As Diana begins to feel better, our sights are raised, and again Matt & Christa’s suggestions are enticing. Today we drove to the Opryland Hotel, not to stay there, but to see the great indoor gardens and conservatory there.
The place is gigantic with large covered spaces between each of the huge wings. We wandered through tropical foliage covered with orchids and other exotic plants and flowers. Another atrium called “The Cascades” contained a large waterfall and waterways. We ate lunch with the sound of the splashing water as our background music. One warning, parking at this place costs $18! Fortunately, you can get your ticket validated if you eat there.
Then we drove to downtown Nashville and took a look at the only full-size replica of the Parthenon in the world. Nashville has been dubbed the Athens of the South, and for the 1897 World’s Fair the state celebrated its centennial by building this replica.
It is impressive from the outside, and even more so from the inside, where a 42 foot high statue of Athena dominates the large room. What I found particularly impressive was that in 2006 they covered the statue with gold leaf — eight pounds of gold leaf! It does look spectacular.
We stayed around to listen to a lecture on the structure and statue being given to a group of students. Eavesdropping was informative!
After looking at pictures of the World’s Fair and reading descriptions of the attractions and events which took place during its run, we both wish we could have been there.
If you’d like to read more about Nashville’s Parthenon, check out their Web page: www.nashville.gov/parthenon
We drove down to the area along the Cumberland river, across from the stadium where the Tennessee Titans play, and watched the river running strongly below. A gauge showed the river level was above 29 feet, the water was running so high on a lower viewing and pedestrian area that it was covered above guardrail height.
We had dinner at The Spaghetti Factory with Matt, Christa, Ethan & Casi and then returned to their home for one last night. We will miss feeling like part of the Demaree family, and our hearts will stay with them. Tomorrow we will leave their lovely retreat and head out for Asheville and the Biltmore House.