Bleisure Trip: Nashville

Nashville aka Music City. We all know it. Home of Country Music and Honky Tonk, so I was super excited when I found out the Hotel Data Conference hosted by STR is held every summer in Nashville. Nashville is now one of the most popular destinations for bachelorette parties. Trust me you will see them everywhere wearing their matching outfits and dancing on one of the party trucks that drive around the city blasting music. But outside of bachelorette parties, Nashville is becoming increasingly party for business trips, conferences and large events. While at the Hotel Data Conference, they shared the number of new hotels being built in Nashville. Basically, no matter what direction you stay you look you will see some sort of construction and it was primarily hotels. Rumor has it Nashville isn’t building all of these hotel rooms for the bachelorette parties, but that they might be making a bid on the Superbowl. Anyway, enough of my boring hotel stats. Let’s get to the good stuff.

So, we all know when at a conference the time you have away from the conference is limited, that is partially the reason why I chose to extend my stay through the weekend, so I could see more of Nashville, but I didn’t manage some exploring mid-week. In this blog I will cover the basics – where to stay, where to eat and what to do. Plus, some tips and tricks I picked up on while there. Ready y’all?!

Where to Stay

The moment you arrive in Nashville you’ll see that the city is under some serious construction, and most of that construction is hotels. I stayed at the brand new JW Marriott. If you don’t mind the hefty price tag then this hotel is the place to be. The rooms are massive, very modern yet classic. The bathroom is large, well-lit and the robe is a nice added touch. This was my first time using my phone as a hotel key, and it’s pretty game-changing. My phone case has a magnet in it, so I’m always having to keep my hotel keys far away from my phone, but with the latest technology, my phone is my hotel key. The restaurant/bar on the top floor is a must. I went up for Happy Hour where the drinks were around $8 instead of their normal $12+, but really you’re paying for the view. As one of the tallest buildings in Nashville, you get a pretty expansive view of the area. Which means you can really see how much construction is going on in the area.

I did extend my stay through the weekend, but my personal wallet didn’t want to foot the bill and continuing staying at the JW Marriott, so I packed my bags and moved away from Broadway and onto Music Row into a cute lil Airbnb. The place was perfect for me. I had a bed, a bath, a tiny kitchen and a huge epic patio. It wasn’t really near by any food places, but Nashville is full of scooters (more on that later) and Rideshare drivers are a plenty. I was within walking distance of Vanderbilt University, and liked the feeling of living like the locals do.

Nashville Rooftop Bar

Where to Eat

You’re in Nashville – this is important. Lucky for me, the conference I was at had provided all attendees with a one sheet that listed all their favorite places to eat, drink and be merry. So between that and Yelp, I don’t think I had a single bad meal in Nashville.

Hot Chicken

Hot Chicken is a Nashville staple. There is the original Hattie B’s, but it was a little far away for what I was up to, so I decided to check out Music City Chicken Company just off Broadway. It was delish! And yes, it was hot.

Hot Chicken

Rolf and Daughters

I had read a lot about Germantown before making the trip to Nashville. It was a cool, hip place with great food and a way to escape Broadway. While my journey there is a story on its own, it lead me to Rolf’s Daughters where again, the food was delicious. It is a tapas style restaurant and my bill at the end of the night was about double what I spent on Hot Chicken, but it was totally worth it. I’m still dreaming of the creamed corn pasta.

Milk & Honey

The Gulch is another trendy part of town in Nashville. Lots of cute instagramable shops and murals. I was meeting a group here and showed up early to get breakfast at Milk and Honey. This place is popular. Since I was on my own, I was able to snag a bar seat without waiting. The food was dang good too, so I can see why it’s popular. If you’re coming here with a group (like a bachelorette party – I saw a ton of those at breakfast) then you might have to wait for a bit.

Milk and Honey


On the one sheet the conference folks had given me, they listed Bakersfield as some of the best tacos in the city. As a fan of tacos, I decided to check it out. Yes, this place has some pretty good tacos and quite a variety too. Coming from the West Coast I’m always surprised (but thrilled) when I’m able to find good tacos away from home.

What to Do

Gosh, there is a lot to do in Nashville. I didn’t make it to the Grand Ole’ Oprey, or Andrew Jackson’s Estate, or the Jack Daniels Distillery. Instead, I attended Music on the Green, went to a preseason Titans game, and went on a couple of self guided mural tours as well as just walking around exploring the city. Saturday was my only true free day to explore, so I packed in what I could (the pros and cons of a bleisure trip).

