Thursday, March 1, 2012

Nashville, Country Music and Polk

So, before we get into what Nashville is all about, let me tell you about our evening's Thursday evening and we are waiting for Armageddon according to the weather men.  Thunderstorms, hail, wind and severe tornadoes possible.  Seems that bad weather is coming down from the northwest and affecting the Ohio river valley.  We are located in part of that area.  We did have a sample of this on Wednesday afternoon and oh lala it was interesting.
I told Fred if a tornado comes, we are diving into a ditch that is on the edge of the RV park.  He is not happy because we saw it full of water with the deluge we had the other day.  He says, so I either get blown away or I drown!  He can be so funny!!!  We'll let you know how we do on Saturday when it should be all over.
Willie Nelson was waiting for our arrival at RV campground
So, we get to Nashville and we decided that we wanted to start by taking a bus tour that included entry into the Ryman Auditorium and the Country Music Hall of Frame.  The Ryman is the original Grand Ole Opry stage that everyone sees in their minds when they think, if they do, of country music in Nashville.   This is the "Mother Church of Country Music" as they like to say down here.  A newer, bigger venue has been built in town, but this is the shrine.  It was actually a pretty cool building and seemed to have great acoustics due to all the wood inside.  We will find out since we have tickets to the Opry on Saturday night.

folks having their pictures taken on the stage

Next is a tour of the Country Music Hall of Fame.  This is a large new building with incredible displays of costumes, instruments, pictures, posters, video, cars etc. In other words anything related to all the stars. Walls filled with gold records for so many artists that it really is a bit overwhelming to see.  It is definitely another shrine!  Quite impressive.

one small view of gold albums as we walk down a stairway

Our tour did give us a great view of the area and the driver / tour guide was quite funny and had lots and lots of stories about many country artists.  It was quite a delightful tour and we were a fun group of 19 on the tour.

Today we followed the Old Tennessee Settlers to Soldiers trail.  This is an 84 mile loop, if you don't do any of the many side loops, starting out of Nashville.  By the time we were done, I think it was close to 130miles.  Very pretty country side to drive around on small roads and see some of the many sites of first settlers and then Civil War.  Unfortunately, we learned that though there were many historical markers along the trail, there were very few places to pull over to read them or see the actual site.  Very perplexing.  At one point, we were walking on the road to backtrack to a site.  Only did that once, since it was not a great thing to attempt. Oh well!

We did do a tour of President James Polk house in Colombia Tennessee.  This was actually the house his father built.  Polk lived there and read law in town.  He and his wife Sarah did own a home in Nashville, but it had been torn down in 1901.  It did not seem very revealing to me, some actual artifacts, but not many, though there was an indication that there were more stored away somewhere. When I asked about where some things might be, thinking at some other residence or even the Smithsonian, the tour guide did not know.  We may have to look into this some more.  Did not get a feel for who this man really was by visiting the house.  But, no matter, we just added another to our list of President home visits.

Doing this drive today was just a feast for the eyes.  There were so many beautiful antebellum homes all along the route, green fields and streams.  There were some cows, but this is mainly horse country.  Just very beautiful and a great drive to take.

Well, that's it for today.  Stay tuned!
Michelle and Fred
Traveling the country so you don't have to!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Stone and Inman

So, we were both in need of something a bit different by the end of our week here.  So, after a slow Sunday morning start, we ended up at Stone Mountain.  An enormous piece of quartz and granite sticking out of the earth.  A sky lift ride to the top and we  were able to wander around on top of this immense piece of rock. Riding up and down gave us some good views of the carvings that were done into the side of the mountain, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.  When looking at the carving, they are from left to right on the face of the Stone.  Quite an impressive undertaking to say the least.  There is a small museum where you can watch a short video about the carving and its problems.

This park has lots and lots of walking trails, golf course, lake, campground, hotels, plantation, convention center and amusement park.  Was a beautiful day, so we decided it was a good day to be walking in the woods in the songbird habitat, which is part meadows and part woods.  We had walked too much cement / sidewalk and not enough nature walking.  We are learning to remember that this new life is also about including some of the old way of life that we enjoyed.  Pretty much spent the day here and returned to the Roulotte feeling very relaxed.

one small section of the Stone

Atlanta in the distance
People hiking up and down - one mile each way but steep as you can see

Today, we headed off to Inman Park, a suburb of Atlanta.  Lots of large older homes here, just a beautiful and expensive place to live.  But, we had to go see of course.

There are actually lots of great places to live in and around Atlanta if you want to live in a big city.  It is thriving and has lots of attractions.  Worth the look if you have never been.

Rest of the day was spent with some Roulotte cleaning and general organizing.  We also reviewed our next stops, Nashville and Memphis.
We were not sure where we would head next, Fred wanted to head further north towards St. Louis and Kansas City.  I did not because it is still too cold to go that way.  So instead, we decided we are heading to Savannah and then Jacksonville Florida, warm and sunny.  After that, we will start to head back to N'awlins for another week of fun there.
Stay tuned...
Michelle and Fred
Traveling the country so you don't have to!