It is no secret that traveling is my favorite thing to do. Anyone else start twitching when they drive past the airport? I do pretty much every time. Maybe it’s my disdain for Florida (the summer heat melting anyones brains yet?) or just love of experiencing new places!
When my friend’s boyfriend asked me to be a part of his super secret proposal IN NASHVILLE of course I answered with a HECK YEAH. I’ve never been to Nashville so that was a no-brainer. I always ask my mom when I go away if she’d like to join and since I’d be in Tennessee she wanted to wander over to Memphis to experience Graceland. So Tennessee here we come.
Our first stop was in Orlando for some lunch. Randomly, it was the three year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting on this particular day so I was definitely feeling all the feels as we drove through Orlando.
Orlando wins for best vegan food in Florida. I love the Sanctum so much!
As most avid travelers know, traveling is NOT for the weak of heart, mishaps are frequent and you have to learn to go with the flow. When I briefly looked at the maps while planning this trip I didn’t account for bathroom breaks, traffic or notice that we were driving through Atlanta at rush hour, or the fact that there would be 80,000 people trying to get to the Bonnaroo festival. So a 12 hour drive took us about 17 hours. Oops. Live and learn. I drove 15 of those hours. Super fun day. Ha ha!
We traveled on Wednesday. First thing Thursday morning I headed to Madison, TN to document my friend’s proposal! It was in a glorious backyard airbnb and it was perfection. So excited for my friend Kelly and her amazing fiancé, Justin! This proposal and engagement session will have it’s own blog post someday soon.
My mom and I stayed in walking distance to Centennial Park so after getting back to the hotel from documenting the proposal, we wandered over to the park to soak in some nature and Nashville sights.
Can we please discuss magnolia trees and all of their glory? I fell in love with them when I lived in New York, but man these trees are HUGE in Tennessee!
Our Thursday lunch adventure started at Southern V in Nashville! Oh my freaking goodness I was so excited to try Tennessee Southern Vegan food and it was everything I hoped it would be. So delicious. Such a beautiful space they have too!
After lunch we headed to a fun farmers market in the heart of downtown Nashville. It was pretty empty since it was a weekday, but there was an amazing nursery and I adopted the cutest pilea plant to bring home. Yeah for new plant babies!
For dinner we visited a really cool container community (businesses in cargo shipping containers). Avo was freaking amazing. Sadly I left my camera at the hotel for the first meal we shared here so nothing to show here. Just know if you’re in Nashville and you’re vegan, you should most definitely try Avo.
On Friday my mom and I had the day to ourselves as the newly engaged couple was heading to Bonnaroo. Mom and I started at the Frist Museum in downtown Nashville to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit. It was really inspiring. I’ve always enjoyed her paintings. Had no idea her parents were photographers!
After the museum we headed over to Vege-licious to try some more Southern Vegan Food! Holy moly this is my new favorite for place for Southern Vegan Food. I only wish she had biscuits and gravy on the menu! This meal was super delicious. I really hope the owner continues doing what she loves and serving the vegan community because WOW this was some fantastic food. Thank you, Vege-licious for the experience!
“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” -John Muir
I’m a hiker. Nothing crazy like mountain climbing, but I love to walk in the woods. Mom and I found a state park, Radnor Lake and went for a hike. We did 3 miles around the lake (me in my flip flops!). So much to take in. Saw many deer, birds, spiders and turtles. Just what my heart needed this day.
After hiking and about 11,000 steps for the day, we were starving. After reading all the stellar reviews about Wild Cow, we had to try it! I ordered the Buffalo Tempeh Bowl and it was wonderful. Wild Cow is very much no frills, comfort but healthy vegan food and I loved it.
On Saturday, bright and early, I met up with Kelly and Justin for an epic Nashville engagement session. That took up all of the morning till about noon. Afterward I met up with my mom, we headed to lunch because I was STARVING. Back to Avo we went for another amazing meal! Since I was feeling quite dehydrated, I opted for a mostly raw lunch. Way to eat healthy on vacation, self! I started with the kimchi spring rolls and had the zucchini pasta for my entree. SO FREAKING YUMMY.
Raw food sometimes makes me cranky. Like I eat a bunch of it and I’m still hungry. So we wandered over to an ice cream shop (still in the cargo shopping center) and OMG it was the best vegan ice cream of my life. Koko’s you’ll be in my heart forever. I also kinda wanted to move in. This place was ADORABLE. Tiny House Dreams.
Centennial Park had a huge art festival happening so we walked over and perused through the booths, walked around the lake again and headed back to the hotel to rest and map out our memphis plans.
For dinner we tried Graze, which is the sister restaurant to Wild Cow and right around the corner. I had higher expectations, but we’ve had such amazing food this trip, it’s ok. No wow factor from their menu.
Sunday morning my mom and I drove to Memphis from Nashville and we stayed in a seriously nice resort style hotel (for Memphis ha ha). Basically caddy corner to Graceland (the reason for our Memphis visit) which was totally convenient.
Finding vegan restaurants in Memphis was more challenging than Nashville for sure, but I survived. Our first stop was Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant which I loved. My mom even ordered the vegan plate. I love Ethiopian food, something I truly miss about living in Oakland. The owner was super sweet and the food was perfect.
My mom was a huge Elvis fan in her younger years…and had Graceland on her bucket list, so to Graceland we went. It was surprisingly wonderful. I really did enjoy it.
Nothing but Whole Foods and Driving to Siesta Key the Day after visiting Graceland. We drove 12 hours from Memphis to Siesta Key on Tuesday. The Siesta Key Adventure on our way home will be another blog post entirely. Can’t wait to share those images!
Overall, Tennessee was great to visit. I’d love to come back to visit and document a wedding!!
Grateful my mom and I were able to take on another adventure together! Love that she shares my passion for travel and enjoys all of the vegan adventures.