Written by Wildcat Dianne on 17 Oct, 2013
Finishing in second place in the Health Occupations Student Association Healthcare Issues State Exam in April earned me an all expenses paid trip to the National HOSA Conference in Nashville, Tennessee at the end of June. Most of the time was spent at the…Read More
Finishing in second place in the Health Occupations Student Association Healthcare Issues State Exam in April earned me an all expenses paid trip to the National HOSA Conference in Nashville, Tennessee at the end of June. Most of the time was spent at the Gaylord Opryland Resort competing in my event, sitting by the pool, reading, and relaxing before I had to return home to Florida and begin a six-week externship in order to graduate from Pensacola State College's Medical Assisting program.
But I was getting bored sitting by the pool and getting chlorine in my eyes or sunburned, and when our chaperone, Carol, and our very kind bus driver John offered to take us to Nashville to tour around the city on Saturday morning, several of us jumped at the chance for a free trip to town to relieve us from boredom at the hotel. Laura and Pam made plans to go to the Country Music Hall of Fame and others decided to go shopping for cowboy boots or other goodies while others like me who didn't want to spend $30 for a museum or the Hall of Fame thought a good walk around town was a good thing to do. So we jumped on the bus about 9 a.m. and off we were to downtown Nashville.
Nashville is Tennessee's capital city and is known as the "Music City" and is the center of country music of America. Nashville was founded by several members of the Overmountain Men in 1779 a was named for Francis Nash, who was a hero of the American Revolution. Located on the Cumberland River, Nashville became a strategic river port and eventually when the railroad came that way, a strategic rail port. This made Nashville an important conquest for the Union Army during the Civil War and in February, 1862, Nashville was the first big Confederate city and state capital to fall to Union troops. The Confederate Army under General Hood tried to retake Nashville in what became known as the Battle of Nashville from December 15-16, 1864 but failed miserably and Nashville stayed in Union hands.
Today Nashville still is an important government, shipping, and cultural center and is also home to the Tennessee Titans NFL Football team and the Grand Ole Opry.
As I said before, I decided to take advantage of the trip to downtown Nashville and spent the time walking around the shops on Broadway, 2nd Street, and other main drags of the Music City. Not a country music fan, I just went along for the ride and watched Carol search for cowboy boots for her grandkids. There are several cowboy boot shops in Downtown Nashville, and almost all of them had the Buy One Pair, Get 2 Pairs Free deal. Carol was able to get three pairs of boots for her grandkids and one of their friends. For those like me who do not like country music that much, there is the Hard Rock Cafe where one can eat and enjoy rock n roll culture in Nashville.
After a couple of hours of walking around Nashville, Carol and I decided to round up the troops and have lunch at the Hard Rock before getting back on the bus at 2 for the trip back to our hotel and our final awards ceremony before heading home to Florida the next morning. I wasn't too impressed with Nashville but it was worth a couple of hours of my time to tour around and see what it was all about. I am sure anyone who is a country music fan would love to go to Nashville, but I think I will stay by the pool next time. HA HA!
Written by flyingscot4 on 07 May, 2013
Journal Introduction"I never met anybody who retired and moved up North."I'm from Wisconsin and have lived there most of my life. I started coming to East Tennessee just under 8 years ago in 2006 when a friend moved here from Wisconsin. I came…Read More
Journal Introduction"I never met anybody who retired and moved up North."I'm from Wisconsin and have lived there most of my life. I started coming to East Tennessee just under 8 years ago in 2006 when a friend moved here from Wisconsin. I came down that July to help and after a good nights sleep, my friend took me to a place called "Scenic Overlook," (I don't remember the name). It is on Hwy 25E ("E" does not signify "East." I don't know what it signifies, but it is not "East," and Hwy 25W is not "West."). Anyway, the "Scenic Overlook" overlooked Cherokee Lake and was one of the prettiest sights of my life. I could imagine Daniel Boone cresting the rise and looking down into the beautiful lush green valley (there was no lake there back then). That was my first impression and it is still very important to me because although I have found many, many more mountains and valleys, that was my first and I still go back to it whenever I'm in the area, which is frequently. And that's when I fell in love with East Tennessee.East Tennessee is one-third of Tennessee. The other two-thirds are, strangely enough, West Tennessee with Memphis, and Middle Tennessee with Nashville. East Tennessee has Knoxville (University of Tennessee - "We bleed orange!") and Chattanooga (one of the least known beautiful cities in our nation). All-in-all,Tennessee is a state that has everything and is today considered the best state in which to retire. There are lakes and rivers and all kinds of recreation possibilities. There is the beauty of the mountains and the exhilaration of riding a motorcycle both up and down the narrow and winding mountain roads. There is swimming and boating and water skiing in the spring, summer and fall and snow skiing in