I don't know many people who don't love Nashville. Almost everyone I've met who has chosen to come to Nashville from elsewhere is completely obsessed with it. It's obviously popular, considering all of the transplants from California and the city's resistance to growing too big.
I'm definitely not one of those Nashville fanatics, nor do I plan to stay here forever. Music isn't my thing, nor is having to endure cold weather ever. Drew's and my personalities and preferences are much better suited to a warm, tropical lovely coastal Southeastern city such as Charleston or Savannah. (Obsession with seafood, palm trees, ocean breezes, bright colors, preppy fashion sense, anchors/all things nautical, sand, boating... need I continue?)
However, this post is not meant to discourage you from loving this sweet Southern city. This is the case for Nashville. Reasons why I love it. Here they are:
1. Four seasons. Take it or leave it (I'd rather just have summer...), you get the whole gamut here. It snows in the winter (just enough to whet your palette but not so much that you start having midwestern PTSD). It gets nice and cool in the fall (everyone looooooves the fall here). It feels lovely and you can enjoy your back patio in the spring. And it's delightful in the summer. Painfully hot and humid, of course, but what the hell do you want? We've got air conditioning. Sweating's good for getting rid of toxins. Embrace it. Also important to note: You're never guaranteed any particular varietal of weather depending solely on the season. I said you get all four seasons, but it's completely up to the weather to decide which you get on any given day. It might be late December and 72 degrees. Or April 21st and bone-chillingly cold. Just check your expectations at the door and you'll be fine.
2. Cool places. It's Nashville. It's like the New York City of the South. Only way more polite, cleaner, you can actually drive a car here, and it's less expensive. OK, so Atlanta is more like the NYC of the South, but Nashville is kind of like Chicago. The point is -- we have cool places. We have hipster city (East Nashville) where you can get an expensive and delicious cup of Ethiopian fair-trade coffee, go pole dancing, order an old-fashioned soda phosphate and a guacamole burger, spend $6 on a single scoop of fancy ice cream, or possibly get robbed, depending on the street you're on. Welcome to city life! Other cool places we have: Kick-A yoga studios, like Fahrenheit Yoga and Steadfast & True Yoga (I am obviously partial to Fahrenheit). Awesome hole-in-the-wall joints along Charlotte Avenue. Fancier stores and new places in Green Hills (hi, only Lululemon and Paper Source for hundreds of miles!). A miniature wedding row in Edgehill Village bookended by tasty Mexican food and Legato Gelato.
3. Really fabulous universities. The big two are Belmont and Vanderbilt, offering everything from law schools to pharmacy programs, prestigious performing arts and liberal arts degrees. The whole gamut.
4. Proximity to other cool places. Atlanta's about 4 hours away. Birmingham is only 3. St. Louis is 5. Nashville is centrally located, only about 7 - 8 hours from the beach (note: this is the furthest you should ever be away from the beach, under any circumstances ever).
5. Umm, it's Music City. Believe me, I am not particularly passionate about music. I don't go to see live shows, I don't spend my free time trying to make it big, and I didn't get a music business degree like almost all of my other peers at Belmont. HOWEVER. I can appreciate when everyone in my sorority sings like an angel, when church choirs are actually INCREDIBLY talented (make a joyful noise, y'all), and the people sitting on the sidewalk downtown playing for pennies have beautiful voices. It doesn't really matter if your level of music appreciation is minimal or extreme -- it's nice either way. Karaoke is usually a riot, too. (Note: I have heard live singers in other favorite cities of mine and I have to say... they are TERRIBLE! I am clearly not moving to Charleston one day for the music scene. Cringe.)
6. Beautiful landscapes. Sometimes it's hard to see your city from an outsider's perspective until you go somewhere else and then return home with a different lens. I did this after exploring Denver for the first time, and I started to see how amazing Nashville is. Rolling hills of Franklin. Literally everything in Belle Meade. The countryside flanking the city. It's pretty, especially (and particularly) if you like farm land.
7. History. Our plantation homes are really lovely. Belle Meade Plantation is probably my personal favorite, but so many of our gorgeous event venues and lovely places to visit have backstories and beautiful period-appropriate architecture and loveliness. Carnton in Franklin is a massively popular place, as well as other Civil War antebellum homes like Travellers Rest. We have lovely Victorian places like the Ambrose House (I went to tea there on Saturday and it was delicious! Highly recommend them for bridal showers and bridesmaid teas and all kinds of fun parties as such!) as well as sprawling grounds like the Hermitage. Tons to choose from. The only problem is when you've grown up here and taken every history tour there is and then worked at every plantation-turned-event-venue for weddings... they may be compelling, but maybe not as much as more history-rich cities like Savannah and Charleston. Maybe that's my bias.
8. Everyone is nice. We take it for granted, too. You put one of us native Southerners in a Northern or mid-Western city and we will get ALL in a tizzy. Spoken from personal experience. You catch much more flies in honey than vinegar, as Mama said. Why be so rude, anyways? What's that helping? You're just shootin' yourself in the foot by doing that. And no, mid-Westerners, our kindness is NOT passive aggression. I know you're on the defensive. We really do want God to bless your hearts. We really are praying for you. And any man worth marrying ought to hold your door for you without a thought.
9. Southern hospitality. Along that same thread comes the cornerstone of Southern living -- hospitality. You'll see it in church, at intimate private parties, at local businesses, everywhere. In Nashville, we want celebrities to have their privacy. If you head over to someone's Mama's house, you'll probably be offered sweet tea or lemonade or something delicious and cold. Our food is inviting. (Have you smelled B&C in the farmer's market? You can't escape it!) Our homes are inviting. Embrace it. Extend it.
10. It is the big thing right now. Not the next big thing. We've already arrived. Everything is booming. Nicer stores, cooler businesses, our own prime time television show. We really couldn't blow up any more, as far as I'm concerned. The problem with that is that all empires fall... but that won't be happening any time soon. So enjoy it. Come on out here if you want to. Everything's pretty spread out, but we have a lot to offer. (Except the beach. But Percy Priest is nice for boating, at least.)
I believe that absence makes the heart grow fonder, so hopefully I'll get to leave here someday soon and test that theory. I'm doubting I'll ever want to leave my future coastal home, but I'm willing to see. My roots are well planted in middle Tennessee. And even when I'm in my dream city and immersing myself in Charleston life, when someone asks, "Where are you from?" I'll proudly tell them "Nashville!"