Having a good guide book when you visit a new city is generally not a bad idea if you’re looking to become familiar with where to eat or shop. Making friends with a bartender or two, though, is an even better idea if you’re interested in hanging out where the locals do. Case in point – the excellent tip we received from Kenneth at Husk about where the cool kids go on Monday nights – East Nashville’s 5 Spot.
Now, we really didn’t know all that much about Nashville when we decided to make it our girls’ getaway destination. We certainly didn’t know anything about East Nashville. Well, it seems that this area east of the Cumberland River is an upcoming neighborhood populated, as we learned from our Uber driver, with hipsters. This isn’t my assessment, just what we learned from the locals, my friends. I have to say, judging from the facial hair, plaid shirts and smart spectacles, it seems a pretty valid conclusion.
We arrived at the 5 Spot somewhere between 9:00 and 10:00, it’s kind of blurry. We anted up $5 a piece and joined the healthy crowd inside, already nodding our heads to the music and the scene. This was not a place for posers – just a whole bunch of people who wanted to have fun and dance. I love a good dive bar and this place has the vibe down – a little gritty, a lot dark with cheap beer and a small back “patio” to escape to when the need to cool down trumps the need to boogie down. If this place was in Albany, I’d make it my home away from home for good, clean fun.
This might be a fine time to note that I DO NOT dance generally. I’m not sure if it was the pre-game shots of Maker’s Mark, the anonymity of being a stranger or just that damn Motown beat, but I couldn’t quit moving on the dance floor. For three roughly mid-century girls, we were spun around with enthusiasm by an array of partners, but there wasn’t any handsy gropping or grinding going on. It was just about the music and dancing without any aggressive, cruisy bullshit. It was ultimately the perfect girls night out. The 5 Spot on Monday night is a game changer when it comes to the Monday blues
Despite having sent out 95 holiday cards, I still feel as if the holidays passed by without nearly enough time for me to make contact with all of the people I had hoped. Shit, I guess I can say the same thing about the entire year. Sometimes I think that TIME is the ultimate 4-letter word.
As I was running yesterday, I started inventorying the year, thinking of places I’ve been, thoughts which have stuck with me and little things which have brought great satisfaction. It was a very full year.
• Taking on the restaurant has been a life changing endeavor. I’m learning so much – about the responsibilities of running a business, how to ask for help when I need it, time management and what my own priorities are.
• Although I am spending less time just hanging out with my guys, it feels like we are actually seeing more of each other. What I mean is, I’m not merely Mom anymore and my sons are no longer just children. We’re each viewing facets of one another that may not have previously been revealed – they’ve become more independent and are developing an understanding about who I am as a business owner and hospitality professional. It’s pretty damn cool.
• I bought a new raincoat, kind of an anorak, prior to my France trip in April that was exactly what I wanted at far less than I expected to pay. That doesn’t happen often.
• The cold doesn’t really bother me, but I need sunshine.
• As far as that France trip goes, I wouldn’t have changed a thing about it. Seeing the beaches of Normandy and the sights of Paris with my oldest son was an unforgettable experience.
• Speaking of beaches, our two weeks on Lieutenant’s Island in Wellfeet were memorable in numerous ways. I was so lucky to spend 2 weeks with my favorite fellas, something I don’t expect to be able to do again for quite some time.
• I saw so much great music in 2015! Highlights were Jack White, Robert Plant (2x!), The Black Keys, Alabama Shakes and Government Mule’s amazing Dark Side set. It’s going to be hard for 2016 to rise above that lineup.
• Getting to my hometown, not once but twice, in 2015 was a real treat. Celebrating a 35 year class reunion and an afternoon spent on a paddleboard on the lake were both fun times.
• I ran a half marathon!
• Miraculously enough, I scored the perfect skinny jeans, like the raincoat, they came from Gap. Online shopping has become the norm for me and when I receive an item that actually fits perfectly, it’s kind of like hitting the jackpot.
• I made my way to NYC a few times, mixing it up by traveling with a special friend, my girlfriends and family. It remains my favorite city in the world.
• Closing out 2015 by spending 4 days with my most fun friends in Nashville was the perfect punctuation to a year filled with new experiences, challenges and accomplishments.
• I can’t wait to see where 2016 takes me. Hope you’ll come along for the ride!
Filed under Boys, Cape Cod, concerts, Europe, Events, Exercise, family, France, friends, holidays, Music, Nashville, NYC, Observations, Random, running, travel, vacation
2 of 3 Lunar b*tches
Traditional post-Last Run Manhattan
Former student friends
“Family or la mia famiglia”
Photo credit: Joe Putrock, Times Union
This is my last day of work until New Year’s Eve, a fact which I’m kind of excited about. When you factor in that I’ll be away with a couple of my best girlfriends exploring
bourbon a new city, I get almost a little giddy. Good times are ahead and I’m ready for them!
Last Saturday, for either the 5th or 6th consecutive year, I ran Albany’s Last Run. This event is absolutely my favorite run of the year – the course is terrific with a wonderful downhill finish and I just think Albany shines in a particularly bright fashion on this night. This year’s weather was perfect, it finally felt like winter for the night yet there was no precipitation or slippery stuff on the ground.
I have to admit that I nailed it, in terms of prep, parking my car near the restaurant in the early afternoon before they closed the streets, and leaving a change of clothes so I could shower at the Morgan State House, where friends were staying for the night. I ran to the course from the DelSo, arriving at the starting line warmed up and ready for the 5K and, without even really trying, finished with a decent enough time in a sometimes crowded race.