the winter. It's a recreation paradise year round. There is no state income tax, property taxes are low, both land and properties are reasonable and the road system is good. Unfortunately, the crime rate is quite high and the public education system is lagging behind most of the rest of the country. There is a 9.5% sales tax on everything including food. The median income is low in comparison with the northern states, but the weather is mild and inviting and it seems like everyone is looking at Tennessee as the ideal place to retire, and live out their years in comfort and tranquility. And in the area where I live, there are about 50 times as many churches as places that serve alcohol, which is quite a shock to some. For those folks we have Sevierville, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge. My area is a place where many people pray before eating their meal at McDonald's.What drew me to East Tennessee originally is the absolute beauty of this part of the state and our nation, and the fact that my college major was US History. Both my loves of photography and pre-20th century history are more than satisfied here. Native American history is documented in cities and towns all over the region. I'm close to the "Trail of Tears" and other unpleasant reminders of our not-so-glorious history. True stories of brutality on both sides, lies and broken treaties by the white man who never signed a treaty he didn't break. The history of greed in our country is very evident in the past of this part of Tennessee. But so is the history of greatness, adventure, self-empowerment and self-reliance. Our forefathers of all races and nationalities are all here. Good guys and bad guys of every color and country of origin all made history here in ways that had seldom been done before, and changed the world forever. Self determination as evidenced by the Museum of Appalachia and other communities that dot the countryside provide wonderful glimpses into our past - and future.What I have found here and what will keep me here long after I'm dead has been the people. In clinging to parts of their past and to their culture and heritage, they have a wonderful and low speed society that still believes in families, relaxation, music, and faith, and not necessarily in that order. Folks here seem to be less pretentious, but less open to newcomers until they know that one wants to be part of their community and not remake the culture to something not needed or wanted by the local folk.This part is both personal and political. Tennessee is becoming inundated with us Yankees and Floridians. We come here for the lower taxes and cost of living and for the beautiful scenery. Retirees are coming from the mid-West, New England, and Florida. Financially, they are better off than most Tennesseans and they build or buy lovely homes in very nice sub-divisions and settle down for the good life. They had visited the area and loved the slower pace. They say they come here for the life, and maybe they believe that in the beginning. After telling the local folks how much they love their new life, they realize that they don't have some of the things they had up North, like trash pick-up and other services. Things are a little less convenient. Anyway, the results are not necessarily good for the people of Tennessee who were born and raised here. The price of land has risen to the point that most native Tennesseans can no longer afford land in their own state. Those with wealth don't shop where the real Tennesseans work. They shop in the malls and the places many cannot afford. Then the "carpetbaggers" begin to demand the services that they had up North. They tell the local folk how much better it will be. They say that people have to change with the times. Well, here's a surprise. The local folks don't want to change. They are very happy with their lives the way they are. They like the "pace" of life here and don't want the work hard play hard philosophy. And personally, I don't want the life here to change either. I moved here for the life. The percentage of people who move here and try to become part of the heritage and culture is small indeed. The pleasures of life with the local folk are wonderful. The music of Appalachia is captivating. The festivals a lots of fun and many are without alcohol. The entire area is overflowing with real American History. The flea markets are the most inexpensive places in the world for bargains and to "people watch." Us transplants should not be surprised to see t-shirts and caps the say, "We Don't Care How You Did It Up North!" My friends, who are mostly all locals, are very welcoming and accepting and ask very little of us newcomers. But they are very forceful and very serious when they say, "Don't try to change us." They, or I should say we, ain't kiddin,' y'all!Next: What's to like - everything!Dedicated to my friends and the "Tuesday Night Jubilee Bluegrass and Gospel Family." Close
Written by MilwVon on 03 Jun, 2011
We left Lake Lure NC heading for the Blue Ridge Parkway and ultimately the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With really poor weather in North Carolina, we were looking forward to hopefully driving out from under the fog and clouds and into the clear in…Read More
