Written by zabelle on 08 Jan, 2009
Andrew Johnson Historic Site121 Monument AveGreenville TNAndrew Johnson has a long history in Greenville. He was born in Raleigh North Carolina in 1808 and was apprenticed there as a child to a tailor. He and his brother ran away from their apprentice ship and ended…Read More
Andrew Johnson Historic Site121 Monument AveGreenville TNAndrew Johnson has a long history in Greenville. He was born in Raleigh North Carolina in 1808 and was apprenticed there as a child to a tailor. He and his brother ran away from their apprentice ship and ended up in Greenville when Andrew was 17. He set himself up as a tailor and the next year he married a local girl whose father was a boot maker. They had five children together. In time Andrews tailor shop became the place to discuss politics in Greenville and thus began his political career. In time he was a state representative, a state senator, governor of TN and senator from Tennessee. He was in fact the only senator from a Southern State who retained his seat in the Senate after the south seceded from the Union. In 1862 Abraham Lincoln named him as the Military Governor or Tennessee. In 1864 he was chosen to be the running mate of Lincoln even though he was a Democrat and Lincoln was a Republican. When Lincoln was assassinated Johnson was thrust in the position of President, a position not to be envied even under the best of circumstances, these were the worst of times. No president before or after has gone into the office with better intentions and ended with such a sense of defeat. His story is one that deserves to be told and the US Park Department has done a very good job at this location of doing just that. There are three separate and distinctive buildings that make up this historic site. There is parking at the homestead and at the Visitor Center. The first Johnson home is located here. It is a small house with small rooms, the type of home typical to a successful tailor in the 1830’s & 40’s. You then cross the street and enter the Visitor Center. There is a thirteen and a half minute video that tells the story of Andrew Johnson. Once you exit the movie you are given a ballot to vote whether you think he should have been found innocent or guilty in his impeachment trial. Also inside the Visitor Center is the original tailor shop where so many lively political debates took place. While you are at the Visitor Center you need to sign up for a tour of the Homestead which takes place on the half hour. While the other locations are about the professional life the homestead is about the personal life. It is located several blocks from the Visitor Center. There is a real sadness that pervades this part of the experience. Eliza Johnson suffered from tuberculosis and was unable to function as First Lady. All three of the Johnson sons died from the results of alcoholism under tragic circumstances. During the War the house was repeatedly vandalized and the tour will show you just a small section of the wall with the graffiti still visible. There is one last site to visit, the Andrew Johnson Cemetery. High above the hill overlooking Greenville are the graves of the 17th President of the United States and his family. He was buried with a copy of the Constitution which he so revered under his head and wrapped in an American flag. Close
Andrew Jackson Museum and Library at Tusculum UniversityRev. Samuel Doak began a school in the area and when his school needed to grow he looked for patrons to help him fulfill his dream, Andrew Johnson made a donation of $20 toward the University which was…Read More
Andrew Jackson Museum and Library at Tusculum UniversityRev. Samuel Doak began a school in the area and when his school needed to grow he looked for patrons to help him fulfill his dream, Andrew Johnson made a donation of $20 toward the University which was half a year’s salary, it is only fitting that this Museum and Library should be located on the campus of the University he helped to found.The museum is located off route 11E in Greenville. The sign is small and hard to see and once you get onto the campus it is even harder. It is a building called the Old College which was the first academic building built on the campus in 1841. It is a red brick building with a white cupola. The museum is not large; it is only three rooms and the library. Most of Andrew Johnson’s books from his personal library have arrived here.There is a room of very personal items that belonged to the Johnson family. There is Eliza Johnson’s lace cap, silhouette pictures of Eliza, Andrew, Mary and Martha. There is humidor that was once filled with Cuban cigars. Since Andrew Johnson was the 17th president of the United States there are also items from their White House years. There is a vase and a set of candle sticks that were part of the Johnson family’s personal White House furnishing. There are several pieces of Johnson family furniture including a table and a wicker chair. There are some family pictures and some pieces of clothing. There are menus from banquets that were held during the Johnson White House tenure. The second room is in the rear of the building and deals with the history of Tusculum University. It covers the founder and the founding and more recent accomplishments.In the entrance hall there is a