Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Music City–Bringing home the guitar pick…

We went to Nashville two years ago for the Florida vs. Vanderbilt game and seriously fell in love with the town. We had so much fun, and knew we’d jump at another opportunity to visit again.

Well opportunity knocked and we answered.

More like Pappy said, “Yall wanna all go to Nashville for the game?” And we unanimously said, “Heck yeah!” Followed quickly by, “Grammy & Pop- can you keep the girls?”

Of course there’s the planning and logistics that go into any trip…for the guys it’s how we’re going to get there, where we’re going to stay, etc. For the girls, its more of, “What size suitcase can I take, because I have to pack my boots!”

Speaking of which- my prince bought me a new pair for the occasion.  

I love them and had decided that I’d wear them the day we flew out, to try to “break them in” a little. I know how stupid that sounds now. DSC_2619

Our flight was mid-morning out of Jacksonville. We packed in the Suburban, (DW drove and Van DJ-ed),  stopped for a biscuit and listened to every Lorrie Morgan song we could find on the two hour drive to the airport. We were set to go to the Grand Ole Opry that night and the headliners were Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan. I was pretty excited about Lorrie- I mean hello, she was married to Keith Whitley, and I do love me some Keith.

We arrived, got through airport security, to the plane and all buckled up.

DW, Kelsey and I were on the same row for every flight. IMG_1300

The flights were the perfect length for me. I always think I like to fly and I do for about the first 45 minutes, then I go into “I cannot keep breathing this already-breathed air, GET ME OFF OF THIS PLANE” mode. The only draw back to a short flight, though, is the risk of not getting a snack. I know, I’m a dork, but I really like to get the coke and peanuts. The fact that they serve it in a clear cup with ice makes it even better. Plus it helps pass the time and it’s just part of what you expect when flying. We got our snack on our flight from Jax to Atlanta. IMG_1303

We didn’t have much time in Atlanta, but we made sure we had enough to grab some Checkers for lunch and some chocolate at the Savannah Candy Kitchen booth. IMG_1310I had high hopes of enjoying chocolate covered peanuts on the last flight with my coke (in a clear cup with ice). :)

Just a few minutes after take off the captain came on and told us they’d start the snack service shortly, but with the flight time of less than an hour, they may not get to serve everyone. We were toward the back of the plane and when I looked back and saw our attendant was a man, I knew there was no hope of us getting a coke. Now, please, don’t misunderstand me, I LOVE men and I think there are lots of things that men do better than women- but I have yet to find a man who can serve food better than a woman. The stewardess in the front of the plane did twice as many rows as our guy in the back of the plane and they literally got two rows from us when they started packing up the cart and the captain said they’d served everyone they could serve. As a consolation, though, the captain said they had water to offer, while the stewardess made her way down the aisle hand modeling a big jug of water like Vanna White. I don’t know if they were going to just pass the jug and everyone take a sip or what, but we all passed, just in case.

Boo for no snacks, but Yay! for arriving in Nashville!

We were able to all pile in one cab (a mini van) to get to the hotel. I sat by the door on a suitcase, and I was thankful to be perched on top of Amber’s carry-on versus on the seat covered with an unidentified substance.

The only clean cab we rode in the entire trip, was on our way to the airport for our flight home. The rest of the them seriously gave me the heebie-jeebies! I was glad to perch on a suitcase or DW’s lap for most of our cab rides. IMAG0913

We made it to our hotel that afternoon and got changed for our evening plans. Adam & Lauren flew in from Tampa, and had arrived a little earlier than us, so they got our dinner reservations all lined up. Once we were changed, we headed downtown to check out a few stores. Nashville 2012 009

Dinner was a Puckett’s and it was as good as it was two years ago.

After dinner, we had a little time to kill before the Opry. DSC_2634

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DSC_2647That also meant we had time for me to make my sign for Lorrie. I’d decided that since last time we were at the Opry and I got Marty Stewart’s guitar pick, that we should make it a tradition. DW got me some cardboard from behind one of the bars on Broadway and Lauren loaned me her Sharpie (she’s a teacher, so her purse is like Mary Poppins’ bag) and I made my sign.DSC_2649 I was sure it would work- all that was left to do was hope Lorrie actually played a guitar and HAD a pick to throw.

We went into one of the bars to kill some more time before the show. DSC_2651The whole bar scene has never been my thing- (even in my wilder/more stupid :) years) but the bars there are really just “honkey tonks”- there’s live music on the stage and its so fun to see all the aspiring artists, in the words of Alan Jackson, “chasing a neon rainbow and living that honkey tonk dream.”  :)  Nashville 2012 020


I think Adam looks like he could be a country singer when he wears his cowboy hat. Last trip and this trip, you could see people watching him trying to “figure out” who he was! We should have started taking pictures of him and gotten everyone excited.

