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Meredith Braden Bucher

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48 Hours In Nashville

48 Hours In Nashville

Welcome to Music City! Get ready to dive into the city’s booming restaurant scene & two-step till the early hours of the night with this weekend guide to Nashville written by Meredith from The Glass Passage.

Friday

Nashville is a convenient flight from most US cities — and it’s manageable size makes it the perfect spot for a weekend getaway (for those who might be a little lacking in PTO). I flew in from Dallas and was in the heart of downtown in just 20 minutes from the airport and checking into my wonderful accommodation, 506 Lofts.

The Lofts are in a historic building from the 1800s right in the middle of the action (you can walk to Broadway in under 10 minutes!) and are near several bars and restaurants. The lofts are individually decorated with local murals, artisan furniture and really make you feel as though you’re Nashville’s newest resident. The 506 Team was wonderful in providing insight into where to go, park and their favorite parts of the city. Our loft had gorgeous bedrooms, a fully fitted kitchen (complete with snacks from local businesses in town!) and and a spacious living area.

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After settling in, we set out to posh neighborhood The Gulch to catch the sunset (and craft cocktails) at rooftop bar L.A. Jackson. Drinks were followed with dinner at rustic Italian hotspot Moto (and even better: the M Street restaurant group that runs it has numerous concepts all on one street, offering something different — and equally delicious — for everyone). After dinner, we indulged in trivia and throwback arcade games (Pacman + cocktails, a winning combo) at Headquarters Beercade — a quirky spot filled with locals gathering for a good time.

Saturday

48 Hours In Nashville

The day began with brunch and bowling at Pinewood Social (if you go for dinner, it’s an equally cool vibe). We then got a country music history lesson with a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and (more interestingly for the Graphic Designer in me) Hatch Show Print — a letterpress print shop that’s created iconic concert posters from everyone from Louis Armstrong to Hank Williams! For die-hard country fans, also don’t miss out on the Johnny Cash Museum, located nearby.

48 Hours In Nashville

We traveled from downtown to the charming and beautiful Germantown neighborhood and grabbed vanilla bourbon lattes and homemade biscuits at Barista Parlour — one of the hippest coffee shops in town.

48 Hours In Nashville48 Hours In Nashville

Nashville also boasts a booming craft beer scene, so dinner and a brew at one of the city’s many breweries is a must! I’d recommend either Yazoo Brewing Company, Jackalope Brewing Company or Tennessee Brew Works (which also has live country music).

Now it’s time for the main event: a night out on historic Broadway. This iconic street is packed full of honky tonks pumping out incredible live music from 10am – 3am, 7 days per week. The best part? It’s all free! Artists from all over play for tips only on Broadway because it’s considered such an honor to play where stars like Willie Nelson and Dierks Bentley began their career.

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Sunday

48 Hours In Nashville

Walk off the hangover on the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge for one of the best views in town (we went in the evening, but it’s popular for a morning run) before grabbing a hearty southern breakfast at Frothy Monkey.

48 Hours In Nashville

After you’ve gotten your morning grits, you’re perfectly positioned to peruse some of the best shopping in town in the popular 12 South neighborhood. Don’t miss out on the ladylike looks at Draper James (Reece Witherspoon’s clothing brand), the adorable Ameila’s Flower Truck and the famous Nashville mural located all along the same street.

48 Hours In Nashville

Before you catch your flight home there is one last piece to the perfect Nashville puzzle — and that’s hot chicken. Look no further than Nashville staple Hattie B’sfor arguably the best in town. Order the hottest level at your own risk, these people don’t mess around!

48 Hours In Nashville

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Guides Insider Tips North America

The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas

The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas

Buckle in ladies. Today, we’re going to learn all about the three main cities bursting with life in good ol’ Texas!

Dallas

Start your journey in Dallas. Albeit, this will be the least “Texan” stop along the way, so allow yourself to ease into the Southwest in the city full of bougey bars, boutiques and eateries. Being a Dallas native myself, I was thrilled to see how the Downtown area has come alive in recent years. The formerly barren core of the city is now bustling with cultural hotspots and culinary destinations.