portrait and a bust of Andrew Johnson and also a porcelain train that was a gift from the People of France to President of the Confederacy Jefferson Davis. You will also see an American Flag on the Wall; it has only 37 stars and has a very different look from the flag of today. It has one star, the 37th which is the state of Nebraska which is dominant which means it is a lot larger than the other stars. Until 1912 there were no rules governing the design of the American flag. The last room has a case in the middle with Johnson ephemera. One thing of particular interest, with his great belief in the Constitution, it is his personal copy of the Constitution. One of the really amazing items is a bronze copy of Lincoln’s death mask and his hands. One of the many documents on display is a pardon of Charles Walsh. Most soldiers were covered under the general amnesty but if you owned more than $20,000 in property then you had to receive a special pardon, this is Charles Walsh a wealthy man from Mobile Alabama.Together with the Andrew Johnson Historic Site in Greenville this is the perfect combination. This adds an additional dimension to all the information that you will receive from the park department.The museum is free of charge and the tour is self guided. Close
Davy Crockett Birthplace"Born on a Mountain top in Tennessee" not. This is just one of the things that we all think is true about David Crockett that isn’t true. He was actually born in Limestone Tennessee in on the banks of the Nolichucky River…Read More
Davy Crockett Birthplace"Born on a Mountain top in Tennessee" not. This is just one of the things that we all think is true about David Crockett that isn’t true. He was actually born in Limestone Tennessee in on the banks of the Nolichucky River amid the rolling farmlands this area is known for. Now granted the mountains are visible if you are in the right location but he was certainly not born on one of them.David Crockett was the 5th child of John Crockett and his wife. He lived in this beautiful are of Tennessee for at least the first six years of his life. His Father was a tenant farmer of a weathy man in the neighborhood named Gillespie After a stint attempting farming John Crockett moved on and opened a tavern that he ran with his wife and children. The birthplace site is maintained by the United States Park Department and of course the original cabin that the Crocketts lived in is long gone but one has been recreated in the approximate location and of the approximate style of the one that would have been here.The site is located off 11E, don’t give up it is quite a long way off of the main road through winding back roads. Make your first stop at the Visitor Center. There is a fifteen minute video that will acquaint you with the real David and the Davy of legend and also the creation of Walt Disney and others. It is at times hard to separate fact from fiction. By the time of his death, he was such a hero in his own time that he was even confused about what was fact and what was fiction. After you watch the video take the time to tour the small museum, it has some very interesting pictures of Davy and though they are all a little different you get a very good idea of what the real man looked like. After seeing the video and reading the articles you also know that he was considered to be a very fine man with a good sense of humor, he was warm and gentle and not a great marksman. He was however a great bear killer and in one winter killed 105.There is a whole case of 1950’s memorabilia from the days of the Crockett mania. If this is your idea of Davy you will be very disappointed to find out that he never wore a coonskin cap and was much more like the character played by John Wayne than the one played by Fess Parker. When we walked out to the cabin there was a ranger there to tell us more about the family and their time in this area. The most impressive thing is a door step that is supposed to be the original one from the cabin. There certainly is a sense of history here and anyone who grew up during the era of Crockettmania will find this a fascinating place to visit. We certainly did. No entrance fee. There are a few items for sale in the Visitor Center. Close
Written by Vanilla Sugar on 13 Dec, 2008
If you have ever tried to leave work early, I hope you fared better than the Peabody ducks. One these famous ducks waddled away from the hotel lobby’s Italian travertine marble fountain. Then, the other four ducks must have thought it was quitting time and…Read More
