we spent our first night in nashville at the gaylord opryland hotel. i had read a lot of negative reviews on trip advisor, and i almost didn't want to stay, but it was fine. we went more for the experience of staying here, and not for some fancy weekend or anything.
first things---it is HUGE. for real. we spent a lot of time just trying to find the right entrance lobby!
here is a map of the place, just in case you think I'm fibbing:
the place is completely decked out for the holidays! there are a lot of shows to see and restaurants and shops IN the hotel--you could stay the entire weekend here and never leave.
i spotted these little beauties in the lobby as we were checking in:
my daughter charlotte is studying greek mythology and classic architecture in school right now,
so it was fun for us to stop and see it.
inside, was an open area, with a high statue of athena...some of the first percy jackson movie was filmed here!
honestly, inside it was kinda boring. not sure i would pay the $6 fee to get in again. it took us like 15 minutes to walk through the entire thing.
but there was some eye candy, like these MASSIVE bronze doors....
the detail on them is incredible.
there is another set of doors that leads to the front entrance that are even bigger!
seriously, they were so amazing....apparently they are some of the largest and heaviest doors in existence in the world.
there were also some beautiful railings:
and now, onto alabama, where a stop at my husbands favorite BBQ place is always a must.
we also went to see the US space and rocket center in huntsville. totally worth a visit! we really enjoyed it. there was tons of stuff to do for kids of all ages.
there was also an exhibit on da vinci, which we all loved. my favorite was a section dedicated to the mona lisa.
there have been all kinds of studies on how the painting looks to us now, versus the way it was ACTUALLY painted. time has taken a toll on the painting over the years, and so it was really neat to see the studies behind how it would have looked right after it was painted.
(what we are used to seeing)
what it would have looked like when da vinci painted it.
do you see how blue the mountains are?
and how gold her velvet sleeves are?
i found it fascinating.
we spent the next several days in seabrook island, south carolina with lots of views like this:
we visited the angel oak--one of the largest live oak trees in the world---free to see and definitely worth a peek!
we also spent some time visiting fort moultrie--and old fort that has been around since the late 1700's.
it has terrific view of fort sumpter and downtown charleston. it was super cheap to tour---something like $3 per person. totally worth it if you like history.
my little man, grady, who wore this sweatshirt almost every day of our trip!
we LOVE charleston!
i was actually pregnant with charlotte when allen and i came here on an anniversary trip.
we had already decided to name our baby charlotte and loved seeing this street sign.
12 years later, here is my little angel!
every time we go, we always walk around the straw market. i remember coming here as a kid---it was a lot less commercial then, but there are still some neat things to discover.
(i brought back one of these butterfly displays!)
i have been to charleston many times but this is the first time i have been in the fall. i was NOT expecting it to be so warm and LUSH.
i mean, how gorgeous is this??
i love shutters. especially when they are done "right".
charleston is an architecture lovers dream! i could spend days walking around, gawking at all of the pretty porches, courtyards, and details.
i really, really want to live somewhere that looks like THIS in december.
i mean, come on!
a fabulous light fixture.
metal fence detail.
isn't this gorgeous?
it wasn't nearly enough time, but i enjoyed every minute of it.
another favorite---tabby sidewalks. i love seeing the pieces of shell under my feet!
(and a quick update--my internet is working again--YAY!)