It’s like we’re outside…

Welcome back to Nashville Week!

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Unfortunately, we did not actually get to spend a week in Nashville.  It was just the first stop on our 12 day trip.  We drove down on Thursday morning, stopped for lunch in Florence, Ya’ll, and made it to the Gaylord Opryland Resort by mid-afternoon.

When Kevin first told me he had a conference in Nashville, I silently dreamed that it would be at Opryland.  If you haven’t been, Opryland is an enormous hotel and convention center that has multiple atriums filled with luscious plants, waterfalls, gardens, and restaurants.  I had been with my cousin when I visited Nashville before and could not believe the immensity of the place.  It’s beautiful and a definite experience all of its own.  Needless to say, when I found out the conference actually would be held there, I got very excited.

IMG_0114Sadly, we did not get an atrium room.  Our room was definitely smaller than I expected and, while decently nice, definitely does not qualify as the nicest place we have stayed.  It’s obviously that when you stay at Opryland, they do not expect you to spend a lot of time in your room.  There is so much to see and explore.

The layout of the resort can be confusing.  Kevin found himself lost more than once that first night.  The convention center was located on the opposite side of the building from our room and it took a solid ten minutes to make the walk.  I don’t think I ever went the same way twice, although, for me, exploring was half the fun.  I found it frustrating at times that there were no easily accessible stairs to our fourth floor room.  I’m sure they were somewhere, but I never did find them in the four days we were there.  Had there been a fire, I have no doubt I would have died trying to find the stairs.

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Thursday night we grabbed a bite to eat at the Mexican restaurant before the conference began.  All of the restaurants at Opryland are expensive (this became a theme of our trip). However, they are convenient and good.  We enjoyed all the meals we had there, just not the bills.  Above you can see Kevin with the homemade guacamole he ordered.  That’s a happy camper right there.

IMG_0105I got fajitas that came with steak, chicken, and chorizo.  They also came with those delicious, purplely beans you can see in that bowl.  They were so good!

IMG_0103Kevin got chicken tacos and enjoyed them just as much as he did the guac.

One of my greatest vices is my inability to turn down dessert – especially when its something I have’t tried before.  We ordered dessert tacos.  Their arrival and presentation excited me so much that I promptly forgot to take a picture until we were halfway through them.  Oops.

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They tasted divine.  The whipped cream in the bottom had been flavored with vanilla bean. You could see the dark flecks throughout the cream and the flavor permeated perfectly.  The rims of the tacos had been dipped in chocolate and then sprinkled with sugar.  Then the whole thing was topped with fresh strawberries.  I am only slightly ashamed to admit that Kevin ate half of one taco and I polished off the rest.  I will definitely be attempting to recreate these at home.

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A super fun part of staying at Opryland was the scenery.  On Friday I worked remotely and set up my temporary office overlooking this fountain.  The view slightly bested the one from my actual office.  The weather on Friday was pretty dreary, but neither of us even realized it was raining until just before lunch.  The whole world of Opryland creates the illusion of being outside without experiencing actual weather or bugs.

Opryland has been mentioned in the Humanities course I teach before as an example of postmodern art.  We have created a world in which all of the things we like about nature exist without the negatives.  There are quaint shops and restaurants set up on little plazas in a quasi-European experience.  But at its core, everything there is merely an imitation.  Beautiful, enjoyable, but fake.  We ran into this feeling at Disney as well, and we’ll talk about it in a future post.

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Regardless of any internal dilemma caused by the faux environment, we truly enjoyed ourselves.  We were so thankful to get to see dear friends on our trip, including the wonderful Tyler Scott, who did our wedding photography.  He very generously worked his schedule around ours and met us for a quick breakfast at Opryland before we left for the airport Sunday morning.

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We would have loved to spend all day hanging out with this great friend and felt awful for cutting our time together short.  Next time!  Of course, Tyler, being the awesome person he is, took our picture before we parted.  I think he’s taken more pictures of us than anyone else at this point.  Thanks, Tyler!  This is probably the one we’ll put into our new Opry frame next to our scratch map.

DSCF0451 Stayed tuned for one more Nashville post on Friday.  We got to experience some great local culture while we were in town and can’t wait to share it with you!  Ok, let’s be honest. Friday will mostly be about food.  There is great food in Nashville!

Have you been to Opryland?

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