We left Lake Lure NC heading for the Blue Ridge Parkway and ultimately the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With really poor weather in North Carolina, we were looking forward to hopefully driving out from under the fog and clouds and into the clear in the Smoky Mountains. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.We picked up the Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville and headed towards Cherokee. Before reaching there, however, we turned off to take the Balsam Mountain loop road which is just inside the Smoky Mountains National Park, still within NC.The start of the loop road was paved and two lanes. Just beyond a picnic area, it became a "primitive" one lane gravel and dirt road. In places, it was horrible, bottoming out our van in many places. While the ranger at the Waterrock Knob visitor's center on the Blue Ridge Parkway did forewarn us that it was slow going, but never did we think that meant an average of 10 MPH. I think it took us two and a half hours to do the 30 mile loop.It was a nice ride with some pretty forest area, along with creeks, waterfalls and lots of butterflies. No bears, however, which were the whole reason I wanted to take this journey.Once out of the forest, we drove on through to Cherokee which is also a very built up tourist area on the Indian reservation. This also serves as the main entry point into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from North Carolina. We passed on through town, stopping at the park's entry visitor's center (Oconaluftee) that has just opened earlier this year.While featuring a lot of exhibits and a gift shop, for us it was a chance to stretch our legs, use the bathrooms and get my US NPS Passport book stamped. With the biological needs taken care of, we estimated it would take approximately an hour to traverse the center of the park in order to head to our real destination - Cade's Cove - the main bear habitat where visitors can most frequently see these iconic animals. In total, the drive from the Oconaluftee Visitor's Center to Cade's Cove would be two hours.The road from the NC entrance over to Cade's Cove was very twisty with lots of hairpin and 360 turns. The views (when you could see through the fog) were pretty. I really enjoyed the drive from Sugerlands Visitor Center to Cade's Cove because the road followed along a decent sized stream with some white water rapids that were pretty in the setting sun breaking through the trees.By the time we reached Cade's Cove, it was around 6:00pm. Fortunately traffic wasn't too heavy in the park and we were able to take a nice drive at a decent speed. Inside at Cade's Cove, the loop road is also one way. The early part of the trip was nice, but not much in the way of wildlife. We did see some turkeys and deer, but no bear. I was become discouraged, while David and his Mom were patient but tired.We stopped at the visitor's center in Cade's Cove, again for bathrooms and for me to get my Passport book stamped. I asked the rangers about bears and was told that they often see them when they get off work in the evening (7:00p) which made sense since folks had been reporting seeing bears at dawn and dusk in this area of the park.About a mile down the road, I saw a black hump out in a field, through the trees. Sure enough, as we turned the corner, there were cars pulled off the road and down the side lane all gathering to take photos of a momma bear (sans cubs) dining on the tall grasses.We stopped and got some photos, which were OK given that she was some 75 to 100 yards away. The rangers on site here said that the momma did have two cubs tucked away out of sight along the tree line. As much as I would have loved to have seen cubs playing, I was ecstatic that I got to see a black bear in the wild here. Mission accomplished!From Cade's Cove it was just about an hour out to Gatlinburg, TN where we had hotel reservations. It was a very long day, but worthwhile in getting that Kodak moment of the bear grazing in the meadow. Close
I will start with a bias against shop after shop, tourist trap after tourist trap . . . for a far as the eye can see. Add to that arriving on Friday of a major American three day holiday and it is a recipe…Read More
I will start with a bias against shop after shop, tourist trap after tourist trap . . . for a far as the eye can see. Add to that arriving on Friday of a major American three day holiday and it is a recipe for disappointment.We arrived into downtown Gatlinburg around 8:00pm after being on the road since around 9:30am from Lake Lure, NC. Unfortunately for us, the weather was cool and foggy, with terrible viewing for most of the day. Having done the Blue Ridge Parkway up in Virginia in the fall of 2009, I really had big expectations for our transition day from NC to TN. It simply wasn't to be. The day of driving had taken its toll and everyone was pretty tired and a bit on the cranky side.We debated whether or not we should check into our hotel or go eat dinner at the place I had picked up a Restaurant.com certificate for. Since we were in the main downtown area and near where the restaurant was, we decided to eat first and then go to the hotel. Navigating "the Parkway" (essential "Main Street") we located the place but didn't see any place to park . . . NOwhere. We drove around the block and saw some space in a hotel lot, but they were clearly marked "TOW AWAY ZONE" if you are not staying there so we didn't chance it. There were a couple of street spaces along the side street, but nothing open.I then called the restaurant to get parking advice and was told to either pay $10 at the lot two or three blocks away or go check into our hotel and take the trolley (also for a fee). That seemed like a lot of effort to save $25 on dinner, so we just decided to punt and get to our hotel and figure it out from there.At the hotel, the front desk person suggested a very nice place (The Alamo) where we went. Generally we all avoid late evening dinners, but this would be an exception. I think it was 