Music on the Green was fantastic. It’s a free weekly event that takes place every THURSDAY evening in Nashville. I happened to be there opening night and the opener was Gary Davis Jr. They don’t call this place the Music City for nothin’.

As I was making my way to Germantown via scooter (not recommened), I passed by their AAA baseball stadium. I thought it would be fun to catch a game and they were playing on Saturday. But so were the Titans. I made the executive decision to attend my first NFL game (even if it was pre-season). Nashville also has a local hockey team, and I definitely recommend checking out a local sporting event while in town.

I also participated in an Airbnb experience. It was a photo based Gulch tour. The guide/photographer Abbey was great. She took us to some fun spots in the Gulch, gave us a brief history, some tips for the area, and we got some fun photos out of it. The tour is called Photo Walk Gulch on Airbnb and Instagram.

Mural in Nashville

If you like live music you can’t go wrong in Nashville. Everywhere you go there is music playing. It’s pretty crazy on Broadway because you’ll have these giant 4 story bars and there will be a different band on each level. Also, this place is crawling with bachelorette parties. They like to rent the party buses and drive around the city playing their music, dancing and just having a good time.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time in Nashville. It was a fun place for a solo female traveler on a bleisure trip, but I would definitely like to go with a friend or two next time around.

Until next time….




Let me tell you about Wing Bowl. Wing Bowl is a chicken wing eating contest. More specifically, Wing Bowl is a chicken wing eating contest held between the hours of 6-10am where the spectators start tailgating at 4 am, and then everyone meets up at the strip club afterward. Wing Bowl is more predominately known to those living in Pennslyvania or near the Philidelphia area. Thanks to great commentary by Howards Stern, myself and two pals decided to fly 3000 miles and experience Wing Bowl for ourselves.

Here is the WingBowl rundown for an out of towner.

Tickets: Wing Bowl is held at the Wells Fargo center and sells out every year. That’s 20,000 people flocking to drink beer at watch people eat chicken wings at 6 am. It’s always held the Friday before the SuperBowl and tickets tend to go on sale approximately 2 months before. In our case, we already had our plane tickets booked before we had our event tickets. It was imperative we got tickets to Wing Bowl 25. The event is hosted by 94 WIP radio station in Philly. I followed their Twitter to find out when tickets would go on sale. Even better, I found out about a twitter exclusive presale event. Since I live on the West Coast, when tickets went on sale at 9 am, I was up at 6 am…..on a Saturday. Tickets run about $10-15.

Where to stay: The Wells Fargo center is located in South Philidelphia. I wouldn’t necessarily stay nearby. Downtown or Historical Philly has plenty of hotels, bars, restaurants, and is a better area of town to stay in. Public transportation is relatively cheap in Philly, so take an Uber, Cab, or even a train to and from the event.

Rules of the Venue: No BACKPACKPACKS! This one hits close to home. Since we had no vehicle, we had to carry our beer while we tailgated. Hence the backpack. Well, the venue won’t let you take an empty backpack in. I lucked out and had a foldable backpack. My pal, however, was forced to throw away a backpack he’d owned since Freshman year of high school. The event starts at 6 am, the parking lot opens at 4 am. There are no real rules of the parking lot, expect for no extreme violence or vandalism. Things I hope most people have good common sense against.

The event: Wing Bowl is a party. The parking lot is packed. The venue in packed, everyone is highly intoxicated and having a good time. People show up to the event in party buses; there are kegs, DJs, and dancing all at 5 am. There are Wingettes or strippers walking around. People eating excessive amounts of food and then violently projectiling said food on the jumbotron for everyone to see. They usually have an entertainer, so you get a mini concert. Coolio was at WingBowl 25, and we were all treated to a live version of Gangsters Paradise.

The Afterparty: Just because a champion has been named doesn’t mean the party is over. It is WingBowl tradition to visit the strip club afterward. WingBowl is to strip clubs in Philly what Black Friday is to retails shops. The clubs offer free breakfast and more drink specials.

It’s definitely an event you won’t forget. It’s wild, fun, and full of people just looking to have a good time. If you live nearby, or are keen on a visit to Philly in February, grab your coat, pack a few beers, and experience Wing Bowl for yourself!

That Highway 20 Ride

There is something magical about the Northern California Coast. Its rugged coastline, windy roads, crisp air, and that golden sunshine. North of San Francisco you have fewer tourists. The coastline starts to look more like something you would find in Oregon, but you can still have gorgeous sun rays and that vibe only found in California.

