Updated: Jun 4, 2021
There are so many places that Jaime and I would love to travel to and take a trip to visit again. Nashville is high on that list! A city alive with culture, food, and music, Nashville is a fantastic city to enjoy a getaway. In late summer 2019, we visited with a group of friends and had a fantastic time.
At this point in our relationship, Jaime and I were still living in different states, so we planned to meet up in Nashville with our friends Kevin and Randy. Randy and I arrived first so we picked up our rental car and made our way into the city. It was lunch time, so we stopped at The Stillery. Not only was the food amazing, check out the pretzel bun on this burger, but there was also live music. You never know in Nashville if you’re hearing the beginning of a superstar’s career, so every chance to hear music should be taken!
After picking up Jaime, we settled into our Airbnb. It was located just outside of downtown and was perfectly appointed for this weekend - lots of space, a great kitchen, a lovely backyard with a hot tub! Although we certainly were looking forward to exploring as much of this great city as we could over this quick weekend, it was also perfect to have such a comfortable space to relax and spend some quality time with our friends. There may have been some skin care and lots of laughs! Just across from our Airbnb was The Donut Distillery. This adorable spot creates custom mini donuts in flavors such as Sweet Swine, Whiskey Glaze, and our Favorite - The Frosted Fruity. The Donut Distillery also offers great local craft beer, ice cream, and delicious spiked milkshakes with their donuts in them!
When we arrived at The Donut Distillery, we were struck by the hospitality of the staff. The owner of the shop was actually serving us, and she went out of her way to make us feel comfortable. She inquired about our visit and found out that we were staying near by, at which point she began using all of the “code words,” such as “I think you’ll like this Community. It’s very Diverse and Inclusive.” Jaime caught what she was trying to do and said, “Yes, you are talking to a group of gay guys” to which, she sighed in relief and said, “Oh thanks goodness, I thought so but I didn’t want to assume. But we’re so glad you guys are here and you really will find it welcoming!!!”
Even though it was a quick trip, we definitely had to see some of the icons of Nashville. One of my favorites was The Parthenon. This full scale replica of the Ancient Greek temple features remarkable architecture, plaster casts of ancient art, and includes the massive statue of Athena that would have been a place of worship in ancient times. As a kid, I was fascinated by mythology, so this took me right into a childhood dream. Also, this stunning building is home to a lovely art museum! No trip to Nashville would be complete without a visit to The Grand Ole Opry. Although we didn’t take the full tour that includes the famous performance space, country music memorabilia, and behind-the-scenes stories, we were able to have a great time and feel the energy of country legends.
Although Nashville was a remarkably welcoming and inclusive city, we definitely have to share the story of our trip to The Grand Ole Opry. The site was some distance from our Airbnb, so we had to take an Uber to get there. The car arrived and we all piled in. The driver was bubbly and engaging, telling us about things we were passing and suggesting places to visit. She then asked, “How do you guys know each other?” Our friend Kevin immediately stated, “We met on a gay fathers Facebook group.” At that point, the driver literally took a deep breath, let out a Heavy sigh, and did not speak to us again for the rest of the ride. Although not aggressive or harmful to us, honestly we still laugh about this, we feel it is important for people to know that we are not living in a post-homophobic world.
As “newly” out gay men at that time, we really had not had much experience with gay clubs. We decided we would make our way to Play and Tribe, a side by side bar/dance club. Not knowing what exactly to expect, we walked right into a Stunning drag show. There were giant projects, theatrical lighting, a huge stage with a catwalk, and so much space. The queens were remarkably talented and the looks were brilliant. Just as the show was wrapping up, we heard the beckoning of dance music from behind us. Just behind the bar where the drag show was taking place, there was another massive space with a DJ and dance floor. We danced the night away, until we heard that another drag show was starting, so we made our way back and forth, enjoying all of the LGBTQ festivities.
We had some truly Delicious food while we were in Nashville, which makes sense because the area is steeped in Southern culture and sweet tea! We were told by many that the Nashville Hot Chicken was The Must Try of the destination, and it certainly did not disappoint. We had it at Haddie B’s and it was delicious! There are various heat levels available, and we were told that Nashville Hot Chicken does not play when it comes to heat, so we decided to keep the heat level low. The folks behind us ordered the hottest available, and based on the amount of sweat on their brow, I’d say we made a good choice. The flavor is nicely balanced between seasoning and spice, with a great piece of crispy fried chicken!
According to the HRC’s 2020 Municipal Equality Index, Nashville scored 78 out of 100 points - losing some for a lack of non-discriminator laws and transgender equality but scoring high on safety and public support for equality. After a lack of travel during COVID-19, repeating this trip to Nashville is certainly high on the list for a stress-free getaway filled with live music, great food, and friendship.