Keith's Nashville City Guide
In fact, dogs and grass were a big part of our decision to leave New York after 16 years, but my answer (being a woman of many words) was slightly more elaborate. We were tired of living in 2,000 square feet with three children and their mushrooming toy collection. We missed being able to walk outside for a morning cup of coffee without having to trek to Central Park. We wanted our kids to grow up knowing about their Southern roots (complicated though the South may be), and I wanted a real house.
The house was really what got us over any trepidation we might have had about leaving all that was familiar. I loved it from the minute I saw it, no matter how tattered and worn. A three story Georgian revival set upon a hill with the perfect stream running across the front lawn and plenty of old trees dotting the property, it was what I’d dreamed of every time apartment-living gave me a case of the blues.
What I didn’t know then, as I fixated on houses and neighborhoods and school for my kids, was that Nashville had so much more to offer than the joys of a simpler domestic life. Since we arrived in Music City, we’ve seen a burgeoning of fabulous new restaurants, design and gift shops, and even new museums that add a shot of sophistication to a place already filled with iconic honky tonks and meat-and-three joints.
I’ve also loved basing Reed Smythe & Co in Nashville, not only because it’s such a supportive community of shoppers and lovers of art, but also because there’s a whole ecosystem of talented artists and artisans to work with and to discover.
So I hope you’ll enjoy a few of my favorite recommendations for visitors to Nashville, and some of my favorite pieces from our catalogue by Tennessee makers.
Many of these restaurants are off the beaten path or located in East Nashville, across the River from Downtown, or in Germantown, Nashville’s most charming neighborhood in my opinion.
Henrietta Red for divine seafood and delicious oysters
Rolf & Daughters for communal dining and a fab atmosphere. Have the seaweed butter and bread
Ciao Bao for funky Asian fusion
Iberian Pig for tapas
The Ryman Auditorium for just about any concert, even if the artist is new to you. Known as the Mother Church of Country Music, it’s got the best accoustics in town and is located in an old Gospel Tabernacle.
The National African American Museum of Music, a new addition to the Nashville music scene as of 2020. You’ll leave crying and dancing and a whole lot more knowledgeable about the roots of America’s favorite music.
Rudy’s Jazz Room once you’ve had your fill of Americana and Country (a bonus: dine at Iberian Pig before the set).
Schumacher Heartland for beautiful gifts and design by the famous fabric house.
Shop Alice for American and European designer brands that I’ll wager you’ve never seen before but will love. It’s very much off the beaten path, but don’t let that deter you.
Patina & Co for vintage and antique furniture and accessories.
A visit to Cheekwood Gardens in Nashville's leafy suburb of Belle Meade is a delightful way to spend a few hours in Fall for the famous pumpkin house installation, or in Spring when thousands of tulips are in bloom. I especially love the holiday light show that begins in November.
If you have the time, don’t miss shopping and dining in Franklin and Lieper’s Fork. And if you only have time to visit one of those spots, Lieper’s Fork is a must. An adorable, recently-restored country town with one main drag set in rolling hills in the horse country of Williamson County, it’s only 20 minutes from Nashville and a beautiful drive on backroads if you avoid the highway.
Bloomsbury Farm, an organic farm with a bountiful CSA program, farm shop and a festive Friday afternoon open house - Farm Fridays - serving craft beer, pizzas and farm fresh produce to take home.
REED SMYTHE'S TENNESSEE PRODUCTS
Milk Punch Gift Set With Tortoise High Ball Glasses including Belle Meade Bourbon made in Nashville
Hand Thrown Cups in Organic Shapes by Clare Reishman from Sewanee, TN
Silhouette Urn by Zack Love
Feather Paintings by Aretha McKinney
Copper Trays by Larry Stone
Handmade Brooms by Cynthia Main (of Berea, Kentucky, but they’re our Tennessee neighbors!)