If this isn’t the first post you’ve found on cricketcamping.com, you’ll know that we have become very fond of camping in the last ten months. In less than a year, we bought our first camper, bought our second camper, logged nearly 8,000 miles, and visited five National Parks. We've camped in public and private campgrounds; in all weather conditions from bitter cold to blistering heat. We keep coming back for more! Most recently we went on a weekend trip to Nashville.
When we go camping near cities, we love to check out the local cuisine, but for many reasons, we also make meals at the campground. Since we knew that we would be arriving at the campground around dinner, we decided to mix up a batch of Spicy Tuna Cakes at home and put the mixture into a ziplock bag to store in the camper fridge. Once we got to the campground, we quickly made them into patties and fried them in our Lodge Cast Iron Skillet and on our Camp Chef Mountain Series Butane Burner Stove. This, with a kale salad, was an easy dinner to make while the kids were touring the campground on their bikes. After swimming at the campground pool and taking a evening stroll around the campground, we fell asleep to the crickets chirping loudly in the many trees around our campsite.
Our first stop on our quick weekend trip was the beautiful Opryland Hotel just north of Nashville. This is an amazing place with restaurants, shopping, and beautiful gardens. In the picture above, the kids are pretending to step into one of the murals you can find in the gardens. If you ever go to Nashville, this is a must see!
We didn't take many pictures while there, but we walked all around downtown Nashville. It gets hot and humid in the summer and we discovered that it is quite hilly! We walked up and down downtown including Broadway Street. This street is not extremely kid friendly as it is filled mostly with bars, but the kids were amused by all of the neon signs and hearing the music pouring out of the many honky-tonks. The downtown has a variety of restaurants including The Stillery. We stopped there because of its good reviews and because it had hot chicken. Hot chicken is a local specialty that you must have when you visit Nashville. This was our first experience with hot chicken and it was pretty tasty!
After lunch, we walked to the Tennessee Military Museum. While trying to locate the entrance of the Military Museum, we walked around the War Memorial. This is an amazing structure that we recommend you see! Preferably, go to the museum first as it has a quick video explaining the structure and the sculpture within the memorial. Both the museum and memorial are down from the capital building, which we didn't tour on this trip, but want to next time! The kids were very interested in the Military Museum and asked many questions about WWI and WWII while walking around the exhibits. For being a small space, the Military Museum is packed with interesting things. Not too far from the Military Museum was the Tennessee History Museum. This is a huge museum that we unfortunately had to rush through because we arrived near closing time. There are quite a few exhibits that are hands-on including the stockade that Mitchell had to try out.
The Tennessee History Museum is getting a new home near Bicentennial Park in 2018, so we will have to go back then to properly tour it. After the museum, we walked to the Nashville Public Library. We read a few family blogs that said we must see the children's area of the library and it did not disappoint! It was a great area to cool off and the kids had a great time reading, playing in the fort, and climbing up the climbing wall. After playing at the library for a good amount of time, we drove to Bicentennial Park and the Nashville Farmers’ Market. We certainly could have walked there as it is downtown, but since we parked at the library and had walked a lot, we decided to drive. The Farmers' Market was shutting down and many of the vendors had already left by the time we arrived, but we did stop at Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream stand and had the Whole Lemon Sorbet. This was a delicious treat!
For dinner we went to Baja Burrito. This is in a neighborhood south of downtown and we went there because it showed up on many blog reviews of Nashville. We highly recommend this place and you will most likely have to wait in a long line as this appears to be a Nashville favorite. You order your food similarly to the way you order at Chipotle because you order in steps and your food is prepared right in front of you. We ate inside, but they do have a large patio with lots of shade umbrellas. When we visit Nashville again, we will definitely stop at Baja Burrito for burrito bowls and Topo Chicos.
We chose the Nashville North KOA because it was only 18 miles from downtown and was reasonably priced compared to campgrounds closer to the city. The kids enjoyed the pool, playground, and bike riding, and we all played shuffleboard before leaving on Sunday. This campground also has a corn hole set, several checkerboard stations, and four porch swings placed around the campground. We were surprised to find that there were no other kids at the campground while we were there and are not sure if it was just timing, or if the families with kids go to the RV resorts in-town just off the Briley Parkway such as the Nashville Jellystone or Nashville KOA.
Our next trip is planned and we hope to see Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park, Devil’s Tower National Monument, Mount Rushmore National Monument, and Crazy Horse Memorial. We are camping at three different campgrounds and a possible night of boon docking along the way.
Stay tuned as we prepare to cross the 10,000 mile mark for the Cricket Trailer!
Shane and Jessica
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