Road Trip Day 2 - Goose Poop

"Nature and I don't do so well together" or "Of course you know this song, it's old" - Elias

We keep playing a game. Changing between the two Pop/Urban CHR stations in the market (that's radio lingo, folks), Elias asks if I know who is singing. 99% of the time I don't. I know a few names (Katy Perry and Ce-Lo), but mostly the game consists of him laughing at me. Possibly because I can't pronounce Ke$ha's name (though I know there's a dollar sign in her name...and that she's going to have rotten teeth when she grows up). So in reality, the game is all about me feeling old and not "with it" and him rolling his eyes at his crazy aunt. Oh, how times have changed...

Day 2 - Nashville, TN

We fell asleep so fast last night that it was almost like we were tranquilized by a federal agent who thought we were aliens. Normally, the first hotel night is one that involves plenty of tossing and turning and very little sleep. I woke up about 10 minutes before the alarm was set to go off and realized that it was probably one of the best nights of sleep I'd had in years. Yay, us!!

Our hotel is good for two reasons (well, three if you count the good night's sleep). #1 - Free WiFi. #2 - Free Breakfast. The hotel is fine enough (though what brain trust doesn't put a fan in the bathroom?? When the walls are wet after a shower, you know what's going to happen next...mold...), but the breakfast brought the fine hotel (really, it is) to another level. With a free breakfast, I expect the basics...dried pastries, mushy fruit and some cereal. Not this one. There were eggs, sausage, biscuits and gravy and the DIY waffle maker. Hello, waffles. I haven't seen you in forever.

During our gourge-fest (do I never learn on vacation??), we came up with a gameplan for the day. Start at the Belle Meade Plantation, then go to the Parthenon, then Vanderbilt University. Excellent. Wait. Strike that. Reverse it. By the end of breakfast we were on our way to the Parthenon. Why not?? The plantation opened at 11a. We'd inhaled our food by 915a. There was no reason to sit around the room and watch the walls dry. So away we went!!

We made our way to Centennial Park, where the Parthenon lives. This replica of the Parthenon in Greece was built in 1897 for the Centennial Exposition (Wikipedia!!). There's an art gallery there (didn't entirely care and we were too early), but we were really there to see the building (cool) and to take pictures (fun!!). Not only was there a fantastic building, but the park itself was beautiful. Sure, part of the sheer beauty could be because we haven't seen sunshine or greenery in...forever. But there was water and trees and flowers and people running and dogs frolicking. There were geese (in a minute...more with the geese) and bees and tiny children with blond curls and Cosby-esque sweaters. Probably the cutest thing I've ever seen was the little girl (2 years old?? What do I know?? I don't deal with kids.) in her Easter dress, sitting on a bench surrounded by flowers and petting a rabbit. Seriously. ADORABLE!! It's the type of place that I'd hope I'd visit often if I lived here. And it was all going well. We were twirling around, Sound of Music style, until the fateful moment with the geese. Oh, geese...

We walked to the lake for one last photo-op before going back to the car. I had just finished taking a picture of Elias near the water when the 12 or so geese in the lake started freaking out. Squwaking and carrying on. For a normal person living on Planet Earth, this would be no big deal. But Elias freaks out and starts back to the car. After containing my laughter, I follow him back to the safety of the car. But during this time (post-freak out, pre-car entering), he stepped in some goose shit. Again, to a normal person, it's no big deal, but to Elias...there was much carrying on. Pens were destroyed. Pieces of paper were utilized. Goose poop was smeared on the inside of my car. And for the rest of the day, all he would talk about was that he was going to wash the poop off the shoes when he got to the hotel. All. Day. Long.

Our next stop was Vanderbilt University. There isn't much to say about Vanderbilt. Mostly because we didn't see much. I blame myself. I kind of figured there would be a sign saying "Hey, Carrie and Elias!! Start Here!!" Or something that would indicate where visitors should go. We didn't find that sign. We drove around for a bit, then found a Commons area. After parking and walking around a little, we both decided...let's go. Plus, if we found a bookstore (gotta get souvenirs), it wasn't going to be open. Oh well...there's more to see today.

I had the idea of going to a plantation once Mom told me that we should go to a plantation (Nashville was a late addition to this trip). So I found Belle Meade (means "beautiful meadow" in Old English) on Trip Advisor and people raved about it. Done!! Elias wasn't totally stoked about going (he was trying to talk me out of it yesterday), but he went along for the ride. Before we took the tour, we ended up at the Belle restaurant. Southern food and a little on the swankier side. Elias said he felt a little underdressed, but I didn't care. We had money and we were hungry. That's what mattered. We did end up with a very Southern meal - Chicken (Tenders) and Waffles and a Fried Green Tomato BLT with Sweet Potato Fries. Then a Buttermilk Chess Pie for dessert (Weight Watchers?? What's that??). With a full belly, we went to tour the plantation...

The plantation was very similar in feel to the Shaker tour Mom and I went to in New Hampshire a few years ago. It was amazing to see the buildings as restored to what they looked like in the past. The plantation was big on thoroughbreads and all kinds of horse...things. At one point the plantation covered 80 square miles. And all of the good horses in the world (racing ones, I guess...I don't know or like horsies) are able to trace their lineage back to one horse from Belle Meade. What I learned from Belle Meade was that I wouldn't want to be a slave (for obvious reason) and that I probably wouldn't have done too well living in the past. The mansion is pretty cool and some of the decor is gorgeous (loved the robin's egg blue color in the parlor). And there still bullet holes in the pillars at the front of the house from the Civil War. That was pretty cool to see. It's History!!

After the plantation tour, we stopped off at the mall again. We didn't get much of a chance to see it yesterday, so we wanted to check out all of the thing we couldn't afford. And there were lots of them. Pink Burberry Trench?? Yes, please!! Though I couldn't entirely justify $695 for a coat. Sad. I wanted it. I did talk to Lance at the Apple Store at length about my iPad 2. Now that will be ordered when I get home. Horray!!

Our last stop for the day was at Loveless Cafe. We'd heard about this place all around town. Martha Stewart went there and raved!! If it's good enough for Martha, it's good enough for us!! We expected to wait forever. That's what happens when a dive-y kind of place gets "popular." Long waits. But that was not meant to be as we were seated immediately and a plate of biscuits landed on our table. A second round of biscuits were followed by fried chicken and BBQ pork. I enjoyed the pork. Elias was a little...meh...on the chicken. A little disappointed. I think it was because he had the white meat, but oh well...can't all be winners. It turns out Martha was raving about the breakfast. Maybe we'll have to go back one day for some early morning grub.

We made it back to the hotel earlier than we did last night. Now it's just packing for our check-out tomorrow. We're on our way to Memphis and some Elvis-ness. Don't know much about The King. I should be learning more soon...


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