Holiday Gift Guide 2015

nashville gift guide

'Tis the season ya'll, and I couldn't be more excited! (Like, so excited that we may be putting up decor today. Don't you judge.) I wanted to put together a little gift guide of my favorite local items for those of you looking to gift (or be given) Nashville-inspired swagger this year.

Click brand names to access link to online storesor, simply pick up locally!

5 Best Fall Activities in Nashville

best fall activities in nashville fall ideas

Fall is by far my favorite season -- and, as always, there is so much to do with so little time. I put together a checklist of my musts this season and wanted to share them with YOU! So, in no particular order, I present to you my 5 Favorite Fall Activities in Nashville.

1. Eat well.

Music City Food + Wine

Quite possibly the best event I've ever attended, this year's Music City Food + Wine will be held September 19 + 20. All weekend long, your ticket allows you to indulge in unlimited artisanal food, wine, beer, and spirits from the country's top chefs and purveyors. Plus, you can hang with me all weekend. Win Win.

2. Soak up the fall colors in our Botanical Gardens.

Cheekwood Harvest

Because, Cheekwood ya'll. One of the most beautiful sites in all of Nashville, 2015 kicks off their 4th annual Harvest: a six-week fall festival featuring activities for folks of all ages. You can pick a pumpkin from Cheekwood's patch of over 3,000 pumpkins, check out the 5,000 stunning chrysanthemums planted across the grounds, and even experience an authentic Japanese Moon Viewing on the evening of Sunday, Sept. 27th. Check out the full calendar of events at the link above.

3. Get really, really scared.

Nashville Nightmare Haunted House

I love love love a good scare -- and do my best to attend a few haunted houses every Halloween season. Last year, I checked out Nashville Nightmare for the first time, and it was FABULOUS. One of the most intense haunted house experiences I've ever had - and definitely my new #1 in Nashville. This year they return with two new attractions, Night Terrors (25,000 square feet of awesome), and Horror High. I can't wait.

4. Go for a Scenic Drive 

A few of my favorite, most serene spots just outside the city are even more gorgeous as the leaves begin to turn in Nashville: 

Natchez Trace | Leiper's Fork | Gentry Farm

Make a day of it! Start out at the Nachez Trace Bridge, head to Liepers fork for some shopping, lunch, and homemade cobbler at the original Puckett's Grocery, and swing by Gentry Farms to pick up a pumpkin and explore the corn maze.

Burgess Falls

Just an hour and a half drive from Nashville brings you to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state. A 1.5-mile round-trip trail offers a moderately strenuous hike, which will take you past four waterfalls and into the gorge.

5. Drink / Be Merry. 

Arrington Vineyards

40 min south of downtown through gorgeous countryside lies Arrington Vineyards, a perfect evening getaway from the city. Every weekend through November you can catch live music and sip a local vino under the stars. Pack a picnic for a perfect date night or outing with your friends.

TPAC GIVEAWAY! Win 2 Tickets to Rodgers + Hammerstine's Cinderella | Contest Closed!

cinderella nashville TPAC

Congrats Jacob Mitchell, you're the big winner. Everyone else, stay tuned -- there will be more chances to win in your future! -m


Want to check out Cinderella at TPAC on opening night, October 20th? Well, you're in luck — I'm giving away two tickets to this Tony Award-winning show from the creators of The Sound of Music and South Pacific.

Delighting audiences with its contemporary take on the classic tale, this lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love — the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more. You'll certainly be transported back to your childhood in this hilarious and romantic Broadway experience for anyone who’s ever had a wish, a dream... or a really fabulous pair of shoes.

You have multiple ways to enter  and it's so simple:

1) Follow me on Instagram (@experiencenash) or Facebook, and leave a comment on this blog letting me know you've done so (1 entry per follow.)

2) Leave a comment on my Instagram image about the contest (link here), and tag a friend you think should follow Experience Nash (One entry for every person you tag!)

I'll notify the winner next Wednesday, October 21. Good luck!

The Best Haunted House in Nashville

Fall: It's one of my favorite times of year in Nashville. The changing leaves, the cooling temps, bonfires, cider, s'mores, Oktoberfest. Oh, and Haunted Houses. For some reason, something about immersing ones self in a terrifying experience is obnoxiously appealing to me - and I look forward to the season every. single. year.

best haunted house nashville

I've visited my fair share of haunts in town, and I have to crown a new favorite for 2015 - one that quite simply stands out above and beyond any house I've ever experienced: Nashville Nightmare. The sets, the design, costumes, overall production, the fact that it consistently scared the hell out of me and my friends - all elements of a top notch haunted house, which made for an absolutely terrifying experience.

There are actually two houses on site - Night Terrors and Horror High. The first, contains over 25,000 square feet of scenes that will undoubtedly re-visit you in your nightmares. I can't begin to tell you how many times I screamed. Out loud. Like a child. Whatever. The latter, Haunted High, is located in the abandoned remains of an actual high school. Terrifying. By the time we made it through both, I was without voice. I mean, no big deal, right?

If you're looking for even more, thorough reviews of the other Haunted Houses in Nashville, I recommend turning to my friends at the Nashville Scene and checking their stellar recommendations. Scene contributor Justin Stokes ranks the various haunts based on scariness, acting, costumes, production design, time, price, ingenuity, lighting, sound and misc. novelty factors: a scale which of course seems ghoulish-ly appropriate. 

Topping The Scene's list with an A+ is the aforementioned Nashville Nightmare, which Stokes describes contains "makeup and monsters of a caliber you'd expect at Universal Studios Halloween Horror Nights." Also note, Nashville Nightmare was also named among the top 31 Haunts in the nation by Haunted Attraction Magazine, so enter if you dare.

