Top of the World in Nashville: Day 5

July 11, 2021

Morgan Robertson

Once again, waking up to a rainy morning, the LEAP Ambassadors made their way to join the next bus of SLC attendees headed towards the TN State Museum and the local Farmers market. 

The Nashville farmers market brings aspects of a traditional market setting and scenes of trendy modern aspects. Greeted by the “I heart NASH” sign, we took advantage of the photo-op and posed with our first Nashville sign.

The first room we entered resembled a food court type area full of enticing smells.

Almost magnetically drawn to the nearest coffee vendor, we begin to look over the menu of Farm City Coffee. As opposed to a traditional coffee house, the coffees and blends seemed to represent local and floral flavors. Yvette got some bubble tea.

The coffee and tea were nice additions to the afternoon as we continued to explore around the rest of the market. 

The Exterior market resembled a more traditional look, with a pitched tent covering the different tables adorned with homegrown and homemade goods, it was difficult to not stop and smell or gaze at everything. Booths ranging from veggies, to handcrafted jewelry, candles, soaps, and pottery; there were choices for everyone. 

Rounding out of adventure, we stopped at a local ice cream joint, Jeni’s, for a sweet treat. Again the flavors seemed to represent the local feel and personality of Nashville. The homemade waffle cones became a favorite at the table, which surprised members who usually prefer cups to cones. Our flavor choices ranged from brambleberry, rocketpop (blueberry and pineapple), wild lavender, salted caramel, and peanut butter. 

Pressed for time, we absorbed all that we could and made our way back, leaving the farmers market with light and fresh spirits. 

Of course, we also spent some time at the state historical museum, which was nice because we had all visited the Bullock Museum in Texas, giving us a limited chance to compare the venues.

TN has a rich history, much like Texas. In fact, many of those histories overlap. We were provided an overview of TN history….

…that ranged from the first people in TN…

…to the modern day. Along the way, of course, we learned about pioneers…

…Andy Jackson (building on our trip to the Hermitage)…

…President James Polk (under whose Presidency Texas was admitted to the Union)….

…state heroes such as Alvin York; the unfortunate Jim Crow era, which afflicted much or all of the south…

…and even more about the great Sam Houston!

It was a nice museum, with the opportunity for much learning!

Pucketts BBQ

Yvette Mendoza

Coming from Texas we sure know BBQ is a phenomenon so of course we decided to give another southern state a try. At Nashville’s local Puckett’s the busy downtown scene seemed to filter over into the restaurant itself. Morgan and Ms. Stephanie went to pick up the food, to eat back at the hotel for a quieter lunch. With high expectations we opened the to-go boxes and gave Tennessee BBQ a try.  Eating southern classics gave us an opportunity to try pulled pork, philly cheese steak, and chicken salad on a sourdough bun.

As for our sides, everyone went with boring french fries, but I decided to try the coleslaw and the skillet mac and cheese, which were both creamy and filling by itself.

With each menu item being appetizing, we found the Nashville HOT BBQ sauce gave us the true taste of Tennessee. The BBQ at Puckett’s can definitely hold its own compared to Texas BBQ, but as for the 3 Texans we sure do love our BBQ.  

Family Night at TopGolf

Jessica Cuevas

All LEAP Ambassadors have had different experiences at playing golf, with me having the skills of a novice: this would be my first time, not only at a Top Golf, but also playing golf in general. Yvette, whose skills were more advanced than mine, taught me the “proper” way to hold a golf club, how far back to swing and stand from the tee, and even about the different types of clubs.

They have clubs for right and left-handed people and ones specifically for men or women. The golf clubs range from irons, which are better for short distances, to woods, which are recommended for longer distances.

Our first round was for us to practice hitting the balls and for me to get an idea of how to play before participating in a competitive manner. I used the 8-iron golf club, 3 hybrid, and the 3 wood to get a feel of different clubs but found the hybrid and wood more efficient.

Once everyone got in a few practice shots, the real game began. Yvette, Morgan, and I to just play for fun, but we all knew we were “secretly” playing to outdo the others.

We cheered each other on for hitting the ball, which as a novice was an accomplishment in itself, and when we hit the red, yellow, and green nets. My first round was the best out of the two, call it beginner’s luck, since I placed second with 31 points, 18 points more than my score on the second round. Morgan’s best round was also the first, with 50 points, and Yvette’s best round was the second where she scored about 40 points. Ms. Stephanie scored the highest of us all, leaving us impressed with her golfing skills.

Before we had our own bay to play at, we had delightful Tex-Mex cuisine with chicken or steak fajitas, white cilantro rice, and black beans, with a variety of sides to add on ranging from shredded cheese, red garden salsa, creamy queso, guacamole, sour cream and much more.

There were even donut holes that you could inject different fillings such as raspberry syrup and chocolate chip cookies for dessert–all of which satisfied our sweet tooth.

Family night at TopGolf was much more fun than I would have anticipated, and we all had a good time. We met two couples, one of whom played golf with us. Their jobs ranged from elected official (state representative) to business owners, and they were all nice and companionable. This, along with the fun and food, made for a very successful night.

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

One thought on “Top of the World in Nashville: Day 5”

  1. Wow!! Love reading about the trip. Thank you for sharing your experiences in such detail. I always wanted to visit Tennesse; this article has definetly given me ideas on what places to visit and enjoy while I’m there. Thank you again for your hard work can’t wait to read more of your upcoming travels and journey

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