9:00pm when we were served our dinner salads. (See separate review)It was amazing just how many people were in this town. Most were walking from place to place . . . some using the trolley system. Those who were driving largely seemed like confused tourists like us . . . or locals just cruising the main drag. Very unimpressive!The next morning we found a nice pancake house (one of many in town) for breakfast. It was pretty amazing how expensive southern egg breakfasts were. The food was good and service fast, so we were generally OK with the "Hawaii" or "Alaska" prices. (See separate review on this restaurant too.)With food needs taken care of, we were on our way out of town and heading home. I suppose to be fair, had we arrived fresh and at a less crowded time, we may have liked it a bit more. We were too tired to schlep down to walk along the sidewalks to see the obligatory fudge shops, tee shirt stores or hand crafted gift emporiums.If I were to plan a vacation around more time in the national park, Gatlinburg would probably be my choice for no other reason than their location. Literally, they are just five minutes from the entrance into the park and ten from a major visitor's center. More importantly for my interests, Cade's Cove (a well know black bear habitat) is less than a hour from downtown. Close
Written by flyingscot4 on 15 Dec, 2010
I have long advocated spending an hour of so just wandering around a place before taking out the camera. That is usually the first thing I do after leaving a Tourist Information shop, and that for a very good reason. One must see…Read More
I have long advocated spending an hour of so just wandering around a place before taking out the camera. That is usually the first thing I do after leaving a Tourist Information shop, and that for a very good reason. One must see all aspects of a place, not just what appears good in a camera viewfinder. While there may be no photographic value, anything can be interesting, and usually is.As the brochure relates, the museum is comprised of over 36 buildings spread across 65 acres outside of Clinton and Norris, Tennessee, and about 20 miles north of Knoxville in East Tennnessee. There are four main buildings: the Entrance Building, which houses the ticket purchase area, a gift shop, offices of the museum, and the cafeteria. Next is the Appalachian Hall of Fame, which houses relics from many of the famous and otherwise colorful folks from East Tennessee, an extensive collection of Native American artifacts, and a large and priceless collection of early musical instruments used in the mountains, many of which are hand-made. Through the instruments and their stories, we realize that there were lighter moments and that life during these times, while difficult, had its' lighter side as well.This collection of banjos, dulcimers, fiddles, mouth bows and other memorabilia has been carefully cataloged and is available on the website. There is a section devoted to Sgt. Alvin York, the most highly decorated American soldier of WWI, who came from East Tennessee. It houses a famous Maxim Machine Gun that was used against American forces on the day of York's heroics. It also has the cash register that York used as a grocery clerk. The third main building is the Display Barn which houses a huge collection frontier and pioneer memorabilia. Many of the items have Mr. Irwin's hand-written descriptions about the people who made and used these treasures as well as how and when they were obtained. The fourth main building, the People's Building, houses a remarkable collection of memorabilia of Harrison Mayes, a legendary coal miner who built man-size crosses and placed them across the country. Others from the area are here too. They are the common people who did uncommon things; people who were famous in their communities, but unheard of anywhere else.While many of the individual artifacts kept on display in these buildings may be of little value by themselves, as part of an entire collection, they are priceless. The way they are displayed, in the open, adds a sense of reality to the stories told about each piece. One has to wonder about the lives of the people who used the tools, farm implements, guns, looms, spinning wheels and all of the other artifacts in these four buildings. Mr. Irwin gives us a personal insight into their lives and personalities with the hundreds of hand-written descriptions on many pieces, and in this way, he makes the people come alive.Writer's note: This description of the four museum buildings is woefully incomplete. I have neither the talent needed to adequately describe them, nor the space necessary to finish that description. I spent four hours on each of my visits in just these four buildings and have not begun to see everything. All of the photographs of displays are taken of the displays in these buildings, and the reason that I have included so many images is because the place is just so darn interesting. Close
Written by vampirefan on 03 Jun, 2010
After seeing the most amazing Broadway show ever…Wicked here in Charlotte last year, I decided to go see it again..very quickly. So I came home to see where else it would be playing. Perusing around I noticed it would be in Memphis. Since John…Read More
