Monday, June 24, 2013

Birmingham, Alabama to Nashville, Tennessee

Traveling about three hours north took us to Music City USA, Nashville, Tennessee. We stayed at a nearby COE park away from the City and the clutter. Once settled, we drove into Nashville and visited the State Capitol bldg. We felt like the City didn't want visitors downtown as there was simply no public parking around the Capitol. I spoke with a Trooper who was on duty and he offered to let me park in one of the legislator's spots so we could explore the Capitol and the grounds. The Capitol bldg sits on a large hill offering views of the City and was pretty impressive. After touring the grounds and enjoying a bite to eat, we headed out to see where many of the country music stars got their start. We visited the Willie Nelson museum and of course, Cooter's of "Dukes of Hazzard" fame.

The following day, we visited Opryland and the famed Opryland Hotel. This hotel was awesome! We ended up spending the entire day visiting. Inside the hotel are waterfalls, trails, shops and events. We even went on a boat cruise inside the hotel! Impressive....

The Nashville skyline as we entered the City. Like most big cities, the skyline consists of mostly hi rise hotels and office buildings. 

Here's the old Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. It was not open to the public as it's undergoing some renovations. The downtown area was setting up for a large outdoor concert at Riverfront Park. Parking was simply out of the question.

We did get to visit the State Capitol building and the Supreme Court facility. The lawns and grounds were stunning. Of some interest, is the fact that James Polk, 11th President of the United States, and his wife are buried on the grounds of the State Capitol.

After leaving the downtown area, we discovered "Cooter's" place near Opryland. Cooter, of course operated the garage for the Dukes of Hazzard, Bo and Luke. The General Lee was out front and the garage and museum had artifacts from the show, which lasted from 1979-85 but episodes are still shown on late night TV.

No trip to Nashville would be complete without a trip to Willie Nelson's museum. In the back room of this building, which once was a saloon, Willie and the boys would get together and pick and sing often.

 Gaylord-Opryland Resort and Convention Center, formerly known as the Opryland Hotel was built in 1977 adjacent to the Opryland USA Amusement Park. It originally opened with 600 rooms but has since expanded to house 2,281 hotel rooms and suites! It is the largest non-casino hotel outside of Las Vegas, Nevada and is the 28th largest hotel in the World.

Inside the hotel you'll find massive murals on the walls and huge rooms catering to almost everyone's taste. Simply beautiful.

Adjacent to the convention style portion of the hotel is the Delta Atrium. This area of the hotel is just awesome! All of these pictures are from INSIDE the hotel itself. Like a mall, there is a glass roof covering all the lush landscaping, the waterfalls and the river which runs through the middle of the hotel. The atrium is over 150' tall and covers 4.5 acres.

Something for everyone, they have performances by Shrek to entertain the kids.

Guests and visitors are welcome to take a guided tour of the facility by boat. The trip is narrated by gifted captains who give tons of information about the hotel and the river that runs through it. When this river was christened, water samples from 1700 rivers throughout the World, including every registered river in America, were poured into this river.
Waterfalls, rivers, paths and trails meander throughout this area of the hotel which is open to the public. There are restaurants and shops of course, but the real attraction for us was the quiet and serenity found no where else. Grab a drink or cup of coffee and relax along a flowing river without bugs or insects. While there were many people milling through the hotel, we found many areas that were relaxing.....

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