Claire Gibson

Correspondent

  • Nashville, TN, USA

Claire Gibson is a correspondent who lives in Nashville and covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. Growing up as an Army brat, Gibson moved from state to state at a speed illegal on most major highways. After spending time traveling across mainland China, Gibson earned degrees in Political Science and Asian Studies, and later settled in Nashville, where she began a freelance writing career covering topics of travel, faith, food and education. When she’s not writing, drinking coffee, or running with her Vizsla named Cooper, Gibson is likely out hunting for the world’s best margarita. Her work has been featured in The Christian Science Monitor, The Tennesseean, Darling and Bearings, among others.

  • On July 2, 2014
    Kaley Johannesson is now following Claire Gibson
  • On October 11, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    How do I get a reservation at Prime 108?

    Reservations at Prime 108 are not essential, though they are encouraged, particularly on special occasions like Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Day — the restaurant often fills up its reservation slots for these most popular meals of the year far in advance. So if you’re hoping to snag a table during a holiday meal, make sure to reserve as early as possible. On most days, the friendly staff are happy to seat guests who arrive without a reservation, but if you have the forethought to plan ahead, simply call the restaurant directly. You can also secure a reservation for Prime 108 via OpenTable.
  • On October 11, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What is the dress code at Prime 108?

    Officially, the dress code at Prime 108 is business casual, and due to the restaurant’s intricate and detailed interior decor; crisp, white tablecloths; and large crystal stemware, it seems appropriate. However, Nashville is an incredibly casual city, and the servers at Prime 108 assure that jeans and T-shirts frequent their tables, too. On a recent visit, the restaurant was filled with several tables of guests dressed in business attire, as if they’d come to eat straight from work. However, a pair of jeans with a nice blouse or collared shirt would suit just fine. Ultimately, since the room is so poshly designed, it’s hard not to want to dress up and enjoy the elegant ambiance. Plus, food tastes so much better when you’re wearing heels.
  • On October 11, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    Where is Prime 108 located?

    Prime 108 is located just beyond the main lobby of Union Station Hotel, at 1001 Broadway in Nashville. For travelers visiting the city, Prime 108 is right in the heart of downtown Nashville, adjacent to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts. It's about four blocks from famous attractions such as Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the flashy honky-tonks near the river, like Tootsies Orchid Lounge.

    Due to its central location, Prime 108 is an ideal afternoon retreat from sightseeing. Prime 108 is also only four blocks from Bridgestone Arena and five blocks from the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, making the luxury hotel’s restaurant and The Lounge ideal for dinner or drinks before a nighttime performance.
  • On October 11, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What restaurants does Union Station Hotel have?

    Union Station Hotel’s signature restaurant is Prime 108, named for the historic Bully 108 steam engine, the first to whir through the train station that once occupied this landmark building. Executive chef Thomas Cook serves a seasonal menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner that features the region’s freshest ingredients, including herbs from the onsite garden. In addition to cuisine, Prime 108 offers guests the expertise of Shelley Walker, the hotel’s in-house sommelier, who can suggest the perfect pairing of wine, whiskey or cocktails while you enjoy the intimate space’s romantic dark wood and blown-glass chandeliers.

    On weekends and special occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, Prime 108 offers holiday brunches that regularly book up months in advance, thanks to Cook’s specialty menus. Because these special events are so popular, reservations are recommended.
  • On October 11, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What’s the best time to visit Union Station Hotel?

    With Nashville’s constant change and growth, there isn’t a bad time to visit Union Station Hotel. In the fall, travel down the pristine Natchez Trace to enjoy the changing leaves, crisp sunshiny weather and the city’s outdoor adventures. In the spring and summer, Union Station Hotel is just minutes from Nashville’s farmers markets, riverfront park and Centennial Park, where free live music is always on hand. In the winter, snow is rarely a challenge in Nashville, but Union Station Hotel’s original fireplaces are ready to warm hands and feet, and The Lounge is always ready with a glass of something to liven the spirit, even on the coldest days.
  • On October 11, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    Where is Union Station Hotel located?

