I’ve been pretty spoilt this year and have done a fair bit of travelling already, but few trips could live up to my epic stateside adventures at the end of March.
I love American shopping trips (who doesn’t?!) and I bet that more than half of my clothes were purchased in the good ol’ US of A. Nearly all my skincare purchases are made over there (blame an unhealthy obsession with Kate Somerville, Ole Henriksen and Sephora generally) and if I think there’s even the slimmest chance that I’ll be in the US any time soon, I stop shopping altogether and save up for the deals that I just *know* I’ll get at Premium Outlets and the like. Even aside from the outlets, the shopping everywhere is comparatively cheap. We all know that of course, that’s why any trip to the states – no matter how cultured – usually still involves a mall trip.
There’s no point pretending that there aren’t certain states which people will always visit ‘first’ – New York, California and Florida being the obvious ones. But as much as I *love* all three, I’m enjoying discovering other parts of the US now as I attempt to fill up my passport. My trip to Philadelphia last year was insanely good and this trip I’ve just done to Nashville and Austin may have even been better, so it’s about time I bloody blogged about it!
Nashville and Austin are easy enough to combine into one trip – you can fly direct between the two in 2 hours – and I was amazed to see how many people commented on my Instagram posts while I was out there to say that I was doing almost the exact route of their honeymoons. I know a lot of people who have been to Austin (I honestly feel like the only person who hasn’t been to SXSW!!) but I rarely meet Brits who have been to Nashville.
So let me just make one thing clear: you should go to Nashville.
If you like music, GO TO NASHVILLE.
I will blog about Austin separately because there’s just far too much to say for it all to fit in one post, but here’s what I got up to in my 48 hours in Nashville, Tennessee…
Breakfast – a Goo Goo Cluster en route to the mall
I can’t say I’d ever heard of Goo Goo Clusters, but I needed something to shove in my gob in the taxi and I was promised that these were a Nashville delicacy. And let’s face it, you can’t really go wrong with milk chocolate, caramel, peanuts and marshmallow nougat.
IT WAS SO GOOD.
They’ve been around since 1912 and claim to be the world’s first ever combination candy bar. Invented and still made in Nashville, you will see them everywhere and you need to eat at least 18 during your visit. It’s Nashville law.
Morning fun – Shopping at Opry Mills
Opry Mills is Tennessee’s largest outlet and value retail destination, so if you want to go to just one mall and ‘get it all done’ then you’d be hard pressed to find a better place.
It’s an indoor mall (yey! non-weather dependent shopping!) and boasts 200 + stores including Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Kate Spade, Coach, J.Crew, Victoria’s Secret, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren…all at outlet prices. The bargains were insane, made better still by picking up a coupon book from Guest Services (a nice perk available to all international visitors) and finding various coupons on the Opry Mills website. ALWAYS look for coupons when shopping in the US, they are much more ‘pro-coupon’ than we are here (have you seen Extreme Couponing on TLC?!) and it feels like the checkout staff actively want you to get a better deal. Be shameless with your coupons and plan your spending if you’re after products that are available in multiple retailers…it’s worth it.
The mall is big but easy enough to navigate, especially as all on one level. I fought off jetlag with a coconut milk cinnamon dolce mocha (!) as I nipped from shop to shop. I’m not sure this concoction really counts as ‘coffee’ but when in Rome (AMERICA).
I picked up new jeans in True Religion (American denim seems to be much more forgiving for women who dare to have curves), a ridiculous number of cheap Yankee Candles as gifts (some were a dollar!) and some more gifts at Icing (a shop a bit like Claire’s but less kiddy, I got some great presents in there as well as $5 ‘diamonds’ for me)…
…and was then ready for lunch….