tennessee road trip

This past weekend Will and I went on a road trip to Nashville, Tennessee for a family wedding with his brother and his brother’s fiance. We stayed in the cute little town of Franklin, right outside Nashville, but made stops in Nashville and Knoxville on our way home. We didn’t get to see much, since the drive was so long and we were short on time, but we still made the most of our trip and enjoyed every place we went.

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On Saturday morning our road trip crew plus Will’s mom and sister went to the nearby Factory at Franklin in search of the Five Daughters Bakery doughnut shop. The bakery was housed inside the historic building and surrounded by cute boutiques and restaurants. A large farmer’s market was taking place in the parking lot of the building, with tons of vendors and fresh, locally grown and raised foods. The inside of the factory was decorated with live trees and beautiful chandeliers juxtaposing the worn exposed brick walls, industrial metal railings and concrete floors. We only had the morning to explore, otherwise we would have spent hours there!

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Above is the line for doughnuts! We can confirm that they lived up to the hype. There were so many great flavors to choose from, which made our decision difficult once we got to the counter. Eventually we picked 7 different flavors to split between the six of us.

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We chose the maple glazed doughnut, vanilla cream doughnut, pumpkin spice doughnut, huckleberry doughnut with chestnut cream filling, smore’s doughnut with graham cracker cream filling, the cinnamon kouign-amann (called the “quinnamon”), and the orange kouign-amann (the “quinn”), all pictured below. The huckleberry icing was so vibrantly colored and we were surprised that almost all of the doughnuts had some kind of filling, even though they were light and fluffy and had holes in them. I also loved that they came in a pretty pink box :)

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We spend most of the rest of the day and night at Will’s cousin’s beautiful wedding. I don’t have photos from that, because I always leave the photography to the hired photographers, since their photos are the ones that matter and are much better than I would take, but the whole event was gorgeous. It was an outdoor wedding set in the rolling hills amidst changing fall leaves that seemed to glow like fire when the setting sun hit them. Bistro lights strung from tree top to tree top above our heads at the barbeque reception, and personalized details graced every corner of the outdoor venue, that had been transformed from a cabin’s backyard. It perfectly fit the bride and couldn’t have been a more beautiful night.

We got on the road early on Sunday to head back home, leaving room for some stops along the way. Our first stop, of course, was Nashville! Since we didn’t have much time to explore (and didn’t really know what to explore), we set our priority to find a cute local coffee shop.

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Barista Parlor in Germantown fit the bill perfectly. If/when we make it back to Nashville again I would absolutely go back to try the other great items on their menu and soak up the light-filled hipster shop. They are known for their bourbon vanilla latte (yes, it was delicious), but have a ton of biscuit sandwiches and other lattes that looked amazing as well. The collection of records to stock the record player in the built-in unit on the wall was as impressive as the beautifully wrapped (expensive) artisan chocolate on display, and the coffee contraptions that look like chemistry equipment. They mastered beautiful branding in every inch of the coffee shop – right down to the bottom of the mug that you only see when you finish your coffee. Aesthetics on point.

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Our next stop on the long road trip back was Knoxville. About an hour before we arrived in Knoxville we started trying to find a place to eat lunch. Between the time change and the time of the day we were getting there it seemed like everything was going to be closed. As we got pulled into town we had low expectations of the city, until we pulled past entire streets of bustling sidewalk cafes. What???? We were pleasantly surprised and ended up seeing great parts of the city as we strolled from our parking spot near the theatre to the restaurant-filled square.

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While it was a long trip, and most of our waking weekend was spent in the car, it was still totally worth it and filled with fun, family, great food, and beautiful fall scenes. Tennessee, you were wonderful, let’s meet up again (maybe for longer next time)!

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