February 22, 2010
I know you are tired of hearing about Blissdom, but I couldn't let the event die without spending a little time talking about the amazing hotel we stayed at. The Gaylord Opryland Hotel was truly larger than life. Leave it to a Southern Belle like Allison Worthington to pick one of the crown jewels of the South as her landing spot for bloggers to converge. What a fitting place for a conference about 'finding your bliss'.
As the last person at Blissdom due to a series of non-Lemony-Snicket unfortunate events, I got to enjoy the hotel longer than most. Well, perhaps less than Alli, who lives near Nashville and frequents the place.
We even got to see it more at night - because while we were waiting on my mom to get out of the hospital in Nashville those last two days, the place was nearly empty and all the bloggers had left us to wander the gardens with nothing to do but take pictures.
It was quiet there without a conference going on.
And people were busy doing their interesting jobs; like making chocolate covered strawberries, setting up their window displays, gardening and cleaning the sidewalks.
And the shops were empty...
...which made staying away from them nearly impossible. I hated to see them getting no attention. We went in and browsed for souvenirs before we left.
I'm quite sure that if I lived near the Gaylord Opryland, I'd be doing school there all day with my kids. I'd drag in my backpacks of books, fanny packs of supplies, strollers and carriers and diaper bags full of baby things, laptops, iPhones, jingling keys, Canon backpack full of photographic equipment, ... and then we'd sprawl out and study - smack in the middle of the concrete walkway under a twinkling white Gazebo. Every day.
We could call it Oprylandschool instead of homeschool. Because it wouldn't be at home.
We could have Stax Burgers for lunch and walk the garden paths for PE. It would be thrilling... until they kicked us out for loitering.
This guy was really nice. I doubt he would be the one kicking us out.
And have I ever mentioned that I LOVE CHEESEBURGERS? Stax burgers were amazing. Expensively amazing.
There was a wide variety of food to pick from if you didn't want room service or the conference wasn't covering your meal (we had three and a half extra mouths to feed while we were there, so my gang got to sample a lot of the on-site cuisine).
The choices ranged from fancy to fun: Old Hickory Steakhouse, Ristorante Volare, Cascades American Cafe, Water's Edge Marketplace Buffet, Jack Daniel's Saloon, Wasabi Sushi, Piasano's Pizzaria, Stax Burgers, Rusty's Sports Bar, Findley's Irish Pub, Godiva Chocolatier, Haggen-Dazs Ice Cream, and Java Coast Coffee... and a number of small deli stores scattered here and there.
Trust me, you won't starve at Gaylord Opryland. And you won't have to go without dark chocolate... which is a major plus.
Even when it is overcast outside or dark, the gardens are lit with sparkling lights and spotlights, and the balconies glow above the canopy of lush tropical plants and trees.
I loved the sound of rushing water and babbling brook as we made our way from one end of the hotel to the other.
Everywhere you looked in this sprawling place there was beauty. Orchids in the trees, flowers in the beds, hidden treasures in the gardens, winding paths and waterfalls...
...and these were on the inside of the hotel - kept safe from the snow that was falling outside... at a balmy 72-74 degrees under the 'biodome'. We complained about the long walks from hotel to dining areas to conference rooms... but the splendor was worth it. And so were the extra pounds we lost while eating like royalty.
But every story has to have an ending... and so it goes with our stay in the Opryland. We hope that Blissdom is there next year and that we can go again in 2011. Maybe next year you can join us, too?