Some people are road trip people.
I am not.
I’m an airplane kind of girl. Enduring hours on hours of traffic, radio scanning, and my husband’s driving when I can just show up at an airport and get to my destination infinitely faster? No, thanks. Me and Southwest are tight.
But, there is a small group of people in my life that I would road trip 10 hours each way for. Very small.
You see, I met Anna in kindergarten. We were five years old, with birthdays a mere 10 days apart. We played house in Mrs. Haulk’s class. During our first play-date at the park, our picture made the front page of the newspaper. We had sleepovers all. the. time. We would play The Game of Life, ask her mom to make us cinnamon-sugar “buns,” and would make up wild adventures in her backyard fort. This fort had a make-shift bathroom – it was legit. The first time I ever had to go to the basement during a tornado warning, I was at Anna’s house. We packed all of her important toys in suitcases, particularly her favorite doll Chelsea, and took them downstairs with us… just in case. I knew where she kept her secret money (a loose board in the banister), and she used to teach me about her beloved Atlanta Braves with baseball cards. She was my first real best friend.
And then, after the fourth grade, Anna’s family moved away.
We would write each other letters, talk on the phone, and eventually talk online. I would spend many spring breaks in Georgia with her family, and even vacationed with them one year in Florida. During our junior year of high school, we went prom dress shopping and spent hours analyzing the boy I had just started dating… who later turned out to be my husband.
Then college happened. Life happened. We talked less, and saw each other rarely.
But, even when we haven’t spoken in six months… the conversation never misses a beat.
When I received an invitation to Anna’s wedding, I knew it was more about the gesture. She didn’t actually expect me to come all the way to Georgia, since we obviously wouldn’t get to spend any time together during her big wedding weekend.
So, I did what any lifelong friend would do and sent my RSVP card back with a big fat YES on it.
And that’s how I ended up in the car for 20 long hours with my husband.
Mr. Cotten and I decided to spend one night on our way to Georgia in Nashville, Tennessee to break up the trip. We stayed at an AirBnB near downtown, so we obviously cleaned ourselves up and hit lower Broadway.
But first, a visit to Tennessee Brew Works. Five hours in, and we already needed beer.
If you go, I highly recommend Tennessee Brew Works’ seasonal basil beer. And I dislike basil. It was that good.
We followed happy hour with dinner at Merchants, at the suggestion of a friend. Totally freaking fantastic. Duck fat tater tots + melted cheese = my kind of heaven.
Then we found a random bar with a second story patio that was projecting the first NFL game of the season, and sat our butts there for the rest of the night.
We’re party animals.
Five more hours of driving the following morning found us in Athens, Georgia… with both members of our party still living. Did I mention I hate road trips?
Before we even got to our AirBnB, we had to make a stop at the church to pick up our “welcome packet” from the bride. Of course, we just happened to walk in right when Anna and her daddy were about to walk down the aisle.
Cue hot mess tears.
Anyway, Athens is a cool little college town with tons of options for food/entertainment. We ended up having dinner at a Korean BBQ restaurant, Iron Factory. Then we sat at the Trappeze Pub bar the rest of the night, simply because the bartender knew his stuff. He explained the different local brews and gave us samples based on our particular tastes.
Basically, he totally made our night.
We started wedding day off with breakfast at Mama’s Boy, a very popular local restaurant. Turns out, it’s popular for a reason. Grits in the South? I could eat them for days on days.
Omg. So good.
After an afternoon of shopping and exploring, we got ourselves ready and headed to the wedding. The ceremony was held at Anna and Thorn’s church, and the reception was right across the street at Creature Comforts Brewery.
It. Was. Gorgeous. So well done – from the space, to the doughnut cake, to the getaway complete with sparklers and a ’57 Ford.
Attending a wedding where you literally know no one aside from the bride and her parents is an interesting experience. Way less required small talk, and many more reasons to embarrass yourself during the chicken dance. No one knows us anyway.
We had an absolute blast.
We swung by a local liquor store to buy a few cases of local beer to take home with us (including my favorite, Creature Comforts’ Athena), and drove 10 hours straight home the next morning.
Except it was only nine hours, with Mr. Cotten driving.
Somehow, we both survived… and gained 10 lbs.
Cheers to road trips!
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