4 New York Locations that Inspire

Image provided by Vincent Ramundo via Trover.com.

As a writer, I’m always looking for inspiration. Something outside of myself that gets the writing muse speaking. Every year, I fly to New York, book a hotel with easy access to the subway, and explore. I don’t have to go far to find several spots that offer inspiration.

The Park

Image provided by Jen Jahaira Andrade via Trover.com.

No matter the season, Central Park is inspiration overload. If you’re into nature, the park is the greenest spot in all of Manhattan. I get lost in the quiet winding trails, only a few feet away from the noise of the city. In the fall, the leaves change from a brilliant green to a pumpkin orange, a picturesque scene accented by the bright blue sky. Rent a boat and take a row around the Reservoir. Animal lovers can rent a horse at the stables or, if you prefer your horses stationary, take a ride on the merry-go-round. Walk your dog or join a pickup game of soccer on the Great Lawn. I usually find a bench or a rock, with my journal and a good book, and take it all in.

The Other Park

Image provided by Esther Levy via Trover.com.

I call Bryant Park the other park because while it’s not the second biggest, it’s the most inspiring. This 9-acre patch of land in Midtown Manhattan transforms itself depending on the time of year. In the winter, check out the craft vendors peddling their kiosks to the tourists looking to take a little part of Manhattan home with them. In February and September, designers, models, and fashion lovers take over the park for New York Fashion Week. Showing in Bryant Park means you have arrived in the fashion world, and what could be more inspiring than that. I love the springtime the best. I grab some food at one of the food kiosks, find a table, and settle in for an afternoon of people watching.

The Bridge

Image provided by Kristen Sarra via Trover.com.

The Brooklyn Bridge has been the setting of pivotal moments in not one, but two of my novels. It’s been used in movies and television shows as a metaphorical background to separate people and bring people together. Why is this bridge so inspiring? It connects two boroughs with vastly different vibes. While Manhattan is button up suits and intensity, Brooklyn is hipster skinny jeans and laid back comfort. Both offer their own inspiration, but standing in the middle of the bridge, taking in the tall, menacing buildings on one side and the shorter, historic structures on the other — the Brooklyn Bridge inspires.

The Building

Image provided by Stills ‘n’ stories via Trover.com.

I’m not sure why the FlatIron Building speaks to me, but I’m not alone. Maybe it’s the location: Fifth Avenue, 22nd Street, and Broadway. It’s a convergence of creativity and money. Or maybe its triangular shape and the French and Italian Renaissance influences in the 22-story structure. What ever it is, it sparks my creative juices like no other building on the planet. If the outside isn’t inspiration enough, its tenants are creative types such as book publishers, literary agents, and some of the most famous fashion designers in the world.

Nothing like a change of scenery to jump-start inspiration. A quick trip to New York, immersing yourself into the city’s landscape, will give you inspiration in abundance for when you return home. 

4 Historical Must-See Sites During Your Visit to Nashville


Image via Trover.com by Jim Nix

Nashville is not your typical Southern town. Located in the heart of Tennessee, this vibrant city became the subject of a major network television show. Full of beautiful settings and interesting characters, Nashville is more than what you see on the show. It’s full of historical and cultural significance that date back to the original settlements of America. Whether you stay downtown or in Bellevue or Old Hickory, you’re sure to find a convenient and relaxing family-friendly IHG hotel close to the many historic sites of Nashville.

The Parthenon

Who knew you could find a bit of ancient Greece in Tennessee? One of the most popular historic sites in Nashville is The Parthenon, which attests to the city’s nickname, the “Athens of the South.” Located west of the downtown area in Centennial Park, the life-size replica of the ancient Greek structure is a fitting tribute to the town’s moniker. Celebrating ancient Greek architecture, the site includes a 42-foot statue of the Greek goddess Athena and houses a permanent art collection.

The Grand Ole Opry

In 1925, The Grand Ole Opry broadcast its first show, “The WSB Barn Dance.” Ninety years later, the weekly show continues to air from the most sought after venue in country music. Over the years, country music’s newest and notorious, from Patsy Cline to Carrie Underwood, have performed on the famed stage.

Located on the banks of the Cumberland River, the history of country music is woven into the fabric of The Grand Ole Opry. Take a tour of the famous building during the day and come back at night and catch a show. You never know who will show up on the Opry stage.

Jack Daniel’s Distillery


Image via Trover.com by Ronald Mason

Tennessee isn’t only a music mecca; it’s the whiskey capital of the world, too. No distillery is more famous than the Jack Daniel’s Distillery. Created in 1865, the history of the birth of this American staple is both fascinating and tragic.

Located 90 minutes from Nashville in Lynchburg, Tennessee, the site is worth the day trip. Book a guided tour and partake in a tasting. You can absorb the history of alcohol in America while listening to the tale of how Jack Daniel and eight other master distillers created the whiskey so many enjoy today.

Belle Meade Plantation

Built in 1820, the Belle Meade Plantation is a historic walk through the human condition. A short drive east of downtown Nashville, the former Indian hunting ground became the model for plantation life in the South. Even in the 1890s, tourist and dignitaries alike paid a visit to Belle Meade to see how a proper plantation should be run. With its immaculate grounds and perfectly restored buildings, you get an idea of life in the Old South. The Belle Meade is available for weddings and other events. During the summer, the plantation offers educational summer camps for kids.

Nashville has a rich and complex history — one you must see. Book a few nights at one of the city’s fabulous hotels and spend a few days visiting these historic sites that shaped our country’s history.