I had the pleasure of staying at the historic Adolphus Hotel, located in the heart of downtown. Since its opening in 1912, the hotel has been an institution of the city — recently undergoing a renovation that blends its rich past with a fresh sophistication that appeals to guests both young and old. We began our visit with a brunch at City Hall Bistro, a European-style restaurant conveniently located inside the hotel. Each dish was inventive and layered with flavor, paring perfectly with the French rosé our server had recommended. Later that evening, we returned from exploring downtown in the freezing rain to have cocktails at The French Room Bar — sinking into the velvet sofa by a glowing fire, Gin Fizz in-hand.

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Downtown Dallas

Downtown Dallas alone is full of places to discover. Grab an insta-worthy cappuccino at Commissary, shop (or window shop, at least) till you drop at 4-story fashion mecca Forty Five Ten or visit the flagship store of the iconic Neiman Marcus just across the street. There’s also an array of high-end boutiques along Main street that are sure to impress even the most discerning customer (Le Labo, TenOverSix, The Taschen Library). Once you’ve gotten your shopping fix, learn about the most significant event in the city’s history at The Sixth Floor Museum — the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. For the more faint-hearted, a visit to The Arts District will not disappoint as there are world-class collections at both The Dallas Museum of Art and The Nasher Sculpture Center.

Have a sunset walk across Ronald Kirk Pedestrian Bridge, enjoying one of the best views of the Dallas skyline and finish it with dinner or a drink at Trinity Groves, which is at the base of the bridge and has a rotating selection of pop-up restaurants that showcase cuisines from all over the world.

The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas

Uptown Dallas

Any proper Dallasite will tell you that come Saturday morning, everyone goes for brunch. Dallas is a city of amazing patios, and the typically sunny skies are the perfect setting for some bacon and bottomless mimosas. The popular Uptown area is brimming with brunch spots, some of my favorites in this area include Breadwinner’s Cafe, The Rustic or Common Table (try the chicken & waffles, you can thank me later).

Burn off brunch with a walk on The Katy Trail, a pedestrian-friendly biking and running trail that snakes through the city. End the afternoon with a local craft beer (or two) at one of my favorite spots, Katy Trail Ice House — an outdoor beer garden with a Texas twist.

Deep Ellum

When I lived in Dallas, this was my favorite part of the city. It’s full of grungy favorites that ooze an unassuming, I-don’t-really-care cool. Recently, it’s gotten a little hipper and little “yuppier” but is still a refreshing escape from the typical Uptown crowd. Here’s what’s on my list when I’m back for a visit:

Drink locally-brewed craft beer with live music: Deep Ellum Brewing Company, Braindead Brewing

Shop around: Dolly Python (the best vintage shop), Jade & Clover (cute knick-knacks and a make-your-own terrarium plant bar)

Eat incredible food at these local restaurants: Pecan Lodge (true, Texas barbecue), Deep Sushi (hip sushi spot with great specialty rolls), Cane Rosso (authentic Neapolitan pizza and the best in Dallas), Twisted Root Burger Co. (you guessed it, killer burgers), Pepe’s & Mito’s (homestyle Tex Mex)

Grab drinks among the cool kids in town: Twilite Lounge, Adair’s Saloon, Black Swan Saloon, Off The Record Craft Beer & Vinyl

Late-night eats: Serious Pizza, Fuzzy’s Tacos, Glazed Donut Works (specialty donuts till 2am)

Alright, It’s time to bid-adieu to D-town. Hop in your rental car, pop on some George Strait and head south down the highway to the coolest town in Texas, Austin.

Austin

The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas

Welcome to the start-up, live music and breakfast taco capitol of Texas (oh, and it’s also the actual state capitol, too). There’s a booming restaurant scene and tons of outdoor activities (that every Austin resident wants nobody else to find out about) ;).

I stayed right in the middle of hip, up-and-coming East Austin at The Heywood Hotel. It actually felt as though I was crashing at my most stylish friend’s house, that friend who knows all the local hot spots with a killer eye for design to boot. There are 7 uniquely designed rooms in the renovated house, each featuring local artwork and artisan snacks from businesses around town. The Heywood team is full of amazing Austin recommendations and even has a curated map and neighborhood restaurant guide in each room.

