Travel Diary: Nashville, Tennessee

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We're Ben and Kelly Zugay, and we're on a mission to live small and give big!

Since 2015, we've been on a renovating and decorating our well-loved 800 square foot condo — our home on Harvest!

When we're not biking, hiking, kayaking, and enjoying beautiful western Wisconsin, Ben is a a university-level entrepreneurship educator and I'm a small business owner.




Ben & Kelly

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Last weekend, Ben and I spontaneously decided to go on a road trip from Wisconsin to Nashville, Tennessee. In life, it seems like the older we get, the less spontaneous we are. Why is that?! Thankfully, Ben is adventurous and always encourages me to do what I’m afraid or nervous to do… so to Nashville we went!

We arrived in Nashville on Thursday evening at 11 PM (So tired!) and checked into Kimpton Aertson Hotel. I really loved our hotel; our room was decorated really beautifully, there is a rooftop pool, and there is a complementary cocktail hour from 5-6 every day.

On the drive to Nashville, I made a rough plan for our trip — jotting down notes of the places people recommend most. This was my third trip to Nashville, so I had already done the very touristy to-dos and was excited to explore Nashville in a new way.

On Friday morning, we began the day with coffee and a hike at Radnor Lake State Park. The hiking trail was alongside Radnor Lake, so we had really beautiful views of the lake and wildlife while we hiked. We got caught in a really big thunderstorm — which was so much fun! This was the perfect way for me to start the day and our mini-vacation.

After our hike, we had lunch at AVO, a 100% plant-based restaurant. It’s always a joy to be able to choose anything from a menu. Then, we visited Belle Meade Plantation — which was both beautiful and educational. (The chief historian from Belle Meade unexpectedly gave us a tour!)

We attended our hotel’s cocktail hour and ended the day with dinner and a much-needed good night’s sleep. (Why is driving so tiring?!) P.S. It’s pretty crazy to compare our energy levels from our trip to Nashville at age 23 and our trip to Nashville at age 30.

On Saturday morning, we had coffee at CREMA, which was my favorite coffee shop of our trip. It had the most amazing avocado toast recipe, which I’ve been using ever since (Bread, avocado, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, and micro-greens!) and beautiful views of Nashville’s skyline.

After breakfast, we visited Travellers Rest Plantation, which was also a really awe-inspiring experience. For lunch, we went to Epice, a Lebanese restaurant where, mid-meal, Miley Cyrus chose to eat there, too! I recognized her face, then her voice, and definitely became star-struck.

On our walk back to our car, after exploring the 12 South Neighborhood, we ran into Miley again! We ended our day with dinner at Bartaco and a community swing dance lesson at Centennial Park! This was the most memorable day of our 3-day trip — and I just can’t believe all of our luck.

On Sunday, we had coffee, took a quick photo tour of The Gulch, and began our journey back to Wisconsin. We stopped for the evening in Champaign, Illinois — which was unexpectedly fun!

Overall, I highly recommend spontaneous trips! In a world full of over-planning and spoilers (I’m guilty of both!) it’s actually really refreshing to do something exciting and out of the ordinary. Plus, Nashville is just… amazing!

Trip Recap

Where We Stayed:


What We Did:


Where We Dined:

  • Breakfast on Friday: Bongo Java – A fun, charming coffee shop near Belmont’s campus.
  • Lunch on Friday: AVO – A 100% plant-based, vegan restaurant in an up-and-coming community.
  • Dinner on Friday: FGL House – Florida Georgia Line’s restaurant off of Broadway.
  • Breakfast on Saturday: CREMA Coffee Roasters – My favorite coffee shop of our trip!
  • Lunch on Saturday: Epice – A Lebanese restaurant with a really flavorful menu.
  • Dinner on Saturday: Bartaco – Lots and lots of delicious tacos and really friendly service.
  • Breakfast on Sunday: Frothy Monkey – A charming coffee shop and brunch place!
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Travel Diary: Nashville, Tennessee

July 10, 2018

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