My parents were invited to join some family friends in Fort Bragg for the weekend. Everyone would have their fancy camper and the campground had full electricity, flushing toilets, showers and even WiFi. Basically glamping. I decided to tag along because I can’t pass up an opportunity to explore a new place.


Puppy Kisses ❤

I had only been to Fort Bragg once before. I was in the 8th grade, and it was for a friend’s birthday. However, Fort Bragg is an extremely popular travel destination for everyone in my hometown. I’m sure most of our town folk consider the coastal town a second home. The family friends we were joining have been spending their weekends on Hwy 1 since the early 70s. Obviously, I like to travel (hence my travel blog), and I really like to explore and see new things. So as soon as I found out I would be spending time in Mendocino County, I began researching what to do and see.

My journey started by taking Hwy 20 in California from beginning to end. I pick it up off the 80 just passed Donner Summit and got off at Hwy 1. I journeyed through the mountains of Gold Country and made my way to the valley floor. From there it is farmland as far as the eye can see until Clear Lake. It is slow going around the lake, but it provides nice scenery. You cross paths with the 101 and enter Willits. The quaint little town situated on the crossing of Hwy 20 and 101. This is the start of Mendocino County and the beautifully rugged Northern California Coast. The drive from Willits to Fort Bragg is windy, steep at some parts and exceptionally picturesque. The whole drive was scenic. And it truly shows you how diverse the state of Califonia really is.


Family Photo Opt

I spent 3 nights there, and during that time we ate a lot of seafood, drank a lot of beer, and walked on a lot of beaches. We ate at North Coast Brewing Company, Sea Pal Cove, and Cafe Del Mar. All were great and unique in their own way. I am also an avid hiker, and I found quite a few hikes I would one day like to try. I suggested we go to Russian Gulch State Park and look around. We found a secluded beach to let the dogs run wild on, and I looked for this hike to a waterfall on the park map. I was alone on the ‘hiking business’ which is why I said I would like to one day try them. We continued down Hwy 1 and stopped in Mendocino. You can walk around the town in probably half hour. The area offers some great coastal views, pathways for short strolls, shopping, eating, and of course a few watering holes. There is a river inlet that was perfect for the dogs and looked like a great place to catch some summer rays.

After learning I would be visiting Fort Brag, and starting my research, I came across a place called Bowling Ball beach. The beach is covered with small round boulders that well look like bowling balls. Some photos had the water just covering the bottom of the boulders, and the place looked magical. It was an hour from where we were staying, and on our last full day in Fort Bragg, I convinced my company to go on a road trip. I will be upfront with you. We made it to Bowling Ball Beach. It was beautiful, but I did not see the bowling ball boulders. Pretty sure you have to go during low tide. See I am just destined to return to Mendocino. Even though our initial goal was not met, the day was not wasted. Our road trip down there provided some of the most secluded and untouched coastline the West Coast has to offer. We made a pit stop at the Point Arena Lighthouse, and of course, the second I climbed to the top, the cloud cover rolled in and I couldn’t see a thing. We had ‘linner’ at the Pier Chowder House and Tap Room in Point Arena. Everyone loved it. The restaurant was situated in a harbor, and we could watch people surf from the window. Overall Fort Bragg was outstanding. I recommend exploring the surrounding area. Glass Beach is a popular town attraction, but it was under construction when I was there.


Where are the bowling balls?!

 I will definitely be going back to that part of the California coast. I must see Bowling Ball Beach! There is so much to explore in that area, you just have to get in your car and go!

Cruise to Alaska

In early September, I embarked on an Alaskan Cruise with some of my closest friends, and we had one heck of a time. From the minute I stepped onto the boat I thought I was on the Titanic. This was going to be an epic 7 days.

Our Cruise Line

View of our ship in Glacier Bay

We chose to travel with Princess Cruises to Alaska. The coordinators of our group chose to book through Costco. We had a group of 9, and I was the sole cruise newbie. But to be fair, a few hadn’t been on a cruise since they were like 10 or something. The ship’s decor was incredible. It was very elegant, everything looked fairly new, and the staff was very friendly. My favorite room was the Piazza. It had two spiral marble staircases, a piano where they would play music daily, a cafe and a wine bar. All the employees were foreign which I thought was interesting. They all spoke English well but did carry thick accents. Your key card also served as your credit card. It was nice because I didn’t have to carry my purse or cash around the boat, but dangerous at the same time. Anything that wasn’t included in your cruise package you could just charge it to your room. WiFi on the ship is very expensive, and there is no cell service in international waters. Princess offers a messenger service. I’m not going to lie, the app needs some work, but it gets the job done. So it works similar to Facebook messenger and uses the ship’s WiFi (for free) so you can message other people on the boat. The negatives are, the app doesn’t alert you that you have a message, and it’s quite slow and cumbersome to use. They need someone to make a few adjustments to their coding, and it will be a great feature for cruise passengers.

