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my buick bucket list trip: gaylord opryland, part 2

Opryland view from balcony

After a very filling night, we woke up to this view from the balcony of our Gaylord Opryland hotel room.

We might have just called in room service and eaten breakfast outside (which is still inside) but we were scheduled to go on the backstage tour of the Grand Ole Opry at 10 a.m.

We grabbed pastries at one of the hotel’s cute little cafes and started walking. One of the (many) great things about Opryland is that it’s right next door to the Grand Ole Opry and the gigantic Opry Mills shopping mall. Our comfy Buick Encore would remain happily tended to by the valet.

Grand Ole Opry L&M

I already told you how much fun our tour was, so once we finished, we headed back to Opryland for lunch and to figure out what we wanted to do in the afternoon. Michael had pizza and I had a yummy burger from Stax.

Opryland Stax

As we sat outside (which is still inside), we admired the view and agreed this hotel was really something special.

Opryland tables

I started listing all the places I still wanted to visit before we left Nashville tomorrow. There was Ryman Auditorium, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Johnny Cash Museum …

And then Michael uttered the dreaded words that I had hoped would never come out of his mouth again.

“I’m not going anywhere.”

Uh oh.

You may remember the last time he made that statement, he was lying in his new favorite lounge chair at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale. He wasn’t kidding and I ended up sightseeing alone that afternoon.

But this time, I just looked at him, breathed a sigh of relief and totally agreed. Why would we ever want to leave Opryland?

Opryland bonsai

As he prepared for an afternoon on our balcony, watching the world go by outside (which is still inside), I made an appointment for a massage at Opryland’s world-class Relache Spa.

Because I was so stressed.

Ha ha ha ha! I don’t think I’d been stressed for a second on this Buick Bucket List trip – even when we got caught in that torrential downpour that the Encore had tried so valiantly to warn us about.

I had a wonderful massage, and napped in my robe in the Tea/Relaxation Lounge. By the time I steamed, sauna-ed and showered, then found my way back to the room – no easy task considering my mind and body were both now mush – it was time for dinner.

For that, Michael agreed to leave the balcony.

At Ravello, unlike Jack Daniel’s, you dine outside (which is still inside) and the views are spectacular.

Opryland trees and balconies

So is the food.

Opryland Ravello Chef Mike

Chef Mike, our new favorite person, came out to welcome us and, after we explained that, unfortunately, Michael couldn’t eat the meat on that beautiful antipasti plate (but I could!), he was enthusiastic about making Michael a vegetarian dish. Or two.

Opryland Ravello appetizers

Or three.

Opryland Ravello ratatouille

And then there was my ravioli trio.

Opryland Ravello raviolis

And — OMG — my leg of lamb.

Opryland Ravello rack of lamb

Seriously, I just want to cry with gratitude when I think of this meal. Which I do often. I also feel like crying that we live on the other side of the country from Chef Mike.

Opryland Chef Mike and Lois

But, he still had dessert for us. Or, more accurately, desserts.

Opryland Ravello desserts

I’m sorry this picture is so dark but we were at Ravello for almost three hours and, by the time we were ready for dessert(s), the sun had gone down and it was very dark outside (which is still inside).

After much gushing and hugging and Michael announcing he could be a vegetarian forever if Chef Mike would just move to California (to which Chef Mike good-naturedly laughed and invited us back to Ravello next time we were in Nashville), we decided to walk around the resort since it was our last night there and we definitely needed the exercise.

We stopped at WSM, 650 AM, which broadcasts live from Opryland and is the home of the weekly Grand Ole Opry radio shows.

Opryland radio station

I have no idea who this guest is but when she’s famous, I’ll be happy to have her picture here and to be able to say I saw her being interviewed.

Opryland radio station guest

After taking the long way back to our room — which was easy to do because we were still getting lost — we slowly started to pack because, sadly, we were going home tomorrow.


  1. Oh wow! I envy you, what a wonderful time you are having there. One day I hope to make a Buick Bucket List and head out to see the world. Looks like you made some great memories before you head home tomorrow.

  2. Wow! What a gorgeous place and even the food is beautiful. I went to the Gaylord Texan for the ICE celebration this past Christmas and I loved it. I’m so glad you got the royal treatment before going back home 🙂

  3. Look at that amazing food! It sounds like you crammed a lot into a short time 🙂

  4. Part 2? I’m still jealous of part one and the indoor waterfalls! lol This food looks so good and decadent!

  5. Wow that sounded like a wonderful trip and location! I have never made it there, so thank you for sharing your trip with us! Sounds like maybe you will be going back there!

