Finn’s 16th: Road Trip to Nashville, TN for Spring Break

I consider it a magical win that my grown children still enjoy spending time with us. I was so excited that the whole family (even the pups) were able to come on a road trip Nashville, Tennessee (by way of Kentucky for Mammoth Caves) for Spring Break!

While overall our trip was incredible, it started off a little rocky (pun intended).

I’ve had my fair share of AirBnB fails, but never one that had me sleeping in my car – eek! Our first day after after 14 hours on the road, we stayed at a cabin that was intentionally one with nature. What was not wonderful: mouse poop on my bed pillow. Though it was chilly and uncomfortable, I chose to “camp” in my car instead. With gratitude, however, I was able to focus on the positives: it was so beautifully quiet and I enjoyed watching the big moon descend over the car.

Even though we had a stressful beginning of the trip, my forever optimist, Finian, turned 16 on that long day on the road. He was super positive and accommodating as we changed our plans so that everyone would be able to come.


In the morning we headed to our intentionally rocky destination: Mammoth Caves. But we got to explore a little bit of Kentucky on the way! Waze took us on a wonderfully winding path through horse country, where we ended at a literal castle. So cool! It’s currently an event space and incredible to see while driving by.

We spent most of the day exploring Mammoth Caves, home to thousands of years of human history and a rich diversity of plant and animal life. It’s Matt’s dream to visit all National Parks, so he was thrilled to check this one off his list. Admittedly, I personally think our more local caves (specifically Luray Caverns) are more impressive. But there is something so special about seeing earth from the inside out. If you’ve never been, go! It is awe inspiring to be a part of all that has come before, and what will live on long after we have become part of the circle of life.

Finn’s 16th

Last year Finn asked me if we could celebrate his 16th birthday with a trip. Specifically one where he could bring a friend and go to a “cool” AirBnB. As we were pulling into the driveway, he immediately recognized the house from online (I’d tried to surprise him by saying it wasn’t available)! This house in the suburbs of Nashville had a salt water hot tub, a regular hot tub, beach volleyball, McDonald’s playground, 2 fire pits, pool table, arcade room, karaoke, and board games galore!

There was something for everyone, including my inner child that played a lot of skee ball! I loved seeing that the boys spent most of their time inside the huge indoor pool. But I do have a video of them singing Backstreet Boys karaoke if ever I need to use it as blackmail, lol! Pardon me tooting my own horn – nailed it!

If you’re curious, here is were we stayed. 11 out of 10 stars. Pro tip: on the 8th image is a high score which is a phone number. Call or text the owner for a discount. Even better, tell him I sent you so maybe we can get a discount to go again! *wink wink*

Nashville, TN

Nashville is known as “music city” and has a long history of elevating so many of the greats rise to fame. We explored the Music City Center and its eclectic mix of Hall of Fame squares, including Jimi Hendrix, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, and more!

And a visit to the Music City also wouldn’t be complete without The Grand Ole Opry!

A highlight of our trip was the Nashville Music and Ghost Tour. We don’t believe in ghosts, but the stories are fun – and history, even better! The tour started at the state capitol with civil war stories and continued on to the “gentleman’s quarter” that had boring murders but nice architecture!

We also stopped by the building of Tennesse’s first serial killer (a doctor), which also displayed Nashville’s first mural. The coolest part of the tour was ending in Printer’s Alley. You couldn’t see or hear the “party” behind the corner, but it was like stepping back in time when we did. Even the kids’ faces lit up as we stood listening to the story of the David “Skull” Schulman’s Rainbow Room and eventual murder.

Southern Eats

Obviously a trip to the South isn’t complete without some delicious southern-style “home” cooking!  Honestly, all of our trips are planned around food tours! And we kicked off at the iconic The Loveless Cafe.

Even though I didn’t partake in biscuits, I had a plate full of incredible southern delights, including a highlight of smoked pork with peach preserves.

While we, as a family, explored the city center a lot – one morning we split up with half sleeping in, and half of us going to brunch in The Gulch. The arts district was so fun to walk around and explore while we waited for our table to be ready.

Because it’s the official city food, the boys all tried many variations of fried chicken. Wesley’s favorite was this chicken sandwich Milk & Honey.

Another favorite: The Horn. I will also always go out of my way for a delicious chai. The Horn serves authentic Somalian chai (and food), which was new to me and so full of flavor. After trying a sip of everyone’s, I recommend the brown sugar with oat milk!

We spent so much time enjoying the house that we didn’t do nearly as much as we thought in town. There’s a huge list of places we wanted to visit, explore, and eat at that we just didn’t have time for – even with nearly a week! We would definitely go back <3

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