Downtown Nashville with Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans, at right

Travel Journal: Nashville

Seen through the eyes of Alecia Cicero

Who went: My husband Brian and I, our son Jonathan and our daughter Olivia

We went because: We were celebrating Jonathan’s eighth birthday.

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Jonathan and Olivia in the resort’s atrium

Hotel recommendation: Gaylord Opryland Resort. It’s a very large and beautiful hotel that is decorated so beautifully during the Christmas season. The children enjoyed the Delta River flat boat tour inside the hotel surrounded by the lush gardens, bridges and waterfalls.

Where to eat: Mission BBQ

Favorite dish on the menu: The pulled pork and the bread pudding were both great.

Item of clothing you shouldn’t leave home without: Check the weather forecast before leaving.  We packed lots of warm clothes. Snowsuits worked great for the kids while playing in the fake snow and for keeping warm in the 9-degree temperatures inside the resort’s ICE attraction.

Favorite historic landmark: The Grand Ole Opry

Local attraction worth a drive-by: Nissan Stadium, where the Tennessee Titans play football

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Jonathan at breakfast with the Grinch

A great experience off the beaten path: Actually, the Opryland Gaylord is a destination within itself!

Worth the splurge: The all-day pass to ICE, an ice sculpture walk-through attraction. We also loved the Elf on the Shelf Scavenger Hunt, gingerbread decorating, and breakfast with the Grinch.

Not worth the splurge: The carriage ride was too short for the cost.

Something surprising we learned on the trip: There is such a thing as frozen fog … we drove home through it!

Insiders’ tips: It was very crowded during the weekend before Christmas because of all the Country Christmas vacationers, plus there was a cheer competition and chess competition. So check with the hotel when planning dates to avoid the crowds and long lines.

Ice sculptures inside ICE, the Gaylord Opryland's seasonal attraction
Ice sculptures inside ICE, the Gaylord Opryland’s seasonal attraction

We would suggest this trip to others because: It is great for children. They loved all the Christmas activities, walking through the ICE exhibit, and playing in the fake snow, plus the snowball toss and snow tubing. And then there were the cookies, milk and story time with Mrs. Claus. Our 8-year-old attempted ice skating for the first time, and he had a blast! It was a great trip for making memories while our children are young.