Tomorrow I make my way to Indiana to enjoy yet another wonderful state in God Bless America.
This really has been a wonderful trip. Different places, unique adventures, beautiful parts of our country, and best of all - sisters in Christ whom I love dearly.
Dennis graciously and joyfully gave me this gift, and though I planned it and was excited about it, I had no idea how much I NEEDED it. Every day I feel more refreshed than the next, and I feel beyond blessed to have been given this opportunity to reconnect with precious friends.
We spent the afternoon in Nashville.
First stop: The Opryland Resort
Um, WOW. It is gigantic, gorgeous, fabulously designed, and the aesthetics are superb.
It was designed to look and feel like a Greenhouse and they succeeded! We walked through the gardens and up and down every staircase and walkway we found.
It would be a delight to spend an entire weekend in the hotel.
Second stop: The Grand Ole Opry
Due to the cost of the tour, we decided not to take the girls, so Kelsi took them to the Opry Mall while I spend an hour walking through the famous landmark.
Though quite unversed in the country music world, I was fascinated by the history and details of the place. The tour guide was so enthusiastic she made me wish I WAS a country music aficionado!
A few interesting facts:
The artists park their own cars outside the private entrance, including moving the orange cones that reserve their spots. (An excellent way to maintain humility.)
The boxes pictured above are the personal mailboxes of the Opry Members.
If you want to write to your favorite country artist you need only write their name and the Opry's address and the letter will be put right into their personal box!
2804 Opryland Dr, Nashville, TN 37214
Opry Members are invited by management, and, apparently, being inducted into The Grand Ole Opry is bigger than recording an album. It is a huge honor.
They receive a trophy, the bottom of which is made out of the wood from the original Opry house so that each member has a literal piece of country music history.
The artists are paid to perform, and ... they are all paid the same!
Whether you are the King of Country Music or are getting your first chance on stage, your paycheck is the same. (Again, maintaining humility. Remember who you are and where you came from.)
Artists are not allowed any alcohol before performing. Because it is a live show, the management wants to "get what they paid for" without any surprises. Seems wise!
Below are three of the eighteen dressing rooms.
They invited us to take pictures in front of this famous painting made pre-1960.
Since I was by myself I felt silly, but I looked at the lovely older southern woman taking the photos and said, "I am from Calfornia. I will probably never be here again. I should do this, shouldn't I?"
"I think so, honey," she replied in her southern drawl. So - I did it! (I still feel silly.)
Our last stop was inside the auditorium.
I was surprised by the intimacy of the space.
The stage is right on top of the front row and the room is round and cozy. Though it seats 4,400 guests, it feels like you are sitting in a gigantic family room singing with friends and family.
I am so glad Kelsi thought of this! I'm not sure I could have experienced anything more quintessentially Tennessee than walking the halls of the Grand Ole Opry! Next time I am in this lovely state I will go to an actual performance to be sure!
This was my view for the evening as I sat on Jim and Kelsi's back porch enjoying the sight and sound of rain. What a wonderful way to end my final day - surrounded by creation.
I am going to miss this!