Nashville City Guide

In life, we don’t take enough spontaneous trips. I’m not talking getting in your car, or in my case subway, and going to a new neighborhood and eating brunch; I’m talking buying a last minute ticket and flying somewhere. I’ve been guilty of this too, until last weekend when I surprised my mom and flew to meet her in Nashville, where she was putting on a conference.

EAT

Pinewood Social if WeWork were a restaurant it would be Pinewood Social. Coffee served alongside cocktails, a community table covered in MacBooks alongside booths filled with people eating sandwiches and salads. In the back find a swanky bowling alley, and in the summer you can find an airstream serving cocktails next to the swimming pool and bocci ball courts.

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Hattie B’s Famous Nashville Hot Chicken. We waited 45 minutes at 2pm for it. Hangry? Yes. Worth it? Yes.

Red Bicycle – Crepes and coffee. Next time, I would plan to start my morning here before heading to get a manicure/pedicure at the adorable nearby salon, Poppy & Monroe.

Fin & Pearl – Had a reservation here though I didn’t end up making it. Go here for an elevated seafood dinner.

Biscuit Love – Another one I didn’t make it to. Upon pulling up in our uber, we realized many other people had the same idea. It was raining so we opted not to wait, but the line supposedly moves quickly and the biscuits are apparently worth it.

Acme Feed & Seed – Come here for frozen moonshine lemonade, rooftop views and people watching. On the bottom level check out the on air radio station.

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DO

12 South – This seems to be the trendy spot in Nashville – home to Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James, curated graffiti on every corner and a celebrity jean favorite, imogene + willie. Ideal spot for brunching followed by shopping.

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Broadway – The touristy must-see spot in Nashville. A street where every shop is either a cowboy boot store or bar with live music. The musicians rotate every four hours, so at that time you can expect the masses to flock to the streets looking for a new place to order a PBR and do the two step. If you’re lucky enough you might see the Nashville Clogger – you are in for a treat. Though not a country fan, we went to the Country Music Hall of Fame (loved the Bob Dylan exhibition). Make sure to stop by the GooGoo Factory – home to the famous Nashville sweet treat.

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It was a great spontaneous weekend, and my lesson? Book the ticket.

French West Indies – St. Martin

I still remember learning how to spell “Caribbean.” It was a word I wrote out many times when I was younger, when teachers would ask “Where is your dream vacation?” The funny thing is, at the time I probably thought I would go on these vacations with my family. As it turns out, I have visited many Caribbean islands but always with friends. I have been lucky enough to visit Jamaica, Aruba, Puerto Rico, and this past winter, with my boyfriend’s family, Saint Martin.

Lucky for me, my boyfriend’s family knows I love to plan travel and gave me the reins to choose where we would visit in 2017. There are over 7,000 Caribbean Islands (what!?, thanks Google) and I immediately narrowed that down to where I was able to bask in the sun while enjoying a fresh croissant.

Saint Martin is part Dutch and part French. The choice of where to stay on the island was easy. The Dutch side has the cruise port, so much more touristy – think casinos, your typical American restaurants and strip clubs. The French side has incredible restaurants that rival France, local beaches and, well, French speaking people.

The days consisted of waking up early to the sound of tropical birds, …waking up Bert, making an espresso, then walking down to the local bakery to pick up fresh croissants and baguettes for his family. After devouring approximately 1.5 croissants and some baguette with beurre and jam, you could find me squinting with one eye open by the pool looking up what local beach we would go to.

Local Beaches

Orient Bay – The beach where our villa was located. Not only is clothing optional, but here you will find champagne bars, massage tents, and fresh coconuts.

Baie Rouge – If you can brave the current you can swim around to a smaller, even more private alcove where there is a natural sea arch. Grab a Carib at one of small beachside shacks.

Friar’s Bay – My favorite local beach.  Here you will find scattered lounge chairs, clear waters, and a Jamaican BBQ (be prepared to wait). A 10-minute scenic walk (more like a hike!) through the woods will bring you to a similar beach (Happy Bay) where yachts are anchored only a few feet off shore.

Grand Case – Crystal clear waters. Views of the mountains. Good shopping.

Only regret of the trip? Not taking the hour long ferry to St. Barts. Guess I’ll have to go back!

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Corianna’s City Guide: A Perfect Day in Park Slope

I don’t remember the last time I’ve had a three day weekend that didn’t come attached to an itinerary. This past weekend was one of those unique times. I have the advantage of living in a city with many neighborhoods and boroughs, so it was really just a matter of choosing which one to explore for a staycation. The choice: Park Slope.

Park Slope is located in Brooklyn, and is a suburb of Manhattan. The neighborhood is nestled into neatly packed streets where brownstones line avenues, growing more ornate as they reach up the slope towards Prospect Park. Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s Central Park, though way more manageable in size. There are large fields where families play frisbee, dogs are off-leash and guitar chords echo under limestone bridges.

Corianna Goes XC’s Itinerary for a day in Park Slope: 

You can get to Park Slope by taking the B, Q, 2, 3, F, or G.

Make your way to Union Street and walk through a maze of high value brownstones.

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Head over to grab some fuel for the day and brunch at Rose Water . A prix-fixe brunch menu includes a house made beverage and delectable entree. Below are the bosc pear crepes filled with ricotta cheese. The homemade bread basket was an unexpected treat from the host, too!

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After brunch, it’s time for a Bloody Mary. Before leaving Rose Water, look across the street and marvel at the community grocery co-op then walk towards Union Hall, where you will be cozy in the dimly lit bar warmed by two fireplaces. Enjoy a game of bocce ball while listening to good tunes and sipping your drink.