If you have ever tried to leave work early, I hope you fared better than the Peabody ducks. One these famous ducks waddled away from the hotel lobby’s Italian travertine marble fountain. Then, the other four ducks must have thought it was quitting time and started to follow. Their exit came to an abrupt halt. The Duckmaster at The Peabody picked them up one by one with help from a waitress and gently plunked them back in the water. "That’s what happens when you try to leave work early," he reprimanded the ducks and drew laughter from the gathering crowd of people in the Grand Lobby. I checked my Seiko – 4:37 PM, getting close to 5 PM. At the top of the hour, we see the Duck Parade. The mallards would go down several steps from the fountain and follow the red carpet through a crowd of spectators. They’d waddle into the elevator for a ride to their "Duck Palace" on the hotel roof. This occurs every day at 5 PM. The ceremony is reversed daily at 11 AM.Ed and I had joined the growing crowd of people in the lobby of this downtown Memphis hotel, The Peabody. We arrived at 4 PM when there were still tables available in the lobby surrounding the fountain where the five Peabody Ducks swam in slow circles. Waiting for the hour to pass, Ed read a USA Today and I visited with some ladies in town from Alaska for the Garden Club National Convention. Occasionally, I’d break from the casual conversation to shoot a few photos of the ducks – one male and four females. We watched the crowd swell to standing room only in the expansive lobby. Even though our table was close to the fountain, our great seats became obstructed with the view of people’s behinds. It occurred to me that we needed to be in the balcony above the scene, not lobby level. We found the stairs and claimed a place at the balcony railing.At about 4:50 PM, the Duckmaster told the crowd that the tradition of the Peabody Marching Ducks began as a practical joke at a time when live ducks were used as legal hunting decoys. The story goes that in 1933, Peabody General Manager Frank Schutt and his friend Chip Barwick returned empty-handed from a duck hunting trip in Arkansas but full of the effects of Tennessee whiskey. They decided to put their three live duck decoys in the fountain in the hotel’s Grand Lobby. Hotel guests reacted with delight. Eventually, five North American Mallard ducks replaced the original ones. The joke turned into an attraction, one we’d enjoy decades later.Shortly before 5 PM, the Duckmaster unrolled a red carpet. He invited children to sit along its edges. Adults crowed behind the kids, filled the lobby, and hung over the balcony. The tune of John Philip Sousa’s King Cotton March signaled the Duck Parade to begin. The Peabody Ducks waddled single-file out of the fountain, down red carpeted steps, and along the red carpet, stopping briefly to wiggle their tail feathers and sprinkle the startled kids with water. They entered the elevator for a ride to the roof and retire for the evening. It was truly quitting time. Close
Written by bledpub on 09 Dec, 2008
We have returned once again from Thanksgiving in Nashville, although this trip was a little different. On this trip, we weren’t just vacationing, we were looking at the city with new eyes-the eyes of relocating. When I lived in the city at the age of…Read More
We have returned once again from Thanksgiving in Nashville, although this trip was a little different. On this trip, we weren’t just vacationing, we were looking at the city with new eyes-the eyes of relocating. When I lived in the city at the age of 18 things were different. For one thing, that was ten years ago. New buildings have gone up, old buildings have gone down, country music has had a turnover, and Opryland wasn’t quite as much of a distant memory. On the other hand, I was young, single, and had no cares in the world. I wanted to live downtown, I wanted things to be exciting, and I didn’t care if I had any money. Up and coming neighborhoods were the trend. Now that I have a child, I have a totally different viewpoint. We can’t just pick a house that we like and take it. There are other things to consider: does it have a yard, is it safe, are there any good daycares close by, what is the school system like…We actually have to be picky. It’s scary. So on this trip, we went armed with some house rental ads from Craigslist and went looking. First up was Inglewood. This is one of the "up and coming" neighborhoods of East Nashville. The house was 4 bedrooms, a family room, and cost $900 per month. We never did find the house. The ones presumably around it, however, all had bars on the windows. Not for me.The next neighborhood was around Tennessee State. The neighborhood was hopping, the street wasn’t as busy, and the houses were a little more kept up. But we still couldn’t find the house. On Day 2, we ate Thanksgiving dinner at the Renaissance Hotel downtown. See review for further explanation. I woke up with a sinus infection and the subsequent driving around gave me a headache. On the plus side, we did manage to find two houses. The first house we found was in Berry Hill. Finally, a neighborhood we could actually see ourselves living in. The house was nice, but has been up for rent for over a month. Picky landlords or perhaps a problem we’re not seeing? Who knows. The other house was close to that one but nearer to the railroad tracks and Nolensville Road than we would have liked. To get to the next house we had to drive through Belle Meade. We decided that was the neighborhood that fit us the best. Maybe in ten years when we are millionaires. Unfortunately, although we drove up and down the street that the house supposedly set on, we didn’t find it either. A trend, you think?The next house was located in Pegram. It was out in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, I thought we had gotten turned around and were back in Eastern Kentucky. The house, at $800, set on a lot that sloped straight downhill. And the house wasn’t in very good condition either. On the other hand, it was close to the new "Nashville West" shopping