I love the idea of taking old factories or warehouses and giving them new life. Luckily, this is a pretty common thing in the creative community around the world, keeping historic buildings intact while giving creators a place to flourish. Along this line, you’ll find The Source market in Denver, The West Bottoms in Kansas City, and in Nashville, you’ll find Marathon Village.
Marathon Village is a collection of independent retailers, artist studios, restaurants, and venues housed inside of the old Marathon Motor Works factory. While Marathon Motors had a short life, over a century later, its reincarnation as a creative compound is doing decidedly better.
This 130,000 square foot complex has been beautifully restored and renovated. The creaky hardwood floors and exposed brick remind you that you’re in an historic building, honoring the character of its former life.
Referring to cities & neighborhoods as “The Portland of ___” is a pretty cliché thing to do. It also totally diminishes the originality of a place. It undermines the fact that creative people can and do live anywhere, not just in cities that are known for being quirky.
All that being said, I’m very tempted to liken East Nashville to Portland (or maybe East Side Portland if we’re really getting into it).
Whereas Nashville is generally known for being home to country music and brings all of those Southern country characteristics along with it, East Nashville is decidedly different. Separated from Downtown Nashville by the Cumberland River, East Nashville feels a little more laid-back, and a just a little bit cooler.
Since returning to the States last year, Airbnb has become my new favorite form of accommodation. They’re the perfect option for short getaways and city breaks. I stayed in one on my quick trip to Kansas City last September, and I stayed in one again during my recent trip to Nashville.
I usually choose Airbnbs when I visit a city that doesn’t have any hostels (a common reality here in the U.S.). While Nashville does have a couple, they weren’t in my ideal location. I was set on spending my time in East Nashville rather than Downtown. And I definitely wanted to have some peace and quiet; I just wasn’t up for socializing on this trip.
So I went browsing for a last-minute Airbnb in Nashville. A lot of people say they use Airbnb because it’s cheaper than a hotel, but I guess that depends on where you are. In my experience, that is not always the case. I come across so many “$80/night” rentals that are actually $120/night once you add in fees. Um, I’m on a budget, thank you.
But I always end up finding a couple of gems when searching Airbnb: those super cute, cozy, clean places that are like $50/night, have low fees, and happen to be available on my exact dates of travel.
And that’s exactly what I got with this East Nashville Airbnb.
Reading is definitely the best activity for a traveler. It requires minimal gear (a book), it doesn’t require Wifi, and you can do it just about anywhere, anytime. Whereas your laptop might be too cumbersome to drag out on the bus, and lack of internet makes your phone basically useless, reading is never off-limits while on the road (unless it’s super dark—oh wait, spoiler alert, I have a solution for that).
I’ve always been quite the bibliophile. More than just being a fan of reading, I used to be a huge fan of books themselves. I loved looking at books, smelling them, holding them, and flipping through their pages. I collected books as if they were art to display on my shelves.
Five years ago, I was wholeheartedly against swapping real books for an e-reader. I thought it was blasphemy! Why would I want a lifeless e-reader instead of holding a real book?
Then I started traveling.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you might have noticed my tagline: “adventures of a restless wanderer”. I don’t remember when I started using that officially, but it’s a phrase that’s always felt very true to who I am. I’ve always felt restless, and I’ve always been quite happy just wandering around.
“Adventures of a restless wanderer”, in my mind, sparked images of a free-spirited nomad, someone who wanted to see and do everything. Being in one place would never be enough—nothing would ever be enough. It described exactly who I was and what I was doing. I identified with restlessness, and I saw it as a positive—it was a quality I quite liked about myself.
I suppose restlessness can be good, in some ways. It might lead you to keep creating, to keep adventuring, to keep striving for more. Because of it, you might do a lot of really cool things. I imagine a lot of great ideas are the direct result of restlessness.
If you’re visiting the state of Washington, chances are you’re going to spend some time in Seattle, the state’s largest city. You’ve probably considered checking out the Olympic Peninsula, too, where you can hike deep into the forests and explore the rugged west coast beaches. Those are two very cool places to visit, but there’s a dreamy little place wedged right in between them that you might not know about. I’m talking about the Kitsap Peninsula.
The Kitsap Peninsula is a quiet place. It doesn’t have the hustle and bustle of Seattle, but it does have some adorable towns full of local shops and restaurants. It doesn’t have the vastness of the Olympic Peninsula, but it does have plenty of forests, beaches, and scenery of its own.
It’s the best of both worlds, really.
Within Kitsap County, you’ll find places like Bainbridge Island, Gig Harbor, and Poulsbo, vibrant communities with incredible food and a close-knit feel. You’ll find places like Hansville and Seabeck, quiet retreats surrounded by the most beautiful vistas. You’ll find Bremerton, a sprawling city among the otherwise suburban towns of the peninsula.
The Kitsap Peninsula is easy to get to from Olympia or Tacoma via highway, and it’s just a ferry-ride away from Seattle. It’s a wonderful place for a day trip, but I’d highly recommend spending a little bit more time enjoying this gem.
I lived on the Kitsap Peninsula for about 6 months, almost 4 years ago now. So I decided it was about time I feature it here!
Whether you decide to pop over for the day, or make it a part of a larger trip around Washington, here’s my guide to the Kitsap Peninsula.