Of all the travels that we have done together as a couple, one of Johnny’s all-time favorites is our 2008 Christmas trip to Nashville, TN. We had only been married for 3 months, and I surprised him with a Christmas package from Gaylord Opryland. Collectively called “A Country Christmas,” it included a stay at the resort and an assortment of holiday events, such as the Rockettes show, a dinner party with Louise Mandrell, and the ICE! Exhibit.
The ICE! exhibit was a one-of-a-kind experience. I grew up on a tropical island, so I didn’t understand what COLD was until I made it through my first winter season in the United States. Fast forward 16 years later… I don’t know what I was thinking, but somehow on December 26, 2008, I volunteered to go into a place where the temperature was set at around 9-degrees Fahrenheit.
In early fall, artisans from Harbin, China, come to the US to hand-carve over 2-million pounds of ice and turn it into sculptures with themes that vary annually. The Gaylord resorts in Texas, Florida, Washington, DC, and Tennessee host this event every holiday season. When we went in 2008 to Gaylord Opryland, the theme was taken from Dr. Seuss’ children’s book How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
As soon as we entered the ICE! (or should I say ICY!) room, we felt as if we had been transported to the North Pole. We were given thick jackets to wear for the duration of our stay. But even that wasn’t enough to keep me warm. I thought I was going to freeze and become one of the sculptures. Needless to say, even though I was in awe of the whole scenery, I somewhat rushed through the exhibition.
Luckily, all the funny and adorable characters did at times manage to make me forget my misery. Johnny and I were absolutely like two kids in a candy store. We were busy taking pictures and videos at the same time. And just when we thought we fell in love with a particular design, the next one seemed to be even more fascinating.
From the pictures above, can’t you tell how much (bone-chilling) fun we had at this place? The final room we toured was a sharp contrast to the bright-colored characters of Who-ville. The exhibit ended with crystal-clear life-size replica of the Nativity scene.
As I stepped out of the door, every inch of my body felt frozen and numb. However, the 2-million pounds sculpted ice completely melted my heart. We can’t wait to be able to return for another season of this winter wonderland.