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May 10, 2012 / Francesca

Nonna’s Nashville Birthday Bonanaza


Thanks to Auntie Bee, the girls and I are just finishing up a few days in the wonderful city of Nashville, TN! Gabriela suggested we take Nonna here to celebrate her birthday by doing a Story Corps interview. Since Ella is (almost) 10, she was old enough to participate as well.

We stayed at the very hip and swanky, but still incredibly friendly Hutton Hotel. This place is one of the best hotels I have ever stayed in. Ever. Staff is ridiculously kind and helpful, environmental concerns are at the forefront of everything they do, and the food – yes, even room service – is a foodie’s dream. Absolutely delicious. Best fries I’ve ever had, and the girls agree!

We slept in this morning, enjoyed a delicious late breakfast in the lobby, then headed to the Nashville Farmers’ Market, where Storycorps has set up a refurbished Airstream. Very cool. Part office, part recording studio. Nonna and Ella interviewed each other, with the help of a facilitator, while Bee and I took the girls across the street to Nashville’s own “mall” (think Washington DC, not Oak Brook or West County), complete with war memorials, lots of open grass to run on, and lots of hills to climb. Chamber of Commerce weather only made it all the more wonderful.

After the interview, we headed to The Hermitage Hotel for a fancy lunch. Food not great but the service and ambiance more than made up for it. One of Gabriela’s college friends from Wellesley joined us; they had not seen each other once since college!! After lunch we walked to get some delicious ice cream at Mike’s Ice Cream on famous Broadway Street; it was well worth the walk! Ironically enough, after our ice cream, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to catch up with my own friend from college, Rachel Roberts Stearns, who has been living here for at least 10 years, I think. Loved that!

A trip through Vanderbilt’s campus and into their (Barnes and Noble) bookstore completed the day, and the girls selected lots of art supplies for the evening and the car ride home tomorrow. After seeing Nonna and Auntie Bee off to the airport, girls and I settled in for American Idol (I love Phillip Phillips), arts and crafts, and, yes, more room service. I sense the need for a detox cleanse when I get back to Edwardsville!

Girls asleep now and I am reflecting on the day. So happy to spend some time with my mom and sister, and glad the interview was such a wonderful experience for my mom and Ella. But perhaps what made the trip even more worth it was the following conversation I had with Ella, immediately after the interview when just she and I had gone to the rest room.

F: ” So, how was it?”
E: “Great!”
F: “So what did you talk about?”
E: “Oh, I don’t know. Lots of stuff. Some stuff about you.”
F (surprised): “Really?”
E: “Yep. About how much I love you.”

And THAT made it an absolutely WONDERFUL day.















Leave a Comment
  1. Auntie Bee / May 10 2012 4:33 am

    Super awesome yummy fun awesome mini vacation. We sure know how to have fun! XOXO!

  2. hoerman5 / May 10 2012 10:47 am

    I can’t say enough wonderful things about Story Corp – Way to go Gabriela! What a great birthday present for your mom and a lasting present that you can all enjoy. Cool that Ella got to do the interviewing! Nashville is such a great town – love to see all the ladies on the town!

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