When you tell people you live in East Nashville, they either say, "oh, that's cool," or "oohhh" with a blank expression. You either get it or you don't. Back in the day(70's and 80's), when I was growing up here, East Nashville was not cool at all. There was a reason it was on the other side of the river. You will now see funny bumper stickers, "East Nashville, over the river and through the 'hood!" or "East Nashville, where everybody knows your dog 's name."
East Nashville has become the cool place to live in Nashville. The re-birth started in '98 when a tornado tore through downtown and East Nashville, doing tremendous damage. People received insurance checks to rebuild their homes. Plus, Hillsboro Village, Waverly Belmont and Music Row areas became a little expensive for starving artists and students. Thus, the renaissance began. Investors saw a goldmine in East Nashville. There are beautiful historic homes in Edgefield, Lockland Springs, Ingelwood, and now emerging Cleveland/McFerrin Park.
Besides the beautiful homes, East Nashville has become a true community. People actually know their neighbors (most anyway). The wonderful front porches are truly lend themselves to southern traditions of waving and speaking to your neighbors. I have met more people at the Shelby Dog Park than almost anywhere in Nashville. Nashvillians love their dogs. I know the dog's name before I know their parent's name. East Nashville actually has a Google group on Listserv to help each other in various ways: from finding a lost dog to who is a good contractor. If you do someone wrong who is a member of the ListServ, the word will be passed quickly. The neighborhood knew "Fast Fred" was out of jail before the police on the beat did!!
Yes, East Nashville has had it's share of crime. Some serious crime to a lot of lawnmower thefts and petty crimes. But East Nashville neighborhood associations have become quite vigilant in working with the East Nashville precinct and there has been quite a decrease in crime over the past few years.
5 Points is the center hub of East Nashville neighborhoods. 5 Points has restaurants, bars, art galleries, an organic coffee shop, a hardware store, a new wine shop, post office, gas station, a spa, hair salons, yoga and pilates studios, Villager Real Estate Services (another shameless plug!) and many other businesses. East Nashville now has a wonderful new community center as well as a great YMCA. You can go to http://www.eastnashville.org/ to find out more.
One of my favorite Nashville festivals' is East Nashville's "Tomato Festival." It is all about tomatoes: art, the ugliest tomato contest, king and queen of the Tomato Festival, and my personal favorite, the bloody mary contest! Check out http://www.tomatoartfest.com/. It's a little quirky, but very East Nashville!
One of Nashville's best restaurants, Margot, will bring the best of them across the river for a great meal. Margot also has a wonderful brunch. And it's sister restaurant, Marche', is like a french cafe right in the heart of East Nashville
Down Eastland, about a half of mile from 5 Points, is another cluster of restaurants, Rosepepper Cantina, Eastland Cafe and Portland Brew, are right in the middle of the neighborhood! Many of east Nashville's restaurants have wonderful al fresco seating! You can't beat having a margarita outside on a Sunday afternoon at Rosepepper or the Alley Cat! The Alley Cat even has doggie afternoon's!
East Nashvillians have been very vocal about about changing zoning to get rid or at least limiting the number of pawn shops, used car lots, check cashing stores other businesses on Gallatin Road that prey on the poor. And another bone of contention for East Nashvillians is the lack of quality grocery stores. Most travel some distance to go to a decent Kroger or Publix in the more affluent areas. East Nashvillians are lucky to have our neighborhood reporter for the Tennessean, Angela Patterson keeping these issues in the fore front.
East Nashville is definitely a one of a kind, diverse place with a very laid back vibe. The people are cool all with unique personalities and backgrounds. East Nashville is a great place to live and a cool place to hang out!
If you want to check out houses in East Nashville, go to my website, http://www.coolnashvillehomes.com/. Plus, there is lots of community information there as well.
My next neighborhood musings will be on Germantown/Salemtown.