Saturday, September 12, 2015

A Wednesday at Opryland (Nashville: Day 3)

After a great first couple of days, Ann and I decided to sleep in. Once we woke up, we got dressed and ready for the day. While we were getting ready, Ann and I decided to try a car service rather than a taxi since the taxi from the airport was so expensive. (The night before we had asked the person at the front desk the best way to get from the hotel to Opryland. She suggested Lyft or Uber and gave us a discount card for Lyft rides.

I pulled up the Lyft app on my phone and called for a driver. Soon I received a text saying that he was outside waiting for us. (I decided that I actually prefer Lyft over Uber as Lyft shows you a picture of the car and a picture of the person, so you know who to look for!) Ann and I took the elevator and walked to the front of the hotel where our driver was waiting for us. We got into the car, put on our seat belts, and headed off to Opryland.

Before we knew it, our driver was dropping us off directly in front of the Grand Ole Opry. Ann and I got out of the car and walked towards the front doors of the Opry. As we were walking there, we saw two giant guitars; an electric guitar on one side and a regular guitar on the other side with the words "Grand Ole Opry" written on the neck of the guitars. Ann and I were getting ready to take a few photos when another tourist asked if he could take the pictures for us. We agreed. He took our pictures and then we took pictures of him and his wife for him.



After snapping our photos, Ann and I checked in at the lobby to find out where the General Jackson would be boarding in a few hours. Once they told us, Ann and I decided to check out the gift shop. The first display that caught my eye was a display of t-shirts, cds, etc for the new television show Nashville. I found a cool t-shirt with the words Deacon Claybourne written on them. I found my size and decided to try it on. Ann and I were overwhelmed with all the choices.

After awhile, we went to try on our clothes. The dressing room was actually a storage closet, so there were ladders, boxes etc taking up space which left not much room for us to try on our clothes. As we discarded items, we found ourselves laying them over empty boxes, ladder rungs, etc. Ann and I found the items we wanted and headed to the register. Ann bought my t-shirt for me as an early birthday gift. (Thanks sis!)

Once we made our purchase, we crossed the street into the mall. We walked through the mall until we arrived at the food court. The receptionist had told us that the General Jackson docks directly across from the food court. We walked out into the hot August air and crossed the road. All we found was the old dock for a prior boat. We looked to our right and saw a tour bus unloading. We looked at each other and said that must be where the General Jackson boards so we turned right and headed there.



We stood in line. Once we were escorted in, they asked us to go stand in front of the boat and then they snap your photo. After our photo was taken, we sat down and waited for the boat to board. After awhile, they began boarding the boat. Ann and I found our table; table 26 and sat down. A Dad and his two twin daughters from Wisconsin soon joined us at our table.

We went through the buffet line where there was a plethora of choices set before us; yummy Southern food. We enjoyed our meal and visited with the family sitting at our table. After awhile, a gentlemen came by to show us our photo and ask if we wanted to purchase it. Ann and I decided to get our photo.

Soon Nashville Live began. Nashville Live is a show where they sing country songs from all different generations. If you have ever been to North Dakota and the Medora Musical, it kind of reminded me of the musical. We indulged in the decadent cheesecake as we continued to watch the show.

After about an hour and a half, the show finished and we were all invited to go stand and/or sit outside on the deck of the boat. Ann and I stood and enjoyed the view of Downtown Nashville from the boat. Soon the boat turned around and our hotel was staring right back at us. We both scrambled to see if we could get a quick photo of our hotel from the boat. Then we climbed the staircase to the gift shop where we purchased a few more souvenirs. Then we went back downstairs, sat on the deck and enjoyed the cool breeze as we headed back for Opryland. Before we knew it, we were docking the boat.

We walked back to the Grand Ole Opry to see if they had any backstage tours available for the afternoon. They only had a 4 pm showing and my new friend Jen was coming to pick us up so we decided to wait until Friday when we would be coming back to attend the Grand Ole Opry.

Ann and I waited patiently for a car with Iowa plates to come pick us up. We were standing on the sidewalk when I noticed a car turn into the mall parking lot. Then my phone buzzed. It was a text from Jen asking where we were. I told her we were standing on the sidewalk and I had a colorful maxi dress on. Before I knew it, my eyes spotted the Iowa plates. She pulled up into the turnabout and we got into the car.

Jen had me navigate back to our hotel. After about 15-20 minutes, we arrived at the hotel. We parked in the parking garage and then went up to our room. After awhile, we decided to go pick up batteries for our cameras and then we would go explore downtown Nashville for a little bit.

I entered the directions to the CVS Pharmacy in my phone and tried to navigate us to the store. However we got lost along the way. We had Siri recalculate the directions and then headed back towards where we had come from. I spotted the CVS out of the corner of my eye. It was hidden and not easy to spot...no wonder we drove by it the first time. Jen waited in her car while Ann and I ran into the store to purchase the batteries.

We drove back, parked Jen's car, and ventured downtown Nashville into yet another tourist shop. We all looked around for awhile. Ann and I decided on a few more souvenirs. With Ann's hands full of souvenirs, she accidentally dropped an item and it broke. Luckily the store manager was very kind and told us that we only had to buy an item at that same price which we had planned on doing anyways.

Soon Jen, Ann, and I were on our way back to Jen's car. Along the way, we stopped and snapped a few photos of downtown Nashville. Before we knew it, we were back at Jen's car. We spent some time deciding where we would eat. After a while and from a recommendation from the couple who sat with us at 3rd and Lindsley on Monday night, we decided to try out Monells.

I again navigated our way to the restaurant. We parked the car. The restaurant stands in this beautiful red brick house. We walked inside and checked in at the restaurant. We waited. Then a waitress came and seated us at a huge oak dining room table. I sat down, Ann sat down to the right of me, and then Jen sat down to the right of her. Soon another party was being seated at our table as well. I thought it was funny that their slogan is "Enter as strangers, leave as friends."

The cook came and served us all family style. We passed the numerous bowls of food around the table. There was sooo much food; pork chops, baked chicken, fried chicken, cucumber salad, green beans, cornbread, melt in your mouth biscuits and gravy and so much more. For dessert, we had yummy banana pudding. All of the food was home cooked and oh so delicious. We were stuffed by the time we left the restaurant. We couldn't eat another bite!

We paid for our meal and headed outside. Outside it was raining. We briskly walked back to Jen's car; trying to stay as dry as possible. Jen drove Ann and I back to the hotel and then dropped us off but not before, I told her we had to snap a quick selfie together.



After the selfie was snapped and once we were inside the hotel, Ann and I noticed there was a band playing at our hotel. We went to our room and dropped off our items. Then we came back downstairs and listened to this young band for awhile before heading back upstairs to lay our heads down for the night.

It had been a great day. We had walked 8,237 steps; 3.55 miles; burned 2,276 calories and walked 19 active minutes. Little did we know that while we were riding on the General Jackson, there had been a shooting at a theater in Nashville. Many friends and family messaged us to make sure we were okay which we were.







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