Travel Article 10/7/2004
After visiting so many beach destinations this year we
decided it was time to travel inland. We visited Nashville
in fall 1997 and had wonderful memories of its beauty and
hospitality. We decided to invite friends to join us for
this fall escape to the mountains
that turned out to be a great idea. On Saturday we left
Beaufort to head for the northern Alabama-Georgia border where
our good friends live in the mountains. We had also
visited there in the fall of 1997. They own a log cabin in
the middle of nowhere with two porches and a pool surrounded by
woods. I just find it so peaceful because it reminds me of
the woods around my childhood home. We talked and ate and
then went out to the Menlo Rodeo. That was so much fun.
Small town charm mixed with plain old fun made a fantastic
evening. At one point they called all the children into
the corral to try and take a ribbon off of two calves tails.
It was hilarious. Then teams of three had to try to catch
and milk a wild cow into a Pepsi bottle. More hilarity.
It was great fun. We took a long walk in the woods Sunday
morning then headed to Nashville about 2 ˝ hours away.
We arrived at the Fairfield Nashville off Music City Drive
around check – in time with the change to central time.
Our two-bedroom condo was gorgeous and we were right down the
street from the Grand Ole Opry and the Opryland Hotel. The
Fairfield Gold Crown Resort offered many superb amenities as
well as planned activities to the hot
of the Music City. The resort offers a tanning bed, guest
computer, game room, indoor and outdoor pools, fitness center,
and Sauna. The indoor pool was very plush. Picnic Tables with
grills offered families a place to cook and eat outside. The
resort Activities office offered everything from fitness walks,
bingo, kids club and ice cream sundaes to excursions into town.
Bob and Lynn attended one called "Cowboy Church" at Opryland and
they enjoyed it immensely. Tootsies Tours, shuttles to the
Stock-yard restaurant, van trip to the Opryland Hotel, Shotgun
Red Dinner Theatre were all planned and offered through this
office. The Fairfield staff pays extra attention to you and your
vacation. This can help out tremendously when you all like us
and too busy to do the research beforehand. You'll have a whole
lot of fun if you just put yourself in
their capable hands.
friends Bob and Lynn from Pembroke, MA had checked in the
previous day. We met up with their friends at the Opry Mills, a
huge mall with over 200 stores and restaurants. I’m not a
shopper but this mall was a real treat. We had dinner at a
restaurant called the Aquarium. We were literally
surrounded by huge fish tanks. It was relaxing and
inviting. Eight of us had dinner and everyone was very
pleased with his or her food. Lynn said the Mahi Mahi was
one of the best she ever had, and believe it or not I had a
killer meatloaf. The shrimp po-boy and fish ‘n chips also came
On Monday my sister and her husband, Lisa and Johnny arrived
from Providence, RI. My sister was dying to visit the
Opryland hotel and we agreed whole-heartedly that it was a must
see. They met Bob and Lynn and off we headed for Opryland.
Gaylord Entertainment describes its mammoth hotel:
Tenn. (January 2004) - Nashville's Gaylord
Opryland Resort & Convention Center has earned an international
reputation for its service and amenities, but is equally well
known for its acres of lavish gardens that provide unforgettable
experiences for the millions of people who have visited this
Boasting 50,000 tropical plants, rare international blooms and
romantic Southern species, the horticultural displays at Gaylord
Opryland are among the most exquisite in the world. Meticulously
selected and lovingly maintained by a staff of 20 full-time
interior horticulturists, the landscaping is a colorful,
year-round paradise tucked inside this amazing resort. Each of
the gardens is housed under one of the hotel's soaring atriums,
creating a series of breathtaking horticultural wonderlands. The
Garden Conservatory features a
collection of 10,000 tropical plants, representing more than 215
species. Towering palms and banana trees rise 60 feet above the
atrium floor. In all, there are 37 different families of trees
represented, including ficus, banana trees, palms and a sampling
of miniature orange trees.”
found beautiful paths through the conservatory, a fountain show,
and even a delta flatboat ride through the center of the hotel –
did we say this was BIG. Restaurants were carefully placed
to offer the best views and cuisine imaginable. We decided
upon an Irish Pub, Fidley’s. I love Pubs and had the
most incredible meal. It was gigantic. I had three
popover pies—one was filled with corned beef and cabbage,
another was beef pie and the last was chicken potpie. It
was incredible and the perfect taste of everything.
