I woke up (and woke up my roommates) at 5 am, because I forgot to turn off the alarm on my phone. But we had planned on waking early anyway. For some reason.
I didn’t have any volunteer duties scheduled this day, so I used my time to meet up with some planner friends (Isa Wilson, Kay Matuschka, and Lois and Scott Evans; Lois is Buffie’s aunt) who had eaten breakfast at the Cascades American Café. I crashed their table with my venti Starbucks.
After eating, we spent some time wandering around the resort. The Gaylord Opryland is really beautiful. FREAKING HUGE but beautiful, with water features, plants, and natural lighting everywhere.
(Sorry, not sorry, but this post may or may not have a billion photos.)
Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center
The hotel is HUGE, but luckily, each area has different carpeting, so you can kinda figure out where you are. This is the hallway to our room in the Garden section.
Wayfinding: From this photo’s perspective, you are standing at the Starbucks in the Garden section, looking at the Conservatory Skywalk, which will take you across and above the Garden section, connecting with the Cascades section (where the hotel lobby lives).
There were three of these large atriums, and Atrium rooms had these adorable balconies with wrought iron bars, tables, and chairs. I wasn’t able to snag one of these rooms, but can imagine that they would have been a lovely place to hang out in the morning with your planner and a cup of coffee, enjoying the atrium view. On the downside, the atrium can get a little noisy and our room was a lot quieter. Not that we were in our room much.
There were a lot of restaurants in the hotel. Most of them cost an arm and a leg, with the notable exception of the Mexican place with the reported $3.50 tacos. I never ate there, but wanted to. Sometimes, you’d spy a restaurant, but have no idea how to navigate to the entrance. This place was a maze of ups and downs, elevators that only went to certain floors, and mysterious Staff Only passageways.
Big guitar. Because Nashville is known for music or something?
Wayfinding: From the Starbucks, if you walk AWAY from the Cascades section, you will reach brown carpeting (Magnolia section), pictured here. Continue down the hallway until it ends to reach Fuse (restaurant/bar) and the other 2 bars where Planjama will be held. I didn’t find this out until later on Wednesday, but going to Fuse, then down the staircase was a MUCH SHORTER trip to Ryman than the circuitous route through Delta (and ALL AROUND the hotel) that I had been taking. Of course, by time I figured this out, we were all but done with working in the Ryman room. Alas.
Cascades American Café had a small aquarium tank. Most of my pictures were blurry, except for this one of the puffer fish, who refused to puff up for me, even when I tapped on the glass.
I took a TON of photos this morning. So many. You may think, OMG! Jennie! Enough with the pictures already! BUT! I really *am* practicing restraint. Don’t believe me? Here’s the link to my Flickr account with ALL of the photos. All 673 of them. And I haven’t uploaded my video files yet. Muahahahaha!
Surrounding the Cascades American Café and between the lobby and the escalators to the Garden section is this koi pond. Also, where a bunch of waterfalls can be found. Hence, “Cascades.”
Cascades American Café
Fish with fancy fins
One of the waterfalls – longer exposure
Isa and I (left) in Cascades
Lois and Scott Evans
Waterfall – long and short exposures
I love palm trees! And they were everywhere!
Wayfinding: If you stand just inside the Cascades atrium outside the lobby, looking at the lobby, walk down the sidewalk to the right (away from the Cascades American Café) and up the stairs. Above the lobby level, you will find yourself at the spa. Go through these wooden double doors and down the corridor to the right to get to the fitness center and pools.
Juice, Tea, Gatorade, and Water vending machine
I totally face-snuggled one of these robes. Not even sorry. It was so soft and luxurious!
Wayfinding: From the lobby, walk straight over the bridge over the koi pond between the double waterfalls (on the left) and Cascades American Café (on the right) to these escalators. They will take you to the Garden section, and subsequently, the Magnolia section. For Delta, make a hard right before you get to the escalators.
After wandering around Cascades for a while, we decided to go to the Opry Mills mall, which is right outside the Gaylord Opryland property. Thankfully, I had valeted my car and it only took 5 minutes for them to retrieve it!
I don’t think they know I took this. Heeheehee. [Rachel Donlin, Susan Basnett, Kay Matuschka, Nicole Cocci-Mayer]
Ironically, I had Bourbon Chicken from a Cajun place in the mall. #GeauxWild and #GoWildYAll mashup!
After I tried on a bunch of clothes in a store (but didn’t end up getting any), Holly and I were separated from the rest of the group. We were then waylaid by some flirty vendors. I flirted right back, shamelessly, and let him tell me I was pretty, while he basically gave me a mini facial in the mall. I bought some of his products, as they also supported the Holy Land. Unfortunately, this ate up a bit of time, but he was really funny, so it was like a performance. I don’t think I really missed out on the mall experience because of it.
Grand Ole Opry House
On the way back to the hotel, Holly and I made a quick stop at the Grand Ole Opry.
It was super windy, so all my selfies look awful.
I dropped off the car at the valet, freshened up in the hotel room, and went back into volunteer mode!