After seeing the most amazing Broadway show ever…Wicked here in Charlotte last year, I decided to go see it again..very quickly. So I came home to see where else it would be playing. Perusing around I noticed it would be in Memphis. Since John is a guitar player who loves the blues, I figured he would jump at the chance to go with me. I was surprised when he turned me down! So I called my Aunt Ellen, who used to reside in the amazing town, and she was an all go. So a few months later..off we went! We would be staying the majority of the time with my Aunt’s friend Beth. But we were very busy our first night and wanted to stay downtown since we would be arriving about 11 and had 8 pm tickets to Wicked. So we stayed at Memphis’ renowned and prestigious 4 diamond property The Peabody hotel . For 75 years now, the well heeled (or travel agents getting the travel agent discount) have been staying at the Memphis gem. Even if your not staying at the Peabody, you will certainly want to be here either in the morning when the Peabody Ducks arrive for the day at the hotel or watch that evening as they return to their home up on the roof. Then afterwards visit them and enjoy the views of downtown. After we arrived and checked into out hotel, then grabbed the trolley and went to the Civil Rights Museum . The museum is the former Loraine Hotel, where in 1968, the great Civil Right leader Dr. Martin Luther King, was assassinated. That evening we headed for the gorgeous and opulent Orpheum Theater where we saw the incredible Wicked . It currently ranks as one of my favorite Broadway shows of all times. After the show we went back to our room and changed clothes. Then we headed out for Beal Street . This famous street is known the world over for the place to go to catch some down home blues. While here we caught a carriage ride around this divine city. The next morning, we got up and did what many visitors to the city do, we headed to Graceland former home and final resting place of the king of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley. After that we stopped off at the magnificent Memphis Botanical Gardens before heading out to Beth’s house. The gardens will simply amaze you with their beauty and feature an incredible Japanese garden. Later that evening we would return back to downtown and Beal St. to Backstreet Tours Haunted Memphis Tour . Our guide, Jennifer, gave us the lowdown on some of Memphis most haunted spots. On my last full morning, I left Aunt Ellen to catch up with Beth. I headed out to the delightfully wonderful Memphis Zoo . This is only one of a handful of zoos in the country with the adorable panda bears. Near the zoo, you can catch the magnificent Brooks Museum . Offering up both modern artists and masters, they also have some wonderful traveling exhibits. Memphis is known for their food, and I certainly had to sample some. When in Memphis you have to try BBQ. So I tried ribs at the famous Rendezvous and a pork sandwich from Corkey’s. I had a great burger at Huey’s . As always, when there is a Hard Rock in town then so am I. I enjoyed some delish Italian at Old Venice and Mexican at Mi Pueblo . Suggestions As always, my first suggestion is to visit the Memphis CVB. You can go to www.memphistravel.com. You can look around for all things Memphis or order one of their visitor’s guides. Memphis is really a top destination for many and it is advisable to make reservations in advanced anytime you’re traveling. Certain times it is absolutely necessary. One of the biggest events is Memphis in May when BBQ lovers from all over converge for a celebration of all things Q. Around January 8th and Aug, 16th, you certainly need advanced reservations as Elvis fans come in by the droves to celebrate his birthday (Jan) or mourn his death (Aug). Staying in downtown Memphis can be expensive. If you have access to a car, look outside of the city. If you have to stay in the downtown area and budget is a concern. There is a Sleep Inn located on Front St. overlooking the river. When we were on our carriage tour, I asked the driver about it and she said it is very nice. Memphis is also a huge convention town. While we were here we saw dozens of tour buses all over the place. There is plenty to do here while in town. Be careful of this place in the summer. It is miserably hot here. Even for this southern girl. Take all your normal heat precautions. Wear light clothes, stay hydrated, and stay out of the sun when possible. Getting around If your flying in, you will be flying into Memphis International (MEM). Their website is www.mscaa.com. It is about 15 minutes from downtown. If your coming into the downtown area and staying in that environ, you can get away not using a car. If you are going out beyond there, you will need a car. You can easily pick up one at the airport. I suggest you don’t use Hertz though. Their employees are horrible, don’t know what they are doing, and rude. I have never been treated so horribly. Once you get to the downtown area, you can get around with ease. You can hop on and off the trolley which runs through the downtown area. Taxis are easily available. You can get around by carriage (some are lit up at night) or even limo! Or just simply walk. This is a great town for walking. The downtown area is fairly compact and easy to maneuver. If you are going to Beal St. in the evening, you will have to just walk around. The streets are blocked off from traffic. Some of the attractions in my journals including Graceland, the zoo, botanical gardens, and the Brooks Museum will require a car if you would like to visit. * This disclaimer is for all 3 of my Memphis journals. I do allow teachers to use my journals information for educational purposes only. I do not allow students to use them. Please do not contact me to use journal information or pictures unless it is for media or press. I do not allow anyone to use my journals if they will not properly credited it. Close
Written by RoBoNC on 23 Feb, 2010
