Nov 24, 2012

Weekend in Nashville

A few weeks ago, Mary Ann asked me if I'd be interested in going to Nashville to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the Gaylord Opryhouse Theater.  This is something we had discussed in the past and not ever done.  I said I'd love to go.  So Mary Ann got on line and bought tickets for the 8:00 PM show on Saturday, November 17th.  We also decided we'd stay in the Opryland Hotel, something we'd never done before.  I can now report that it turned into a wonderful adventure.

We left home around noon and headed north.  I wanted to stop in Franlin briefly on the way to Nashville.  I was in the market for a replacement bandsaw for my shop, and the Woodcraft store in Franklin had the model I was interested in.  We stopped there, the price was right, we loaded up the saw, and we continued to the hotel without incident.

The Opryland Hotel is beyond belief.  It is the largest non-casino hotel in the Continental United States outside of Las Vegas A few statistics are in order:
  • 2,881 Guest Rooms
  • 109,465 square feet (10,170 m²) of ballroom space
  • 319,000 square feet (30,000 m²) of exhibit space
  • 6 full-service restaurants which include The Old Hickory Steakhouse, Cascades American Cafe, Solario, Ravello, and Findley's Irish Pub.
  • 3 lounges including The Falls, The Jack Daniel's Saloon, and The Library at Old Hickory
  • 8 eateries which include STAX Hamburgers, Paisano's Pizza, Häagen-Dazs, Christie Cookies, Conservatory Café, Wasabi's Sushi, and Coca Bean.
  • 14 retail stores including Amelia's, Savannah's and Miss Scarlet's, the three of which are women's fashions stores, Alexzander Kalifano's, a jewelry shop, the Magnolia, and Delta Necessities Stores, Signature, Cowboys and Angels, Delta Gifts and Decor, Bushels and Baskets, The Opry Shop, Bookmark, Sunny G Children's Boutique, and Johnston & Murphy.
  • Fuse Nashville Nightclub which specializes in an assortment of gourmet food and cocktails, including the signature "Cotton Candy Martini".
  • Relâche Spa and Salon which offers a variety of massages and upscale services featuring a full-service salon, sauna, shopping boutique, as well as a fitness center which is open 24 hours. Relâche also houses the hotel's indoor pool and one of the outdoor pools.
  • The Arcade which features many games and prizes.
We got to our room and cleaned up, then walked around the property for a while to figure out the lay of the land.  We also wanted to find out where the theater was in relationship to the hotel, and whether there was a shuttle bus to take us to it.

We dined at the Cascades American Cafe, and had some of the best prime rib we have ever enjoyed.  It was a terrific dining experience.  Then we went to our room to change into theater-going duds.  We were excited.  We found the bus stop with no trouble, loaded up immediately, and in about three minutes we were walking toward the entrance of the theater.  One surprise was that as we entered the theater, we were given a pair of 3-D glasses and told, "Now don't lose these, and put them on when Santa tells you to."  We entered the theater and found our seats.
The Opryland Theater evokes memories of the Ryman -- wide and shallow, with pews instead of theater seats, and having extensive balcony seating.  It is, however, much larger than the Ryman Auditorium.  In just a few ninutes, the show began.

Everything about this show was better than I could have imagined.  The lighting, sound, choreography, and costumes were all as good as one can ever see or hear.  The talent of the performers was terrific.  The level of energy and enthusiasm was superb.  I can't say enough.  Needless to say, we both really enjoyed the evening.  I highly recommend the experience.

After we returned to the hotel, we wandered around the vast interior, window shopping, people watching, and taking lots of pictures.  We got a good night's rest and had an uneventful trip home on Sunday.  It turned out to be a nice way to kick off the Christmas season.

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