center. The center had a Wal-Mart AND a Target. Whoo hoo!I was sick the next day so I stayed in while the others took on Black Friday. No good deals to be found. The Wal-Mart store didn’t carry the items that the advertiser boasted of. Damn. Later that night, however, my husband and I got a break from our son and went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner. It was expensive and bland. I think next time I will just stick to the cheesecake. I like Green Hills mall though because walking around it makes me feel like I have money. (I don’t, so don’t get the wrong impression.) Afterwards, we went to the movies and saw the new "Twighlight" film to try to get a better understanding of the obsession my office seems to be in. (Note: we still don’t get it.) The cinema at Green Hills is going to need refurbishment soon. Just saying. On our last night we decided to check out the Opryland Hotel to see if they had done any decorating since we had been disappointed with downtown Nashville’s lack of festivity. We were appalled by the $18 it cost to park (used to be free, but I guess that was a long time ago) so we parked at Applebees across the street and walked. Our son seemed to be impressed with the lights and trees inside, but pushing around a stroller with 15,000 people is not fun. We have now turned into the people that annoy us. Close
Written by zabelle on 21 Apr, 2007
Monell's1235 6th Ave NorthMonell's is as close to a Nashville institution as you will ever find. They are home to meat and three on a daily basis for lunch and dinner. (that is your meat choice with three sides) On the weekend, they open up…Read More
Monell's1235 6th Ave NorthMonell's is as close to a Nashville institution as you will ever find. They are home to meat and three on a daily basis for lunch and dinner. (that is your meat choice with three sides) On the weekend, they open up for breakfast. We came here on a Saturday morning in December and we were lucky enough to find parking on the street, but it is very limited. When you arrive, you are assigned to a group, since dining is family style, you won’t be seated until the table is almost full. Pitchers of orange juice, water, and of course sweet tea, will begin to flow as well as cups of good hot coffee. And let me warn you that even in December there was a large crowd here. In turns, platters will be passed of scrambled eggs, biscuits and sausage, gravy, bacon, ham and sausage, stewed apples, fresh jam, flapjacks, grits and much, much more. It does not all arrive at once, it is very well timed so that everything gets served warm. If you are not in the mood to be friendly at breakfast then you will not fit in here. It is polite to ask to have the food passed and, of course, in your turn, talk to the person next to you to whom you are passing. We had a table full of delightful companions and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and a very filling Southern breakfast.The tables are spread through several different rooms and have upwards of a dozen wooden high-back chairs at each table. The rooms are decorated with wall murals. It is all very Southern, very gracious, and very delicious.Lunch and dinner are also served family style.PralinesMillenium Maxwell HotelWhen we arrived at the Millennium Maxwell, our room was not ready yet. It was just a little late for lunch but we hadn’t eaten so we put our bags into storage and went into Pralines where a lunch buffet was being served.I went right up and took a little of everything. There were cold salads, soup and some hot entrees. It wasn’t a great selection but it was adequate. Cindy took her time getting to the hot food and by the time she did there wasn’t much left. This place is incredible, they brought her the menu and told her to order off the menu for the same price we were going to pay for the buffet. She ended up with a very nice steak with mashed potatoes and mixed vegetables.We finished up with cups of coffee and some very fine cake, Cindy opted for the German chocolate and I had the carrot. They were both large and moist and well-worth the calories and carbs. Pralines serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily.Maxwell’s LoungeAfter a day that involved traveling from CT and then spending two hours touring the Tennessee State Museum, we were ready to chill. The thought of leaving the hotel to find some dinner didn’t appeal to us, so we just headed into the bar to get a couple of drinks and snacks.Little did we know that drafts were $2 until 7pm. I have to say, our waitress was great telling us when it was almost time to go back to regular prices so we could order a second round. We decided to split an order of buffalo wings and a plate of loaded nachos along with our mugs of beer.The beers were cold and fresh, the wings were nicely spiced and served with bleu cheese and celery, and the nachos came with plenty of cheese, refried beans, and guacamole. It was a very cheap evening and the food was better than okay, it was quite good. Close
Written by zabelle on 28 Mar, 2007
Opryland HotelIf you have the opportunity to stay here, I would recommend it. Not just for the accommodation but because it is just such an amazing place.Since we had opted for the more economical Millennium Maxwell Hotel, we decided to head to Opryland to have…Read More
