I recently took a trip to visit family in Tennessee to ring in the New Year. My sister Becky, her husband and two children moved there about 5 years ago.
It is a beautiful state, and by car, the trip is 14 long hours from my home. I discovered that I can really only travel 8 hours before I begin to go nuts. After 8 hours I started chanting in my head "I don't think long car rides are good for me," while rocking back and forth and rubbing my hands together. After 10 hours I started mumbling "I can't take this anymore," and tried to write "Help Me!!" backwards on a fogged up window so that perhaps other travellers would see it and rescue me. After 12 hours panic set in, and I started viewing my husband and son as kidnappers, and wondered if I would survive if I jumped out of the car, while speeding 65 miles an hour on the interstate. After 14 hours, I could no longer remember where we were going or who I was. I became numb, defeated, and knew my fate was to forever travel an endless, lonely highway, searching for a place I'd never find. Thankfully, it was at that point that we pulled into my sister's driveway. Clumsily, I stumbled out of the car, practiced walking again for a minute, then hugged my sister and cried....we were only staying three days and then I'd have to make that whole drive again. :(
Not one to dwell on the negative, we made the most of our three days. On the first day, my sister and I got new haircuts. Her son Jeffery was happy to pose with us.
For dinner, she made a delicious Creamy White Chili. I've never had it before, and I must say it was spectacular! It was very rich and creamy, full of chicken, cheese, and spices, with a little bit of crushed fritoes on top. There were NO leftovers!
The next day, after a down home southern breakfast, we headed out to Gaylord Opryland Hotel. In May, 2010, after two days of rain, the Cumberland River spilled over its' banks, causing a huge flood. This hotel was 10 feet under water along with the surrounding areas. The hotel just reopened on November 15th.
This is an area inside the atrium of the hotel. (photo from LiveProcess Blog)
But on this particular day, it was decorated and teeming with activity. I've never seen a hotel quite like this one.
This isn't even the front of the hotel. It is massive in size.
Inside, the hotel is built around this enormous atrium. Guests of the hotel can sit on the balconies and watch the activity below.
My sister and her family. (minus daughter Hannah, she was working)
Billy, Me, and Bill at the Opryland Hotel.
This pond had dozens of squirting fountains. It was fun to watch.
I know this looks like a boat coming down a lagoon in the jungle, but this is The Delta Riverboat, that guests can ride to tour the atrium.
Such wonderful gardens, all live plants and lighted topiaries.
These balloons were floating all over the place. Some had toys in them, some had presents, etc.
There were different places to dine all over the hotel.
They were all set with nice tablescapes.
This was a lighted path that led to a dining area.
A very pictureseq place to have a meal.
I thought this looked like a beautiful place to hold a small wedding, and I'm sure many have taken advantage of this wonderful little spot.
There were many splendid paths to walk down, each leading to another beautiful area.
My nephew Jeffrey, towards the end of our tour...what a sweetheart.
Tomorrow I will post Part Two of our trip to Tennessee!