t always think of our own country as a destination.

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Zion was just as beautiful as Bryce, although I think I preferred the scenery at Bryce more. It felt like I could see more from the viewpoints.

During our time in Utah we stayed at this cute cottage we found on AirBnB, run by  Cathy. I’ve linked it in the post. Cathy’s cottage was located in Kanab, directly in between Bryce and Zion, plus close to the Arizona border. It was the perfect location for exploring the parks, and traveling to the Grand Canyon the next day.

We stayed two nights in the spacious cottage, and loved having coffee on our patio in the mornings. Cathy has built her own garden and peaceful pond area, and it made a lovely start to our Utah mornings.

Here’s hoping I can make it back soon!

Visiting a Plantation: Middleton Place

I think it’s fitting that since I love to travel so much, my first post is on one of my favorite destinations in the Charleston area: Middleton Place. I’m writing this today as an act of procrastination from writing a book review (of a horrible book, might I add), so what is more fun than reminiscing?

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Middleton is about ten minutes from my home in West Ashley, and is located on the Ashley River. This is how plantation owners made it to the city! It makes me appreciate the bridges now in place, even with Charleston’s crappy traffic.

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Middleton is home to America’s oldest landscaped gardens, a museum, and an interactive display on life on a plantation. In my opinion, Middleton does the best job of any low country plantation of showcasing the living conditions of slaves on a plantation, which is often ignored by tourist destinations, despite the fact that these places revolved around the exploitation of slaves.

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It is a beautiful place to take in the landscape of the low country, see some wildlife (Gators, anyone?), and learn about the economics that were important to 19th Century Charleston.

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Of all the plantations to visit in Charleston, Middleton is the best! Bring your own coffee, and walk around the gardens, taking a seat by the river. You won’t be disappointed!

Find information on visiting here.