The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas

East Austin

My day began the only way it should when in Austin, with food truck migas tacos and a Mexican coffee from Flat Track Coffee (a bike repair shop slash artisan coffee brewery). And I’m just gonna say it and save you the research, the BEST breakfast tacos in town are from Veracruz All Natural — an unassuming food truck tucked away from all the tourists in the East. Actually, you’ll find a great majority of bars and restaurants loved by the locals in this part of the city. To name a few…

  • Hillside Pharmacy: A historic drugstore lovingly restored into a charming brunch destination offering southern comfort food with a refined twist
  • Franklin’s Barbecue: Classic Texas barbecue in a casual, down home setting. Line up early, this place only serves it’s famous fare for lunch and it goes FAST.
  • Stay Gold: Drink among laid back locals with a varied drink menu in this dive bar with live music
  • Whisler’s: One of the best patios in town with whimsical punch bowls (shaped like poodles) for a hot day
  • Weather Up: Vintage leather banquettes, marble tables, chic cocktails in gold-rimmed glasses and an airy patio with a giant oak tree
  • Kitty Cohen’s: Lounge poolside in a wonderfully kitsch setting that oozes 1970s glamour.

Rainey Street

Visit this street of old, historic homes that have all been converted into bars offering everything from tallboys to tequila. Go during the work week to avoid too many wild students or bachelorette parties. Sample the best of Texas craft beer at Craft Pride Austin, sip on a Bartender’s Choice cocktail at Half Step or hula-hoop in the backyard with a frozen lemonade (made with strawberry moonshine) at Lustre Pearl.

South Congress Ave.

This one street is the perfect pedestrian location for an easy afternoon of window shopping, sipping and snacking. Get yourself a proper pair of Lucchese cowboy boots at Allens Boots — an Austin landmark with over 4,000 pairs to choose from! Grab pizza from Home Slice, a gourmet burger from Hopdoddy’s Burger Bar, an iced coffee from Jo’s Coffee (and snap a photo at their famous “I love you so much” mural if you’re feeling extra touristy) or a sweet treat from food truck Hey Cupcake! The street is brimming with quirky boutiques — offering everything from cool menswear (STAG Provisions) to vintage costumes (Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds). Take a look down to the capitol building when crossing the street for one of the best views in the city!

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ALSO, DON’T MISS OUT ON…

Hiking to the top of Mount Bonnell for an amazing view of the city. Great for a sunset photo op or a little picnic!

Have a day in the sun at the popular public swimming hole from natural springs, Barton Springs.

Go to a group exercise class or outdoor concert at Zilker Park.

Rent a kayak, canoe or paddle board and make your way down the Colorado River, that conveniently runs through the heart of the city.

Sample incredible Japanese fusion food at Uchi — the brussel sprouts will leave you with cravings for months.

If you can visit Austin during festival season, even better! South By Southwest (SXSW) and Austin City Limits are both world-renowned festivals with killer musical lineups each year.

San Antonio

The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas

The third and final stop of the Texas Trifecta is just a 45 minute drive from downtown Austin. San Antonio is the most manageable of the 3 cities when it comes to getting around town, but you’ll want to stay in the middle of the action on The Riverwalk.

I stayed at Hotel Contessa, which is located in this lively district. Convenient location aside, the suites were modern with sophisticated Western and Spanish influences and the staff had that friendly Texas hospitality I so often miss overseas. Guests can dine right along the water on the hotel’s outdoor terrace, or order breakfast tacos in bed (which is what I did). A quick 5 minute walk will put you in the thick of the most visited area in the city.

The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas

We strolled down the riverwalk with no set agenda, stopping into shops along the way and sitting along the water watching boats pass by. We had an amazing lunch at Ácenar, which serves up traditional TexMex and has guacamole that’s made table-side. I will say that San Antonio consistently has the best traditional TexMex and Mexican food in the state — so take this as your chance to indulge! The Riverwalk area is full of Mexican restaurants — we also had dinner and the most amazing Margaritas at Iron Cactus.

