Happy autumn friends!
Fall finally arrived in all its glory here, and I’m basking in cooler temperatures and all things pumpkin spice.
There’s so very much I want to share with you, so I’ve decided to do a two part post.
1. The first to recap our recent Tennessee vacation
2. The second (and my favorite!) to give you a big fat life update and share some of the things God is putting on my heart.
So let’s get moving back with that Tennessee recap!
This past Labor Day Will and I hopped on a plane and flew to the beautiful land of rolling hills and the friendliest people you’ll ever meet- Tennessee.
In the interest of actually getting this post done and on the blog, here’s a rundown of just the highlights each day.
Monday, 7 Sept
For a travel day, we did well. Usually we’re running around like madmen scrambling to get out the door. This year we had to drop the dogs off on Saturday instead of Monday, so it helped reduce the craziness.
Monday was a total travel day. Long and uneventful. Thankfully everything was on time and we got to Nashville late that afternoon.
We were tired and kept things low key. We stayed at the Music City Sheraton, so we checked in, hit a Kroger for a few items, and had dinner at chickfila.
I also got to sleep tons, y’all! It was great! In fact, I went to sleep close to 8 that night didn’t wake up until 7:30!
Vacations are the best.
Tuesday, 8 Sept
Our first full day of vacation was wonderful. We had a leisurely morning followed by a scenic drive outside Nashville.
We drove a little outside of the city to have brunch at the famous Loveless Cafe.
It was so darn fun!
It used to be a hotel back in the 60s and was a hidden gem for travelers. Known for their delicious homemade biscuits, they grew in popularity throughout the region.
They eventually converted the hotel into little adorable shops and just keep the restaurant open- and it’s always busy!
The biscuits and jam pretty much killed me.
I also went a little wild at the store.
And with pictures.
After brunch Will and I headed into Nashville to tour the Opry!
I found the backstage tour very interesting. I didn’t know much about the Opry before, so I learned heaps about the history.
We got our picture on the stage and our tour group even got to sing a song front and center.
We went to the mall across the street between the tour and the evening show. We had a quick bite at Moe’s and headed to see the show!
We were lucky enough to have a great show the night we went. I also had no idea it was a live radio show! Interesting.
Wednesday, 9 Sept
Although I slept late again, I managed to get in a workout Wednesday morning.
We got a late start and after getting ready headed downtown to the Ryman. Much like the Opry, I didn’t know a whole lot about the history of the Ryman. I found its origins very interesting and enjoyed hearing how they’ve grown over the years and are still going strong.
Like the Opry, we were able to go backstage, onstage, take lots of pictures.
If you’re traveling to Nashville and are torn between only wanting to do only one tour I’d definitely say to the Opry. I liked the Ryman, but the Opry was better.
Afterward, we drove around downtown and went to see The War Room.
Yep. We saw a movie we could have seen at home while we were on vacation.
Ah friends it was so good and totally drives home the importance for prayer. Life is a battle and we truly so have to fight the good fight equipped with the word of God as our sword.
Go see the movie and most importantly- find your personal prayer space and start talking to God!
We treated ourselves to the Marble Slab after our movie and walked around the Opry grounds.
Considering it was vacation and we had yet to have a really good meal (um not counting those dang delicious loveless biscuits!), we intended to have a decent dinner. However we ended up getting full on ice cream, like complete children, and spoiled our dinner. Haha
We went back to the hotel, watched TV, and called it a night.
Wild and crazy.
Thursday, 10 Sept
I got another good nights sleep and woke later than I intended. I managed to workout and quickly get ready. Today started my favorite stretch of the trip!
Before leaving Nashville we went back to the Opry Mills Mall and ate an early lunch at The Aquarium.
I’d been there ages ago, but Will had never been. He was completely enthralled. It was adorable. We got there early and were able to watch the marine biologist feed the fish. It was so very neat!
After our giant lunch, we drove a little outside of Nashville to Whites Creek, Tennessee.
Will arranged a little surprise for us to stay at the beautiful Inn at Fontanel. It’s this tiny and beautiful bed and breakfast hotel on Barbara Mandrel’s former property. Not only that, but you can tour her house, and it’s still the largest log cabin house in the nation at over 30,000 square feet!
I can’t even tell you how much I enjoyed every minute at this little bed and breakfast and all their little fun shops!
The staff was so nice and inviting and the whole atmosphere just screamed relaxation.
Our little bunker had a welcoming little mini porch, and our room was just as cozy.
