This is a long one… you’ve been warned… :)
Last Thursday morning, the alarm clock went off just after 5 am, and I jumped out of bed to start getting dressed. All of this is unheard of around our house. I’m not a morning person, and I never jump up and start getting dressed first thing. Drop by my house before 9:00 in the morning and you’ll catch me still in my jammies.
But, on Thursday, we had plans. BIG plans. Road trip plans. Our traveling companions were our brother/sister-in-law, Adam & Lauren and our friends Cullen & Megan.
This is the fourth year that we’ve planned a road trip for an away Gator game, and this year’s destination was Nashville for the Vanderbilt game.
When we chose this as our away game, we decided we needed to go a couple days before the game, so that we could really experience Music City.
It was a great trip and I’d go back to Nashville anytime!
We hit Atlanta around 11:00 and decided since it was close to lunch time, to stop at the Varsity for some greasy lunch, Atlanta style. The Varsity didn’t disappoint, although all afternoon we had, “What’ll ya have” stuck in our heads.
The last part of the trip we snacked on our traditional road trip snack selections and Megan and I googled the lyrics for Marty Stuart’s “Hill Billy Rock” and practiced our dance moves…we had tickets for the Grand Ole Opry on Friday night and Marty was the headliner. I’ll be honest, when we found out he was the star that night, we were slightly disappointed, but decided to make the best of it and go all out and learn his song. Since Hilly Billy Rock was the only song I knew that he ever sang (flashback to the early 1990’s), we needed to learn it!
We made a detour around Chattanooga and drove up to Look Out Mountain. We didn’t actually go in the attraction, but the drive up the mountain was beautiful. There were still lots of leaves with beautiful colors that hadn’t fallen yet.
We made it to Nashville at 3:00 and got checked into our hotel. Initially, we’d planned on staying at the Opry Land Gaylord Hotel, but since it was still closed because of the flooding in May, we chose the Hilton Homewood Suites downtown. The location was great, and we were able to walk everywhere.
Our favorite group was at Legends on the Corner and they were so the typical living the Nashville dream band I’d pictured in my mind. They were promoting and selling their own CD and passing the tip jar around in between songs. Very cool to see so many people trying to follow their dreams and make it big. I had to wonder if we’d hear them on the radio or see them on CMT one day!
There were boot shops all up and down the street and when we saw this sign, we had to go in and try some on! TWO pair free when you buy one?!?! I SO want a pair similar to these (especially before our Nashville trip):
but I couldn’t talk DW into buying himself a new pair so I could get two free. Ha… He knows I’d never wear them, so I guess he’s right!
We called it a night and headed back to the hotel.
Friday morning, we’d planned to visit the Country Music Hall of Fame. On the way we passed the Bridgestone center and it was so neat to think that on Wednesday all the stars will be right there where we were for the CMA’s! They had crews working on the Walk of Fame, getting it ready for the big night…
These costume design coloring sheets were so cute. Of course we brought some back for AB!
King George. A favorite of all! :)
Me with Jerry Lee Lewis’ stuff. We had to take this for my Mom & Dad. Did yall ever see the movie of Jerry Lee’s life, “Great Balls of Fire”??? I said my first cuss word during that movie. (on a side note, I didn’t know it was a cuss word and after that my parent’s had to explain that some of the words my Papa and Uncle Donald said around me in the garden weren’t repeatable ones! ha…It’s still a funny story for our family. )
Seeing all that fame, made us work up an appetite. We couldn’t go to Nashville and not have some BBQ. There were two places on Broadway, Jacks & Rippy’s, and we wen’t with Rippy’s.
After all that excitement, we headed for a Target. Because who’s driving 9 hours and not going to the Target? Ha… Nothing special about the Nashville Target, we just needed a few things…mainly some warm weather things! I bought a turtle neck for the game and some gloves since I didn’t pack any. Good thing the gloves came 2 pair in a pack for $1.50! Both of mine had holes in them and so I had to double up at the game. This was one time that the statement “you get what you pay for” rang true…
We rested for the rest of the afternoon in anticipation for the Grand Ole Opry that night! Like I said before, Marty Stuart was the headliner, so we had to get our rest and be ready for the Hill Billy Rock!
the crew minus me…
It’s a Nashville restaurant that’s been around for years and that day they had the grand opening of their downtown location. It happened to be like 3 blocks for our hotel and when we looked at the menu on line, we were sold! We walked right in and got a great table…one of the perks of being early dinner eaters! :)
We were so excited to finally have something that was just a Nashville thing and that was so great!
