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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Vacation to Franklin, TN: Day one

Yeah, no international travel this year for's kind of sad to think that our 2019 trip to Italy might be the last international roaming we do for a while. But David and I both had use-or-lose time, so we decided to take a short trip to Nashville. Did we think it was safe? Nope. We were taking a risk. The Nashville area doesn't have a lot of COVID cases, but airplanes are straight up germ tubes. We decided to go anyway, even though that had implications in other areas of our life - for example, we won't be visiting David's family for two weeks, since his dad has high risk health conditions. We decided on Nashville because flights there were practically free - and then we actually ended up staying in Franklin, TN, instead. 
World's best little flyer

Day one
We flew into Nashville at about 11 am after an easy direct flight from MSY. David and I are pros at cutting flights really close, but with a baby in tow and reduced flight schedules, we didn’t want to risk missing our flight and having no alternatives. So we left ourselves a nice estimated 15 minute buffer. That was a lot of guesswork, though, since we were flying out of the new MSY terminal we have only flown out of it once before) and since these were COVID times. And of course, we ended up racing to our flight, anyway. We planned to use the old USAPark lot by the old terminal, since we have a non-transferable frequent flyer card there, and the website and many billboards blared, “Airline highway location still open!” Yeah, it was closed. So we had to go all the way to the new lot on Veterans anyway, and we arrived at the airport as our flight was boarding. Luckily we have PreCheck, and luckily (sadly) the airport was pretty deserted. The baby’s nap time hit right in the middle of the flight, but I tucked him in in his car seat and explained that he could take his sleep there. So he did. He’s good like that, and stayed asleep until we were ready to get into our rental car.

With a refreshed baby, we hit Nashville and went straight to lunch for a local specialty, the hot chicken sandwich- which was ok. It was really greasy and hard to eat, but I like spicy food, and the side salad was delicious. I ordered the baby a macaroni and cheese side and realized that - now that he is 8 months and a hungry little boy - I would now be ordering for him at restaurants. He eats way too much to share my plate! We walked from the restaurant to the Frist Art Museum. We knew that just a few exhibits were open, but we were ok with that. It ended up being perfect - they checked a stroller out to us to make the visit easier with the baby, and we viewed their two open exhibits. One had a fascinating interactive feature: the words of a letter Ghandi wrote to Hitler imploring peace scrolled past from a huge projector. But actually, the “screen” was a sheet of water vapor called a fog wall. You could walk right through it. It was very impressive. 

After that, we explored downtown Nashville’s music row and waterfront, stopping for homemade ice cream (which was gross, but there is no bad ice cream). Before leaving, I insisted we go to a Honkey Tonk - I mean, when in Rome! Plus, when was the last time we heard live music?! We sat at a table and had a beer and the baby danced and clapped to the music, which totally enthralled the band, who probably hadn’t had such an enthusiastic audience in a while! This baby loves ballads and Latino pop (I don’t know where he gets his taste from, he’s weird, we use to laugh because when I was pregnant he would kick up a storm when he heard Pitbull's "Fireball") and thoroughly enjoyed himself. We finally headed to the car and he got a car nap in right on the brink of meltdown- success!
We stayed in Franklin since we had planned a relaxed, countryside trip, but the drawback was that everything required lots of driving. The other giant drawback was the the suite David booked wasn’t actually two rooms - it was just one big one with a kitchen/office area. That defeated the purpose - we needed the extra room to put the baby in to sleep. So that night, after pizza takeout, we set up an Alexa with white noise, pulled his crib into the tiny entryway, and sat in near total darkness for two hours before going to bed. Slight fail. Our baby is a good sleeper, but at night he likes it to be dark. The configuration had the TV within his view, so we couldn’t watch TV, and I couldn’t even turn on my bedside light until he was soundly asleep because it also flooded the room with light (as a consequence I read much less than I expected on this trip, and watched more sports on the iPad instead!).


  1. That's great that you were able to get some sort of trip in even though it wasn't the kid of trip you'd take if not for covid! Glad his first flight went well! We did not fly with paul until he was 13 months and it went pretty well. As well as traveling with a baby could go. We were not able to bring his car seat, though, so I held him the whole time. I'm guessing you didn't need to buy a seat for him since they space everyone out so much due to covid now. So that is one perk of covid travel?

    I've never been to Nashville but I've heard it is a fun place to visit!

  2. It's a bummer about international travel being canceled this year and I hope you are able to travel more next year. It sounds like you made the most of your vacation time by going somewhere fun.