We made our way to the Ryman Auditorium for the Opry. Nashville 2012 024

We had gotten there a few minutes early and not long after we sat down, a girl with a clipboard and headset came over to us and said she needed a couple of people… that’s all she got out before I said, “I’ll do it!” She explained she needed two people and it was for a little game segment they do, that would be after intermission. Lauren and I got ready for our big Opry debut and we took a few more pictures before the show got started. DSC_2654

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Once the lights went off, I had to take my boots off. My feet were throbbing and I already had three blisters on ONE foot. I figured I would have about an hour of relief until intermission when I’d have to put them back on. WHAT was I thinking breaking new boots in on a trip?!?!?

The show was rocking along and we were about 30 minutes into it when the host says, “Its time now for a little trivia part of the Opry and joining us tonight all the way from Florida are Annie & Lauren…” AND THERE I SAT… WITHOUT shoes on. I grabbed my boots and ran down the aisle while stomping my blistered feet down in them.

A few more steps and there we were…on stage at the Grand Ole Opry. DSC_2669So neat! DSC_2674The host asked us a few questions about ourselves and then we got down to the game, which Lauren and I won, complete with a prize. DSC_2677

After our five minutes of fame, we made our way back to our seats and I figured I had better just keep my boots on for the rest of the show.

We saw several acts including Holly Williams, Hank Jr.’s daughter- and we also saw Marty Robbins’ son. Then it was time for the headliners… Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan! DSC_2683They sang together – a song that none of us knew- and then Pam took the stage to sing alone. Can I just say here, that I will never understand why the stars don’t just sing the songs that made them famous? I mean really. Especially if you’re at the end of your career. (No offense, Pam & Lorrie, but I’m pretty sure you’re on the down hill side of stardom). Pam sang a few songs and none of them were any that we knew. Then it was time for Lorrie. I didn’t know the first song she sang, or why she was wearing that long scarf with a cocktail dress. I was just hoping she’d do better than Pam and at least sing one song we knew… I was feeling a little less distracted by the awful scarf when she started playing her second song. By the third note, I was an all-in-again fan because, Hallelujah! it was a song I knew! She started singing “Out of your shoes tonight” – I don’t think I could have picked a more appropriate song that she sings, because by that point me and my blistered, throbbing feet would give ANYTHING to be out of my shoes. She sang another song (and was playing her guitar) and I got this feeling that I should go up with my sign and try to get the pick… as I was mentally debating it, out of no where, she tosses the pick to somebody in the front row. My mouth flew open and I looked down the row at everyone else and we all just busted out laughing. I had missed my chance! I couldn’t believe it! Oh well, at least Lauren and I got to stand on the stage.

We went back down Broadway for a little more fun that night. Nashville 2012 045

We found some Gibson picks in one of the shops we went in, so don’t worry, friends, I DID come home with a guitar pick from this trip after all!

Friday morning was breakfast at the Pancake Pantry. Nashville 2012 110After about a 45 minute wait in line, it did not disappoint.Nashville 2012 113 It, too, was as yummy as it was two years ago.DSC_2696 (And thank goodness, because this was a HUGE accomplishment for my FIL to wait in a line this long to eat- HUGE- so I’m glad the food was worth it!) :)

We had a shuttle from our hotel to and from the downtown area and the shuttle driver was too much for words. He was hysterical and drove like a crazy man. At one point during our trip, he was picking us up and we were on the opposite side of the road from him, so he parked the van, GOT OUT and blocked traffic like he was a cop so we could cross in front of him. He was too much.

Friday afternoon, to keep our tourist appearance up, we took the Stars Homes Tour. The tour van picked us up at our hotel and we were the last pick up…so there weren’t many seat options left… One in the very front, two a couple rows back and then the entire back seat. DW & I sat in the very back on the long seat with these two:DSC_2699

I LOVED the tour! LOVED it! It was totally my thing. I am all about trying to see some stars, and loved getting to see their houses, along with lots of other beautiful homes. DSC_2698

A couple noteworthy stops on the tour were:

Martina McBride’s house…DSC_2743


What I loved most about it, is that she has a VW Beetle convertible. AND still has her first Honda. I love that she kept her first car.

Kelly Pickler’s House…DSC_2827

We’re pretty sure this was Kelly pulling out of her driveway…DSC_2828

Little Jimmy Dickens’ house…DSC_2777

See the music notes on his balcony? After seeing Little Jimmy’s pride, DW felt like we should be true to our industry and was thinking about what he could put on our fence…dump trucks? construction cones? road stripes? Ha.

