The Big Move: LA To Nashville (Part Two)
My last blog post was about my move with my family from Los Angeles to Nashville. We stopped at Tucson. The adventure continues! After our stop in Tucson, we were on to our next leg of the trip.
Off To El Paso
While on road trips, we love to stop in the middle of nowhere at random gas stations, do some off-road shopping, and see sideshows. We kept seeing billboards for The Thing along the highway through Arizona. They claim to have the corpses of an alien and its baby. Solaris looked it up, and we decided a stop was in order. This is a must-stop and worth it if you happen to be driving down the I-10.
The Thing is located at a gas station stop with a Dairy Queen, a gift store, and a museum. We were really impressed with the thoroughly detailed bizarre story of an alien race that traveled to Earth millions of years ago and managed to domesticate dinosaurs with alien technology. In the end, you do get to see the mummified remains of the corpse! I can't even begin to explain this conspiracy mythology.
The gift store is worth a mention. Any and every themed Schatzki collection you can think of and tons of merch. We, of course, helped the local community by doing our fair share of some shopping.
The stop was a much-needed break from the lackluster mundane drive. It was quirky, nuts & fun, and we got a kick out of it.
In El Paso, we stayed at the Hotel Indigo. Driving into El Paso was windy, a dust bowl, and stinky. After the super dull drive, the comforting thing was the hotel's Mexican restaurant called Mamacita's. Very unique and delicious. The food and drinks were stellar! The breakfast was so good and again a perfect way to start the morning. Solaris and I enjoyed fresh-pressed juices brought on the road with us and unique charcoal coffees.
Marfa Texas has been on my to-do list for some time now. I was attracted to the big colorful John Cerney Murals I saw on Instagram and had to see them in person. The Plywood Tribute is located in the middle of the desert. It features characters from the film Giant as well as a large-scale installation of the Prada boutique. So friggin cool! This stop was definitely off the beaten path and in the middle of nowhere. I highly recommend taking the time to make this stop.
The town is tiny. Main Street looks like it came out of the movies built in the '30s or '40s. It felt like the past met the present here, a mix of empty buildings and restored buildings with lots of shops and art galleries. The restorations and the colorful paint jobs make the street beyond cute and Instagram-worthy.
Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson, James Dean, and the director and other cast and crew of Giant stayed at the Hotel Paisano located in the center of Main Street. It's an elegant 1930's Spanish Hotel with a fantastic top-notch steak house named Jett's after James Dean's character. The lobby is full of photos and memories from the making of Giant. I highly recommend checking out the hotel and grabbing a nice Texas steak here.
We stayed down the street at a new gorgeous modern, comfortable boutique hotel, Hotel Saint George for two nights. It was just enough time to check out all the art, the town, get a bit of a break from driving, and enjoy the cuisine I had read about.
Unfortunately, because we were just coming out of Covid and it was the middle of the week, a lot was closed. We still dined fabulously and got to see some shops and art.
The weather was perfect. The hotel had a hidden pool down the street, and Nick and I spent a good part of the day in it sipping tequila & beer. We ended the night outside under the stars drinking wine while the train would roll in and out. What a night, we will definitely go back during one of their art and wine festivals.
The Texas Round-Up
Nick and I have spent a lot of time in Texas with all the tradeshows and makeup education tours. We have been through San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas plenty of times and always wanted to take Solaris to see it.
Solaris couldn't wait to get to San Antonio because that's where her boyfriend, Adrian, met up with us. We checked in to Hotel Indigo, which honestly is not a hotel that we highly recommend. We had a not-so-great experience with the house cleaning, but let's move on to more polite things. It's nice enough for what it is while allowing dogs, and our suite overlooked the Riverwalk.
A storm was rolling in that night, and we were warned of hail, massive flooding, and even tornadoes! It was so humid, the one thing that I will never forget about Texas, San Antonio and Houston, especially, is the drenching humidity.
