Our Cross-Country Road Trip: Part 1

Nashville, Tennessee | Freckled Italian

Hello from California! We finally arrived early Saturday evening and have been exploring our new neighborhood ever since. After a full summer of Rob traveling, it was a little surreal to go to bed on Sunday night knowing we were together again for a "regular" week (what even is regular anymore, though, you know?).

The movers will be here today and I'm so excited to see all of our stuff in our new place! Moving is rough in so many ways but I always love unpacking and getting settled. But until then, and because we obviously succeeded in driving across the country, I thought I'd do a quick recap while it's still on my mind. 

Day One

We left Charlotte around 10:30 on Sunday morning and headed for Nashville, Tennessee. We knew ahead of time that we wanted to stop in Asheville, North Carolina because we had only been once before. Looking back this was definitely the easiest day of driving, even though Ender didn't really know what was going on.

AshevilleHigh Five Coffee for two cappuccinos to go. I walked Ender around the neighborhood while Rob ordered and waited. We thought we might go to lunch at Wicked Weed Brewing but it was Sunday afternoon and really crowded (Ender's nightmare, or I guess I should say our nightmare with Ender). This is the first time we realize traveling with a dog comes with challenges, and we're not even three hours in.

Nashville: Right away we go to Centennial Dog Park, and I'm so glad we did. Ender usually starts playing right away when he sees other dogs but this time he hesitantly followed other pups around and then would run away like a shy little kid at a playground. After a while he made a couple friends and got good and muddy in a wrestling match with a black lab and a golden retriever.

After checking into our hotel we met our friend Daniel for drinks and a late dinner at Silo. I had a great glass of rosé and Rob and I split a bunch of small plates that were super delicious.

Day Two

The next morning we walked to Crema for iced coffees with Ender and then packed up the car and grabbed donuts at Five Daughters Bakery. They have a small but impressive selection of Paleo donuts so I got the orange honey pistachio and Rob got some regular ones (except they weren't regular at all, more like a cronut) that were seriously amazing. We later agreed that the salted chocolate was the best donut either of us have ever eaten.

Five Daughters Bakery | Freckled Italian

After we'd stuffed ourselves with donuts, we got back in the car and made our way to New Orleans. I'm really glad we made time for this stop because neither of us had ever been, but driving this far south kind of messed with us, because we were very literally going completely out of our way for it.

We stopped in Tuscaloosa to walk Ender around the University of Alabama. The Riverwalk provided a nice, traffic-free path to stretch our legs and take in some beautiful views.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama | Freckled Italian

We had made tentative dinner plans in New Orleans, but when we finally arrived we were so wiped out that we just stayed in and called it a night early.

Day Three

New Orleans: We woke up early and walked Ender around the Garden District, which is where our hotel was. There were so many gorgeous houses and everyone we encountered was super friendly. New Orleans really feels like a different world--it's old and dreamy in a way that's almost spooky. We went to District for a breakfast taco and a croque-madame served on--you guessed it--a donut. It was so good. I ordered a Vietnamese iced coffee and was pretty much on a sugar high all morning. 

Croque-Madame Donut | Freckled Italian

A quick note about our hotels: We pretty much stuck to Best Western, Motel 6, and Ramadas for this trip. Finding dog-friendly spots wasn't as difficult as we thought it would be, and getting garden-style (ie with our own door that opened to the parking lot or street instead of an inside hallway) made it so much easier to have a dog. 

The hotel we booked in New Orleans allowed dogs but definitely wasn't dog-friendly--it was a high-rise building and we had a room on the 4th floor. It was the second full day of travel and Ender was anxious and we ended up feeling so stressed about taking him out that we ended up getting room service instead of exploring that night. 

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Okay, this post is getting long and I'm only halfway done, so I'm going to cut it short and finish the rest in another post tomorrow! Thanks so much for reading--if you've done a big road trip like this before I'd love to hear where you stopped!

So Long, Charlotte

So Long, Charlotte | Freckled Italian

Moving weekend is officially here! I can't even believe it--it seriously feels like yesterday that Rob started traveling to and from California every week, but sure enough that was three whole months ago.

I thought I would hate living alone all summer and while I didn't love it, Ender and I did just fine together. It was so nice having Rob home every weekend and I'm so glad we made it a priority to see our friends every Saturday or Sunday instead of just taking time alone to catch up after a week apart--I'll treasure the memories of those Sunday dinners and backyard doggie play dates forever.

Our moving company packed us up yesterday and today they're taking all of our stuff. We hit the road Sunday morning after a going away party we're throwing in the empty house on Saturday. It's so surreal to me that in a few days we'll be driving away from Charlotte with our new home ahead of us.

I'm not sure how much I'll be on the blog these next six days (I know I've been pretty absent in general lately!), so make sure to follow along with us on Instagram and Snapchat (username flynnmd). I'm so excited to start sharing our day-to-day adventures on the road! And I'll be back with a big road trip update once we get settled--maybe even before then if I have time at one of our many hotel stops!

Photo by Rémy Thurston.

Queen City Favorites

Queen City Favorites | Freckled Italian

When we first moved to Charlotte, sometimes I felt like there wasn't much going on. It always takes a little while to find your favorite places and feel like you know your way around, which is why two years later I'm finally putting this post together. I figure there's no time like the present, even if movers are coming to pack us up today as we get ready to move across the country!

The truth is that there is a ton of great food, coffee, cocktails, and craft beer in Charlotte. After twenty-five months I've narrowed down a not-so-short list of my favorites, which will make it clear why I'm leaving the Queen City at least ten pounds heavier than when I arrived.

 

Coffee:

Food and Drink:

Things to Do: 

  • Take a SkillPop class
  • Walk along the Rail Trail
  • #instabeerupclt (last Thursday of each month, search the hashtag on FB or Instagram)
  • Bring a picnic to Romare Bearden Park
  • Hang out at a brewery (see favorites below)
  • Food Truck Friday (bring a lawn chair and a little patience)
  • Visit Paper Skyscraper and try not to buy everything
  • Hike to the top of Crowder's Mountain

Breweries: 

 

If you live here or have visited, do you have any to add to the list? I'd love to hear your favorite spots (for future visits, of course)!