While most people claim Bourbon Street in New Orleans as the best party street in the US, most Memphians would probably disagree. Beale Street in downtown Memphis is where the party never ends and where anyone who is looking for excitement and a good…Read More
While most people claim Bourbon Street in New Orleans as the best party street in the US, most Memphians would probably disagree. Beale Street in downtown Memphis is where the party never ends and where anyone who is looking for excitement and a good time can be found, day or night. Beale Street stretches 1.8 miles from the Mississippi River to East Street, but all of the clubs, restaurants, and shops can be found within the barricaded two block section between 2nd St and 4th St. Beale Street was created in 1841 and was named for a forgotten military hero. Just as New Orleans gave birth to the jazz style of music, Memphis gave birth to the blues where famous musicians from W. C. Handy, B.B King, and Muddy Waters could be seen showing off their new style of music. Beale Street was so instrumental in the creation of the Blues genre that Congress declared it "Home of the Blues", and the street has been designated a National Historic Landmark, a distinction that even Bourbon Street doesn’t have. Beale Street hasn’t changed much from its heyday in the early 1920’s when clubs, restaurants, and stores lined the streets. The only thing missing is the prostitution, gambling, and murder that became commonplace during the rise of the mafia and notable frequent visitors such as Machine Gun Kelly. Beale Street is barricaded between 2nd St and 4th St making it easier to get around to the different bars and restaurants without having to dodge cars. Beale Street is also a pretty safe area since the Memphis Police has a unit that specifically patrols this area. Just watch out for the occasional beggar who tries to offer you directions for money. Beale Street can be fun during the day, but to really experience it, you need to do the bar hop. With so many bars and restaurants, it is difficult to visit all of them in one night and after two nights of bar hopping, there were still a few that we missed. A night of drinking requires food and Beale Street has its fair share of restaurants. The first night we started off at BB Kings, for some food and blues. While I waited for my BBQ Pork platter, I sampled some of their world championship Gumbo while listing to a local band play some blues tunes including some of BB King’s favorites. After we were finished eating and three beers later, it was time to begin the hop. We first stopped off at Wet Willie’s. Behind the counter is a line of slurpee machines, but these aren’t the ones you get at the 7-11. These frozen drinks are made with liquor and a few are made with 190 proof grain alcohol. I started off with an Attitude Improvement, which is a tangy orange drink made with grain alcohol and Bacardi light and dark rum. My attitude was already great, this just made it better. So good, that I sucked down a few Jell-O shots made with Everclear. This is one of those bars you return to so you can try the different drinks ranging from Sex on the Beach, Shock Treatment, Chocolate Thunder, and their signature drink Call-A-Cab. Our next stop and what turned out to be the last stop of the night was the Coyote Ugly Saloon. The bar received attention when in 2000 a movie was made based on the bar set in New York City. The back of the bar is interestingly decorated with women’s bras stretching from one end to the other. I don’t know if they are new or left behind by patrons, which after this night, I wouldn’t count it out. The bar is famous for the female bartenders who dance on top of the bar throughout the night. They even go further to take body shots off each other and for $20, you can take a body shot off one of these beautiful bartenders too. By the time 2am rolled around, I wasn’t ready to leave. I woke up the next morning in the hotel room wondering how I got here. If the second night was going to be anything like the first, we were going to need a week to recover. Our second night on Beale Street started off on a low note for ECU fans after we lost the Liberty Bowl to the Arkansas Razorbacks in overtime. After sitting through a four hour football game in twenty degree weather, it was time to warm up. There was no better place to do that than at Silky O’ Sullivan’s. Silky’s, an Irish pub, is housed in the former Gallina building which is over 100 years old. There is outdoor seating which makes this place great during the day if you want to grab a drink. Watch out for the Irish Diving Goat. Silky’s doubles as an oyster bar and after six oysters on the half-shell and an oyster Po’ Boy sandwich, I finally felt the feeling coming back to my toes. While I stuck with beer at Silky’s, I couldn’t help but notice these large plastic mugs at different tables. Their signature drink, known as the Diver, is a gallon mixed drink served in a large yellow plastic mug usually with four or five straws. Known as a gallon of Southern fun, the ingredients remains a secret. There is live entertainment almost every night with different musicians. However, the must see show begins at 9pm with the Dueling Pianos. These two guys will have you laughing all night long until they close.After a few hours there, we headed over to Rum Boogie Café to grab a drink. The bar is decorated with music memorabilia to include autographed guitars and even a cape worn by Issac Hayes when he won his Academy Award. It is more of a restaurant than a bar, but a great place to grab a beer or one of their rum specialty drinks. We popped into Alfred’s, which when it opened in 1986 became the first club to highlight rock and roll