If you have the opportunity to stay here, I would recommend it. Not just for the accommodation but because it is just such an amazing place.Since we had opted for the more economical Millennium Maxwell Hotel, we decided to head to Opryland to have dinner. We happened to be at the Hermitage when we made this decision, but if you are downtown you will need to take Rte. 65 north to Briley Parkway. It is all very well-marked, so don’t worry about finding it. The actual entrance to Opryland is on McGavock Parkway and again, with all the signs and lights, it is hard to miss. Once on the property you will need to decide very quickly through which lobby to enter. You may enter through the original lobby in the Magnolia Building—this is the one with the beautiful chandelier and the sweeping stairway—or you may opt for the equally dramatic Cascades Lobby. There are also entrances in the Delta Area and at the Convention Center. Signs will direct you to these two. You have the choice to self park for $10 or to do valet, which is also $10, but only for the first hour. More than 2 hours is $18 plus tax and tip. We chose the convenience of the valet and it worked wonderfully. We entered through the Cascades Lobby. Stop at the concierge desk and pick up a map of the hotel interior. You are going to need it. There are three different areas to explore and this does not include the Convention Center. We began by walking into the Cascades and we took the escalator up to the garden conservatory. You may walk through on the skywalk or if you prefer you can walk at ground level. The Christmas decorations here are spectacular. Children will love it and it certainly caters to the child in all of us.The map will help you to locate the restaurants, bars, cafés, retail stores, Delta Flatboat Experience, Magnolia Pool, Relache Spa, and the Video Arcade. Another great thing about the map is that it pinpoints all the restrooms. From the Conservatory we walked into the Magnolia Section, which includes the original Opryland Hotel. Only about 600 of the now more than 2,800 rooms are in that original section. There are lots of dining options at Gaylord, you can choose casual or dressy, it really is up to you. We chose casual. With dinner out of the way we headed to the Delta Section to take the flatboat. We arrived at 6pm and maybe it was just luck or maybe everyone else was at dinner, but we got to take a private trip: just Cindy, myself, and our flatboat operator. Her job is to point out all the items of interest along the way, including Louise the albino catfish and Ben and Jerry the woodland ducks. This is an interesting ride and gives you an up close look at the water features as well.
We finished up by shopping in the many upscale stores on the upper level in Delta. Whether it’s Opryland memorabilia or Jack Daniels anything, you will find it here. We spent about 3 hours there and I am sure if we hadn’t already spent a full day at other things we could have spent more.
Written by Tim Thornton on 25 Jan, 2007
The Mighty Mississippi. The first thing that you must know about Memphis is that the Mississippi is king. The Mississippi River was the foundation of commerce upon which Memphis got its start—when "cotton was king." From the gulf coast to New Orleans, this majestic torrent…Read More
The Mighty Mississippi. The first thing that you must know about Memphis is that the Mississippi is king. The Mississippi River was the foundation of commerce upon which Memphis got its start—when "cotton was king." From the gulf coast to New Orleans, this majestic torrent of power and breath has proven time and time again that no one challenges the Mississippi River and lives to tell about it. On the other hand, those who learn to respect it power and authority (like river boat captain Samuel Clemens), have made their living and their life on the waters and rivers banks. When you get to Memphis, don’t simple drive over the Mississippi—get out, take a sit, and feel the power of this majestic force of nature.
Elvis. Al Green. BB King. Some of great musicians that have called Memphis home, and they are remembered for it today. Two places that you must visit in Memphis are Graceland and Beale Street. Graceland, of course is the modest homestead of Elvis Presley. Though it seems bigger than life, it is actually not a large house, but the stories and adventures that originated from this house during the life of this legend are indeed bigger than life. Upon walking in the front door at Graceland, you will enter a world that is exactly as it was in the 1970s. Yellow walls, gaudy décor, and many small rooms filled with the trophies of his life and his music. You don’t have to be an Elvis fan to enjoy a few hours at the Graceland mansion and grounds.
The second place that you must visit is Beale Street. The home of the blues. Here you will find the music of the legends to which Vegas only dreams of giving birth. Al Green—a Memphian who drove a black caddy with gold trim around town when we were children (in Shelby Forest). BB King—whose soulful music continues to set the world on fire. And those who have followed in their foot steps. Beale Street is still filled with music today, and though this is a bit of a tourist destination, if you are in Memphis on the weekend, Beale Street is a must-see.
