The Soda Parlor Pilgrimage
Studying abroad gave me not only the passion for travel, but the new-found ability and desire to search out new places and cities, plan trips, and make daydreams a reality. When I learned in December of 2014 that I’d be working at a camp in Georiga, I immediately googled how far away Nashville was…
I’m not much of a YouTuber, but I have been a longtime fan of Olan Rogers and have been planning on visiting his new shop The Soda Parlor ever since it opened.
I made loose plans; googled the distance between my place in GA and Nashville, browsed through places on AirBnB, and scoured lists of the best attractions in Nashville. But I left it open ended, trying not to get too disappointed, because what I wanted the most was to be able to go with friends, and I knew no one in Georgia at that point. Until I met two silly girls who happened to be my roommates, just as nerdy and passionate about life and travel as me.
The Soda Parlor. The highlight and goal of my trip, but made a million times better because of the people I shared it with. My experience wouldn’t have been complete without the laughter and companionship of my best camp friends, who were open to adventure and let me lead them around a city I didn’t even know–without getting too lost, amazingly!
The Soda Parlor is more out of the way of downtown Nashville, but worth the short drive. It’s located with a bunch of other independent shops in a converted factory/warehouse building, the brick and ivy perfectly suited to the aesthetic that the Soda Parlor gives. The store itself is small, with a couch/sitting area and one big table as well as a few barstools near the window, but beautifully and thoughtfully laid out and a big wall of merchandise to choose from as well. I went with a Battlebear tee shirt–the greenish one below!
I wish we had been there at night to experience it–particularly when one of the game/movie nights is going on, because they have a beautiful little outdoor patio with fairy lights strung between the brick walls and good outdoor seating. Perfect for a summer evening. But nevertheless, if you’re stuck inside, there’s some fun free retro arcade games.
The staff were so friendly and helpful, chatting about everything from Nashville to Boston terriers (great conversation!) and made a mean “Three Broomsticks” float. The prices are worth it–they’re made with such good ingredients, all local, and made right there. Mine was a cold mix of cream soda and vanilla ice cream and whipped cream…
It wasn’t a “firework” experience, one where something huge and amazing happens, it was just stopping in a store on a normal Saturday afternoon but I still got to see where one of my heroes works and set up shop–a charming, friendly, as-good-as-Nashville-gets sort of shop. I was grinning ear to ear the whole time and savoured every second of it, because it’s not every day that I get to cross things off my travel bucket list.
Worth it. So, so worth the drive and the back roads and getting lost and forgetting to stop for food and losing car keys. It gave me a new appreciation for American road trips, the beauty of different places and the happiness from achieving one of my long time goals was second to none, especially living up to my expectations so well. I hope to visit the Soda Parlor many, many more times!