Trace Adkins woke me up this morning. After hearing about his second wife Julie who shot him through the lungs and heart in 2004, I’m glad it wasn’t in person. Or that his daughters didn’t have to know.

The country star and runner-up on Celebrity Apprentice called my room at Nashville’s Opryland Resort and urged me to get my day on. The day before, I was awakened by Vince Gill (sorry Amy) with the same “Rise and Shine” message. In fact, if I’d stayed long enough, I could have also been roused out of bed by George Jones, Wynonna Judd and a whole cast of country singers.

“Waking with the Stars” is just one of the perks of staying at this Nashville institution, one of the biggest hotels in America. In fact, if you look at sheer acreage, Nashville’s Opryland is top dog with only a few Vegas hotels ringing in with more rooms.

And what acreage it is, filled with waterfalls, trees, a river and tropical vegetation that, if it wasn’t for the 2881 rooms and the people who fill them, could almost qualify as Biosphere 3 or 4 or whatever number they are on now. And since this opulent resort grew out of Opryland USA, a now defunct theme park that once catered to an audience of 2.5 million, it really knows how to roll out the red carpet.

Daily light and fountain shows, as well as Delta flat boat rides where guides proffer little-known facts about the hotel’s nine acres of flora and fauna are just a few of the daily activities. There are nine restaurants and bars and lavish suites that have welcomed the first President Bush and his wife (they celebrated one of their anniversaries there), Kim Kardashian, Kid Rock, Jim Carrey, Macaulay Culkin, Bill Cosby and Ted Koppel, to give just a small sampling.

Of course, at Christmas, this fantasyland even outdoes the North Pole. From November 18 to January 3, Gaylord Opryland will feature ICE! and DreamWorks’ Merry Madagascar. And as for those phone calls from the country stars, they’ll be joined by wake up calls from Madagascar’s Marty, Alex, Gloria and Melman. www.gaylordopryland.com or call 1-888-999-OPRY (6779).

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