The Food

The full group in Juneau

Let me tell you about the food. You could eat at the buffet for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They also had 2 dining halls that were available for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They had a pizza and ice cream bar, a burger bar, and a cafe that served various salads, soups or paninis. Room service was included in your food package, and they had 3 restaurants that you had to pay extra to eat at. One was a bistro, there was an Italian joint, and a steakhouse. We mostly ate breakfast at the buffet, lunch was kind of all over the place, and dinner was at the dining hall. Dinner was at least four courses. Some items would rotate daily, others were on the menu every night, and they usually had a theme. There were a few dishes no one cared for, but overall the food was amazing. It is impossible to go hungry while on a cruise. There is so much food available to you 24/7. However, drinks are not included in your package. And not just alcoholic drinks. You had to pay extra for anything that wasn’t water, black coffee, tea, or juice at breakfast. Outside of the extra money for basic drinks, I thought the dining experience on our Princess Alaskan Cruise was outstanding.

On the Boat Activities

Rare sunny day in Ketchikan

One of my companions who was on his 3rd cruise I believe said he never spent too much time in his room because there was so much to do. He was right. If I was in my room it was because I didn’t feel good (probably a combination of too much liquor the night before and the swaying boat), or I was exhausted. I mentioned the live music in the Piazza, and they would also have live dancing performances and magic shows. Each evening there was something to see from musicals, comedy shows, and even “The Voice of the Ocean.” I was surprised how popular karaoke was on the cruise ship. They had a late night club that would feature a DJ some nights. There were bars around every corner. The boat had a workout facility, a spa, at least 3 pools, and like 8 hot tubs. There was definitely quite a bit to keep you busy. Plus, the scenery on the Alaskan Cruise is so gorgeous you can just walk around the ship and sightsee.

On Shore

Hiking around Dewey Lake in Skagway

The cruise I was on was round trip from Seattle. Our port calls were in Juneau, Skagway, sightseeing in Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, and Victoria. You were given ample time in Juneau and Skagway and only a few hours in Ketchikan and Victoria. I was on a 7-day cruise, and I felt like I spent a lot of time on the boat. However, what I did see of Southeast Alaska was absolutely amazing. I visited the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. My friends then took a tour to the Alaskan Brewery, but I chose to stay behind and check out downtown a bit more. In Skagway, we each sort of did our own thing. I found a few hikes I wanted to do, one friend went rock climbing, another went biking, a few went zip lining, and some took the train ride. I thoroughly enjoyed my hikes, but it sounds like the zip lining was pretty amazing. I was trying to limit myself on excursions because they are excruciatingly expensive, and I had been living on a non-working travelers budget for a while now. Skagway was by far my favorite port. I like the terrain, the town, and the people. I could have easily spent multiple days there. We bar hopped a bit in Skagway to get to know the community and it was great. I recommend the Spruce Tip Ale at Skagway Brewery, the habanero infused tequila, and of course a duck fart. It’s simple Alaskan tradition. In Ketchikan, a majority of our group decided to go kayaking and that ate up all our time there. It was a beautiful bay, and it did get us out of the main tourist town which was nice. And in Victoria we didn’t arrive til 6pm and only had a few hours, so we bar hopped mostly, visited a Tim Horton’s and tried to get a feel of Canadian after dark.


John Hopkins Inlet Glacier Bay

I think we were fairly lucky with the weather. It poured almost the whole time we were in Juneau, but we made do. Otherwise, there were periods of cloud cover and periods of sun. It was definitely cooler so dress appropriately. Where we lucked out the most was in Ketchikan. This place receives about 300 days of rain which equates to about 13 feet of rainfall. It was sunny when we arrived. Incredible.

Bottom line

Glacier Bay, Alaska

I’m definitely going back to Alaska. I want to go on a fishing expedition and explore around Denali National Park. The cruise is nice because you get to explore a part of Alaska really only accessible by boat. I am very thankful I was invited to join this cruise because I had a blast. If you are looking for less boat time, and to hit the larger mainland part of Alaska, I would recommend a one-way cruise. I know Princess has a 7-day cruise from Vancouver to Anchorage. It’s incredible how big Alaska is because even Anchorage is only a small piece of it. If you get the opportunity to go on an Alaskan Cruise take it. It’ll get you hooked on Alaska and you’ll want to go back for more.