The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas

After getting your taco fix, head down to The Pearl District, a mixed-use space with green areas, restaurants and live music — all centered around a former brewery founded in 1883.

For a fun little afternoon or evening trip, drive 45 minutes to Gruene (pronounced Green) — a tiny little town with adorable bed & breakfasts, shops and a historic downtown area that feels like something out of a movie. We spent an evening at Gruene Hall, which is the oldest dance hall in Texas! Grab a Shiner and hit the dance floor for some traditional Texas Two-Stepping.

The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas

Of course, no visit to San Antonio is complete without a visit to The Alamo — which is probably the most famous landmark in Texas. Tour the 18th century landmark and let the history of the former fortress (during the Texas Revolution) seep in. Stroll through downtown to sit on Main Plaza in front of the stunning San Fernando Cathedral. Then, have one last TexMex dinner (or even a late night snack since they’re open 24 hours a day!) at kitschy fun Mi Tierra Cafe y Panaderia.

The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas The Texas Trifecta: Where To Explore When In Texas


Between these three cities, there’s truly something for everyone. If you’re wanting to take your Texas trek a step further, check out this article about an adventure to Marfa and Big Bend National Park. I hope Y’ALL enjoy my home state as much as I do! 

 

Europe

Sintra: The Can’t-Miss Day Trip from Lisbon

Sintra is a small resort town that’s just a 40 minute train ride from the Lisbon city center. I went there for the day and was blown away by all there is to do – it’s truly a destination in itself! While the actual town is rather sleepy (but still nice for a quaint lunch or coffee), there are several castles and palaces dotting the hills that guests can visit by bus. We visited Quinta da Regaleira and got lost in the fairy tale estate and its lush grounds (including the mysterious Initiation Well that is a mossy inverted tower, spiralling down into the earth).

Sintra: The Can’t-Miss Day Trip from LisbonThe Fonte Mourisca spring (that still provides drinkable water!)

Sintra: The Can’t-Miss Day Trip from LisbonSintra: The Can’t-Miss Day Trip from LisbonSintra: The Can’t-Miss Day Trip from LisbonSintra: The Can’t-Miss Day Trip from LisbonSintra: The Can’t-Miss Day Trip from Lisbon

I’d also recommend seeing the Pena Palace, the Castle of the Moors and the Monserrate Palace. This is a lot to do in just a day, but the bus system runs throughout the region and connects visitors between the several popular destinations. One other notable spot is the dramatic cliffs of Cabo da Roca –  a cape which forms the westernmost extent of continental Europe. We sat for hours in the sunshine on the edge of the huge cliffs, it’s a gorgeous landscape that cannot be missed!

Sintra: The Can’t-Miss Day Trip from Lisbon

Sintra: The Can’t-Miss Day Trip from LisbonSintra: The Can’t-Miss Day Trip from LisbonSintra: The Can’t-Miss Day Trip from LisbonSintra: The Can’t-Miss Day Trip from Lisbon


With Sintra being a quick, easy drive from the hustle and bustle of Lisbon and other cities… it’s the perfect day trip when visiting beautiful Portugal! Have you been to Sintra?

Budget Europe Hotels

Hotels We Love: Mr. Jordaan

Tucked away on a 17th century canal street sits Mr. Jordaan , a charming canal-house-turned-boutique hotel. The hotel is in the middle of the Jordaan, a popular neighborhood in midtown bursting with some of Amsterdam’s best shops, restaurants and art galleries.

The hotel’s location is pretty perfect — in just a 10 minute walk you can be window shopping on the picturesque Little 9 Streets (De 9 Straatjes) or viewing the largest collection of Van Gough works in the world at the Van Gough Museum.

I, however, had trouble not lounging the day away in my cozy attic room on the top floor of the hotel. This attic hideaway, and the comfy ground floor lounge with coffee, snacks and a great breakfast truly made Mr. Jordaan feel like a home-away-from-home.