Mid-way through the tour, we stopped at a gas station and when we all got back on the tour guide was calling through the last names of the groups on the bus. When he called our name, the group in front us turned around and said, “Were yall with the group that was on stage last night at the Opry?” Who knew we’d be famous on even the tour bus? :)

We saw the house Taylor Swift bought for her mom, and also the new condo she just purchased for herself…  Her’s is 1/3 of the entire top two-stories of this condo:



Friday night we had dinner at Merchants downtown. DSC_2867Afterward, we hit a few of the hangouts to hear the bands. Nashville 2012 122We kind of all split up and did our own thing for a couple hours and ours included the best ice cream sundae of my life. 2012-10-12_20-38-32_138


Pappy, Nie-Nie & Kels on our ice cream trip :)

We ended up all meeting back up at the Wild Horse Saloon. DSC_2875

Amber & Me in line for the Wild Horse

This is where the Wild Horse dance show used to be filmed in the 90’s. It’s a huge dance floor (and all three levels overlook it) where every hour they teach dance lessons. We learned a couple dances. I use the term “we” loosely… I cannot dance at all… but it was fun to try.DSC_2888Kellee, Kelsey, Me & Amber learning one of the dances  

After seeing the pictures, I see WHY I don’t and should not try to dance… Check out the look on my face! DSC_2885 I can’t believe I’m even posting it, but its too funny not to.

This mother-daughter duo kept the dance floor hot…I love Kelsey’s face in this picture…DSC_2877 Nie-Nie did slow it down long enough to dance a slow one with Pappy…


DW caused quite a ruckus when he did the Cupid Shuffle with his little sister and wicked-step-mother. DSC_2893We laughed so hard.

The Wild Horse was so much fun that night! DSC_2898

Me, Horse & Nen – this year


Me, Horse & Nen on our trip in 2010


I can’t believe how long we’ve both grown out our hair since then!

Saturday was game day. But not until that afternoon, so we took a cab over to the Opryland Gaylord Hotel to look around…Nashville 2012 087

The hotel was all decked out for Fall…I can only imagine how beautiful it is for Christmas!

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We all split up for lunch and checked out the Opry Mills mall for a couple hours. DSC_2907

After a cab ride back to the hotel and a quick change, it was finally time for the main event of our trip – the game! Nashville 2012 143

I never sit by my FIL at the games- he sits on one end and DW sits on the other to “hold the line” – but this game, I was sandwiched between them and I laughed to myself several times during the game, because DW’s Daddy is left handed, so when he would flinch or grab an arm, he’d be doing it my way, and I had DW (who’s right handed) on the other side of me doing the same thing- If the Gators wouldn’t have won, I’m afraid I may have left with bruises! Ha.

The guy in front of us, who we had take the group picture, was a former UF cheerleader. – fun fact.

The Gators pulled off a win, which always makes for happy times! Nashville 2012 145

After the game, everyone kind of did their own thing again. DW and I had dinner at Chili’s with Adam & Lauren.2012-10-13_21-26-14_899

We called it a night and got all packed and ready to head home.

At the airport the next morning, we had a little flight delay, so that meant time to take airport pictures…IMG_1313

& even enough time for Starbucks! (Peppermint Hot Chocolate with whipped cream, please) :)


It wasn’t very long though, before we were passing all the Carebears, Florida bound!



Flying over I-75 in Atlanta

It was such a fun trip, one I hope we’ll do again!

Of course we missed our baby girls like crazy, but they had a big time with Grammy & Pop. (Who, just for the record, took two days of their vacation leave to keep the girls…They’re so good to us, for sure). AB’s favorite thing they did was going to the “Pun-kin Patch” and then when they carved a “jack-o-wantern”! :)



Arielle said...

I want to go to Nashville soooo bad!!! Everyone says it's a blast! :) This post was hilarious. 1. I love your hair long! 2. DW, kels, and Ms. Kellee doing the cupid shuffle is awesome 3. everytime i fly, i SWEAR men have no room being a stewardess. LOL they never serve as well!

Rebecca said...

How fun!!! LOVE your hair getting longer, too! And...the boots are awesome. And...I am a total celeb stalker myself so I love that you included your stalking pics! :)

Kellee Whitehurst said...

love this post and wish we were going back tomorrow!!!! so fun and got to shake my groove thang with my kids.... dont get much better!!!!

Paige Colson said...

This post had me cackling with laughter! It looks like y'all had such a great time! Go Gators!