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After a close game of bocce ball, it’s time to get some fresh air in Prospect Park. On Saturday’s there is a Farmer’s Market towards the entrance. I recommend fresh cheese from Cato Corner Farm.

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After a walk through the park, you will have a nice dose of suburban living before heading back to Manhattan, or whichever area you hail from. The best part? No waiting in an airport/train station/etc., cause that’s the beauty of a staycation – discovering your own city and its surroundings.

La Vie en Rose

My days of croissants for breakfast, lunches in Luxembourg gardens, cocktails in the Saint Germain des près, and dinners in Madames house are coming to an end. I haven’t been updating my blog as frequently because I’ve really been trying to absorb as much as I can as my great experience comes to an end. My friends that I have met abroad are all on their way back to the states, and I will soon be joining them after a final two week trip to Italy and Greece.

I have been asked the question many times, “are you ready to go home”? The answer: no. Paris is a captivating city; it’s dynamic, it’s romantic, it’s intense, it’s charming, and it’s uniquely mine. The monuments, the limestone apartment buildings, the cobblestone streets and cafe crèmes are all seen differently through different people’s eyes.

It really is the little things that made me fall in love with Paris: the same old man setting up his book stand on my walk to school, how no dogs walk on leashes and follow their owners loyally through the city streets, children scootering down the sidewalks, sitting down and enjoying a small café-instead of rushing around with a massive to-go cup. It is the small details that I will miss most.

This is not goodbye though. This has only fueled my fire for my love of travel, wanderlust and Paris.

Lisbon, PT

I have a love affair with Lisbon. I’m cheating on Paris. There isn’t one thing that made me fall in love with Lisbon; it’s the little details that make this city so irreplaceable. From the cream colored taxis zooming by the mosaic walls to the friendly faces boasting from a small cafe about their special dishes.

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The sidewalks throughout Lisbon are black and white mosaic, otherwise known as “Portuguese Pavement”

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When we arrived, it was free museum day—even though we slept in the Madrid airport the previous night, we dropped our coats at the hostel and made our way via tram to Belem, a neighborhood that houses many museums.

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The tomb of Vasco de Gama

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Manueline style architecture found in the Cloister of Jerónimos Monastery

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At the Modern Art museum, there was a fabulous craft festival going on. I tried traditional pastries, picked up and marveled at antiques and even bought a few things for my friends and family.

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Across the street, still in Belem is the statue of Cristo Rei. It was the last thing that sailors saw when they left home, and the first thing they saw when they returned to Lisbon.

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Designed by same architect of Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco 

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An amazing salad made in an instant, costing under 5 euro, with a line out the door to match.

You can’t go to Lisbon without noticing a particular pastry in every bakeries window. It is the portuguese baguette. A staple for every trip to Portugal, the Pastel de nata. It is a flaky pastry with a warm custard inside. Don’t forget to sprinkle the cinnamon and powdered sugar on top.

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Details that made me fall in love with Lisbon:

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Notice the couple dining on the roof

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When in Portugal, you must treat yourself to a Fado experience. Think listening to a woman singing Portuguese love ballads, with old men hunched over their beloved guitars against a tile backsplash.

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My initials 

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I can’t wait for my next trip to Lisbon.  I heard marvelous things about Portugal, and I can’t wait to explore the entire country.

Ibiza, ES

Ibiza, an island notorious for partying and clubbing only seemed like the appropriate spring break destination for a group of girls in our 20-somethings phase. When we arrived on the island, we found out the clubs are closed for their “winter season,” so we took the opportunity to soak up rays with the sound of the Mediterranean waves crashing in the distance. 

The island is divided into different neighborhoods, the Italian, the Spanish and the British. As soon as we arrived, it was evident we were in the British neighborhood due to the signs boasting “english breakfast” and “rugby sports bar”. While Ibiza wasn’t culturally expansive for me, I owe it a ‘thank you’ for my tan.

Barcelona, ES

Spring Break in Europe, what could be better? Approximately a week and a half ago, I set out with my three girlfriends from Charles De Gaulle airport to begin our spring break adventure. We started this adventure in Barcelona, Spain.

The first few days of our vacation, we were cursed with a bad case spring showers. It rained relentlessly, every day for four days. We found ourselves taking shelter in the warmth of grand churches, taking cover in the expansive market La Boqueria, and hiding in authentic tapas bar to indulge in big glasses of sangria. Things could have been worse.

We ended up going to an Ice Bar. The bar, seats…even cups were made out of ice.

The market was my favorite experience from Barcelona. I loved walking from stall to stall, seeing the inexpensive fruits beautifully displayed, the meat hanging from the ceilings, and the candied nuts piled high.

You can’t help but noticing the gaudy buildings throughout this spanish city. By “gaudy”, I of course, mean the architect and artist Antoni Gaudi, whose buildings and details can be found in many parts of the city.

Park Guell, was like Disneyland for adults. It is a mystical park where every turn leads you to something unexpected—whether it be a mosaic wall or a guitar player hiding under the shade of palms.

The Sagrada Famillia was unfortunately under construction. I was still amazed at the look of this church. It looked as if Gaudi was building a sand castle, taking the wet sand and dripping it over the castle.

As for the food, I found myself indulging in tapas plates of every kind; from grilled green peppers to spicy chorizo platters to colorful paellas. Of course, every meal was accompanied by a fruity sangria.

I don’t know the next time that I will be back to Barcelona but I know for sure that I will be back.