A few notes on Nashville, Tennesse, based on two conferences at the Opryland Hotel. Contrary to the terse language below I actually enjoyed both my visits to Nashville, and I'd be happy to go back -- though I wouldn't choose to stay at the Opryland Hotel.
Nashville has lots of body shops. Local radio and local people affirm that Nashville drivers are extraordinarily prone to accidents, particularly in rain. Taxi drivers are known to drive cautiously. I rented a care at the Opryland, and spent hours crawling around fender-benders on the freeway. I thought that secondary routes (route 70/24/Hermitage) had fewer accidents and were thus faster than the freeways, but authoritative Nashvilleans tells me that's not necessarily so.
Nashville streets are randomly assigned road signs. The locals don't seem to notice, perhaps because street names and direction also change randomly. I found the same thing within the massive Opryland Hotel -- signs were infrequent and often misleading. The secret is to go to "right brain navigation". Forget signs. Look at landmarks and shapes, and, if possible, use a compass.
Not Recommended. The Opryland is sort of a cross between Disney World and the Mall of America. It is a vast complex with 3 massive skylit indoor spaces and one outdoor court. Banal music is played to dancing fountains.
It is far from anything, surrounded by a concrete wasteland of strip malls, parking lots, and the Opryland country theme park. There are data ports on the phones. Calling card and 800 calls are $1.00 apiece. The low end rooms are unremarkable; mine had a fine view of the loading dock. There is no significant transportation to Nashville save $30 taxis. If you do inline skating across the vast parking lots you will be told to remove your skates and walk back to the entrance.
You can rent a car at the Hotel from National. Rates are cheaper than National airport rates, and you get free parking onsite. The best way to downtown Nashville is to take route 155 to the Hermitage exit then take Hermitage into Nashville downtown. (See driving).
If you do stay at the Opryland do not attempt to navigate by signs -- they are generally worthless. Always move into the open spaces and navigate by shapes and landmarks. Do spend as much time as possible in the outdoors Veranda courtyard. The Cascade Observatory is the quietest and most agreeable of the indoors spaces.
I was quite satisfied with this place. It's about 10 minutes from Opryland, the continental breakfast is excellent and substantial, rooms are good, and it's convenient for the airport and Nashville. I'm told there's a terrific local eatery nearby for waffles and pancakes. The adjacent service road is quiet on the weekends and fine for running and skating, otherwise there's not much of interest nearby.
Many are around Vanderbilt University. 440 might be better than 40 for getting there from the Opryland.
I'm a conservative skater and very diligent about following traffic signals. One evening a driver accelerated on his left turn so he could cross in front of me as I crossed. This caused him to vector into me as he ran up against the median. I discovered I could jump 5-6 feet in my skates and land on a upright on a concrete median. The next night, forewarned, I stopped and waited rather than cross at a green light. An oncoming rider gaped at me as he neatly ran the red light.
Confidence (1 to 3): 3. Date Created: 4/30/97. Last Revised: 11/12/97. Expires: . Language: english. Domain: .us. ID: 8. Topic: TravIntnl world. Subtopic: . Keywords: meeting; vacation; travel; accomodation; lodging; Opryland; recommendations; eating; inline skating.