Cross Country: Nashville (The Parthenon and honky tonkin)

June 26, 2013

Carol, my dear friend, we made it to Pigeon Forge and the Great Smokey Mountains today. This seems to be home to various attractions including Dollywood!

Yes, I know I said that we would try to make it to the Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, but we changed our minds and came east to Pigeon Forge which is near the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. But, I think we are getting more than we bargained for!

Yesterday we visited the Parthenon in Nashville and then went honky tonkin (Nashville speak for clubbing). I was sort of disappointed in both. First let’s talk about the Parthenon. While I thought the building not spectacular, the reason for it being there was.

Nashville built this full-sized replica of the Greek temple for the Goddess Athena for the 1897 Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition. Other states and countries also built pavilions for the celebration. These structures were built so they could be torn down after the Centennial. However, the Parthenon, which housed a world-wide art exhibition, was a hit. So, they kept it up; and, in 1920, rebuilt the structure that stands today.

I thought the art was poorly displayed, and the only floor that we could take pictures on was full of headless, armless and legless statues—and, of course Athena! I did find some things I want to show you. I could show you more of the pictures, but I won’t.

After the Parthenon, we had dinner and were smart not to eat downtown. Remember I said Memphis was expensive? Well, Nashville is worse. We paid $14 to park instead of $4. And on it goes. Also, the clubs were more spread out. Memphis’s Beale Street was just three blocks and was closed to cars. It was easy to jump from one club to the other. Also, I think I didn’t enjoy it as much because we are not big country music fans. I did get some shots that I will show you. Please let me know if I’m putting in too many images.

Tomorrow, we will try to sort out all the attractions we stumbled upon and find the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Carol, I’m not so sure we will make it into Dollywood.

Cross country: Nashville, Tennessee (State Capitol)

June 25, 2013

It’s been a dog day—truly, Gem got groomed and pampered! Kathryn at White House Animal Hospital did a great job. Hopefully, this will help him stay cool.

Speaking of cool, we had a great tour of the State Capitol yesterday and I have the images for you. We thoroughly enjoyed the history of Tennessee politics. And for half the tour, we were the only attendees.

The Capitol building is beautiful and unusual because it does not have a rotunda like many other capitol buildings. Designed and overseen by William Strickland, the capitol has a Greek revival look. Strickland died before the building was completed and his son took over. He quit before it was completed in 1859 with only one room left to go—the library. You’ll see that the library has a different look and feel than the rest of the building.

Tennessee’s legislature works part time. And, the country’s three distinctive geographical areas (flat land, rolling hills and mountainous) reflect in its politics. Our guide was knowledgeable in all areas and eagerly answered all our questions.

Tonight, we will go into Nashville, shoot some buildings, maybe visit the Parthenon (an exact replica of the Parthenon on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece), eat and listen to some music.

Tomorrow, we hope to go to Mammoth Cave National Park in Tennessee. We won’t be pampering the dog.

Cross country: Nashville, Tennessee; The Grand Ole Opry

June 24, 2013

Confession time! We are not country music fans. We like the crossover country music and certain artists, but we are not full-fledged fans. But we felt no Nashville visit would be complete without visiting the Grand Ole Opry.

We thoroughly enjoyed the tour. It was a delight to hear the woman sitting next to me sing along with the old tapes of premier artists when the Opry began. A lot of the names were lost on me, having no point of reference. But, the Opry’s history is fascinating.

Whenwe went backstage, I was in awe. It is a beautiful building. The dressing rooms were lush and were named, not for the stars, but for what the stars were. One was named “Friends and Family.” They named a special dressing room “Minnie Pearl.”

We were taken into the Green Room, Studio A, the artists’ entrance and the Opry stage. I’ve got quite a few photos for you. It was difficult to get what I wanted with all the people on the tour, but I did my best. When I stood on the wood circle brought over from the Ryman Auditorium when the Opry moved into its current location, I was overcome. So many greats have stood on that circle.

Next we tried to find the Ryman, but somehow missed it twice! We weren’t going to tour it, but I did want to take a picture of it. Downtown Nashville is amazing.

I loved the old buildings. They have such character, and I bet history. I wish we could have found a parking place so I could hop out and shoot some images—maybe tomorrow.

We gave up trying to find the Ryman and went to the State Capitol. We got to see more of the city since we turned in the wrong direction! I’ll talk about the State Capitol in tomorrow’s post. Gem is going to get groomed in the morning, so we will go into Nashville late in the afternoon, find a parking garage near the clubs, walk a bit so I can shoot some photos and then settle in and listen to music. I’m sure we will find a lot to choose from, even though we’re not country music fans.

Cross country: Nashville, Tennessee

June 23, 2013

What did we do today? Nothing! That was great. I even opened my PE9 For Dummies book.

Not going anywhere, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of life in an RV Park. Some are not as nice as the one pictured below, but typical is full hookups (meaning water, electric and sewer) and sites that you can pull through or back into. Our Memphis Park didn’t have a pool, but it had the mighty Mississippi. This Park has a pool and playground for children.

In many Parks, there are monthly renters. These folks live full time at the park and create a homey atmosphere via landscaping and decorations. This morning I met Ava and Eddy who live in the Park. They were able to give me the name of a dog groomer nearby and some things to see in Nashville. In some Parks, we’ve seen people put storage sheds and canvas car ports in their site.

Most Parks have a small store and/or gift shop. Our Memphis Park didn’t; however, our current Park does. What all Parks have are great neighbors. Our neighbors to our left are from Montana and will be gone from their home three months also. We are awning to awning, creating a nice shade area. I told them that they couldn’t leave until we leave! But, they are anxious to get to visit their friend in West Virginia. No matter where we stop, I’m able to meet people from all over. Whenever I walk Gem, greetings are abundant.

Speaking of Gem, there is a nice dog walk area and small fenced in area where dogs can run. I have images below. Most dogs prefer grass to gravel, and this Park is totally grassy. My dog is in heaven!

We will be here for at least four nights exploring Nashville and taking day trips to other places. In the meantime, it’s great to take a day to relax and do nothing.