I decided to check out Nashville for a post-magazine-deadline long weekend. I'd never been there and it seemed like a cool place to visit, possibly consider for relocation one day. It's one of the only cities I've never heard anyone say anything negative about. Plus, I found a mega-cheap guest house on Airbnb.com. The only minor challenge was that I knew nothing about the place and I was traveling alone.
Fortunately, I used my resources and had a killer - not to mention writerly - vacation. I scheduled appointments with a couple of local publications and met their editors, inquiring about whether Nashville might be a cool place to live if you're a wordsmith. (They said yes.) I visited the FABULOUS public library and snapped pictures in the courtyard and the Grand Reading Room, which was like my version of church. I camped out in two bookstores: a used bookstore called BookManBookWoman and Parnassus, the charming book emporium started by writer Ann Patchett.
All the locations were brimming with readers and writers who were eager to talk to me. It was paradise. Oh, and I enjoyed a latte at a well-known coffee shop called Crema, ate everything from farm-to-table veggies to caramel gelato and got into a St. Vincent show for free after befriending the bouncer. I also gathered local publications from grocery racks, restaurant tables and a guy on the sidewalk selling newspapers. (I tipped him extra.)
I have to give credit where it is due. I discovered most of my itinerary through the two literary city guides that I printed from the Internet before my trip - one from a blog called Eat This Poem and another from Poets & Writers Magazine. I kept both of them stashed in my purse, referred to them often and pretty much kept my GPS plugged in 24/7 while on the prowl for inspiration.
In the end, my trip was a huge success. I think I'm ready for my next literary city tour. Suggestions?