Justin Timberlake. Not everyone knows that Justin Timberlake grew up outside of Memphis in Shelby Forest. This beautiful state park area is seated on the banks of the Mississippi River, just outside of Millington. Justin went to elementary school at EE Jeter, elementary—a very small rural school on Benjestown Road (if you want to make the drive from Memphis, it is about 40 minutes). There is nothing unique about this school. It does not crank out music celebrities, or have special classes for the musically talented. If it did, I may have been one, too. I went to school at Jeter for 5 years, but I missed Justin by a full generation. Yes, I went to school with uncle John Timberlake, and knew Randy, Justin’s dad, as well. Does that make me a Jeter celebrity? I wish. It only makes me another would-be celebrity stalker. Sorry Justin and family. I am not trying to get in your back yard.
Justin’s grandfather and grandmother still live in the general area and pastor a church near Millington. They are wonderful members of the community and earned their respect long before the name Timberlake became famous to the rest of us.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Most people know that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis during a trash workers strike. This is one of the saddest reminders of the kind of national history that that the US is often known for having created. We have come a long way since the 60s, and if you want to see the place where King was standing and understand the history of Dr. King and those who fought so hard for the liberty of people of color in the United States, the The Lorraine Hotel (National Civil Rights Museum) is located at 450 Mulberry in Memphis, TN in the South Main Historic District. It is very close to Beale Street, and the Peabody hotel.
The Peabody. This southern institution is a classic and a common place for Memphian’s and visitors alike. The Peabody is one of the oldest southern hotels, and has one tradition that is so unique and odd, that it seems civilized to those of us who grew up hearing about it. Every afternoon, on schedule, the elevators from the top floor of the hotel gather their prestigious residents and shuttle them to the majestic ground floor lobby. On the red carpet from the elevator to the large antebellum fountain in the middle of the grand lobby, the ducks make their march. With every eye in the room fixed on these residents, they swim in the lobby fountain for several minutes, and then proceed to get out and make their way back to the elevator where they retire for the day. Like clock work. Every day. And the tradition lives on.
Memphis in May. If you are visiting Memphis during the summer months, make it May. Since the 1970s, Memphis has been putting on a summer festival every May, filled with music, BBQ, contests, and lots of regional fun. The MemphisInMay festival has its own website if you are interested in the schedule of events. www.memphisinmay.org
Barbeque. Pork BBQ, that is. Southern pulled pork BBQ. Don’t let anyone from Texas tell you that Texas BBQ is the best in the world. Texas has good BBQ, mind you, but Texas BBQ is Beef—naturally. But if you want real southern BBQ, you have to go to Memphis (or Little Rock Ark, which is the same flavor and taste as Memphis BBQ). There are a few places in the world where BBQ rules, and Memphis is probably in the top 2 to many who know and love BBQ. There are a couple of culinary distinctions to note about Memphis BBQ that differ from Texas BBQ. First of all, it is made from Pork—I told you that already. White Meat BBQ. The second is that Memphis BBQ is either dry (rub) or wet or both. You will have to try both and decide which fits your taste. The next thing that you must know is that in Memphis, it is customary to put Cole slaw on your BBQ sandwich. This is not required, but if you don’t want it, you should probably ask to have it added "on the side" so that you are not surprised. I recommend trying it, whether you like cole slaw on not. It’s a Deep South thing. Try it!
A couple of popular BBQ restaurants in Memphis: Interstate BBQ. & Corky’s. These are both legends in their own right, and if Elvis were alive today, you might find him packing in the pork BBQ at one or both of these famous Memphis landmarks. There are many small BBQ shops in Memphis that serve great BBQ. Don’t be afraid of stopping, regardless of the name on the sign. The River Walk on Mud Island. This may not look like much, but this little 2-mile long island has a scaled replica of the Mississippi River, from its tributaries to the Gulf of Mexico. If you remember the Tom Cruise movie "The Firm," part of the movie’s chase scene was shot on the walking bridge and museum on Mud Island. While you are in the area (downtown), don’t miss the glass pyramid and the nearby houses facing the river. Very close to the bridge that crosses the Mississippi River (called the "new river bridge" by locals, though it was built 30 years ago) is the Danny Thomas St. Jude Children’s Research Center. This facility is one of the most notable children’s research facilities in the world today. If every celebrity left the legacy that Danny Thomas has left to the world, the world would be a better place (not that it’s a bad place!).
