We are not fans of country music, so Nashville was never really on our “to do” list, until – Aerosmith announced a tour date there back in December of 2012. After finding a cheap flight and realizing that I had some Marriott Rewards to use, we decided to give it a try. It’s always kind of exciting to be seeing a show at a venue and a city that you have never been to. The deal was sealed when I learned that the flight was quite short and very reasonably priced (Southwest).
Ended up loving this little city, and we just returned this past Christmas, but this time as a road trip. When planning a Nashville trip, one of the decisions that must be made is – where will we stay? It really boils down to two options: downtown Nashville or at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Two totally different experiences, If you are wanting nightlife, shopping, a concert or sporting event – downtown is the way to go (we stayed at The Renaissance Nashville Hotel on the first trip) which is walkable to everything. If you are wanting more of a resort type getaway or to be fully immersed in Christmas, than The Gaylord Opryland (which is about a 20 minute drive from downtown) might be more what you are looking for.
Our first trip, we loved the proximity to everything downtown, we didn’t need a car and we walked to the shops and restaurants and even the concert was only a block away. There’s just a good vibe to this little city and we always felt safe walking around (day or night).
And though, like I said earlier we are not country music fans – who doesn’t love some CASH? That’s right, there is a huge Johnny Cash presence here, and after watching Walk the Line around 25 times, what could be cooler than experiencing “the man in black’s” old stomping grounds first hand?
Another enjoyable experience was a tour of the Ryman Auditorium. I must admit we weren’t going to do this but in a “what else are we going to do for the rest of the afternoon, besides shop or eat?” moment, we made the decision and were so glad that we did. You could just feel the history walking through this place that made so many legends famous.
Trip #2 – The Gaylord Opryland Hotel
When visiting in 2012, because we had flown and did not rent a car, we were a bit undecided whether we should spend the money on a 20 minute cab ride to go see the Opryland Hotel (I believe at the time it was approx. $25 each way). Well we were so glad we decided to, so much so that I decided I would definitely be back and this time I would stay there. So after getting a great rate (again during the week and again using Marriott perks), we decided on a road trip – mainly because for whatever reason – flight prices had nearly tripled from our trip in 2012. So a road trip it was. We packed up and headed out at the crack of dawn for the approx. 9 hour trip. Easy drive with lots of options for stops (we even had our traditional “I-75 count the Cracker Barrel signs” to help pass the time.)
If you are like us and love all things Christmas – this is the place for you!!! I’m sure it’s a beautiful place all year round but we have just happened to visit in December on both trips.
This resort is huge and you really don’t have to leave – there is something for everyone. There are almost 3000 guest rooms with 9 acres of indoor gardens all maxed out to their Christmas finest. There are more than 15 restaurants ranging from food courts to fine dining.
take a short tour with us:
The nice thing about this hotel was you didn’t have to really do anything to enjoy it. You could just walk around and explore, or people watch from your balcony. However, there were so many holiday things to do (all at an additional expense): there was a craft & gift show in the exhibit hall, a large indoor area with kiddie rides (probably best for kids 2-6), outdoor iceskating and tubing, you could make/decorate a gingerbread house, How the Grinch Stole Christmas musical was playing in the Grand Ole Opry House (you needed to pre buy your tickets), and for no charge you could enjoy the resort’s more than 2.3 million Christmas lights with the Parade of Trees and Christmas Fountain Shows, but here are some of our
“DON’T WANNA MISS A THINGS”
- Horse and carriage ride – short and sweet (around 10 minutes) for about $10 each but we loved it, it was a great way to see the beautiful grounds all lit up, including a gorgeous nativity scene.
- Delta Riverboat ride – we had so much fun on this approx. 15 minute ride around the river in the Delta Atrium. I believe the cost was $10. While listening to the 12 Days of Country Christmas and wearing our 3D glasses we sailed past the fountains, the spectacular 48 foot Christmas tree and more. The boat rides run all throughout the day as well, but we chose to ride at night for the full effect of the lights – definitely a highlight of the trip!
- Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt– now this probably sounds crazy but this was a blast! We paid a small fee at the front desk (I’m sorry but I can’t remember the cost – we just purchased one and shared the package). We were given a booklet that was a map and full of clues leading us to find different elves hidden throughout the whole, huge resort. Although I’m sure that it was ideally designed for kids, Baby Bug and I were certainly challenged and had a super great time trying to find these little guys hiding all over the place. At the end of the search we were awarded with a small prize. This we would definitely do again!