After a night spent on the bus, waking up to strange things outside the window in Kentucky, and 9 hours of trying to find the best position to sleep while sitting up, we have finally arrived in Nashville, Tenn. Don't get me wrong, this is no way a complaint. A $30 Megabus ticket from Chicago to Nashville was a deal not to pass. For young travelers like us, who need to count every dollar if they want to go on a trip (more or less) across the country, it was a must. In addition, I'm not used to extravaganza and don't feel a need to spend my money on comfort, when I have so many cheaper alternatives (Megabus definitely being my favorite one). Plus, we are young with crazy ideas, so here we are.
It didn't really matter to us that we were exhausted because of a long trip down South. After all, it was the first time we were in the South! I mean, the quintessence of South. And of course, Nashville being the so called Music City, a home to country music especially, well, my friend was elated (to say the least). I'm not a fan of this genre, but I am a fan of music in general, so any new experience is always welcome in my book. What I was definitely excited about, though, was FOOD! We were in the freaking South! I just couldn't wait to get into all of what it had to offer.
Our first day in Nashville was pretty jam-packed. After our friend Stephen, our couchsurfing host, picked us up from the bus station, fed us breakfast, and we were off exploring Tennessee. He also had two German girls visiting at the moment, also couchsurfers, so all of us, 5 strangers, went on a field trip like a happy family.
We headed south of Nashville and ended up in Franklin, Tenn., Stephen's hometown. Our first stop was a national historic landmark, the Carnton Plantation. Here's a piece of knowledge for history geeks:
Beginning at 4 p.m. on November 30, 1864, Carnton was witness to one of the bloodiest battles of the entire Civil War. The Confederate Army of Tennessee furiously assaulted the Federal army entrenched along the southern edge of Franklin. The resulting battle, believed to be the bloodiest five hours of the Civil War, involved a massive frontal assault larger than Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. The majority of the combat occurred in the dark and at close quarters. The Battle of Franklin lasted barely five hours and led to some 9,500 soldiers being killed, wounded, captured, or counted as missing. Nearly 7,000 of that number were Confederate troops. Carnton served as the largest field hospital in the area for hundreds of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers.
Because I couldn't have said it better, I used an excerpt from the website http://www.carnton.org/. Go ahead and read more info on the history of the battle and the plantation.
For those of you who want some celebrity insights, there's a long list of notable people who were born and raised in Tennessee. Besides many country artists, there's Miley Cyrus, Paramore band (4 of them from Franklin, Tenn., Kesha, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Megan Fox, Quentin Tarantino and Resse Witherspoon who even named one of her sons, Tennessee.And no, Taylor Swift fans, she is not from Nashville. She's actually from Pennsylvania where she lived until she was 14. Hello neighbor!
Merridee's Breadbasket Bakery and Restaurant was the perfect place for five people to share some delicious treats. Stephen picked out few mouthwatering pastries that I dream about as I write this post. It would be hard to name any favorites when you have such a good selection of food.
Okay, if I had to pick my favorite, it would be the chocolate chip one.... Drool!
After we treated ourselves a dessert, it came a time for some wine. Stephen took us to the Arrington Vineyards, where we got to enjoy our wine while observing the beauty of Tennessee.