Once we found our seats, I started looking at the schedule and about had a heart attack when I saw that Little Jimmy Dickens was going to be there! I didn’t know how the Opry worked, but it’s broken up into 3 different blocks and for each block there is a different host! We thought it was just Marty Stuart (and while we had learned the Hill Billy Rock song, we’d planned to pretty much leave as soon as he sang that… no offense, to any Marty lovers out there, but he just has never been one of our favorites…)
After seeing all the people on the schedule I was so excited for the show to start… especially when a woman dressed like Minnie Pearl came out to welcome us and to tell us we could GET OUT OF OUR SEATS and walk to the front to take pictures!!!! I could have kicked myself for not bringing my big camera. All I had was my little one, but how exciting that we got to go to the front during the show for pictures!)
The first set started and I was just loving it. I love corny stuff like that…any kind of show is right up my ally… and just the tradition of the Opry made me beam with pride. How awesome that my grandparents listened in on the Grand Ole Opry all those years ago and it’s still going on today! Love that!
I was feeling all kind of sappy and emotional and when Little Jimmy Dickens came out as the host of the second set, I nearly cried. He was so darling and so hilarious----A tiny little guy who couldn’t even see over the announcer’s podium and who’s guitar was as tall as he was! When he came out, I had to go up and get a picture of him, who said he “swelled up like a big ole toad” that people still wanted to take his picture! Ha…
Almost 90 years old, and as sharp as a tack! I LOVED it! I was choking back the tears when I thought of how awesome it was that he was up on that stage at 89 years old still doing what he loved! What a blessing. He was a hoot too…a couple times, he may have been a little too colorful, but I loved him even more when he said his goodbyes and said that if any of the jokes he’d told offended anyone, he was deeply sorry, that he’d never do that and everything he did or said was strictly for entertainment.
I tell ya, after Jimmy, I wasn’t sure the night could get any better!
The next singer they brought out was a surprise guest, he wasn’t on the schedule! How fun is that?! I love surprises! It was Daryl Singletary. I don’t really know any other songs he sang, except the one he sang… “I let her lie”…
Later in the evening, another surprise guest was there… Blayne Larson. I wouldn’t have recognized his name, but I did recognize his song, “Chillin’”!
I thought for sure he’d open with Hill Billy Rock. Nope. After a couple more acts, including Connie Smith (who’s dress I coveted at the Hall of Fame earlier in the day & who happens to be married to Marty), Marty came back on to sing another song. Hill Billy Rock, I thought. Nope. I knew the show was almost over and I couldn’t believe he wasn’t going to sing it! Yall can’t even imagine my disappointment… I mean here we were prepared for the Hill Billy Rock, a song we didn’t even like, but still.. and he wasn’t going to sing it!!!! Ha… When the band started playing and he started singing, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”, I knew the show was over and he wasn’t going to sing it! So, before I even knew what I was doing, I walked down to the front, took one last picture, then walked all the way to the stage… when Marty saw me, he walked to edge (still singing and playing the guitar), and I said, “Hill Billy Rock?!?!?!?” He winked and said, “Sorry!”, grabbed my hand and then handed me his guitar pick! Yes, girls, swoon… I have Marty Smith’s guitar pick! How hilarious is that?!?!? So funny! Did I mention he’s like a favorite of mine now?!?!? :)
Saturday morning, we headed to the Pancake Pantry, that my blog friend, Heather (a Nashville native) suggested. She couldn’t have been more right. YUM! You know it’s good when there’s a line waiting outside to get in! We waited in line for about 30 minutes and it was WELL WORTH it! Oh my goodness, it was SO GOOD! Everyone got something different and no one was disappointed!
After breakfast we found parking close to campus and walked to the game.
Me & DW
Us with Lauren & Adam
The gators pulled off a big win, so we were thrilled!
We called it a pretty early night and made our plan for heading home Sunday morning. We left EARLY in hopes of getting home early, but unfortunately we got stuck in traffic south of Atlanta for 2 and a half hours. It was miserable! It took us that long to go 10 miles! It was insane!!!
We were so excited to pull into our drive last night to see our sweet girl!
Annabelle spent four whole days with Grammy & Pop watching Elmo 24/7, so we’re not real sure when we’ll get her straightened out! Ha… Sunday night, when they went to leave, she cried and wanted to go home with them. Thankfully, we talked her into staying with us! :)
It was such a fun trip! Like I said, I’d go back to Nashville anytime! (except anytime SOON…we’re not leaving our girl for a while!)