|the big game|
|Orange in a sea of Blue|
|walking over the river from downtown Nashville to the Stadium|
Maggie, not pleased with the outcome of the game, races out of the stadium to go be with her other furious UT friends. The rest of us go with the UNC peeps back to the bars where we find Jeff and many other friends from home. At some point I get a phone call from my friend MK. She tells me she is in town and gives me the address of where she is staying and tells me to bring it. Me being me walk out and call Rayid- telling friends after I leave to diffuse any talk of trying to get me to stay. Rayid is our cabby for the weekend. He’s great. I give Rayid the address and we are off. And off. And off. Many minutes later we arrive at this massive compound. Then I see it, the sign: WELCOME TO OPRYLAND. WTF, how did I get to Opryland and why is MK here? I call her and she gives me the room #. Still confused, I thank Rayid and tell him to have a swell night. I walk into the Opryland. It’s totally overwhelming. I’d never seen anything like it. I am all alone, not a person in sight, rather intoxicated and yes, still confused. I make my way to the counter and ask the man to please tell me how to get to the room #. He begins giving directions (yes pure directions to get to a hotel room—that’s how big this place is). About 10 seconds in, I explain I’ve never been to this place and it would be most helpful if he could please just walk me to the room. He laughs and agrees. We leave the “foyer” and proceed. The foyer leads into an area that made me feel like I was in Alice’s Wonderland. The ceilings are at least 50ft. There are hundreds of white strands of Christmas lights hanging from said ceilings, a lazy river, gondolas, tiki huts, a bar, lavish garden and trees, an arched (several) bridge, and what seems to be a new version of “elevator music” playing. We walk through this area and Mr. Front Desk gives me a little history on the compound. There are 2,881 rooms, 200 suites, and 750 garden rooms- and they are all booked. The complex is 600,000 (more when you add in the outdoor activities) sq ft with four restaurants, 5 lounges, golf course, pool, Hertz rental car, several large lobbies, garden conservatory and several performing theaters. Oh yes. Finally, about 7 min later I make it to MK’s room. They are in the same alcohol induced delirium as I. Come to find out MK is here b/c the UT Football team is staying her and her dad who works for UT Athletics got her the room. It’s the wee hours by now, but since I have never been to Opryland, we make a drink and take a walk (and get lost). 2 hours later we come back and sleep. I wake up ready to get out of here. MK asks me to go down and get her car from Valet and she’ll meet me down there. Recall those 2,881 rooms, 200 suites and 750 garden rooms that were all booked? All those nice people are now trying to check out of the hotel as I am desperately wishing I was the Double Tree downtown. People are talking (which makes for a loud lobby), luggage is everywhere, kids are screaming and running around with hardly any supervision, and there are just lines of cars outside. If I had to guess who was less pleased with what was going on around us than me, I'd have to say the workerbee's of Opryland! I ask someone how long the wait is for the valet line. My mouth drops open as I am told 2.5 hours (and they will not give you the keys for you to walk and get the car b/c it’s “against policy”). This must be a joke, I think to myself. I call MK and tell her to not even worry about coming down that I will need to figure something else out, b/c there was simply no way that I would be there for another 3 hours. Just not possible. Then I recall my new BFF, Rayid. I dial his # and to my surprise he answers “AMILY!” That sweet man comes to get me. He’s there in 20 min. He laughs, shakes his head and says, “Miss Amily, didn’t you have that on the last time I saw you!?!” I reply honestly. “Yes Rayid, I did and next time I give you an address and it’s Opryland, please advise me not to go!!”.
|Emily's post-Opryland cold compress|
Side note: Teague thought it was just hilarious when weeks later she gets a family coupon via Groupon for Opryland and thinks we should use it. Since I know the grounds so well now. We don’t.
|Broadway on New Year's Eve|
|Enjoying the great music at Robert's|
|our new friend Karen from the "Fast Company"|
|some of our crew on Broadway before the game!|