Tag: Tennessee

Travel Swellness: Finding new roads in Nashville with Chevy Cruze

I believe in Nashville

Last week, Chevrolet Canada invited me to travel to Nashville to find new roads behind the wheel of a Chevy Cruze. It was a quick trip but with a full itinerary, we managed to fit a fair amount of exploring Nashville and its outskirts. It was my first time in Tennessee, and I was struck by how lush and green it was as the plane was making its descent.

so green Nashville

Another lovely surprise? Everyone is so warm and friendly. Although my hometown of Toronto has some good points, friendly people is not one of them. Nor is good customer service (CS is the pits here). So I was completely caught off guard in Nashville by (gasp) people actually greeting me and even chatting.

Marathon Village

On my first day in Nashville, I took out the Chevy Cruze LT by myself and went to explore Marathon Village. Here, the Marathon Factory building dates back to 1881 and it now is filled with studios and loads of shops selling fun items, such as Antique Archeology, where there was a very creepy mummified boy and other oddities.

The Bang Candy Company

I initially made my way to Marathon Village because Chevy told me The Bang Candy Company had a stash of candy for the crew in town for the Chevy Cruze adventure. There I picked up my homemade marshmallows, and was mighty temped by their simple syrups (which I passed on since I was traveling only with a carry-on).

Chevy Cruze

I don’t drive that regularly and am not fond of driving in a new city, and I’d say in general I’m always stressed about getting lost, but thanks to the Chevy Cruze being the most connected car in its class, I didn’t have to worry. The Cruze  has 4G LTE wifi available on all models, and Apple Carplay and Android Auto standard. And should I need to make a call, I knew I would be able to do so easily and safely thanks to hands-free calling and standard Siri Eyes Free voice recognition (as long as the iPhone is running iOS 6 or later, which would you believe mine is? I’m terrible about updating my operating system…). Oh, and the navigation features 3D  map views for major cities and attractions.

Nashville aka Music City is famous for being storytelling and we were treated to a lovely dinner at Little Octopus (where we ate family style courses including some of the best roast chicken with salsa verde I’ve had, along with some tasty farro cakes, a juicy burger, and more. All while listening to some superb live country music. The four artists who performed during dinner are the songwriters behind some of the top country songs by the who’s who in cuntry (think Kenny Chesney, for example). While I didn’t recognize any of the songs (not a country music fan — I don’t think Taylor Swift counts, right?), the music was mellow and quite moving. Full of good food and in a good mood, we returned to the Hutton Hotel and called it a night (OK, fine, we had one last drink at the hotel first).

Hutton Hotel Nashville

The next day, bright and early, we all partnered up and chose a Chevy Cruze and were given an itinerary for the day. My friend Jonathan of MrCavaliere.com and I piled into our Cruze and set out to find new roads.

Country View Amish Market

 

We met up with the Cruze squad first at a pit stop at Country View Amish Market in Charlotte, where the staff was just lovely, the fried pies irresistible and the bacon dressing (aka a jar of bacon fat) mighty tempting (gd the no-fluids more than 100 mL flight rule!). From there, Jonathan and I got lost (don’t ask — my bad, I misunderstood something in the itinerary), but he maneuvered our Cruze easily on the windy country roads (the 2016 Cruze is 2.7 inches longer, but up to 250 pounds lighter on the L, LS and LT, which makes the car more nimble and feels more controllable, plus this also optimizes the performance and efficiency of the powertrain — so I’m told; I confess: the feature I was most excited about in the Cruze is the wireless phone charging, if only I had the battery that does wireless charging!).

At the Country Boy Diner

Eventually, we made it to The Country Boy in Leiper’s Fork, which is pretty much everything you hope for in a Nashville countryside diner. I mean, check out the adorableness of our server.

chicken sandwich, catfish, fried green tomatoes

Here, I ate what is quite possibly the best fried chicken sandwich of my life. Jonathan and I had agreed to share the entire meal, including some fried green tomatoes, so we could try more menu items, but with my first bite of the sandwich, I wished we had just gone for two chicken sandwiches instead of the catfish plate. The bun is so soft and light (so it doesn’t overwhelm the incredible juicy chicken) and the chicken isn’t too heavily battered, so it’s very chicken-y (can’t you tell that I write for a living!?).

Copper Fox Gallery

 

We slurped up two milkshakes with our lunch and then poked around Leiper’s Fork, where there were a few galleries of great gifts and art. I particularly fell for The Copper Fox Gallery, where I learned that the restored home it’s housed in is from the 1860s and the beautiful yellow door (and some of the floor) is original. I left empty-handed because we were pressed for time, and I must make it back there to spend more time shopping and to check out the other places I didn’t get a chance to pop into, such as Puckett’s Grocery and Restaurant.

at the Copper Fox Gallery

We did make a quick stop, though, to take a pic of General Lee (you know, the car from Dukes of Hazzard!)…

Dukes of Hazzard General Lee

this awesome cop car…

vintage cop car

and this vintage Chevy (how appropriate!)…

vintage Chevy in Leiper's Fork

I got behind the wheel here and we made our way to Otis James, whose studio can be found in the “Makers area” in downtown Nashville. Otis is an artisan cap maker (his focus was previously bowties and ties, but now it’s caps that he makes by hand), and the majority of his work is custom work for clients.

Otis James caps and ties

Because I think Jonathan and I got caught up in the magic of finding new roads in Nashville, we completely missed out on the fact we were supposed to get to Otis James’s studio at a certain time. Oops. So we weren’t there when Chevy’s lead designers were there chatting design philosophies (sorry, Chevy!). We did have a lovely visit with Otis, though. He’s passionate about people knowing where their products come from and knowing where or why design elements are made. Mass production can make us all forget that there are actual people behind the design. Take the Chevy Cruze, for example. For Otis, he really wanted to know why, for example, leather was used for a certain element of the car but another material elsewhere. Besides his bespoke work, we also talked a lot about Canada, food, and upon hearing we hadn’t had much time in Nashville to really poke around, he promised me there’s more to Nashville than fried chicken.

Otis James

Oh, and I fell in love with his shy dog, Maple, who I was determined to befriend. She seemed to want some attention but was just a little skittish.

sweet, skittish Maple

Chatting away and taking photos at the studio, Jonathan and I both lost track of time and realized we had to get back to grab our shuttle to the airport. Fortunately, we were close to the Chevy hub and it should’ve only taken 10 minutes. Unfortunately, we got stuck in traffic (wow, Nashville, you’ve got some traffic!), but eventually we made it back and our Chevy Cruze adventure came to an end. We reluctantly handed back our keys and said so long to Nashville. It was an awesome adventure finding new roads with the Chevy Cruze (Thank you Chevrolet Canada!) and I I hope to be back in Music City real soon!

Chevy Cruze finding new roads

 

Leave a Comment April 28, 2016


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