I had never been before and I’d always wanted to go to Memphis and Nashville. When we were invited to a wedding in Knoxville in June, it gave us the perfect reason to book plane tickets. Within a few days, we had planned our itinerary…
Two nights in Knoxville, one night in Chattanooga, two nights in Memphis, and then our last three nights would be spent in Nashville since we were flying back to Ft. Lauderdale from there.
Knoxville was fantastic. The scenery, the people, the vibe… laid back and friendly. As a matter of fact, everywhere we went throughout Tennessee, we experienced nothing but sincere, warm, and kind-hearted people. Tennesseans are so friendly!
But back to Knoxville. We checked into The Tennessean and couldn’t stop smiling from the moment we walked into the lobby. Fresh, clean, sparkling, and contemporary, the Tennessean boasts every amenity you could ask for in a luxury boutique hotel. Complimentary coffee in the lobby every day until 11:00 a.m., and espresso machines in every room. Attentive staff and a free shuttle to take us from here to there around town (book it ahead) made this hotel an absolute pleasure.
The first night we were at The Tennessean we ended up in the Drawing Room – a combo bar bites and innovative cocktails establishment, located on the second floor of the hotel. Celebrated the upcoming wedding of Casey and Tyler with family and friends. Let me tell you… Some of the best wings we’ve ever had! Stayed for dinner and we had two delicious salads topped with salmon that had us smiling – or was it the whiskey?
The Highlight of our Knoxville stay was, of course, the beautiful wedding of Casey Wheeless and Tyler Bailey – or should I say, Mr. & Mrs. Tyler Bailey, at the Press Room in Knoxville. Aside from the wedding, we were lucky enough to spend time in Historic Downtown Knoxville and the Farmer’s Market, and, we were extra lucky to be there to watch and enjoy the Pride Parade. It was colorful, empowering, emotional, and beautiful to see that love is love. Acceptance was the message of the day.
After a fab two nights at The Tennessean, we took off for Chattanooga. Spent only a night there, but it was a great one. Stayed at The Read Hotel, an institution in Chattanooga. The hotel was beautiful, and once again we were treated to excellent service.
We did take a walk after we checked in – first stop was the Bluff View Art District, which we’d heard so much about, and with good reason. Although it was the hottest afternoon of our trip, we still took a quick walk to check out this historic neighborhood filled with diverse restaurants, an amazing art gallery, and numerous gardens.
It wasn’t long before we stumbled upon the Edwin Hotel – absolutely stunning. We only wanted to take a peek at the rooftop bar area to take a few shots, but as soon as we stepped inside we knew we were staying for happy hour, and, let me tell you… we were VERY happy. The Whiskey Thief, located inside the hotel, was an unexpected treat. Delish charcuterie board and specialty cocktails, wonderful bartenders, and about that view – phenomenal. The Museum, the Tennessee River, downtown Chattanooga… just beautiful. (Into charcuterie and cocktails? You might like my Summer Charcuterie & Cocktails suggestions.)
Once back at The Read Hotel we decided to have dinner at the hotel as we were exhausted from two nights of living it up in Knoxville. Delightful bar staff and the food was excellent at the Bar and Billiards Room. We kept it simple with a shrimp cocktail and Peter Rabbit chopped salads topped with steak and chicken.
The next day we were on the road to Memphis, and yes, we drove through Nashville to get there, but as we were flying home Saturday from Nashville, it just made sense to us to see Memphis first.
Loooovvvveeeedddd Memphis! What a city. Again, more friendly and outgoing people wherever we went. And the best part? We stayed at the Peabody. Quite simply, there is no other place to stay if you want a taste of true Memphis history.
The staff, the service, the lobby, the rooms…. Everything and everyone was, simply put… grand. The staff is proud to work at the Peabody and it shows. Several members shared stories about the hotel with us as well. You’ve got to love a hotel with such an interesting past.
