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Dogwood Takes On Nashville

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Three of us Dogwood gals (Carrie, Executive Director; Sarah, Marketing and Events Coordinator; and Catina, Board of Directors Secretary) hopped on a plane early Saturday, February 24th to head to the Southeast Festivals and Events Association annual conference. we scheduled our trip a couple of days before the conference to explore Nashville!

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READY TO TAKE ON NASHVILLE

We got our rental car (which was an Audi...super nice!), checked into our hotel (Embassy Suites...again...super nice!), and got ready for a night on the town! We met up with our festival friend, The World Famous Julie Beck. Julie is the director of the NC Pickle Festival and a world-traveler so we knew she would be the ideal person to navigate Nashville with. We weren't sure what the night had in store but we had only two goals in mind: 1. experience everything Nashville nightlife had to offer, and 2. meet a famous country singer!
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NIGHT ON THE TOWN


We took a Lyft from our hotel to Downtown Nashville. Our first stop was a little restaurant/bar to eat some food. Two of us tried the wings and the other two of us tried the quesadillas. After devouring the delicious food, we headed out. Throughout the night we went to two rooftop bars, a bar with licence plates on the ceiling (yes, we found ONE North Carolina plate), and Margaritaville! We loved how each bar had live country music playing.
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Meeting A Famous Country Star


To put it simply, NO. We did not meet a famous country singer. However, we DID meet a guy who looked similar to Jimmy Buffett, so we snapped a selfie with him. Same thing, right?!
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DOING TOURIST THINGS


Day two was full of typical tourist things. We were ready to explore everything there was to see, eat, and do in Nashville.


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STOP #1: Opryland Hotel


Going in this hotel felt like you were in another world! This hotel mastered the idea of having the outdoors inside. We loved the wide array of plants, waterfalls, and water features. We all agreed that if we come back, we will be booking our reservations here!
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Stop #2: Grand Ole' Opry

You can't go to Nashville without making a stop at the Grand Ole' Opry, right?! It was surreal arriving at Country's Most Famous Stage. Though we didn't have time for a tour, we took photos with the giant guitar outside and roamed the gift shop.

Stop #3: Cooter's

We stepped out of the car and right into the Dukes of Hazard show, complete with General Lee! The store had every piece of memorabilia relating to the show imaginable. This is a must-see for Dukes of Hazard fans.

Stop #4: I Believe In Nashville

One of Nashville's most iconic street art, this is practically a mandatory tourist photo-op. There was a line of people waiting to take a photo with the large, patriotic mural.

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Stop #5: BarTaco

The whole crew was in agreement... BarTaco was one of the best casual restaurants we had ever been to! We loved the family-style dining, allowing you to taste and sample a variety of gourmet taco creations - the pork belly taco was our group's favorite. We were also in agreement that their margarita was one of the best we had ever had. All ingredients in their margaritas are fresh and handmade right there in the restaurant. To top it all off, their customer service was impeccable. A little birdie told us that they are opening up a BarTaco in Raleigh soon...sign us up!
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Stop #6: Draper James

Reese Witherspoon is a southern woman icon, so naturally we had to make a stop at her store Draper James. Witherspoon's store (Draper, her grandmother's last name + James, her grandfather's name) has everything from sandals with magnolias on them (Steel Magnolias, anyone?!) and bright-patterned dresses to classic tote bags and southern-themed home decor.

Stop #7: Cupcake ATM

Have you ever walked up to an ATM and thought "I am so tired of these things dispensing money. What I really need is a cupcake." This was one of those things that make you go, "Wait. Someone ACTUALLY thought of this idea and made it into a business? Brilliant!" All you do is walk up to the "ATM", swipe your card, and wait while a cupcake pops out! As if the experience wasn't good enough, the cupcakes were delectable!
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Stop #8: The Gulch

We kept driving straight until we ended up in the Gulch, an area between Music Row and Downtown Nashville. Though we only entered into the Gulch to take a photo with the What Lifts You street art, we couldn't help but ooh and ahh at the wide variety of upscale dining and shopping the area had to offer. We made sure to snap a few quick photos in front of the intricate What Lifts You mural. Did you know the mural was made entirely with white paint pens (60 of them, to be exact.) Amazing!

Stop #9: Music Row

Our final stop on our sightseeing excursions through Nashville...Music Row! We saw dozens of recording studios, radio stations, and record label offices - new and old. Perhaps the most interesting one to pass by was RCA Recording Studios, the studio of everyone from Elvis and Alabama to Dolly Parton and Miranda Lambert.
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