Real air

This weekend has pretty much been one of R&R after a three-day business trip to Nashville last week. The high point of the trip was eating yummy sushi and catching up with my friend Miles. He graciously drove me all over his city and I got to enjoy its architecture, eccentricity, and charm (to say nothing of Miles’s charm) — none of which I’d have seen had I stayed in the biosphere that is the Gaylord Opryland. (Or, as Miles aptly put it, Shopryland.)

I stupidly left my camera at home, so I have no shots of the gigantic (9-acre) resort-hotel-convention center all trapped under a monstrous glass atrium. The greenery, water, and flowers were pretty and all, but the weird humid recycled air and Disneylike shops and walkways were starting to get to me by Day 3. I’ve never been so glad to step out into fresh air and feel a breeze.

It was strange how absurdly the place catered to conspicuous consumption. You could get a champagne massage/facial and caviar hair treatment at the Relâche Spa, or ride the riverboat that slid along an underwater track around a huge fake island ($9 per adult), or watch DJs broadcasting live from a radio station in the bowels of the convention center, or pity a band dressed up like giant plants who played atop giant fake lilypads among fountains in a stream (Hydroponix, featuring Effervescence!). So weird.

I got lost several times to and from my room, which I’m sure was the architects’ intent: in my failed attempts to get from Point A to Point B, I was forced to pass Savannah’s boutique, the Godiva chocolatier, various theme bars and restaurants (Jack Daniel’s [sic] Saloon, Wasabi’s Sushi Bar, Rachel’s Buffet, Findley’s Irish Pub, Rusty’s Sports Bar — they’re big on the singular possessive, apparently). The whole place was a Disneyworld for adults, or a Vegas for kids, sanitized for everyone’s protection.

Anyway. Very glad to be home.



6 Responses to “Real air”

  1. Sue says:


    Visit Sue

    Believe it or not, those Gaylord properties are everywhere — I’ve stayed in two others, one in Orlando, FL and one outside of Dallas, accompanying Joe on business trips both times. At first I thought the whole atrium thing was sort of neat, but after the second time I’d really had my fill of the Gaylord Experience. I think what did me in was the fact that it was so darn hot in Texas that I couldn’t go outside. Being trapped in an artificial environment really wears on you after a couple days!

  2. Heather says:


    Visit Heather

    Shopryland…hehe..that’s a good one. In the same vein, my brother calls Soho ’soul hole’!

  3. Miles says:


    Visit Miles

    Thanks for the sweet blog entry! The pleasure of squiring you around Nashville was all mine. I wish you’d gotten more of a taste of our toddlin’ town, but I’m hoping that taking you from the Parthenon to the polar bears gave you a good idea of the real Nashville and whetted your appetite for more. You and your man must really come back to town soon.

    The Opryland Hotel is totally overwhelming, c’est vrai. And it’s even more surreal and Westworld-like at Christmas. When I met you outside the Cascades Lobby, you had the same look of “ahhhh… air! light! I’m FREE!” that Melissa Rodenbeek did when I sprung her from the hotel for an evening a few years ago.

  4. 2fs says:


    Visit 2fs

    Sounds like fun (mostly) - especially the seeing Miles part! However: no need for a “sic” on the “Jack Daniel’s” - it actually is “Jack Daniel” not “Jack Daniels” (as you can see here).

    Believe it or not, I don’t know this because I’m a big Jack drinker - in fact, I’m not a whiskey drinker at all. I know it because (surprise) I’m a geek.

  5. LLA says:


    Visit LLA

    WooHoo - you’re living my dream, sweetie! A nice stint in Tennessee, in the company of a boy named Miles (rather partial to that name, for obvious reasons!)

    You did a fab job of putting into words the off-putting-ness that is the Gaylord Opryland. I’d never been, so last summer when Bubba and I took a daytrip up to Nashvegas to eat some BBQ I requested that we stop by there. It’s pretty, but there’s just something so *wrong* about it all….

    Oh - and a big thanks to the above commenter - you’ve taught me something! I’ve even been to the Jack Daniel’s distillery, and I’d never caught that….

  6. EAA says:


    Visit EAA

    I found your blog trying to find pictures of “Hydroponix.” I saw them in Nashville too this weekend, and was trying to explain the oddness to a friend. Did you by any change take pictures of them?

  7. Editrix says:


    Visit Editrix

    No, I was an idiot and left my camera at home! I spent more time than is probably sane looking for photos on Flickr and Google image search, to no avail. Let me know if you are able to find any!


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