Road Trip: Nashville with Sidewalk Ready

A few weeks ago Kayley from Sidewalk Ready left the snow and cold of Grand Rapids Michigan behind to embark on a road trip to Nashville. Follow her Music City adventure and find out a few of her favorite places to stop when road trippin’ through Nashville.

In the midst of a freezing and snowy winter, sometimes the key to staying positive is to take a vacation. While traveling by plane is convenient and time efficient, something about commuting by car appeals to me.

Seeing the snow slowly disappear as the hours go by is so gratifying, and if travelling with a good friend or family member, road trips can also be relationship building. It’s impossible not to learn something new about the person you are traveling with when trapped in a car with them for hours on end.  Looking back on the road trips I’ve taken in the past, the commute tends to be as memorable as the vacation itself.

This particular road trip brought my friend, Heather, and I to Nashville, TN. After grabbing coffee at a local Grand Rapids favorite, Sparrows (essential for starting a road trip out right: warm and caffeinated), we cranked out the miles in about 8 hours, stopping only for gas and bathroom breaks.

We took turns playing the role of driver and DJ and the time flew by. Sidenote: My #1 tip when it comes to encouraging time to pass quickly – dress in comfortable layers. I started our journey in a jacket, cardigan, t-shirt dress, tights, and one of my favorite pairs of Minnetonka mocs (a road trip staple for me!). As we travelled further south I was able to lose a couple layers, but the basics of my outfit proved to work for many seasons and it transitioned to each pit stop perfectly.

While Nashville has enough to see to keep a person occupied for weeks, it is also a wonderful place to stop if you happen to just be traveling through. If I had to make recommendations on where to go in Nashville for a brief road-trip detour stop, this is what I would choose:

Barista Parlor. Fresh brewed coffee from all over the world in an inspiring space full of sunlight and interesting décor. This was my favorite place to hunker down and get work done so don’t forget to bring your laptop if you have work you need to tackle while briefly stopped!

And Mitchell’s. Perfect for being on the go – a wide of range of reasonably priced sandwiches in a charming space that also sells specialty grocery items. Out of curiosity, I ordered the báhn mi sandwich and it didn’t disappoint!

Or (depending on budget) MarchéMore of a time and financial commitment than Mitchell’s but worth it. If you happen to be stopping through on a Saturday or Sunday, I would strongly recommend going for Marché’s brunch and don’t leave without ordering the French toast, whether it be a full order for your meal or a half order to split with others for dessert.  

No matter how long you stay, Nashville is absolutely worth a visit. I hope you have a chance to check out this all-american city and indulge in some amazing food and all the entertainment it has to offer!

Made By Hand: Free Range Mama

A few months ago we began seeing the cute and colorful hand painted designs of Lindsay Stewart’s Free Range Mama shop on Instagram. 

We adored the customized designs Lindsay was adding to Minnetonka booties and couldn’t wait to learn more about her Minnetonka connection and inspiration behind her Free Range Mama Etsy shop.

What’s your Minnetonka story?
I have  worn Minnetonka since Day One. My mom was familiar with the brand from growing up in Starbuck, Minnesota and throughout my childhood my mom, dad and I all wore them.

When my husband Josh and I had our first son, Maxwell, my parents gave us my first pair for him to wear. As he grew out of them, we packed them away – only to bring them back out when our second son, Magnus, was born. The fact that they’ve lasted 33+ plus years is definitely a testament to the brand.

Tell us how Free Range Mama came to be.
After Magnus grew out of my infant Minnetonka booties I sealed them into a Ziploc and placed them in the bottom drawer of the boys’ dresser. A year or so later, I was reorganizing and emptied the drawer and was so excited to see them again. They were squashed flat but as I pulled them carefully from the bag, the texture of the worn suede felt so reassuring to me.

The soles of the moccasins were worn, but showed no age. I wondered if anybody found their Minnetonkas to be such a keepsake the way I did. Folks used to wear white leather booties and would later bronze them – that’s pretty special, I thought. But I wondered if anybody would want a birthday or a name painted on these moccasins. To keep and hand down. And add names later, maybe. Sort of like a lineage of moccasin-lovers.

I did love to paint but hadn’t in years. So I took a leap and ordered three pair of Minnetonka booties and some sets of new paints. For three Saturdays, I painted. With three, simple pair of custom, hand-painted moccasins, I opened my Etsy shop. First under the name “Magnus ‘n Maxwell” – unsure what the heck one actually does with an Etsy shop.

Several months later, I sold my first pair. I was so excited I texted a friend. She had no idea I had painted some moccasins! I sent her the link to my Etsy shop and she wrote back: “I’ll take three.” And then another friend caught wind: “I’ll take three.” And from there it sort of snowballed.

