It was one week ago when I was jolted awake by the sound of my alarm clock. 5 a.m. comes too early most days, but this time it was different! This time, it was for a special journey. My name is Carrie…I’m a huge Parrothead and the grand prize winner of the SiriusXM and Radio Margaritaville Jimmy Buffett ‘Tis the Season contest. Last Friday, I traveled to the airport with a fellow Parrothead – AKA my husband – where we hopped on a plane headed for Tulsa, Oklahoma to attend the invitation-only Jimmy Buffett concert.
We touched down in Tulsa just before 10 a.m. Why so early? We wanted to make sure we had as much time as possible to play, eat and HAVE FUN! When we walked out of airport baggage claim, Lenora with River Spirit Casino Resort was waiting on us. We took the free shuttle to the resort, arriving just before 10:30 a.m. Once there we were greeted by a wonderful and friendly staff who checked us in early…which was great because we were dying to see the room. Having stayed in Margaritaville hotels before, we were excited to see what the River Spirit Casino Resort had to offer. We headed up to our room on the 21st floor; when we opened the door and walked in – what a delight! We saw tropical decor, a gorgeous view of the Arkansas River through huge, floor to ceiling windows and tile flooring (you know, the kind that looks like weathered hardwood).
Before we were even settled, we got a call from our Margaritaville contact, Joey. Excited, we headed downstairs to meet him at the Margaritaville Coffee Shop. He introduced himself and handed us gift bags before talking to us as if he’d known us for years. Shortly thereafter, he took us on a tour of the beautiful resort, showing us everything it had to offer.
Up next…an afternoon playing the slots at the Margaritaville Casino. We played for hours, where I discovered my new favorite slot machine – Escape to Margaritaville – complete with Jimmy’s music and a friendly parrot that helped me find those ever elusive lost shakers of salt! When I realized the rumbling was coming from my stomach and not the volcano, I headed straight to the Margaritaville restaurant for Volcano Nachos and a Boat Drink to quench my thirst. My husband dined on the Seafood Mac-N-Cheese, which, if you have never had this savory dish, I highly recommend you stop reading this right now and go get some! You are missing out on one of the best seafood dishes Margaritaville has to offer…just ask anyone who’s tried it!
On Saturday we woke up ready to be transported to that “One Particular Harbour!” After a little lunch at, where else, Margaritaville, it was time to party! A “Hula Girl at Heart,” I was decked out from head to toe…complete with beautiful flowers in my hair, shark fin stickers on my cheeks, colorful leis around my neck and wrist, grass skirt and Margaritaville shoes. My husband, also channeling the “Spirit of the Great Heart,” couldn’t be missed in his attire, complete with a shark fin hat, brightly-colored leis and a Margaritaville shirt. Dressed for the latitude and attitude, we headed for the VIP pre-concert party! While there, we snacked on chicken salad and pita chips, drank margaritas and ate mini key lime and coconut cream pies. Lots of Parrotheads tested their flexibility doing the limbo, while others, some who may have had one too many margaritas, danced with the inflatable flamingos that were scattered around the room.
FINALLY! The moment we’ve been waiting weeks for… the invitation-only concert in the new Paradise Cove! We couldn’t believe it…FRONT! ROW! SEATS! This will probably never happen again! It was amazing to be in the front row singing and dancing to “Margaritaville” … “Boat Drinks” … and “Fins.” Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers took to the stage at 5 o’Clock…pretty fitting, I might add. They played for just over an hour and during that time, the chief Parrothead threw his guitar pick into the audience…a pick that I caught! I couldn’t believe it! Now, I have a pick that Jimmy Buffett used to make music! And, with the ukulele I won as part of this contest, I can definitely feel the music in my Caribbean soul that I can barely control!
On Sunday the air seemed different as this wonderful trip was coming to a close. We begrudgingly packed our suitcases, checked out of our room and headed to the Margaritaville restaurant for one last meal in paradise. After lunch, we browsed the gift shop to pick up some Margaritaville souvenirs. We left enough time to take a few final spins on the awesome Escape to Margaritaville slot machine and although we didn’t hit the jackpot, we definitely felt like the biggest winners in the world!
This was truly an amazing trip! As a Parrothead, this was a huge win for me…next to winning the lottery, of course! My husband and I are gearing up for our concert series this summer. We already have our concert tickets for Paris and as U.S. dates are released, we’re making our travel plans to hit several more shows this year. I live the Margaritaville lifestyle every day. When you walk into my home, you will think you’re at the beach. When you see my clothes, you know I’m a beach bum and a Parrothead. I always say, I want to live by the ocean…I want to die by the ocean! Jimmy Buffett is my idol; he’s the one who inspires me to be a better beach bum and to live my life like a song. One day I hope to fulfill my dream of meeting him…and taking home his flip flops from a concert!