music. A multi-level patio allows for patrons to eat upstairs or shake your tail feather on the dance floor. In 2007, Alfred’s was voted the #1 dance club in Memphis. Some bars we didn’t make it to such as the Double Deuce, a country western bar, Black Diamond, a live blues bar, and Club 152, a techno bar catering to the very young crowd. Although most bars offer food, there are some famous restaurants on Beale Street staying open late for those with late night food cravings. Most people will recognize Hard Rock Café and then there is Dyers, serving their famous deep-fried hamburgers since 1912. If BBQ is what you are looking for, then Pig on Beale is where to go. Just look for the Pig with Attitude. You can shop day or night on Beale Street. Strange Cargo offers unique Beale Street merchandise and Memphis Music is the largest Blues specialty store in the world. Beale Street has always had a connection to voodoo and Tater Reds continues that connection to this day. Tater Reds is your one stop voodoo headquarters but they also sell music memorabilia as well as your nicely decorated glass smoking pipes. (For tobacco use only, of course.) You don’t have to drink to have a good time on Beale Street. Just enjoy the people you meet while eating some great food and just let the good times roll. Close
Every year college football teams across the country hope they are still playing in late December and early January. That is when the postseason begins for teams that are bowl eligible with one team taking home the title of NCAA National Champion. Teams…Read More
Every year college football teams across the country hope they are still playing in late December and early January. That is when the postseason begins for teams that are bowl eligible with one team taking home the title of NCAA National Champion. Teams are invited to play in bowl games as long as they have at least six wins and even then there is no guarantee of a team getting an invite. Most bowl games have contracts with different conferences while others have at-large bids. All bowl games are not created equal. Of the 34 bowl games played in the 2009-2010 season, five of them belong to the Bowl Championship Series which offer the highest payouts. Certain conferences such as the ACC, Big 10, and SEC, get automatic bids to these bowls while other conferences such as Conference USA and Mountain West must get an at-large bid. The bowl game system is marred in controversy every year as to how teams get bids for certain games which has lead to a movement to abolish the bowl game format and replace it with a playoff system. The Conference USA championship game pitted my alma mater, East Carolina Pirates against the Houston Cougars. As East Carolina marched to victory, I was already on the phone buying Liberty Bowl tickets for my first ever trip to a college bowl game. The Liberty Bowl which is held in Memphis invites the conference champion from Conference USA to play a team from the Southeastern Conference (SEC). The matchup was set pitting East Carolina against the Razorbacks of Arkansas. The Liberty Bowl has been held in Memphis since 1965. It was originally started as a bowl game in 1959 in Philadelphia, hence the Liberty Bowl logo. The game struggled in Philadelphia as attendance wavered and revenue was minimal. The only successful Liberty Bowl game while in Philadelphia was the first one when 38000 spectators watched Penn State beat Alabama 7-0. The game moved to Atlantic City, New Jersey for one year before finding its home in Memphis. The game has been held at the 62,380 seat Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium since its inception. The game was such a success in Memphis, that the stadium was renamed from Memphis Memorial Stadium to reflect its connection with the Liberty Bowl. The stadium is also home to the University of Memphis, another team within Conference USA. Our seats were in the end zone with great views of the entire field. There is not really a bad seat anywhere in the stadium due to the fact that it is a true bowl stadium design and there is little space between the playing surface and stands. The stadium was a sea of red as Arkansas Razorbacks outnumbered East Carolina fans, with good reason since Memphis borders Arkansas and it is a 14 hour drive from North Carolina. But that didn’t stop me from displaying my purple and gold attire as I mingled with the enemy. The second largest attendance in Liberty Bowl history, 62,742 people watched the opening kickoff as Arkansas took possession of the ball first. The beginning of the game was a display of defensive skill from both teams as the first quarter ended scoreless. East Carolina then found their groove as a passing touchdown and a field goal led to a 10-0 lead going into halftime. Halftime consisted of musical sequences by both college’s marching bands and a short concert by Eddie Money. As the temperature steadily dropped into the teens at the beginning of the third quarter, so did the offense of East Carolina. The Arkansas Razorbacks scored ten unanswered points off two straight interceptions to tie the game. East Carolina went back up 17-10 after a touchdown, but on the very next Arkansas possession, they tied it back up 17-17. The fourth quarter saw more drama than an episode of Days of Our Lives. Both kickers missed a field goal early in the quarter. With about two minutes left, East Carolina’s kicker missed yet another field goal. With a great defensive stand, East Carolina got the ball back and got into field goal range. With 2 seconds left on the clock, and two missed field goals, the third time had to be a charm. As the ball went wide, I saw