    Union Station Hotel is located at 1001 Broadway, in the heart of downtown Nashville. As a former train station, it’s no surprise that the hotel is located within walking distance of some of the city’s most notable attractions, including the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Ryman Auditorium, honky-tonks and Music Row. It’s also just blocks from the Gulch, a newly revamped district with high-end shopping and restaurants. You'll be able to easily spot the luxury hotel's limestone structure, with its monumental clock tower above and winding train tracks below. It's a pillar of Nashville’s skyline.
  • On July 21, 2013
    Claire Gibson is now following Paris
  • On July 21, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    Where is the best pizza in Nashville?

    Nashville has plenty of great pizza, and in the last few years, the number of gourmet options has increased dramatically. 

    If you're looking for something classic and Italian—try Coco's Italian Market. Since 1965, the same family has owned and operated the restaurant. And even though it's located far outside the city center, it's worth it for the hand-tossed margherita pizza.

    Another great option in East Nashville's 5-points district is Five Points Pizza. Try the meatball pizza or my favorite, the Olde World, and you won't be dissapointed. Also, bring your own bottle of wine to enjoy. There's a small corkage fee, but otherwise you're choices will be limited to cold, draft beer. 

    If you're interested in something more gourmet, head on over to City House, where Chef Tandy Wilson whips up daily personal-sized pizzas that are affordable and creative. One of the most popular pizzas features belly Ham, mozzarella, and chilies, while a summer special is topped with peaches, cheddar, and red onion. 

    Happy Slices!


  • On July 18, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What is the best new restaurant in Nashville?

    Undoubtedly, the best (and most highly anticipated) new restaurant in Nashville is Husk. The Neighborhood Dining Group and James Beard Award Winning Chef Sean Brock scouted out the Rutledge Hill location for the newest outpost of Husk, which originated in Charleston. And much like it's older coastal brother, Husk Nashville features the best southern ingredients from around the region, including catfish, local vegetables and lettuces, roasted bone marrow.

    The mission of the restaurant is to explore the reality of Southern food—not to redifine or rediscover it. Reservations can be hard to come by—so plan ahead! 
  • On July 15, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What are the best places to buy shoes in Nashville?

    One of my favorite things to do while traveling is to take an old pair of shoes on the trip that are begging to be retired. Then, while traveling—you have a purpose behind your shopping—to find that perfect shoe replacement! While in Nashville... you'll have plenty of shoe-shopping options to choose from, though unfortunately, they aren't located in one central location. If you're hunting for shoes, make sure to have a car to bop from one place to the next.

    The Perfect Pair Nashville is a local favorite for vintage and new shoe finds, with a wide range of price points. If you're looking for high-end leather designer shoes, look no further than Peter Nappi, whose warehouse workspace has been featured in too many magazines to list. (Plus, the warehouse is so beautiful, you might just want to add it to your "places to see" list in Nashville). If you're looking for something a little more affordable, you might enjoy a trip out to Opry Mills Mall, where several factory and outlet stores (J.Crew, Saks off 5th, Cole Haan) make the prices worth the trip. Another good option is Posh, a boutique located both in Green Hills and in Hillsboro Village. 

    Happy shopping! 
  • On July 12, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What are the best day trips near Nashville?

    While there's plenty to do in and around Nashville proper, there's something fun about hitting the road and seeing something that's off the beaten path. If you're looking for a day-trip from Nashville, look no further than the following: 

    1. Arrington Vineyards- located less than an hour's drive away from Nashville, in Arrington, Tenn., this vineyard is the handywork of Kix Brooks, half of the iconic country duo, Brooks & Dunn. Along with winemaker Kip Summers and entrepreneur, John Russell, Brooks is making a new kind of music with his bold vintages, including a Petite Noir, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Savignon, among others. Pack a picnic and head to the hill, which overlooks the vineyard valley. At times there's live music, and there's always wine for sale in the main house. Bring a wine key!

    2. Leipers Fork - for a fun day in the country, head southwest from Nashville on the Natchez Trace Parkway, until you reach Lepiers Fork, a small town with big personality. Stop in for lunch (or late night live music) at the original Puckett's Grocery, and don't miss Serenite Maison, for antiques and other household treasures. 

    3. Jack Daniel's DistilleryIf you're looking for something to warm your belly, take an hour drive to Lynchburg, the site of Jack Daniel's famous whiskey distillery. Though it was famed for its location in a dry county, thanks to a small 2012 change in legislation, visitors can enjoy a Jack Daniels tasting right on the premises. 