The first thing we did after checking in was to see the famous Peabody Ducks in action and it was so much fun! Enjoyed cocktails in the lobby while we waited for our feathered friends to waddle back to their rooftop digs. That’s right – the ducks actually live on the roof of the Peabody in their very own Duck Palace – not kidding. They retire at 5:00 p.m. every evening, and march back down from the roof every morning at 11:00 a.m. via the elevator!
Our room was immaculate, inviting, and positively ducky! Duck themes abound, and we loved it! The Peabody in Memphis is on a level all its own. Lots of places to stay in Memphis I’m sure, but if you want a taste of history, elegance, romance, and charm, there’s no other place to stay than the Peabody.
Later that night we ate dinner at the Majestic Grille. We had a good meal in a restaurant that was converted from a theatre back in the day, and to THIS day, still shows good ‘ole days black and white films. The Majestic Grille is an institution in Memphis, but if we could do dinner all over again, we might have headed to a restaurant with a hipper vibe, which is just what we found the next night at The Gray Canary.
Fabulous drinks, delicious food, and once again, terrific staff. The Gray Canary is located in The Old Dominick Distillery in the South Main Arts District of Downtown Memphis and we highly recommend you visit if you’re heading to Memphis. A diverse menu and handcrafted cocktails make it a must-do for true foodies.
Got to visit Beale Street, Graceland, (Yes – I LOVE Elvis!), Sun Studios, and the National Civil Rights Museum. And coming home to the Peabody for two nights was the icing on the cake! Check out the fun!
Last but certainly not least… Nashville!
Arrived at the Hermitage and was absolutely thrilled with the hotel’s attention to detail. We seriously never opened the door to the hotel – the staff was that attentive. The Hermitage is gorgeous, intimate, and welcoming. The lobby is inviting. And the bar? Phenomenal staff, bartenders, people. We either started or ended our evenings at the Oak Bar at the Capitol Grille inside the Hermitage.
Absolutely terrific concierges, willing to make any appointments I requested. From tickets to Belle Meade to getting a blow-dry to last-minute change-of-plans dinner reservations, they delivered. And did I mention the gorgeous and tasty welcome waiting for us in our room?
We enjoyed a delish dinner at Rolf and Daughters on Wednesday and afterward, we went to Robert’s Western World on Broadway. What a fantastic experience! The music was so amazing. Loved that they took requests. We didn’t get back to the Hermitage until 2:00 a.m.!
Thursday after a day of sightseeing, we decided to stay in and dine at the bar in the Oak Room. You can either order from the bar menu or the Capitol Grille menu and we ordered something from both. Can’t stress enough how cozy, wonderful, and inviting the Oak Room was. Seriously loved everything about it.
After another day of sightseeing and museum hopping – everything from a trip to 12 South and Draper James (Reese Witherspoon’s boutique), to Music Row and touring around the Gulch, we came home (The Hermitage!!) to chill and get ready for our last night in Nashville.
Decided to Uber to the JW Marriott before dinner to have drinks at the rooftop bar at Bourbon Steak and watch the sunset and we were not disappointed. OMG! The views of Nashville, the bartenders, the staff, the guests… everything was perfect! Even the sunset cooperated. Gorgeous!
Dinner our last night in Nashville was at Etch, and it was everything we’d heard it was and more. Shout out to local chef Deb and her amazing menu, and again, the staff was terrific! Of course, ended our evening back at the Oak Bar at the Hermitage. We are truly going to miss our new friends!
Hit the Athens of the South – The full-scale replica of the Parthenon on our last morning in Nashville, and then treated ourselves to brunch at the Mockingbird. Still full from my huge chicken sausage sammie. Warning… the Bloody Marys are insanely good!
After driving around for the last time, just taking everything in once again, we made our way to Ryman Auditorium as well as Madame Tussaud’s Famous Wax Museum in Opry Mills. Went out like total tourists and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
All in all, we couldn’t have asked for a better experience. Tennessee is a special state, filled with lovely sights, people, culture, art, sports, and music. A true vacation destination and we’re so glad that we got to start our week in such a happy mood, with that gorgeous wedding!
Follow me on Insta @GwenLivesWell and here for more fun posts!