It’s about that time, y’all. The month of LOOOOOVE is upon us.
The windows of Starbucks are painted pink and white. CVS has basically a whole aisle dedicated to stuffed bears and almost-expired candy hearts. Any restaurant with low lighting and some kind of fancy salmon dish within a ten mile radius has their phone off the hook from taking Valentine’s Day reservations. Yeah, it’s almost here.
We love love, y’all, and we’re especially partial to Nashville love. Who better to give you a guide to date night than two awesome Notable Nashvillians who have joined forces and achieved the ultimate coupledom? You might have heard of Steve and Gracie Moakler. They’re kind of a big deal. Steve is one of the quintessential singer/songwriters in the ‘ville (and everywhere else). His blend of subtle country riffs, seriously interesting/awesome hooks, and voice that floats through a melody with a ton of sincerity have made him a Nashville staple (some of our fave songs: “Hesitate”, “Don’t Think Twice”, “Lifetime” & “Best Thing”). His new album is coming out super soon (stay tuned to his website for news).
Gracie Moakler is a Tennessee-bred gal with an entrepreneurial (and charitable) spirit. After meeting a woman named Ronza in recovery from addiction, Gracie was overcome by the woman’s sense of hope. She made a necklace and hammered in the word hope as a gift. That first act of kindness has expanded into one of Nashville’s best growing businesses, Miriam Designs. You can read more of their story here, but let us just say – fellas, you wanna get your lady a Valentines gift from Miriam. You will score major points. Gracie is a fixture in the Nashville design world, and she exudes the Nashville spirit – enthusiastic, kind, and adventurous. No better couple to give you Valentine’s Day advice! But enough background info. We sat down with Steve and Gracie to talk all things February 14, adventure, and laser tag dates. Let’s do this!
So, how did you guys meet? Did you meet in Nashville?
S: We did meet in Nashville! One of Gracie’s sorority friends in college…
G: (laughs) I was in a sorority for three weeks.
S: One of my friends from Belmont, a fellow musician, was my roommate for four years. He had been dating her friend for three years, so we met through them. We were both single, and [her friend] Whitney was like “You guys would be so cute together!” And then we met…
G: …And he totally ignored me.
S: (laughs) Yeah, I totally ignored her. It was a period of time when I felt like I was supposed to be single…I had been in some long relationships and had all kinds of head games going on with myself. I liked her a lot right away but I was freaked out about how much I liked her. We were friends for five minutes and then we started dating!
G: Yeah, we met at Nashville schools! Hometown pride.
Awesome. Where was your first date?
G: Our first date was pretty fun! We went to Broadway Brewhouse and the waitress spilled a basket of wings on his arm, so he was literally just sitting there with wings stacked on his arms, not moving! (laughs) Then we went to laser tag on 2nd Ave. and guess who won?
S: She did. By one!
What were your team names?
G: Yours was Stone Cold Steve Moakler. And mine was…I don’t even remember. Why can I remember yours?
S: Because mine was GREAT. You remember it because you have photographic memory and you remember mine being beneath yours. And then we went to Fido and had a piece of cake. So wings and beer, laser tag, cup of coffee, and a piece of cake.
G: True Nashville date! And then we went to Belmont and looked at the stars on top of the parking garage.
S: Listened to The Eagles! Might have made out a little.
Ha! So Nashville. What’s been your favorite date?
S: One of the most memorable dates was our first Valentine’s Day. We rented…I was going to say we rented a pizza. That’s not how that works. No, we got a pizza from Pizza Hut (though if we make a recommendation, it’s Five Points Pizza). We went up to Love Circle, had a bottle of wine. It was freezing! But when you’re first getting to know someone you don’t even care. Now we’d be like “This SUCKS”!
G: Ha! Yeah. Like “I’m going home!” Start crying. (laughs) Another good one was when we got engaged. We got on our bikes and went to Silly Goose (our favorite restaurant of all time). We ate there and then biked over to Shelby Bottoms. He had like, machete-d a trail down to the river and there was a boat there with lanterns and my favorite flowers tied on the back with a bottle of wine. Then we rode off on the Cumberland River!
Did you know it was coming?
G: He wasn’t acting weird at all but as soon as I saw the boat I was like…yeahhhhh. But that was my favorite.
S: Yeah. That one takes the cake for me too.
Favorite gift you’ve ever gotten from each other? Miriam is on all the Valentine’s Day gift guides as far as we’re concerned.
S: We aren’t big gift givers, actually.
G: We’d rather take a trip or something! We’re adventurers. For my birthday, he got me a hot air balloon ride at Arrington Vineyards.
Now Steve, we don’t want to ask about your Valentine’s Day plans and spoil anything.
S: I appreciate that!
BUT if you had to give advice on a perfect chill Valentine’s Day date, what would it be? Besides Pizza Hut and Love Circle, obviously.
G: Go to Silly Goose and then the Belcourt! Old movies, documentaries, a cocktail, popcorn. Perfect date night! Especially during the winter.
S: YES. Love the Belcourt. So underrated! There’s always cool stuff playing there. It just seems like such an important fixture in this city. What if it wasn’t there? We’d all be pissed. Silly Goose, Belcourt, and then if you still wanna be merry go to Village Pub. Great beer, mule drinks, super chill, music playin’…wood, but not barn wood. Just wood. (laughs) It’s lively, but not at all trashy!
People sometimes get that confused with Villager where you can drink out of a dog bowl.
G: Ha! I did that for my 21st birthday. This is pretty different. There’s also a new place called The Hop Stop from the same owners on Gallatin and it’s awesome.
If you were going to have a marathon date, what daytime activity would you choose?
S: We love Arrington. We even went on a rainy day once and it was awesome. We sat on the porch where they have the big fireplace. Also, jet skiing at Nashville Shores. I’ve been wanting to go to the new Johnny Cash museum. Like, in the middle of the day when no one is there. One more thing…Radnor Lake in the morning, then go to Baja Burrito for lunch.
G: We had Baja at our wedding. That’s how much we love it! Yeah, and then go get happy hour somewhere.
I saw that you guys just came back from the Hometowns & Campgrounds Tour.
G: Yes! We would sleep in people’s backyards in our camper. I would talk about Miriam and do a trunk show in each city. He would play and promote the album, then we’d hang out with the people who hosted us, got to bed, have breakfast, and hit the road! We were gone for 50 days. In our first year of marriage. I was like…if we can do that we can do anything!
After visiting all those places, what makes Nashville home?
S: It’s the people. Anyone would say that about where they’re from, but what’s unique is that what we did is not that crazy to our friends. People don’t do stuff like this everywhere. Nashvillians are super creative and take risks pursuing things they want to do.
G: And it wasn’t hard to come back! Everyone gets it. It was fun to go to different cities and see all these cool pockets of culture, but Nashville has all of it.
S:Yeah! We went some really cool places, but Nashville has it all. Restaurants, all the breweries popping up. Live music. It’s just really cool!
G: It’s the people. Nashville has the best people. They’ve been so welcoming to Miriam and his music, we just love the support there.
So there you go, Nashville. One of the coolest Nashvillian couples around has given you the lowdown on the best dates in Music City! Go put it to use and follow their lead: be adventurers. You can experience all Nashville has to offer by checking in with Wannado! And DO NOT MISS Steve’s new album and Gracie’s Valentine’s Day market for the fellas – beer/bro time & presents for 2/14 shopping made easy! Happy early Valentine’s Day, y’all. We love you.
– Your local guide.