One of the best things about this time of the year, what really makes it wonderful, are the visits from friends who no longer live in the area. I absolutely love the way Lark + Lily has become almost an extension of my home as familiar faces stop in for a drink, a hug and even a bite to eat. It’s an unexpected and very welcome perk of this new life of mine.
At my real home, the cookies are nearly all baked, the stockings are hung and the ham is in the refrigerator waiting for its star turn on my dining room table on Christmas Eve. The next two days will be a balance between traditions (bagels and smoked salmon for breakfast, the holiday linens and Elvis) and winging it in a year with bizarrely warm temperatures and my resolve to simply enjoy the time with the guys I love.
My heart will be glowing.
Many months ago, I stated my intentions to run After the Leaves Have Fallen, my first half marathon. Now I know there are some people who don’t follow through on intentions, but, that’s not my way. I said it, I meant it and I was committed to doing it, despite the fact that I recently bought a wine bar and was now working 60+ hours week, a situation which really impeded my ability to run (or sleep) with any frequency.
Last Sunday, at the reasonable hour of 11:00 a.m., I found myself at the starting line in Minnewaska State Park, along with presumably 349 other runners. Yes, it’s a small race with only 350 entrants accepted. My personal preference is for small races and this one certainly met that criteria. I also don’t like spending a lot on entry fees, and, again this race was on point with a more than reasonable $15 price, which included a really cool pint glass.
While I’ve never officially run this race before, I have spent a little time on the trails and I kind of knew it was going to be a challenging run. There are some intense hills with significant elevation, and I was feeling undernourished and fatigued, even though I did remember to bring my handheld water bottle and a stash of jelly beans. Ultimately, though, I’m kind of stubborn, so I muscled through knowing the pain, which primarily radiated from the ball of my left foot, would definitely be offset by the incredible beauty of the course – which it absolutely was. If you’ve never been down that way, be it to walk, ride, run or ski, you really need to make it a goal destination. It’s spectacular.
So, I ended up walking a little along the way, but eventually finished in about 2:25, a decent enough time. The afternoon was enhanced by the presence of my friend, James, who always seems to bolster me through arduous events with his assertion that “this isn’t an easy race.” Next year we’re doing it together.
Gold Dust Woman
I should start by admitting that the same dark green velvet dress has been the base of my Halloween costume for three consecutive years. Do not underestimate my ability to be creative when it comes to working a pretty gown into the plan! Last night I covered the top of the dress with a lace blouse, leaving the dress to look like a skirt as I attempted to channel Stevie Nicks.
I suppose I should confess right now that, beyond the glittery scarves, wig and tambourine, everything for my costume came directly from my own closet. That says something, doesn’t it?
As I get older, I find myself I’ve returning to my younger years when it comes to adopting a costume for a night. The Stevie Nicks thing was inspired by that biography I read a couple of months ago and, even though quite a few people thought I was a gypsy rather than a rock and roll goddess, I enjoyed last night’s adopted persona. Special points to those who detected the powdery residue on my nostrils.
The front of the house staff at Lark + Lily proved that they are indeed a family, specifically one with the last name of Ramone. They really rock.
Hope your Halloween was fun and filled with more treats than tricks!
The last time I ran up, and I do mean up, at Thacher Park was over the summer during ARE’s trail series. The weather was fine and the people were nice, but the course began with a murderous hill which made me a bit cranky. I don’t mind hills*, but, please let me work up to them!
Last Sunday’s Squirrelly Six caught me a little unprepared. You know, the week you open a restaurant and work 6 consecutive days/nights may not be the right time to register to run six miles through the woods, but there I was, nonetheless, at 9:30 in the morning at the starting line. The weather had been a concern since rain was in the forecast and I was worried it might be kind of cold. We (my Lunar Girls were there, too!) totally lucked out with a mostly dry run through some fresh mud from the previous night’s showers in an almost balmy 50’ish . Mud is fun, though and I nailed it when it came to running attire, luckily selecting layers which kept me comfortable for the duration.
I’ve done this race, I think, 3 consecutive years and the course which debuted this year was my absolute favorite. The trails were mostly fairly wide with limited hills and the vista was spectacular. No, really – it was a stunning morning with peak foliage and a mood enhancing layer of fog in the valley. I was unable to resist stopping twice to snap a couple of pictures because it was that scenic. It was an absolutely beautiful run and the perfect personal reward at the end of a long week.
Next up – After the Leaves Have Fallen in early November. It’s a bit more than twice the distance which means it should be at least twice as fun, right?
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could close your eyes and read at the same time? Since that isn’t possible, read the next few sentences and then close your eyes for a moment and imagine the picture I’m trying to paint for you…
A gorgeously sunny afternoon in early autumn. Blue skies with the occasional fluffy white cloud. Leaves colored in vivid shades of orange and red and yellow. The fragrance of ripe apples permeating the air along with the buzzing of yellow jackets seeking their own share of the harvest. Cold, delicious cider and smoky pork. The warmth of the sun on that spot on your lower back where your shirt and shorts don’t meet.
That was how I spent a glorious couple of hours yesterday down in Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook. The crowd, impressive in both size and mellowness, was friendly and fun, happy to sip Nine-Pin and toss beanbags as they played cornhole. It was truly the epitome of an upstate October Sunday.
I saw some familiar faces and made some new acquaintances who I’ll be working with to get Nine-Pin on draft for Lark + Lily.
I can’t make the perfection of an autumn day last forever, but I can arrange for the taste of the day to be made available all year long. We’ll have Cider Tuesday through Saturday instead.