  6. Yum…certainly there is room for your private chef in your Buick Encore?

  7. Reminds me of The Truman Show. It is all fake but seems like so much fun. How does the sun go down inside and become dark? I see this as a big tent with everything inside and no windows to the outside world. A real adventure. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lois Alter Mark says:

      The ceiling is glass so if it’s light out, it’s light inside, and if it’s dark out, it’s dark inside. It’s climate-controlled so although you know it’s day or night or sunny or cloudy, it’s a perfect combination of indoors and outdoors. We loved it!

  8. So much to do there and so pretty too. I have often heard of this place and never imagined that it would look like that. Fun!

  9. The food. OMGosh, the food. Mmm.

  10. Sounds like a wonderful trip! I’m jealous of all that delicious looking food… and the massage!

  11. The hotel looks really incredible and so does finding your way through the history of some of musics legends…and the food.

  12. I am packing my bags!

  13. What an amazing trip! Great pics.

  14. What a fabulous trip! The food, the hotel, my goodness .. can I be you when I grow up?

  15. As I sit here eating my Jenny lunch, I am now starving after seeing your photos of that delicious looking food. Wow. Unbelievable. A massage, too? Awesome. What a great time you guys had.

  16. The Grand Ole Opry !!! How lucky that you got to go. I think that place has to be all thing fantastic! Your hotel looks amazing and gorgeous and so serene that that food pic above the raviolis.. WOW!

  17. Wow, that food looks amazing. Looks like a great trip!

  18. Looks like you had a fun trip to the Grand Ole Opry! The food looks AMAZING, too

  19. Thanks for sharing all that! I’m from Nashville (suburbs) but sadly haven’t visited that hotel (only the mall). I’ve heard a lot of great things about it but now, I’m REALLY curious and wanting to book! So again, thanks!!

  20. Ok now i’m officially jealous and no longer want to tlk to you. Just kidding what a beautiful place.

  21. I love desserts – even in the dark
    Wonderful mouthwatering photos.
    Sounds like a great place to vacation

  22. That meal looks AMAZING! 😉 What a fun getaway.

  23. I think it was a good idea to stay in and enjoy it all!
    it looks so enticing!
    relaxing too

  24. Love your adventures, Lois! And now, I want to go (naturally 🙂

  25. the food looks amazing and so does the trip!!

  26. That was a really awesome view from your balcony! The food at Ravello looks amazing!

  27. I had to read the whole series to get here!

  28. Not sure where the rest of my comment went! I was saying that my daughter lives there so I visit Nashville a few times each year. You saw some really good highlights, but it would take a week or so to see all Nashville has to share!
    I loved this come-along-with-us tour and I’m so glad you loved your time in Tennessee.

  29. All that food looked amazing, I would love to try Staxed!

  30. I love two things in particular about this post. First, that your Encore tried to warn you about a storm (what a car!) and second, that I can hear your voice — almost like you were reading it to me — with every “outside (which was still inside)”. Smiling broadly!

  31. I agree with your husband – I wouldn’t want to leave either! Definitely adding this to my bucket list!

  32. I have to admit, I’d never considered Opryland as a viable travel option, until I read your post and looked at your images.. Now I must travel to this destination and take in the sights..

    Thank you for sharing.

  33. Road trips are part of the great American tradition. It is important to have a good, reliable car with nice amenities and a great destination!

  34. Looks like a blast! This would definitely be on my bucketlist as well!

  35. Helene Cohen Bludman says:

    That meal looks fabulous! Wouldn’t it be nice if Chef Mike could be persuaded to move to San Diego?

  36. What a gorgeous looking place to visit! And the food looks amazing. Looks like you had an awesome trip.

  37. Amanda Love says:

    Loving the second leg of your Opryland trip and the food looked amazing. I’ve never been there but your bucket list has me wanting to go.

  38. Elisebet F says:

    It looks like you had gorgeous weather! And I want a burger now, hahah. But the leg of lamb looks pretty fantastic too.

  39. OMG that trip looks AMAZING! Glad you had such a fun time.

  40. So glad you had such a wonderful time! I would be all over that ravioli and leg of lamb… mmm!

  41. amanda @attachedmoms says:

    I stayed at the operyland hotel in college for a.conference. it was awesome!

  42. I was trying to figure out who your celeb sighting was- still can’t figure it out. Either way- looks like you has a great time!

  43. I want chef mike to come to my house!

  44. That looks so awesome! I love reading your bucket list posts. They make me feel like I’m on the adventure with you. Sounds like you had a great time.

  45. Gosh now that is what I called fun and fulfilling – plus, so much good food to eat!

  46. I love this resort! This makes me want to go back right now. Great series, Lois. I want to buy a Buick and a road trip to go with it. Sounds like it gets you to fun places!

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