Nashville: You’ve Still Got It
Travel Blog • Jenna Schnuer • 06.23.09 | 4:30 PM ET
Just after I plucked my bag from the baggage carousel and walked out the airport doors to meet my ride, you wrapped me up in your humidity. Though that kind of welcome would, normally, put me off, I found it comforting. You were just making it clear that I was back in Nashville, that my two year for-no-good-reason exile from your borders had come to a close.
Before my visit, I told you I was nervous. One of my favorite cities, you had gone magical in my mind. When I thought about you, it was always fun fun fun, big food, history, music, blah blah blah. You were far removed from daily life. But from the minute that humidity grabbed me, I knew all would be OK. While my past visits have been anchored with purpose (reporting stories, the Tin Pan South festival, and so on), this trip was about, simply, hanging out and letting the week unfold as it might. I wanted to see what it was like just to be in Nashville, no run-around keep-yourself-busy necessary. My only requirements: eat at least one ice pop at Las Paletas and get a better understanding of the way your neighborhoods relate to each other.
Though I did do some traditionally touristy stuff, I got to see that a lot of what tourists love about Nashville pulls plenty of local love as well. I’m pretty sure I was one of the few out-of-towners at the Loveless Cafe the night I went gaga for its famous biscuits (and jam jam jam). And I loved that. I love it when locals celebrate their town and aren’t afraid to set foot in the places that, thanks to Food Network stardom, may have a bit of a wait. Nashvillians are, clearly, proud of their town’s creative riches yet aren’t afraid to have a good giggle now and again over its kitsch factor. And, ticks aside, there’s some fine hiking to be had nearby.
So, as I was headed home, I got a good laugh out of the conversation I had with an airline employee. Born and raised in NYC (my home) and now living in Philly, he was in Nashville “just helping out” for a little while. He asked what I was doing in town and I told him it was one of my favorite places and that, yes, I was thinking of moving there.
“What? Are you crazy? I’ve been here a week and can’t wait to get out,” he said. “How can you like it?”
His words were supercharged with a bit of spittle. (Pretty.) While I started to respond with recommendations of places to go, things to see, barbecue to tackle, I realized it wasn’t worth my time. He was never going to open up to Nashville. He was guilty of doing what far too many of my Northern neighbors do (and what many a Southerner does about the North): closing themselves off to the joys of a place because it is too different. Besides, I didn’t need him falling in love and, when the time is finally right for me to make the move, competing with me for the rentals in Sylvan Park.
See you again soon, Nashville. Seriously.