Last month, I was able to close out the summer with my best friend, Emma, down in Nashville, Tennessee! We decided to head down to Music City for Labor Day Weekend to cheer on UVA as they took on Tennessee in football at the Titan’s Stadium — and since we were going to be in town, used it as an opportunity to cross off a bucket list item for both of us: checking into The Graduate Nashville!
If you’re unfamiliar with Graduate Hotels, it’s a hotel chain that has amazing properties located in college towns. All of the interior decor is a nod to that town and school, making each one super unique. (They even have a beautiful coffee table book that highlights their properties!) We have stayed at the Graduate in Oxford, Mississippi twice now — you can read about our stays here and here — and knew we wanted to experience even more of Graduate Hotels’ properties. The Nashville location has been “internet famous” since it opened given its many tributes to Dolly Parton — both in the hotel rooms and on its rooftop bar, White Limozeen. It certainly lived up to the hype, and I am so glad we were able to experience it for a night!
STAYING AT THE GRADUATE NASHVILLE —
Emma’s mom was lovely enough to host us for the majority of our time in Nashville, so we checked into the Graduate Nashville on Sunday afternoon. It’s located close to Vanderbilt University, and a short Uber ride away from the heart of the honky tonks on Broadway. Every last detail is thought of — from the hotel keys featuring Dolly Parton to the beautiful in-room decor featuring the most gorgeous Music-City-themed mirror I have ever seen.
Once we checked in and were enjoying the room, we turned on the television and there was a whole channel about how Graduate Hotels decorates their properties — it was fascinating and really underscored all the thought that goes into the design and customer experience. We then went back down to the lobby to enjoy as it was beautifully decorated and had a huge coffee bar that we took advantage of for an afternoon pick-me-up. There were also lots of Vanderbilt students studying as there were plenty of tables and chairs — talk about a motivating place to get work done.
HAPPY HOUR AT WHITE LIMOZEEN —
Another thing that was on my Nashville bucket list was to grab a drink at White Limozeen — and we figured since we were staying at the hotel, there was no better time to do so! There are some packages you can purchase at the hotel that come with a guaranteed reservation, but I secured ours the old fashioned way: by setting an alarm for when the Resy reservations opened up for the day we wanted to go. Given the popularity of this bar — especially with the bachelorette crowd — I highly recommend securing reservations in advance!
White Limozeen is so Instagrammable and it was a really fun place to grab a pre-dinner cocktail. Our fellow Wahoo and college friend, Abbi, met us here for drinks and we had a great time catching up. The cocktail menu rotates fairly often — while we were in, all of the drinks were a nod to Taylor Swift, and I had a delicious strawberry and Prosecco number called the Anti-Hero.
After we enjoyed our drinks, we walked over to Halls Chophouse, just a few blocks from the Graduate Nashville for an amazing dinner. I dined at Halls Chophouse in Charleston years ago, and am a big fan of their restaurant group, so I was excited to get back. Our meal was amazing from start to finish — they offered us incredible warm bread, and we split the fried green tomatoes and lump crab cake to start, and then each did a steak and shared the mac + cheese, Brussels sprouts, and mashed potatoes as our sides. It was truly one of the best meals I have had in a long time and I can’t recommend it enough if you’re looking for a delicious spot to dine near the Graduate Nashville.
THE REST OF OUR TIME IN NASHVILLE —
The rest of our time in Nashville was just as fun as our stay at the Graduate! I arrived on Friday afternoon, and Emma and her mom were kind enough to pick me up at the airport. From there, we went and did some shopping! Our first stop was Parnassus Books, which is owned by Ann Pachett. It’s no surprised I loved this bookstore — they did such a good job curating recommendations across all genres of books, and had a lovely array of cards, notebooks, and other small gifts as well. We then went to the cutest home decor store, Bella Vita. I could have spent all day in that store! They had everything from an amazing selection of candles to gorgeous, seasonal serving ware to art from local artists. I ended up leaving with some fall home decor and a couple of beautiful blue and white vases.
On Friday night, the three of us at dinner at Sperry’s, a classic Nashville steakhouse located in Belle Meade. I loved it — the decor was cozy and it felt like nothing had changed since it opened in 1974 in the best way. They had an incredible salad bar and then we each ordered a steak and split some delicious sides. To finish out our amazing meal, we split a bananas foster, which they made right at our table! Following dinner, Emma and I went over to Acme Feed & Seed for a ‘Wahoo Welcome Party’ that the UVA Office of Engagement hosted to bring together Wahoos who were in town for the game. They rented out a floor of the bar and had an incredible live band playing. It was a really fun way to get excited for the game and talk to fellow UVA alum who were also in town to cheer on the Hoos against the Vols.
On Saturday, we were up bright and early to head to the UVA vs. Tennessee game! I have never seen so much orange in one place. Prior to the game, we stopped by the UVA tailgate that we had bought tickets for. It was right outside the stadium and was so well done! They had a huge breakfast buffet, multiple open bars, and ample school spirit — the cheerleaders and Cav Man were both on hand. It was a great way to talk to fellow Hoos and get pumped for the game before we went into stadium. Our seats for the game were on the upper deck, so it was very hot, but we had such a great time watching the game and made a lot of friends with the many Tennessee fans sitting around us ;). We stayed until the end of the third quarter, and then headed over to Broadway to find some lunch and some much-needed air conditioning. We ended up at Ole Red, which is owned by Blake Shelton, and it was the perfect place to cool off — I had one of my favorite meals: a salad with fried chicken — and we enjoyed the live music they had going. After that, we capped off the afternoon at The Second Fiddle, and then called it an early evening because we were exhausted!
On Sunday, we had a relaxing morning at home and then headed out to McKay’s, an amazing used bookstore in Nashville. I was truly in heaven, and ended up purchasing seven books for $20 (!!!). When I am at used bookstores, I tend to focus on finding coffee table books for my home, and especially love books about American history and architecture. I was thrilled to find out there is actually a McKay’s near me in Manassas, so I will definitely be heading out that way at some point soon. After McKay’s, we headed over to BrickTop’s for brunch, where I treated myself to their amazing cheeseburger + French fries and a peach bellini.
After brunch, we headed over to Belle Meade Winery, which is located right in the heart of the Belle Meade Historic Site. We cruised through the gift shop, and then did a wine tasting before buying a glass of wine to enjoy on the rocking chairs of the Belle Meade mansion. After, we headed over to check into the Graduate Nashville — which rounded out my amazing LDW in Nashville.
If you have any questions about our stay at the Graduate Nashville or our Labor Day Weekend adventures, don’t hesitate to drop a comment below or email me: email@example.com. I always love spending time in Nashville and can’t wait to get back — it’s such a fun city, especially for country music lovers like myself! x