A Little Bit Country, a Little Bit Rock n' Roll: A Tennessee Road Trip

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A Little Bit Country, a Little Bit Rock n' Roll: A Tennessee Road Trip
Just back from a summertime road trip through Tennessee, AFAR’s peripatetic deputy editor Jennifer Flowers shares her most memorable moments, from a multiday music festival in Manchester to a buzzing spot for hot chicken in Nashville. Check out her most Instagram-worthy travel moments throughout the year at @jenniferleeflowers, and don’t forget to follow @afarmedia for more travel inspiration.
By Jenn Flowers, AFAR Staff
By Jennifer Flowers
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    A Little Bit Country, a Little Bit Rock 'n' Roll: A Tennessee Road Trip
    Just back from a summertime road trip through Tennessee, AFAR’s peripatetic deputy editor Jennifer Flowers shares her most memorable moments, from a multiday music festival in Manchester to a buzzing spot for hot chicken in Nashville. Check out her most Instagram-worthy travel moments throughout the year at @jenniferleeflowers, and don’t forget to follow @afarmedia for more travel inspiration.
    By Jennifer Flowers
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    Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
    “Few U.S. music festivals have the chilled-out vibe of Bonnaroo, a four-day homage to music in June that draws more than 80,000 music lovers to a farm in Manchester, Tennessee. There’s an impressive range of live music on various stages, all within a short stroll of each other—this year we saw everyone from Pearl Jam and Ellie Goulding to Anderson East and Tame Impala. The summer heat is not for the faint of heart: Bring sunblock, sunglasses, and water.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    Blackberry Farm
    Blackberry Farm is the ultimate farm-to-table experience, and it had been on my travel bucket list for years. Upon arriving, I took a seat in one of the rocking chairs on the Main House veranda, stared out at the lush rolling hills around me, and had to pinch myself.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    The Barn at Blackberry Farm
    “An elegant dining room housed within a rustic red barn, the James Beard Award–winning Barn at Blackberry Farm highlights the best of the season’s bounty, sourced from the property and surrounding farms. The Elysian Fields lamb is roasted to perfection, and I’m still obsessing over the hearth-fried farm egg.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    The Dogwood at Blackberry Farm
    “Dinner at the Barn may be the main event, but a meal at the Dogwood, located in the Main House, is not to be missed. Chef de cuisine Sarah Steffan uses the best local and sustainable ingredients in her hyper-seasonal dishes.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    Hiking at Blackberry Farm
    Blackberry Farm sits on 4,200 lush acres, which you can explore on foot between the epic meals you’ll eat here. There are tree-shaded trails that hug foothills of the Smoky Mountains.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    Urban Cowboy B&B Nashville
    “The hip-ification of Nashville is happening now, and Urban Cowboy B&B is where the cool kids can lay their heads. Opened by New York City hotelier Lyon Porter, who has a B&B with the same name in Brooklyn, Urban Cowboy is housed in a restored Victorian mansion and has a fun Southwestern/art deco theme. I loved the intimate music room, where local musician Amy Stroup performed one evening while we were there.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    Barista Parlor
    “Nashville got its first dose of contemporary coffee culture with the arrival of Barista Parlor, which for the first time served artisanal coffee from companies such as Intelligentsia and Counter Culture. Now they’re roasting their own beans, which I sampled when I was in town.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    Robert’s Western World
    Robert’s Western World in Nashville is the quintessential honky-tonk, and it’s the place to go for up-and-coming country music acts. Missing Robert’s while you’re in Nashville is like going to Rome and not seeing the Colosseum.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    Hattie B’s Hot Chicken
    Hattie B’s is the new guard of hot chicken, which is Nashville’s most famous dish. One bite and I was in love: There’s something magical about that cayenne-inflected crust that is so addictive.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    Country Music Hall of Fame
    “Even if you’re not into country music, it’s worth a stop at the Country Music Hall of Fame for an overview. The block-long building in downtown Nashville doubled in size to 350,000 square feet following a recent $100 million expansion. Some highlights: Johnny Cash’s black suit and Elvis’s 1960 ‘solid gold’ Cadillac.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    Arnold’s Country Kitchen
    “Meat-and-three restaurants are a staple in the south, and Arnold’s Country Kitchen is the most famous spot in Nashville. Their fried green tomatoes are spot on—I couldn’t get enough of them.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    Biscuit Love
    Biscuit Love started out as a food truck in 2012, and their biscuits were so good that they opened a brick-and-mortar location in the happening Gulch neighborhood. There’s a perpetual line out the door, but it’s worth the wait. Try the Princess, which is one of their famous biscuits topped with Nashville-style hot chicken.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    The Catbird Seat
    “I first met Ryan Poli in Tokyo in the midst of his two-year travel odyssey working in some of the world’s top kitchens. He’s since landed in Nashville’s The Catbird Seat as executive chef, succeeding fellow Noma alumnus Trevor Moran. What a treat it was to try his Asian-inspired tasting menu in Tennessee just over a year later.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    Husk Nashville
    “Chef Sean Brock has transformed perceptions of Southern cooking from heavy, simple fare to a culinary tradition that is rich, complex, and history-filled. He also changed the game with this simple rule: No ingredient north of the Mason-Dixon line may enter the kitchen. Husk Nashville, which  opened in 2013, is a nod to the bounty of inland Tennessee. The pork prime rib is impossibly tender, but leave room for the vegetable plate, which highlights the best of the season’s produce.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    Pinewood Social
    “Brothers and Tennessee natives Max and Ben Goldberg are behind some of the coolest new spaces in Nashville (including The Catbird Seat). I particularly love Pinewood Social because it encourages marathon hangouts, whether for work or for play. There’s a swimming pool, a bowling alley, a coffee bar with plenty of outlets, and a full menu of food and libations.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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    The Parthenon
    “I love to nerd out on ancient civilizations, so the Parthenon—built in 1897 for the Tennessee Centennial Exposition as a replica of the original in Athens—was a real treat to see. The original structure in Greece is in ruins, and there’s something transporting about being able to walk through an intact replica of the building, and to see it in the way that it was intended to be experienced.”

    Photo by @jenniferleeflowers
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