Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Nashville Anniversary Trip

This month was Owen's turn to plan date night.  Lucky duck, he happened to get our anniversary month so he, of course, planned his date night as a special anniversary celebration.  Hard to believe we are celebrating 9 years of marriage tomorrow!!!!!  We spent our wedding night in Nashville before driving to Gatlinburg the following day.  I had wanted to get us a room at the Opryland Hotel but they were unfortunately booked for a convention so we had stayed at the Marriott.  Don't get me wrong, it was a nice hotel and all but it wasn't the Opryland Hotel.  Well, my husband being the romantic he is remembered this so when he began making plans for our anniversary date night he knew he wanted to take me to the Opryland Hotel - and as luck would have it, he was able to get us a room!!!  So Saturday morning after my 4 miler and a shower we dropped the girls at Nona and Papa's house and we headed to Nashville for the day.
Beautiful artwork in the lobby
"Jumping" water fountains in the Cascade atrium
Cascade atrium
View of the Cascade atrium from our balcony
Another view from our balcony
A picture of our balcony from inside the room
Our room - nice and roomy!
We I hit the coffee bar when we arrived for an iced white mocha and we headed up to our room to get dressed for dinner.  We had early reservations at The Southern downtown and didn't have much time to get there.
Rare pic of me - all dressed up for dinner!
The Southern
My Sangria :)
I ordered the blackened mahi mahi tacos with jicama slaw and black beans - it was delish!
Owen ordered the brisket with grits - he made a happy plate and said it was one of the best things he's ever eaten (aside from my cooking that is....yeah...)
This is not the best photo but this was the manager - he came up to speak to us and he had lobsters embroidered on his pants.  True story.
Dessert - bananas foster bread pudding!!!  Now, it was no O'Hana's, but it was still damn good
After dinner we headed over to the Opry Mills Mall to do some shopping.  One of my most incredible finds was two Merida dolls at the Disney Store outlet - on sale for $3.99 each!!!  Hello Christmas gifts!!!  I also got a really good deal on a cushioned pair of flip flops, a running tank, and some new compression shorts at Under Armour.  I could've spent SO much more time and money in there...

Once we got done shopping we headed back to the hotel and decided that since it was still early we would walk around and enjoy other sections of the hotel.  The hotel is actually comprised of 4 sections:  the Cascades atrium, the Delta atrium, the Magnolia, and the Garden Conservatory.  Walking back from the mall we entered the building at the Delta atrium to walk around.  There is a river that runs through the Delta atrium - it is only about a quarter of a mile long and 2 feet deep but the Delta Riverboat Company has boats that take you on short guided tours along the river.  Since they were still open we decided to pick up a Haagendazs ice cream and go for a boat ride.  The guide told us all about the history of the hotel, the foliage in the atrium and other neat details about the hotel.  We came upon a large structural pillar in the river and there was a red line drawn around it.  The guide told us that this line indicated how high the flood waters had risen in the hotel during the Nashville flood back in 2011.  This line was WELL above our heads and it was amazing to see how much had been redone since everything we were on had been underwater.  The tour was well worth the price and I recommend it if you ever stay at the hotel!
Owen and I on the riverboat
This water fountain has a show every night at 6, 7, 8, and 9pm
After our riverboat ride we decided to walk through the Garden Conservatory on the way back to our room; even though it was nighttime it was just beautiful in there!!  When we entered into the Cascades atrium again we decided to walk over and check out the waterfall also since we had not seen it earlier.  Even though it was dark outside it was still very pretty!
Large gazeebo
Pathway through the Garden Conservatory
Walking up to the waterfall in the Cascade Atrium
Cascade Atrium waterfall - the largest on property
Behind the waterfall, looking out
The next morning we had breakfast at the Cascades Cafe.  Breakfast was included with our room package and everything was very tasty.  Plus you couldn't beat the views!!
Restaurant view from our table
My breakfast - the blueberry scone was delish!
The smaller waterfall inside the restaurant - our room is behind the green plant
Another restaurant view from our table
Rather large tree in the middle of the restaurant
Before we headed out I just had to take some more pics of the beautiful Cascades atrium; these are over on the waterfall side.

Beautiful waterfalls
Fish!!
And I couldn't leave without taking a picture of the lobby door.  Now you've seen those large, automatic revolving doors but did you ever see one with flowers INSIDE??  
Flowers INSIDE the automatic revolving door
Before we hit the road we stopped back over at Opry Mills to pick up a few more things and hit a few stores we had missed the night before.  We also grabbed a bite to eat before we hit the road so that we could drive straight through.  I can now officially say I have been to Which Wich and it was AWESOME - Memphis, we need one of these!!!

My turkey sandwich
Cute cup and the "house chips" - which were a crunchy ruffled chip with salt and pepper and I think a hint of lime.  They were SO good.
Even though we missed the girls like crazy, we had a wonderful trip!  The Opryland Hotel has some Dreamworks Character experiences going on this summer that I'm sure all kids would love, so there's something for everyone there!!  I hope we get the chance to go back there soon.

QOTD:  Owen says he's officially in the lead in our date night game - so I've got to come up with something good that trumps this for next month!  Give me some suggestions!!!