Friday, May 30, 2014

Nashville Anniversary Trip

Hello, Birdies! I was just working on my YouTube channel and realized I never shared anything here about our anniversary trip. What a ding dong!  For our honeymoon, we had gone to Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg. For our second anniversary we went back and for our fourth we came to Nashville. Tennessee holds a special place in our hearts, especially in the Spring time. 

The day we said, "I do."
Our honeymoon and first time to stay in the great state of Tennessee.

Our wedding anniversary falls in April and this year and it just so happened to come right after paying off our house. I anticipated this so, a bit before, I started planning an anniversary surprise for my hubby! One of our dreams was to go down to Nashville, TN to meet Dave Ramsey and shout "WE'RE DEBT FREE!" live on his show so that was where the planning began for me. I contacted his staff via the website a month before the trip. The process to apply is easy-peasy! From there, I searched high and low for a decent hotel at a decent price. To say that hotels down there vary greatly is an understatement or at least that was my experience. It seemed they were either super swanky with a super swanky price tag OR they were Dump City with a still slightly hefty price tag. If you've been reading my blog for a while then you know I am going to try to find a bargain. Well after searching and searching, the clouds finally parted and a great deal seemed to float down from Heaven! I used about 10 different sites and apps to locate a great hotel but out of those 10, Expedia scored the winning goal in the form of a stay at The Courtyard by Marriott in Goodlettsville which is located approximately 15 minutes north of Music City. In the meantime, I contacted Eric's boss to get approval for time off. I got a big thumbs up on some vacay time along with keeping the whole sha-bang a secret. I continued to communicate with the Dave Ramsey staff but in the end we were unable to actually secure a spot on the show, however, they informed us we could still stop by, see the show and meet Dave. I won't lie, I was pretty bummed because going on the air would have really kicked up the trip a notch but I didn't let the disappointment slow me down. There was still a lot to do like plan the details without Eric figuring it all out! My original idea had been to tell him the night before we left that we were going somewhere and he had to be ready by 7:30 a.m. but I totally caved and told him the night before that we were going to Nashville and that we were going to see Dave. If only I had captured his reaction!! He was so excited. We talked about it forever, packed, and before I knew it we were Tennessee bound! 

Once in Nashville, we went straight to the Financial Peace Plaza (a.k.a The Dave Ramsey studios.) We were so impressed by the kindness of his staff. They were genuinely interested in us and our story to becoming debt free. As a cherry on top, they offered us free refreshments. I totally had Eric snag me a chocolate chip cookie while he enjoyed a nice, hot cup of coffee. While we waited we could see the studio where Dave does his show. I will admit, I may have fan-girled a bit when I saw him walk in and sit down. "ERIC! ERIC! IT'S HIM! IT'S DAVE RAMSEY!!" Definitely had to tell myself to "simma' down now!" There were several other couples and families there so during commercial break, when Dave stepped out of the studio to meet people, he was instantly surrounded. We were willing to wait. I mean we had already driven several hours, a few more minutes wasn't going to kill us. The cool thing about Dave is that he is a real down to earth guy. He made direct eye contact with us and instead of one of his people saying, "Ok, hurry. You can meet Dave now", he walked right over to us and striked up a conversation. We chatted for a short bit (he is a busy man after all), snagged a pic and had him sign the cd case for our Financial Peace cd's from the class we took 3 1/2 years ago. Such a cool moment! It was like closing one chapter and opening a new one all at the same time. 

From there we darted to the Antique Archaeology store. It was in a cool part of Nashville that was slightly off the beaten path. The store is housed in an old automobile factory. The red brick building is an impressive one both in size and character but it is not home just to Antique Archaeology. There are a myriad of businesses there ranging from little boutiques to art galleries to coffee shops to candy stores. 

We hopped around town a bit soaking in the sights then had a last minute dinner with my cousin and her sweet family. Sidenote: She has a website called Shopping From the Heart which is phenomenal! Go check her out! :-) After chowing down on hamburgers and chocolate cream pie we finally arrived to the hotel. Eric and I were so pleased with Courtyard by Marriott. The reviews and pictures are true to form, the staff was very friendly, the location was great because it was just off of the interstate and it was very clean. It is so much easier to relax in a clean space rather than in one where you are worried about getting bed bugs. Yikes! 

The next day we had originally planned to go to the Gibson Guitar Factory in Memphis but that would have been a 3 hour drive so we opted to visit downtown Nashville instead. First stop was the original Grand Ole Opry. We aren't huge country music fans but the history of that place is incredible and the magic of it undeniable. Over the next few hours we walked the main strip, drove around the city, visited some cool guitar shops (my husband is a self-taught rock star and major guitar enthusiast), tried some popsicles from the famous Las Paletas and generally just enjoyed the day. Everything was at our own pace so we were able to really relax and enjoy the beauties that the city offers. The weather being perfect helped add to the splendor! 

Day 3 was Sunday so we ended up at the Opryland mall to kill some time since most businesses don't open till noon or after. Boy! I could have some done major shopping in that mall but it would have seemed a bit ironic since we had gone down to celebrate being debt free, don't ya think? We went to The Parthenon and that was a neat experience. I never knew the replica structure had such a long history in Nashville! 

Monday morning we woke up relaxed but ready to go home. Partially to just get back into the swing of things but also to pick up a few special items for our updated bathroom. A post to come on that soon! In the meantime, head on over to YouTube to see some more fun pics from our time down in Nashville! It was so nice to have some us time. To be free from the little every day stresses and distractions of life. Going to meet Dave was such a highlight. Being there symbolized, for us, where we started and where we have gone. Nashville has so much to offer that we didn't get to see so we look forward to visiting again and making even more memories!

Have you ever been to Nashville?? What is your favorite thing to do there? What about the Dave Ramsey show....have you been able to scream "We're debt free!!!!" to the money guru?!? 

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!! 

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