{travel tales part one- kansas -> st. louis -> nashville -> gatlinburg -> asheville}

Well hello there, good morning!

I’m writing from a very lovely and snowy Manhattan this morning! By the looks of things it seems like we got about four inches overnight, I’m totally okay with this. If it is going to be cold, I better get some snow out of the deal! 🙂 I sat down at my computer many nights this week to pen a new post, but I frequently found that my comfy bed pillows were calling my name, whoops!

A few weeks ago, my family and I set out on our first road trip together in a very long time. Usually when we travel we head to the airport to catch a flight, so I was really excited about this driving trip to explore a bit more of America as we traveled to multiple destinations. When I travel I am all about hitting the must-have sights to see, but I also love to hit off the beaten path finds or foodie delights.

We hit the road from my parent’s house early in the morning to head to our overnight pit stop, St. Louis! My travel bucket list included the Gateway Arch that sits on the banks of the Mississippi River.  I have been waiting a long time to be able to check this off my list! When we arrived at the Arch, I was pleasantly surprised at how much there was to explore. Besides riding a tram up to the top, there’s several other activities to check out including the Museum of Westward Expansion. We had reserved our tram time online before arrival so we headed straight to the tram line. Being the history lover that I am, I really enjoyed all of the information that they shared about development, planning, etc for the Arch. I totally recommend this stop for any family, the sights from the top are amazing! We were fortunate enough to catch the top at sunset, definitely an added bonus!
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I snapped this photo standing under the Arch, it is crazy to me how narrow it looks from this angle in the center!

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I loved being able to see this view at sunset! Busch Stadium (home to the St. Louis Cardinals) and the Old Courthouse are some highlights from the top.

After checking this off my bucket list, we were ready to head to our hotel to rest up for our early morning departure to Nashville the next day. I have been wanting to go to Nashville for what seems like FOREVER! As a big country music fan and lover of all the city’s history, I couldn’t wait! My trip planner was bursting at the seams with all of the stops I wanted to see in the city, so I was determined to make the most of our about 48 hours there.

Our first stop was The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson. Gosh this property was beautiful- so many neat things to check out and see. We went straight for the main house that was completed in 1889.

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I am in love with the majestic columns and the way the sunlight and trees make the house look so warm and welcoming. Pictures aren’t allowed inside, but trust me it is lovely.

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As I ventured around the outside of the house, I was so drawn to this old brick wall on the back of the property. Just thinking of how long this has stood, and this adventures, conversations and daily life that occurred behind this wall makes me so happy.

After a few hours of learning and exploring, we were heading toward city center. During my pre-trip research, I kept stumbling upon a cupcake place in the Germantown district called “The Cupcake Collection”. Obviously we had to stop! They had the cutest sign to welcome you to the shop and man were their cupcakes yummy, definitely some of the best I’ve had.

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With sweet treats in hand, we were hotel bound. We chose to stay at the Gaylord Opryland while we were in town, it did not disappoint! There is so much to see at this resort and convention center that our first night we chose to stay at the resort to eat dinner, explore and relax among the two million twinkle lights that were hanging around the property! ImageImage

I especially loved the giant Christmas tree! Christmas is definitely one of my favorite times of year, I was so happy that everything was still decorated when we arrived.

After a peaceful night we were ready to hit the ground running the next day! Because we knew we’d be in town for a short time, we chose to do a tour that touched on all of the major tourist around town and local communities, including the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, music row and Ryman Auditorium! 

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Stepping foot in the Ryman was one of the coolest experiences ever. Think of all the wonderful artists that have played on that stage!!

And with that, we had managed to make me fall in love with a city. I could have stayed there for much longer, but it was time to head to the next adventure! Stay tuned tomorrow for part two of this travel tale as I ventured to Gatlinburg, Tennessee and Asheville, North Carolina!

Thanks for stopping by, I hope everyone has a great Saturday! As for me, it is time to grab another cup of coffee and enjoy this snowy view! 🙂

best, courtney

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