You know those friendships where you can just pick up right where you left off? The older I get, the more I realize just how priceless those are. Friendships that started during a specific phase of your life hold such importance. They’re almost like a still-evolving time capsule, combining who you once were with who you are today.
I went to middle school and high school in Indiana (Greenwood, to be exact — just south of Indianapolis), and because my family moved back to the Atlanta area (where I was born and lived until I was 11) the summer after I finished high school, I don’t get back to the Midwest too often. That’s why the trip Kevin, Maggie, and I took last weekend — to spend time with two Indiana friends and their families — was extra special.
Staci and Mallory — two friendships that started in middle school and have continued ever since — now have families of their own, and so a total of 10 of us met up in Nashville for a long weekend. Staci and her husband, Alex, have two kids: Selah (who will start kindergarten in a couple of weeks) and Ezra (who turns 1 in August), and Mallory and her husband, James, have a 13-month-old son, Josiah. Having three stair-step babies together was a blast, and Maggie LOVED having “big girl” Selah to follow around!
Of course, travel looks different once kids are on the scene. We had lots of downtime (and several meals) at the house we rented, but that slow pace was also perfect for catching up, playing games, and just enjoying time together.
We did venture out a bit, though, and especially enjoyed:
- Cheekwood Estate & Gardens: We spend Saturday morning roaming around this beautiful botanical garden and especially loved their special train exhibit as well as the Cracking Art animal sculptures. This was a perfect place to take the kids, as they got to run around and explore while we got to take in the beauty. (That photo of Maggie and Selah holding hands gets me every time!)
- 12South: This was an area recommended by our host as being a great place to shop, and she was right! A highlight was getting to see Reese Witherspoon’s oh-so cute store, Draper James, in person. (I snagged this shirt there. So adorable, right?)
- Five Daughters Bakery: We stumbled upon this delicious and adorable gem while exploring the 12South area on Sunday and loved getting to try some of their tasty donuts. (They have vegan options, too — yay!)
- White’s Mercantile: Kevin wanted to check out this store because they’re a Fulton & Roark retailer, and I was so glad we stopped by. Their assortment is adorable and eclectic, and definitely worth visiting if you’re in the area.
- EiO & the Hive: Here’s what I have to say about this restaurant: Go there. They have great healthy options on the menu for anyone (vegan, omnivore, gluten free, etc.), and the atmosphere is laid back and kid friendly. I’m so glad we found this spot for dinner our last night in town!
The best part, of course, was being together. I am so grateful that these women are in my life, adore seeing our children get to know one another, and love that our friendship has lasted for so many years!
(Oh, and as a perk Kevin, Maggie, and I got to have lunch with our friend Kristen — who lives in Knoxville — on our drive home on Monday!)