    4. Virgin Falls - Located just east of Sparta, TN, Virgin Falls offers over 1,000 acres of natural beauty to hikers and campers. The trail, which is well marked from the parking lot, takes 5 to 8 hours, depending on your pace. But if you're feelign more adventurous, hike in with a tent and a few supplies—you can almost always find a camping spot just near the falls, and sleep next to the roaring sound of waters in the middle of Tennessee. 

    Happy travels!
  • On July 12, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What are the best day trips near Nashville?

    While there's plenty to do in and around Nashville proper, there's something fun about hitting the road and seeing something that's off the beaten path. If you're looking for a day-trip from Nashville, look no further than the following: 

    1. Arrington Vineyards- located less than an hour's drive away from Nashville, in Arrington, Tenn., this vineyard is the handywork of Kix Brooks, half of the iconic country duo, Brooks & Dunn. Along with winemaker Kip Summers and entrepreneur, John Russell, Brooks is making a new kind of music with his bold vintages, including a Petite Noir, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Savignon, among others. Pack a picnic and head to the hill, which overlooks the vineyard valley. At times there's live music, and there's always wine for sale in the main house. Bring a cork!

    2. Leipers Fork - for a fun day in the country, head southwest from Nashville on the Natchez Trace Parkway, until you reach Lepiers Fork, a small town with big personality. Stop in for lunch (or late night live music) at the original Puckett's Grocery, and don't miss Serenite Maison, for antiques and other household treasures. 

    3. Jack Daniel's DistilleryIf you're looking for something to warm your belly, take an hour drive to Lynchburg, the site of Jack Daniel's famous whiskey distillery. Though it was famed for its location in a dry county, thanks to a small 2012 change in legislation, visitors can enjoy a Jack Daniels tasting right on the premises. 


    4. Virgin Falls - Located just east of Sparta, TN, Virgin Falls offers over 1,000 acres of natural beauty to hikers and campers. The trail, which is well marked from the parking lot, takes 5 to 8 hours, depending on your pace. But if you're feelign more adventurous, hike in with a tent and a few supplies—you can almost always find a camping spot just near the falls, and sleep next to the roaring sound of waters in the middle of Tennessee. 

    Happy travels!
  • On July 6, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What are the hottest upcoming concerts in Nashville?

    Nashville always has a wealth of concerts, especially during the summer and fall, two of the best seasons for live music. Whether its the underground tunes of lesser-known bands, or the major headliners that sell out in minutes, there are a few major names coming to town this year that you won't want to miss:

    Imagine Dragons - July 17, 2013 at the Woods at Fontanel

    Jason Isbell with Caitlin Rose - August 17, 2013, Ryman Auditorium. 

    Sigor Ròs -  September 27, 2013, The Woods at Fontanel

    Iron and Wine  - October 10, 2013, Ryman Auditorium. 

    The Lumineers - October 12, 13, and 14, at Ryman Auditorium. 

    If you're too late to get tickets, make sure check out the best places to hear live music at the last minute
  • On July 3, 2013
    Claire Gibson answered the question: Claire Gibson

    What are the best events this weekend in Nashville?

    This year, Independence Day falls on a Thursday, which means that the festivities will last all weekend long. If you happen to be in Nashville, you're in luck!  There are so many events to choose from, you just can't go wrong.

    The Thirth- Every year on the "Thirth" of July, East Nashville shuts down for a block party of national proportions. A $15 cover charge gets you access to bands, beer, and plenty of neighborly fun. (Wednesday, July 3rd, from 5 p.m. to midnight) 

    Hot Chicken FestivalEvery year on July 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Nashville hosts the Music City Hot Chicken Festival. Though some years, the temperatures rival the chicken in terms of heat, you can bet on leaving the festival having sweat through at least one layer of clothing. If you can't make it to the festival, make sure to try some hot chicken while you're in Nashville. 

    Riverfront July 4th Celebration - Free to the public and open all day, Nashville's downtown events will start at 7 p.m., with music featuring Keb' Mo', and the Band Perry. The 26-minute fireworks display, accompanied by a performance by the Nashville Symphony is scheduled for 9:50 p.m., and will light up 14,000 lbs of fireworks over the Cumberland River.  

    July 4th 5k and 10 to Support the Salvation Army- Before you head out to a barbeque, burn a few calories for a good cause with the Music City July 4th 5k and 10k. Starting at 7:30 a.m., the racecourse traverses Nashville's downtown area, and crosses the Cumberland River twice.