The best part is that the hotel’s start came from the founder advertising his couch to travellers passing through Amsterdam at a local travel agency in the 1960s. People loved it so much that his couch eventually expanded from a room, to a full floor, to the entire canal house that it is today. This guy was the original trailblazer of traveling “like-a-local”, sorry Airbnb! His guests loved being greeted by a hot cup of coffee, local travel tips and being handed the old fashioned Jordaan house key. The hotel still to this day offers all of these things to it’s guests, making it an unforgettable Amsterdam experience.

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Europe Food Insider Tips

A Weekend Guide To Nuremberg

Ahh, Bavaria. The southern region of Germany is very visually and culturally different than what you’ll find in Berlin. Bratwursts, old beer halls and streets lined with half-timbered houses abound. The region’s charm is unmatched — and Nuremberg is the perfect place to get a taste of it. Read on for Dame Traveler Contributor Meredith of The Glass Passage’s tips for the perfect long weekend in the city!

Market Square by night — home of the world famous Christmas Market every December!

WHERE TO STAY?

Located just inside the walls of the old city and a stone’s throw from the main train station, you’ll find historic Hotel Victoria. The boutique hotel has been privately owned since its opening in 1896 — so you could say they know a thing or two about how to create a lovely and inviting environment that keeps guests coming back time and again!

The rooms are comfortable and modern, yet the building itself is under monumental protection from the city, so it’s a wonderful blend of old and new. My favorite part, however, was every morning at the amazing breakfast buffet. It was definitely an ideal start for a long day of exploring!

WHERE TO EAT?

No visit to Nuremberg is complete without trying some traditional Franconian (which is the exact region where the city sits within Bavaria) food. Nuremberg is famous for it’s Bratwurst and let me tell you, it did not disappoint! The best place to try it (along with the BEST potato salad and sauerkraut I’ve ever had) is at Bratwursthäusle, which has been making its sausages in their in-house butcher’s shop in the back of the restaurant for ages. The restaurant sits right in front of St. Sebauldus church, just off the Main Market square and is so charming and authentically Franconian in its decor.

Bratwursthäusle & St. Sebauldus Church

We shared a table with a lovely German couple visiting their great uncle, who told us stories (in German, which the couple graciously translated to English) of his experiences before and during the war, all in between swigs of local beer and schnapps shots!

WHAT TO SEE?

Unlike other European destinations, Nuremberg’s high season comes in December with the arrival of the world famous Christkindlesmarkt (or Christmas Market). The Main Market Square is filled with stalls selling smoked meats, mulled wine and fresh gingerbread, all happening in front of the stunning Church of Our Lady. However, even in November it was still beautiful with a local market selling fresh gingerbread, flowers and other kinds of street food.

For some good cafes and coffee shops (AND photo ops 😉 ) head over to Weißgerbergasse (Tanner’s Lane) for the largest grouping of traditionally Bavarian half-timbered houses.

Walk up past the Old Town Hall and pop into St. Sebaldus Church (which is gorgeous and packed with so much free historical information!) on your way up to the Kaiserburg, or Imperial Castle. The Imperial Castle sits high overlooking the city and was one of the most important fortified imperial palaces of the Holy Roman Empire. It also has a museum inside the castle that is worth a visit.

The view from the Imperial Castle

Nearby, you can visit the house (and now museum) of famed German artist Albrecht Dürer which is still in tact from when it was constructed in 1420! Other sights for history buffs include the Nuremberg Trials Memorial and the Documentation Center for the Nazi Party Rally Grounds.

Exploring the Old Town area

 …when in Germany 😉

THE BEST DAY TRIP?

If you have more than 2 days in Nuremberg, I highly recommend taking a short 1 hr train and visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber — one of the most well-preserved medieval villages and truly something straight out of a story book. Its small size allows for it to be easily explored in a day, and it is really, just, I mean, well…I’ll just let my photos do the talking here 😉

Climb one of the towers of the old city walls for an incredible view!

The city walls envelop the entire Old Town and it takes about an hour to walk around the entire perimeter.

There are tons of little shops with all kinds of German treats!

Plönlein (the little yellow house) — one of the most famous views of the town!

Shop Our Nuremberg Style

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