The Memphis Zoo. The Memphis Zoo is a smaller zoo located in Overton Park, but very nice for its size. One thing that is interesting about this zoo is that the most famous former resident of this sanctuary is the Volney the Lion. You may have seen Volney. He was the lion that roared at the beginning and end of MGM movie trailers. Don’t expect to see Volney today, as he passed in 1944 (but I thought you might like to know—since you seem to like celebrity stories).
Well, there is more to say about Memphis, but I am sure that many others have already said it. Memphis is truly a place of southern culture, southern history, and southern traditions.
Written by zabelle on 06 Dec, 2006
I visited the Hermitage last year for the first time. It was my favorite historic site in Nashville. I wanted to share this very special place with Cindy. That in itself is not of particular note but what happen to me on my revisit is.…Read More
I visited the Hermitage last year for the first time. It was my favorite historic site in Nashville. I wanted to share this very special place with Cindy. That in itself is not of particular note but what happen to me on my revisit is. The house itself has of course remained unchanged. It is locked into a time warp that places it in the last years of Andrew Jackson’s life, after he served his second term in Washington. What came as a big surprise to me was how much I had missed on my first visit. Begin your visit in the visitor center. You can watch a video that replays every 15 or 20 minutes. This will give you a history lesson on Andrew Jackson, The Hermitage and their times. After the video walk down the hall on your right and head toward the museum. On my previous visit I wasn’t aware that there even was a museum. Along the corridor you will be introduced to a number of the slaves who once lived at the Hermitage. These placards are very interesting as well as informative. Once inside the museum you will be introduced again to Andrew, his wife Rachel, their adopted son as well as her nephew Andrew Jackson Donnelson. Here you will see artifacts found during archaeological digs on the property, items that belong to the family and a history that takes you beyond the occupation of the house by members of the Jackson family. Allow yourself half hour to forty-five minutes to visit this museum, there is a lot of information there. After this it’s time to walk up and take your guided tour of the house. This takes about 15 minutes and then you are on your own to explore. I am going to suggest that your first stop be the garden and graveyard. In November needless to say there was nothing blooming but the starkness adds poignancy to the peaceful place. As we began our tour of the grounds we came upon a trail that led to the Field Quarter Springs and the remains of field quarters that have been discovered. It is a half mile walk and leads to the area where the field hands lived and spent their time off from the fields. The remains of four brick cabins have been found and there are traces of two earlier log cabins in the same area. Some of the items from these excavations have made their way into the museum exhibits at the visitor center. They have shed amazing new light on what the life of the slaves would have been like. One surprising find is that there was little difference between what was found in the field hands cabins and what has been found in the house slaves cabins. All of them have had coins found in their ruins as well as pieces of dishes, marbles, porcelain doll heads and many other items. Life was hard but there was some time for the children to enjoy toys.On the way back we stopped at the original cabin that Andrew and Rachel lived in. When I was there last year these were not renovated and we could only see them from outside a barrier. All that has been completed and we were able to walk around inside as well as outside. After you leave the Hermitage turn left and follow the road to the Hermitage Church and Tulip Grove. These are just two additional pieces to the amazing story of Andrew and Rachel Jackson. Close
Written by vampirefan on 24 Oct, 2006
When John got down on one knee more than 11 years ago and proposed….of course I said yes. Followed by "now can we please get to the car it is cold." He had asked me to marry him at the beautiful duck pond near our…Read More
When John got down on one knee more than 11 years ago and proposed….of course I said yes. Followed by "now can we please get to the car it is cold." He had asked me to marry him at the beautiful duck pond near our apartment in Charlotte on a cold fall evening.
We chose a date in March that was my grandmother’s birthday to honor her. By the time we would be married I would be almost 31 and thoughts of a magnificent grand wedding had long gone. Granted these days that doesn’t make one a spinster, but still the lavish wedding would have been something I would have been more inclined to do in my 20’. Unfortunately in my 20’s I was quite enjoying single life and wasn’t inclined to think about weddings and husbands! I would also be starting to work on my BA that coming fall and crowds scared the bejesus out of John. So we settled on a small ceremony with only family. We didn’t want to go the way of a court house nor did we want a big church for only a handful of people. So a friend mentioned they had wedding chapels in the Pigeon Forge area and you could pick up your marriage licenses and get married in the same day. So that is what we did. We chose to only have our parents, John’s grandparents, my bother and sister-in-law, and her niece. Our wedding was intimate and perfect. Plus we must have done something right because this March we will celebrate 11 years of happiness. Sadly a feat that is hardly ever obtained by today’s married couples.
