Sunday, June 23, 2013

Nashville, TN

My husband and I spent two days in Nashville on a road trip through Tennessee.  Since we were going to the Grand Ole Opry we stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Resort which was almost next door.  We knew the Gaylord Opryland would be nice but it exceeded our expectations.  We had a room with a balcony to the Cascades Atrium with the waterfalls less than 100 feet away. It was like staying in a rain forest!  There is lots to see and do inside the nine acres of gardens, shops and restaurants.  There is even a boat cruise that travels through part of the indoor gardens in this huge atrium.

We enjoyed dining at the Cascades American Cafe with its beautiful surroundings and excellent food. We could see the cafe from our balcony of our room.  It was the best meal we had on our 10 day trip!
This turned out to be an exceptionally good time to go to the Grand Ole Opry and be in Nashville.  Quite by accident we arrived with the beginning of CMA Music Festival.  There was a party going on in the Plaza of the Opry before the 7:00 show.  In the Grand Ole Opry we saw a wonderful mixture of old and new country music stars.  There was Kellie Pickler, Diamond Rio, Bill Anderson, Lennon and Maisy (the young girls on the Nashville television show), Ricky Skaggs, Rascal Flatts, and Kree Harrison (from American Idol). They saved the best for last with Keith Urban. We had not so great last minute seats, but we still really enjoyed the show.

The next morning we went to Broadway Avenue where there are lots of country music restaurants, bars, and shops.  We were surprised to find everyone getting ready for a parade and a day of music stages set up all over the area.  On a road trip you never know what you might stumble onto.  

We visited the well known Tootsies Orchid Lounge.  Country stars such as Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and numerous other Grand Ole Opry stars have performed there.  We had hoped to visit the Bluebird Cafe but were unable to get a table.  Maybe next trip.

It was a great week to be in Nashville!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lookout Mountain, TN

I have passed through Chattanooga many, many times but had never visited Rock City or rode the Incline Railway even after seeing "See Rock City" painted on barns all over the country.  Recently on a road trip through Tennessee my husband and I took the time to visit both and were pleasantly surprised. 

We began our ride on the Incline Railway at the lower station.  The ride up Lookout Mountain was very steep but the view was spectacular. At the top station the observation deck has a panoramic view that on a clear day the Smoky Mountains 100 miles away can be seen. It was pretty great the day we were there.

 After completing our round trip ride on the Incline Railway we continued our trip up Lookout Mountain by car to Rock City.  I just assumed that we would park our car, purchase our tickets, and then walk out on the overlook and see a beautiful view. Somehow I missed the part about climbing up and down through the rock formations.

 It was worth the experience even though we paid dearly for it with a lot of knee pain the next day.  The views, the waterfall, the flower gardens, the bridges (especially the swinging bridge) will not be forgotten.

There was a nice little outdoor cafe to enjoy near the Observation Point where you can see seven states.  It was a breezy, beautiful day and after our climb through the rocks we enjoyed a much earned rest.  Leaving the cafe we assumed we were at the end of our journey only to find out we were only half way back to the beginning of the trail!  We had been clueless about what was involved in "seeing"  Rock City.  But we did make it back to our car and are really glad we got to "See Rock City".  Sometimes it is best not to know how hard a journey will be before you begin so you don't chicken-out and miss a wonderful experience.