the chance for victory slipping away. The game went to overtime, the first time ever in the history of the Liberty Bowl. Both team captains met on the field to begin the overtime period. Arkansas won the coin toss and they elected East Carolina to have the ball first. Each team gets the ball with a chance to score a touchdown or field goal. After East Carolina failed to score a touchdown, the team’s fate once again resided in the kicker. The kick went wide and I wondered how it was possible. Arkansas went on to kick the winning field goal on their possession and captured the Liberty Bowl trophy. Although the game didn’t turn out the way I envisioned it, I was still happy to be there cheering on my team in the blistering cold weather. East Carolina finished the season with a 9-5 record and although they failed to win the Liberty Bowl, the silver lining was that they were back to back Conference USA champions, a first ever for the conference. Close
Written by MilwVon on 30 Dec, 2009
The George Dickel Company distillery is about 20 minutes from the more well known one of the area, Jack Daniel's. We thought we would add this to fill out our day trip from Nashville. I had researched their location and information necessary to…Read More
The George Dickel Company distillery is about 20 minutes from the more well known one of the area, Jack Daniel's. We thought we would add this to fill out our day trip from Nashville. I had researched their location and information necessary to add this tour to our day.When we arrived, we learned that they were not in production for the week between Christmas and New Year's and that while tours were being offered, there was really nothing much to see. Add to that, we were told "it's cold in there" which led us to believe they were trying to disuade folks from wanting to take the tour.We were happy to oblige since we had just had a wonderful experience up in Lynchburg, and understood "the process" so we didn't need to walk through a production facility to be told about what they do. It's all pretty much the same, the same as how they've been making American whisky for more than a hundred years.Their location was in a nice holler, which was very rustic and quaint. Like other bourbon and whisky making locales, they have a fresh water stream running through the property adding to the ambience of the area.If you are planning a trip into Tennessee's whisky making area and think you want to take in George Dickel's distillery in Tullahoma, TN, be sure to call ahead as their website (www.georgedickel.com) did not mention the production shutdown for the holidays. Their phone number is 931-857-3124.I should also comment that they do have a package and gift shop on the premises so you can buy whisky and/or tee-shirts and other apparel items if Dickel is your brand. Close
Written by CarolinaPanthers1983 on 20 Dec, 2009
A singer, a movie star, a soldier, a hero, an achiever: All of these words describe Elvis. Whether you never heard his music or you did, Elvis' music accomplished many things that only a few can do. Even today, his music is still played on…Read More
A singer, a movie star, a soldier, a hero, an achiever: All of these words describe Elvis. Whether you never heard his music or you did, Elvis' music accomplished many things that only a few can do. Even today, his music is still played on radios not only in the United States, but around the world. Graceland, Elvis' famous home, is what keep his memory of him as well as music alive. Visited by over on million visitors every year, Graceland attracts people from all different backgrounds from all over the world.My family and I arrived at Graceland. I had never been to Graceland in my entire life, but I could tell from seeing the place on television that this was a grandeur place. I was very excited to finally get the opportunity to see Graceland. My family and I had to the ticket counter to get our tickets.Tip: If you are serving in the military, you can get Graceland discounts for you and your family. Thanks Elvis for serving in the military.After my family and I got our tickets to visit Graceland, we had to wait for our bus to send us across the street to go into Graceland. We were handed headsets and hand-held radio receivers. The headsets and hand-held receivers where great to have because you didn't need a tour guide. The hand-held receivers had a pre-recorded voice that would tell you everything you need to know while going through Graceland. This was great because it allowed me to set my own pace without having a tour guide setting it for me. I like that I could be able to not follow a large crowd and could take my time to witness Elvis' home.As I was walking through Elvis' home, it felt like I was experiencing Elvis everyday life in his home. From walking through his kitchen to going through his recording home, I learned that Elvis was human just like the rest of us. Just trying to live his life while providing for his family.the best as he could.Tip: Take your time and take in Graceland. Even if you have never listen to music, Graceland shows not Elvis as an icon but as a regular person.After we finished our tour of Graceland, I noticed one important thing that Graceland offered. Elvis wanted to helped the people of Memphis that he anything he could to help them. Even today, Elvis is still helping many people in Memphis. Graceland has helped create jobs for people that would have jobs in Memphis. A rock star, a philanthropist, a husband, a father. Elvis was an American success story that is lived by Graceland. I believe that every American should visit Graceland at least once in their lifetime. Close