Pigeon Forge and the surrounding area is perfect for all size families, budgets, and tastes. It is also the perfect destination year round. In the spring time the place comes alive as the weather warms up and the mountains come to life with vivid green trees and wildflowers abound throughout. The summer offers summer fun with water parks, Dollywood, and temperatures that are a little more bearable that your typical southern destination. Fall will knock you out as the mountain forest is blanketed with hues of red, gold, and orange. The winter is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise. This is also home to Dollywood. Dollywood is the brainchild of county music legend Dolly Parton. Also another reason why I liked this area. Though not a fan of country music, I absolutely adore Dolly with her Southern drawl and sass.
Dollywood is open from mid-March through the end of the year. Though not exactly a coaster enthusiast’s paradise, the park is still a big hit with the whole family. They offer rides and down home entertainment and even the occasional appearance by Dolly herself. Their newest wooden coaster has generated a buzz amongst coaster enthusiasts as one of the best wooden coasters in the country.
Year round sports fans will find the area to offer a variety of activities to keep you going. In the warmer months lace up your shoes and grab you camera and enjoy hiking in the lovely mountains and in the fall grab a sweater and come out and capture the beauty of the autumn trees. When the summer sun is bearing down on you, head out to the water and try white water rafting, guaranteed to give you a mega adrenalin rush, or just pop in an intertube and enjoying lazing down the river. In the winter grab your ski mask and hit the slopes at one of the areas premier ski slopes.
If your sporting adventures takes the form of indoor and in a shopping mall…then they have you covered as well. You won’t believe all the malls and shops here. Tangers, Belz, Z Buda, Pigeon Forge Outlet Mall, can all be found here. You can also find an abundance of small and welcoming shops offering everything from local made crafts, sports equipment, to fancy cowboy duds. While we were here I had to make sure I went to Kandlesticks. I always go when in Savannah and they have a location here as well. They make the most wonderful ribbon candles and you can even watch them being made. I also checked out the Mikasa and Pfaltzgraff outlets and found items here for my china patterns that I didn’t see at the store I registered at. My biggest find was a beautiful cocktail dress at the Liz Claiborne outlet that had been $180 for $15.
After you day of running around you will be happy to knows there is no shortage of dining options to be discovered. Everything from down home southern cuisine to new American cuisine and everything in between can be found along the highways, nestled in malls, and off the beaten path. Oh and don’t forget the BBQ. This is the south and we like BBQ here. Gatlinburg is even home to one of the newest Hard Rock Café’s.
If you like country music you will be in bumpkin heaven. Dollywood offers a variety of performances, and on an occasion even by the Queen of Country Music herself. There is also the Lee Greenwood Theater, Ronnie Millsap’s Keyboard Café, and Dolly’s Music Manson, Live from the Smokies, Eddie’s Heart and Soul Café, and Memories Theater. The Comedy Barn will keep you laughing throughout the night.
And don’t forget about the biggest attraction around…the Great Smoky Mountain National Parkway. More than 9 million folks come here every year to take in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Thus making it one of the most visited National Parks. It belongs to the Appalachian Mountain Chain which is the oldest in North America. Of the 520,000 acres, approximately half sits in Tennessee. And the other half sits in my home state of NC. You will find more species of plant life here than anywhere else in North America. There are some 1500 types of plants, 130 types of trees, 30 varieties of orchids and grasses. Wildlife also flourishes in the mountains. 60 different species call this habitat home as do 80 species of reptiles and 70 types of fish. The Smoky Mountain are home to several endangered species and some species can only be found within the park. There are an estimated 400-600 black bears roaming the park and can stop traffic quicker than Johnny Depp can stop females in their track. There are also more than a dozen waterfalls in the area.
So as you can see, the area is suited for starting out a new life as husband and wife. With all the beautiful places to get married and the boundless options for entertainment and dining, you just can’t go wrong. So next time you need a perfect getaway or looking to get married…the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area has it all. One visit and you know why this place is still beating in the heart of Dolly and all those who come to visit.