Road Trip USA: Nashville, Tennessee


Being married to Miranda’s stunt double is a tough gig for Paul.  It would be one thing if his Miranda-like wife just resembled the country singing superstar, but the fact that she somewhat looks like her AND loves her music is just something he can’t quite figure out.  How did his Jersey Girl ever become a fan of cowboy boots and Tim McGraw?


My country tastes began in the concert venue of Six Flags Great Adventure when a friend from high school invited me to attend a concert with him and his mother.  I don’t remember exactly who was singing that evening, but I do remember buying my first Tim McGraw CD shortly thereafter and falling in love with the song “Don’t Take the Girl.”   In the end, my love for country began with Tim and “Johnny’s daddy takin’ him fishin.”

Anyway, when Paul and I began dating, he absolutely despised country music.  His exact words were, “I’m telling you now, you’ll never get me to go to a country concert.”  Besides those famous words, my radio time was extremely limited.  For fear that my husband’s ears may start to bleed on any particular car ride, I was granted just about enough time to listen to one song on the lowest, yet still somewhat audible, volume level.  This argument over the radio dial proved to be our first real fight and while the disagreement still lingers, I’m pleased to announce I’ve made some profound progress over the past 6 years.

Since that time my husband became a fan of the famous Alison Krauss song “When You Say Nothing At All.”  He also bought tickets to a Miranda Lambert concert for my most recent birthday, and, despite the above mentioned statement, he ATTENDED it too.  Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, he willingly asked to make a stop in Nashville and take a tour of the Grand Ole Opry on our cross country road trip.  He can even (sarcastically) belt out Lee Brice’s “Parking Lot Party”.  Pinch me now because I think I’m dreaming.

About ten years ago my mom and I took a mother-daughter trip to Nashville to see the Grand Ole Opry.  We stayed at the lovely Gaylord Opryland Hotel.  It was expensive and luxurious and my mom and I loved every minute of it.  We even had the pleasure of meeting a humorously entertaining bus driver from Branson.  Mom’s got a photo of him somewhere.

You can imagine how surprised I was when Paul and I recently scored a room at the Gaylord Opryland for a very reasonable rate.  In fact, I was suspiciously surprised that a place I remembered to be so grand could be so inexpensive.  Turns out, I had every right to be suspicious.

While the Gaylord Opryland Hotel is still beautiful both inside and out, it was recently obtained by a famous and huge hotel chain.  Therefore, the grand reputation of the Gaylord Opryland Hotel is now being successfully and quickly flushed down the drain by Marriott.

Now, of course, we didn’t know this coming in.  We didn’t find this out until we went in search of a place to eat lunch within the hotel.  The Gaylord Opryland Hotel offers a variety of restaurants within it’s sprawling property so finding a place to eat should have been a simple matter.  Unfortunately, it was exactly the opposite.  Only one restaurant, Jack Daniels, was open for business on that particular day, while all the rest stood dark and dismally closed.

Neither of us cared much for anything on the menu at Jack Daniel’s and resorted to exiting the hotel and dining at Chuy’s, a Mexican chain restaurant in the mall next door.  Paul had a bean burrito and I had vegetable enchiladas, both of which were dramatically less expensive than dining in the hotel.

We didn’t find out about the Marriott takeover until later in the day when we asked a bartender why the hotel seemed shut down.  He gave us an honest answer and told us that when the hotel isn’t filled to capacity, Marriott’s formula is to shut everything down and send everyone home.  We could tell the bartender didn’t agree with this formula when he said, “I wish I could talk more about this matter, but I am unable to.”

While our experience at the Gaylord wasn’t at all good, I can’t say I blame the hotel for the issues we faced.  Unfortunately, Nashville was hit with a terrible flood in 2010 which caused massive devastation to the area.  Both the Grand Ole Opry building and the Gaylord Opryland Hotel suffered terrible damage, and millions of dollars were spent to restore both buildings.  It seems they are still trying to recover and, at least in the hotel’s case, Marriott came to the rescue.

The Grand Ole Opry tour is great and I recommend you do it at least once in your lifetime, no matter what your musical preferences may be.  I’ve been on the tour three times now.  I didn’t expect to see or learn anything new the third time around, but since the flood, things have changed.  You can even see the flood lines marked along the walls.  It is incredible just how much water filled the building during that tragic event.


Despite Paul’s feelings on country music, he thoroughly enjoyed every minute of his Grand Ole Opry tour.  He even snapped a few shots of things he knew I would love, like the Rascal Flatt’s plaque and Minnie Pearl.

Look what a few years of marriage and some consistent radio hostility did to my husband.  It made him a little more tolerant.

Or maybe it’s just love.  I mean, he’s even camping these days!  Gasp!

Next Post: Paul’s Guest Post on Camping

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