What inspires your designs?
Well, the music is always on. Also, album art and poster art, 1960’s photography books, flora/fauna guides, a plane ticket.

What’s your process?  How long does it take for you to create a new custom pair?
Free Range Mama is a free-hand, hand-painted, entirely custom brand. No stencils. No tracing. No sketching beforehand.  Once I’ve ironed out what the client has in their heart and it’s production time, I can have the moccasins painted and ready to roll within a few hours.

What is your most memorable (or favorite) pair that you’ve ever painted?
I have so many. Two faves are the Spaceship and Planets pair with the navy blue capped off toes and also the Psychedelic Tie Dye Swirl “Cosmic Friend” pair. Anything with owls is requested all the time, too. Luckily, even repeating styles keeps things interesting around here since they are all one-of-a-kind. Every, single pair is unique.

Sometimes clients want something they don’t see listed and then we can collaborate on a specific design.  All Free Range Mama moccasins can be personalized with names, birthdays, quotes – even music notes. A recent pair included the actual music notes for “Everybody’s Talkin’” by Harry Nilsson. My favorite words to paint are “Be True.” “Be Brave.” Such a sendoff for the moccasins; from my silly little paint brushes, to the soles of the feet so precious in your life.

For more of Lindsay’s designs visit her Free Range Mama Etsy shop.


Minnetonka at Heartbreaker Banquet

Last week the Minnetonka team left the frozen tundra of Minneapolis and headed south to the private “Luck, Texas” ranch of Willie Nelson to attend the Heartbreaker Banquet.

In its third year, Heartbreaker Banquet is a one-day music festival held during SXSW on the outskirts of Austin.  Originally used as the backdrop to Willie’s 1986 movie “Red Headed Stranger” the private ranch is home to the bank, dance hall, chapel, jailhouse, water tower and saloon all featured in the old Western film – setting the stage for this unique event.

Elisa wearing her Minnetonka Cross Body Fringe bag

Minnetonka was stationed in front of the old bank giving festival-goers the opportunity to pose in our photo booth and enter to win a variety of Minnetonka mocs, boots and hats.

This daylong festival featured a stellar line up of Americana rock and indie-folk music on two different stages – one intimately set inside the chapel – with a diverse mix of performances by Elle King, Felice Brothers, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, Nikki Lane, Shovels & Rope, Lucius, Noah Gundersen and many, many more.

The surprise of the evening was an appearance by Willie himself thrilling the crowd with a few classic hits including “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” “Whiskey River,” and “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before.”

Couldn’t make it to Heartbreaker Banquet this year?  Check out the full lineup of bands on Spotify and enter to win a Minnetonka hat signed by many of this year’s Heartbreaker Banquet performers.

And be sure to check out more of the Minnetonka’s SXSW adventures on Instagram.

Caelan spotted in her Minnetonka Woodstock boots

Nikki Lane performing on stage

Laura from Roots & Feathers festival-ready in her Bandera boots

Heartbreaker Banquet Artist Lounge

A Chapel performance by Noah Gundersen

Elle King autographing our Minnetonka hat

A Minnetonka hat to win - signed by Heartbreaker Banquet artists

Heartbreaker Banquet Chapel

A surprise performance by Willie himself!

Store Spotlight: Farm-Way Inc.

Minnetonka Store Spotlight: Farm-Way, Inc 286 Waits River Rd Bradford, VT 05033

Farm-Way, Inc of Bradford Vermont is a family owned and operated store that has been in business for over 30 years by partners Skip & Carol Metayer and Paul & Bobbie Gallerani, along with Paul & Shelby Metayer and 35 dedicated employees.  Learn more about Farm-Way, Inc of Bradford today in our Minnetonka Store Spotlight!

What’s your Minnetonka story?
We started as a feed store in 1982, and grew into one of the largest footwear stores in Vermont with over 20,000 pairs on hand! We offer a wide selection of clothing and sporting goods, including kayaks, fencing and farming products.  Along with a gift house that features cookware, jewelry, pocketbooks, furniture and more!

For over 20 years Minnetonka has been part of our footwear collection.  Our Minnetonka selection is located at the entrance of our footwear department with over four dozen styles available year round.

What is your favorite Minnetonka slipper style?
Our favorite Minnetonka style is the Cally slipper, due to the variety of available colors which always makes it a popular selection in our store.

What is the most popular Minnetonka style in your store?
This year the Men’s Pile Lined Hardsole slipper was our most popular style!  With the Chrissy Bootie in a close second.

What are a few must see destinations near your store?
Bradford has Wright’s Mountain which is perfect for hiking and also offers spectacular views.

At the Bradford Falls you will most likely will see a photographer at any given time capturing the beauty of the river cascading towards the mill. Our town also borders the Connecticut River which has miles of boating and fishing opportunities.