After checking in we toured the grounds. We checked out the shop, the bistro, and the winery while waiting for our mansion tour to begin.
The mansion was flat out spectacular.
The best part?
You’re really able to make yourself at home. If you want to pick up a guitar in the wall, lay on the furniture, get funny selfies- they’re game. It was so neat and totally different than most tours like that. Usually everything’s behind a velvet rope with a “do not touch” sign. So fun and so cool. I would have taken way more pictures than I did but my poor Will was picture-d out haha
Afterward, we hung around the hotel grounds, got a snack at the bistro and ate outside, and then went back to our room to watch the NFL season opener while I did a little work.
Oh- and we also experienced our first Goo Goo Clusters.
Have you ever had one!?
Friday 11 Sept
I was excited to rise early and enjoy the beauty of God’s glorious sunrise at the Fontanel.
I intended to workout outside, and certainly made an attempt, but the Inn’s aggressive duck, Boomer, kept chasing me and made my outdoor workout impossible.
(And as an aside, poor Boomer was so aggressive with the guests he only lasted a week before getting sent back to his owner!)
I moved my workout into their gym area. Afterward I enjoyed my Bible study on our little patio. It was such a beautiful morning!
We got ready and had breakfast in the main hotel area. Their continental breakfast was nothing like you typically think of when you think free breakfast. It was a delicious full meal.
Afterward, we are we took an extra long walk around the Fontanel grounds and enjoyed the beautiful weather.
I was sad to leave mid morning. I could have enjoyed another full day there. Such a relaxing bed and breakfast and definitely well worth the little detour on route to Knoxville.
Speaking of Knoxville- that was the next stop on our trip!
We had a couple hours to drive as we headed that way, so we played “classic country Shazam trivia.” Haha
After the Christian music station went out we found a classic country station and I tested Will to see how much he knew.
He knew a lot.
Before we knew it, we were in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and at our hotel!
First order of business? Find some Tennessee barbecue.
We headed into Knoxville to find Will burnt tips. He’s been talking about and wanting them forever. We’ve never been able to find them in Oklahoma, so when we made vacation plans, “burnt tips” was on the list.
We ended up at Dead End BBQ for a mid afternoon lunch. It was packed and full of Vols.
We enjoyed our lunch and the manager stopped by and talked football with us for awhile. Lots of fun.
After dinner we hit up a Kroger for cookies (priorities) and called it a day.
Saturday, 12 Sept
I got up early, worked out, and got around.
Anytime we head out of town we look to see if there’s a Perkins in the area.
That place always brings back good memories. Anytime we’d fly into Minneapolis from Kuwait to stay a couple days, we’d hit up a Perkins and devour their mammoth muffins and pie.
We continued tradition in Knoxville, treating ourselves to a big breakfast...and peanut butter pie.
Hey, it’s vacation.
We drove to the civic center to take their shuttle to the stadium. We were early, so we walked around and enjoyed the beautiful weather.
Once we got to the stadium we walked around and enjoyed the scenery, even with all the orange.
Their stadium is crazy steep, which always makes me a but nervous. It didn’t help when we watched an elderly man tumblr six rows from his seat!
Horrifying. Thank God he was ok, and I was more than fine not moving a single bit after we got settled.
The volunteer stadium is huge and seats over 100,000. The Vols were excited and came loud!
I still can’t get over how deafening it was. In fact, they broke a stadium sound record!
They played hard. For almost the entire game I thought we were a goner. Somehow, someway, sooner magic made its way on the field and the boys tied it up and sent it to overtime.
Two overtimes, in fact.
Talk about a nail biting victory!
What a game!
We intended to quickly leave and get back to our car.
Only, no one tells you how long it takes to get out of the stadium, off the campus, and out of traffic.
Think about a city of 100k all making a mass exodus from a small space.
We left our stadium seats around 10:00 and didn’t even get back to our car from taking the shuttle until after midnight!
Then we had to drive to our hotel.
It was a long night and I’m sure glad we won!
Sunday, 13 Sept
Vacation officially ended this day.
What a bummer.
We flew out of Knoxville, so thankfully no two hour road trip back to Nashville. Off and away we went. We left early and were back home before noon.
And that was it!
Oh man we had such a wonderful vacation. It had been awhile since we’d taken a good trip like that, so we thoroughly enjoyed our getaway.
So there you have it! I needed to get this all down for posterity’s sake. We always look back years later and reminisce about little details on these trips, so I try my best to capture it all while it’s still somewhat fresh.
Thanks for indulging me.
A big, fat life update on the way soon. 💗💗