Everyone enjoyed it and we were set for a perfect time exploring
the grand hotel. The Grand Ole Opry stands right behind
the Opryland Hotel and the Opry Mills. It is a beautiful
grandiose property. Look out this winter (Nov 18 to Jan 2,
05) for A Country Christmas presented by Cracker Barrel.
I’m sure it’s a holiday splendor worth visiting.
lunch we were ready to head downtown for some music and boot
shopping. We headed down to Broadway where some very
famous bars have sent many on to fame. We just had to go
to Tootsies Orchid Lounge where the likes of Hank Williams,
Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and
many, many more were discovered. It was a a bit rustic but
the music was good. We listened for a while and singers
were coming up from the audience. One tiny young woman
singer was excellent. My friend Lynn, a very friendly
person, met a woman singer at the bar. Her name was
Deirdre Reilley and she was from Massachusetts also. They
talked for a while; Lynn bought her CD, and found out when and
where she was playing this week. We then moved on so that
Bob could buy a pair of authentic Cowboy boots.
loves his boots. We continued across the street to Rippy’s
Smokin’ Bar & Grill for more music and two-fors (two for one
beers). This was a very friendly bar with ceiling to floor glass
doors open all night to the air and city beyond. We sat
right on the cusp of the city and the bar. Right across from us
was the Gaylord Entertainment Center Stadium where the
Predator’s play hockey and other events take place. It was
exciting. Right next door on Broadway we had dinner at
Merchants. Once again dinner was superb although the two
who had spicy crawfish ravioli endured heartburn for the rest of
the night. They said it was delicious but SPICY.
On Tuesday we headed back downtown for more music and boot
shopping. Lynn had not yet found her perfect pair.
We had lunch at the Hard Rock Café, which is right at the end of
Broadway across the Cumberland River from the Football Stadium.
We have never been disappointed by the food at the Hard Rock and
we weren’t this time. My sister had a chopped salad that
was enough for three people. We all had huge salads and a
great time. We headed back up Broadway to shop for boots
and this time Lynn found a pair. We walked up Second
Ave headed to the world famous Wild Horse Saloon. The
gigantic but very quiet in the afternoon. The weather was
absolutely gorgeous. Nearby we also looked in to B.B.
Kings Blues Club, which also looked like great fun. We walked
around the corner to the waterfront to Nashborough Fort where on
January 1, 1780 Nashville was founded. James Robertson led his
group of pioneers across the frozen Cumberland River to a place
called The Cedar Bluffs. It was here that these men built a fort
called Nashborough, which would be shelter for the first
families until Indian attacks ended in 1792.
We continued roaming from lounge to lounge listening to great
music and enjoying each other’s company and the company of other
people and staff tremendously. Southern hospitality is
alive in Nashville, although I swear most people we met came
from the north. That evening we had a special cocktail
party in our condo to celebrate a very special anniversary.
It was very touching and special and we all enjoyed a wonderful
closeness that will forever remain a treasured memory. To
make sure the
went unmatched Bob and Lynn took us to the other world famous
Nashville Palace where Randy Travis started as a dishwasher and
many an up and coming star is discovered. There was a
great house band and later that evening there would be an
amateur contest. We hunkered down over some real southern
food like fried chicken livers (for me - everyone else but
Johnny hated chicken liver) vegetable beef soup, BBQ plates,
fried catfish sandwiches and much more. The amateur
contest was great and the performers displayed an amazing amount
of talent. The audience voted the winner, a young women with a
powerful voice named Tanya Teague, who would return Thursday
night to sing with the band all night.
Wednesday we had planned to take a trip on the General Jackson
Showboat, which cruised out of the Opry Mills on the Cumberland
River to downtown and back. You may opt for a BBQ lunch or
just the cost of a ride. My husband and I ended up not
able to go because I was not feeling well. Our friends
enjoyed the music and beautiful day but they said the scenery
until they reached Nashville was nondescript. Bob and Lynn
had dinner plans with a friend so we decided to go to the
Stock-Yard Restaurant on Second Avenue. They offer a
complimentary shuttle service, but we elected to drive.
This was one incredible restaurant. It was
stone and impressive. The dining rooms were all small (ten
tables at most) and the tuxedo-donned waiters were impressive.
We had a superb evening. It is pricey, but a very special
evening worth experiencing on your trip. Lisa and I
enjoyed Filet Oscar (crab, asparagus, and hollandaise topping)
while the men enjoyed an end cut prime rib and a tropical steak.
We even splurged for key lime pie and cheesecake. By now
our clothes were getting very tight from all the fantastic food
we had been eating all week.
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