After departing Memphis, our drive to Nashville was uneventful. Miriam took a nap: Mariel even played Les Mis without hearing any protest (or, as Miriam would have it, she chose to protest by aggressively sleeping through it.).
Our first stops in Nashville were yarn stores recommended to us by our fellow knit night attendees at The Local Yarn Store back near home in South Orange, NJ.
We rolled into Haus of Yarn and wandered around. They had some nice but uninspiring local Nashville dyed yarn and lots of very trendy stock, like the entire Brooklyn Tweed line (so many colors!) and several imports from the UK. The proprietors were perfectly lovely, but it didn’t feel home-y in the way our favorite yarn stores do.
Bliss Yarns was immediately different! We walked in and were greeted by the sounds of a group knitting around a table. The stock was clearly chosen based on what Deb, the proprietor, likes to knit with: it was fun, colorful, and at a mix of price-points. Everything about Bliss was charming and personal and friendly. We were enthusiastically invited to pull up a chair and knit with them (we didn’t have to be asked twice). The knitters comprised women of different ages and backgrounds, all working on projects of various complexities, chatting cheerfully about the world. We got some great BBQ and yarn store recs. We were so caught up in conversation that Mariel had to take out most of a row because had missed some stitches in her pattern. In the end, we each bought a Tennessee-made knitting good: an Erin Lane project bag for Mariel, and a skein of Miss Babs for Miriam. We even made the Bliss Yarns instagram page!
We were both famished by the time we arrived at dinner at Jack’s BBQ, on South Broadway, Memphis’ nightlife strip. Jack’s was perfectly fine BBQ, but paled in comparison to much of what we’ve had so far. Mariel enjoyed the Smoked Texas Sausage, something she’d never had before, whereas Miriam preferred the Tennessee Pork Shoulder. We sampled a variety of BBQ sauce styles: Kansas City’s sweet and smokey, Texas’ hot and tomoato-y, Tennessee’s vigegar-y, and Music City’s horseradish based. None knocked our socks off. The baked beans, here too, were improved by the inclusion of yesterday’s leftovers. Miriam especially liked the corn bread, because she doesn’t like corn bread and it didn’t have a strong corn flavor. The chocolate pie reminded us of chocolate in the way that the sun reminds you of heat.
After dinner, we wandered up and down Broadway. It was not really our scene: we preferred the smaller, quieter bands of Beale Street to the loud rock-country stylings in Nashville. We dodged multiple bachelorette parties who were very much enjoying themselves. After we came upon the third store selling cowboy boots in a block and a half, we had to check it out. Trying on boots was a bit silly – both of us are Yankee enough we can’t really rock cowboy boots – but they were SO comfortable that we wished we could pull them off.