We walked to a favorite restaurant then ended up at the pub on the river. The weather was wild, absolutely pouring rain with constant tornado warnings. The town was just opening up after Covid and felt weird. The pub had a musician performing, which we were all so hungry for - live music. We had way too much fun. The rain broke around one o'clock in the morning as we walked back to the hotel. Just as we got back in the hotel, it started pouring again. And it was pouring for hours. We slept with our balcony doors open, enjoying the torrential rain, thunder, and lighting. The kids caught the Alamo the following day while we slept in, and then it was off to Austin.
Austin is one of our favorite cities. When we decided to move out of LA, Austin came up as a potential city to move to. I didn't want to move to Texas with the politics, weather, and bugs. I also felt there would be more makeup opportunities in Nashville. But we do love the Hotel Van Zandt. We've stayed here a few times. The rooms are excellent, and that part of town is incredible. We are big fans of Steven Van Zandt. When writing my book Glitter & Glam, his albums were often playing in the background.
Once settled, the kids went to a museum while we hit up the bar. We walked up and down Rainey Street, which is conveniently around the corner from the hotel. An extraordinarily eclectic part of town with old houses made into bars, tons of food trucks, and lots of live music. We ended the night with the kids at Geraldine's, the restaurant in the hotel. Yummy unique food and drinks with of course great live music. Perfection!
Dallas was next. We stayed at the Virgin Hotel, a favorite chain of ours. This hotel is fantastic! Hip, fun, and gorgeous. We had meet-ups with our friend Leslie, her new baby, and our old friend David Alley, the photographer of my book Glitter & Glam. We hung in the fun bar at Virgin till it was time for the baby to go, then hitched a ride with David to Deep Ellum, a really cool part of Dallas with fun bars and restaurants and really artsy with lots of street art and galleries.
Our favorite BBQ in Dallas has been the Pecan Lodge. Literally, what we used to consider the best BBQ in Texas and great live music. Covid had changed it a bit, and there was no live music. They were also out of Nick's favorite, the beef ribs, which is always at risk of being out of as they are so good! So it was a bit of a bummer. Hopefully, it's back to its old self by now.
David dropped us back at the hotel, and we were invited to take a ride in the Virgin Chauffeured Rolls Royce. We were tired but couldn't turn down a ride in this gorgeous car, so we had the driver take us to the Mansion at Turtle Creek.
We had stayed here on a previous trip. It's an old mansion turned into a hotel with one of the best restaurants in town. We were able to grab martinis at the bar. It was a fantastic way to end the evening.
A seven-hour drive to Memphis was next on the agenda, a drive we weren't looking forward to. We were all dreading this long stretch and getting weary of the driving. Wished we had stayed a day longer in Dallas.
We arrived around five o'clock in the evening at the Peabody Hotel just in time for their famous lobby Duck March. We wanted to stay here as it's the first grand hotel in the south and because of their famous ducks. The rooms were old but redone beautifully, and they are so accommodating to dogs. We had great meals here and, of course, cocktails while watching a few of the duck marches.
The other reason we had to stay in Memphis was to see Graceland. Nick and I are huge Elvis fans, and I'd always wanted to see Elvis' famous home. It's perfectly preserved and surprisingly small. I loved it so much! My favorite rooms were the white room with peacock stained glass and the entertainment/media area in the basement. I got chills when I learned the last time he sang and played the piano was in his gym entertainment area to a few friends; he played and sang "Unchained Melody". After the tour, we had to grab a famous peanut butter and banana sandwich, which was soo good! We ended the trip on Beale Street listening to some amazing Blues. Definitely a must-see. Make sure to block out 4 to 5 hours at Graceland, as there is so much to see.
Nashville, here we come!
After a three-and-a-half-hour drive, we got to step into our new home in Nashville. The movers were still a few days out, so the kids and dogs stayed in the empty house with an air mattress, Stan, our peacock, and the few items we brought over in our cars. Meanwhile, Nick and I stayed at one of our favorite Nashville hotels, The Thompson in the Gulch.
We stayed here every time we came to Nashville to check out the city and make sure we liked where we were about to make a life-changing move. We ordered lots of room service and cuddled in bed watching movies before preparing for the big move-in!
The BIG move was an awesome adventure. I feel grateful and blessed that we got to experience a lot of America together as a family while making it a fun road trip. I hope I inspired you to check out one or more of these great places.