Free Blake Shelton Concert on Music Row!

blake shelton nashville concert

Heyyyyyyyyyy Nashville!

Here's your chance to join me at a concert with one of the biggest names in country music (+ with some of the best food trucks in town. Yassss.) Blake Shelton is playing a show next Wednesday, September 23, on iconic Music Row here in Nashville -- and the best part is that it's 100% free.

And here are all the deets:

Date: Wednesday, September 23rd
Time: Gates Open 4:30 PM, Show 5:30 PM
Locale: Warner Music Nashville | 20 Music Square East
Rain or shine.

Note - you'll want to prepare for what's likely to be crazy traffic and use alternative transportation - parking is limited. IMO, Uber + Lyft will be your best bet. Music Square East will be closed from Roy Acuff Place to Music Circle North from 3 PM until 8 PM.

Annnnd perhaps my favorite part about this event the FOOD and drank. Here's what trucks are planning on being there: Hoss Loaded Burgers, Smoke Et Al, The Grilled Cheeserie, Crankee’s Pizza. Beer provided by Bud Light.

Finally, it's the day before my birthday, so presents will be accepted. (Kidding. Sort of.) See you there!

Chatting with Gillian Abbot, Dirty Dancing's "Baby" - coming to TPAC in September!

Nobody puts Baby in a corner they say, well, they've clearly never met me.

I recently sat down for a quick chat with Baby, aka Gillian Abbot -- about her upcoming visit to Nashville's TPAC with the traveling production of Dirty Dancing. It wasn't really in a corner, but felt I needed a reason to use one of the best lines from the 1980's in my blog.

EN: Your favorite part about touring with Dirty Dancing?

GA: Performing for so many audiences throughout America. Each city brings a new energy and it's an incredible opportunity to connect with people from all different walks of life.

EN: What's the most challenging part about the role of Baby?

GA: It's very physically demanding! Between all the dancing and "running around behind my family's back", I don't stop. It's very important for me to take good care of my body so that I can give it my all 8 times a week and stay healthy. 

EN: What can the audience look forward to when the curtain raises at TPAC this September?

GA: Hopefully an ecstatic energy filling the theater both on and off stage! This show is a unique collaboration between performers and the audience as many of the patrons are holding their breath for each moment from the movie. I love how the audience motivates us as much as we inspire them in reliving this iconic love story. 

EN: Have you done a show in Nashville before, or have you visited? What do you love about it? If not, what are you most excited to see while you’re in town?

GA: This will be my first time in Nashville! I am most excited to experience Music Row. I am from Calgary, Alberta, home of the Calgary Stampede, and I'm a huge country music fan! I'm also hoping Taylor Swift happens to pop into our show...she's in town with her tour and I've always thought we would be good friends!

EN: Nashville is filled with aspiring musicians and artists. Any advice to local musicians looking to make it into the theater world?

GA: Start with WHY you want to be an artist. By getting to the root of your desire to perform, not only will it help you through the hard times when it would be easier to give up, but it will also guide to other artists who share a similar passions and will therefore be your best collaborators. 

Thanks Gillian! And ya'll, you're not going to want to miss the classic story of Dirty Dancing -- featuring some of my fave 80's classics like "Hungry Eyes" and everyone's favorite song/scene to reenact, "The Time of My Life" (which, I may or may have danced to in front of my mirror in the privacy of my bedroom as a child. Or okay, yes, I still do it.) 

Coming to TPAC September 22-27, tickets are on sale @


GILLIAN ABBOTT (Frances “Baby” Houseman) humbly makes her National Tour debut as “Baby”. Recently made her television debut on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, performed in choreographer Stacey Tookey’s Moments Defined, and The Metropolitan Opera’s Prince Igor. Proudly graduated from The Juilliard School after beginning her professional career in Cirque du Soleil's Beatles LOVE show. Blessed to begin her journey in Calgary, Alberta among family, friends and mentors. Thanks be to God!

GIVEAWAY: Nashville Word of Mouth - The Perfect Nashville Coffee Table Book!

CONTEST CLOSED! Congratulations, Lisa Zimmer: you're the winner! Thanks everyone who entered - I've got a few more giveaways up my sleeve, so stay tuned!


I'm so excited to give away a copy of Word of Mouth, Nashville Conversations to one of my followers! Local author, Lily Hansen, put together a fabulous book which captures the drive, passion, and innovation of Nashvillians who have thrived in – and helped drive the art, culinary, business, and music industries that have bolstered Nashville’s boom. 

The book features stunning black & white photography from some of our town's finest photographers,  candid interviews with the likes of Mike Wolfe, creator of American Pickers, and Patrick Carney, drummer for The Black Keys (+ so much more). Needless to say, it is the perfect addition to any lover-of-Nashville's coffee table. 

Parnassus Book Store sums Nashville Conversations up quite perfectly in their review: "Although it celebrates the spirit of Nashville, Word of Mouth: Nashville Conversations is for creative entrepreneurs everywhere. As a compendium of insight and wisdom shared by those who have pursued their dreams, Word of Mouth presents stories that young and old alike should hear as they embark on their own creative journey."

One of my ABSOLUTE favorite parts about the Nashville creative community is the willingness of its members to meet, brainstorm, encourage, and to simply help one another out (which, randomly, is how author Hansen and I initially connected -- so fun.)  The creative community and its support for one another is further reason as to why I am so proud to be from this town, and, I love love love that Conversations showcases this very idea.

You can meet Lily and get your signed copy of the book at her signing at Parnassus Books Tuesday, August 18 @ 6:30PM. And, to win your very own copy, head over to Experience Nashville Instagram ( -- simply follow me, and tag a friend in the comments section of the Word of Mouth, Nashville Conversations picture and you're entered! I'll be announcing the winner on Monday, August 17.