Tuesday, March 1, 2011

TENNESSEE - NASHVILLE

NASHVILLE TENNESSEE

Once upon a time I lived worked and went to college in Nashville. Much has changed since then so Gabi and I went just to see how things have changed. She had not ever been so I was going to treat her to some things that usually only the locals know about. First off the Foreign Market on Nolinsville road. We stopped here to get fruit and other snacks for our hiking trips. Las Palmas on Antioch Pike was a great place to take her to lunch since I hadn't been in 17 years. Th food was still as good as it always has been as was the case for the great pizza place in the Arcade. we walked all over the city and visited several major locations. I suggest riding a bus into town, drinking at the local bars that are NOT on Broadway or 2nd ave and just walking around. Nashville is a very walkable city!

INSIDE FORT NASHBORO
It is very strange to see a row of log cabin style buildings in the midst of a hustling metropolis but those are not just an attraction. These buildings are actually what is called Fort Nashboro and what really amounts to be the first makings of Nashville. Its set up like any town back then would be and it is kept up by the local government. This place really gives a good feel to how this wonderful city started an any visit to Nashville without seeing Fort Nashboro is not really a visit to Nashville. After all its free and a wonderful place to take pictures and walk around a bit.

Nashville is one of those places where there are little hidden gems everywhere. Such as the sign outside the Arcade section of town for a place called THE AMBERS SHOWCASE. This sign is for a business that hasn't been in operation since the civil war. It was a very famous brothel. Another example of these many hidden gems is the statue of a dog in an alley off of 2nd ave. that honors a dog that loved his walks around the area.
Some places in the area are very touristy but the thing that makes even the tourist traps in Nashville interesting is th history tat comes with them. Take for instance the Ryman Auditorium. Known for hosting the Grand Ole Opry back in its heyday. Most tourists walk by and take their pictures not realising the significance to the city. This was basically the place whee country music was born.

Strange sculpture across the river in Nashville

Downtown Nashville

Another unique thing about Nashville is that you can visit it a a major city, the music capitol, a bar hopping excursion, a way to see government work, a cultural experience etc. There are so many aspects to Nashville you would not even know about if you didn't explore it from many aspects.
Ancient Tennessee Artifact - Tennessee State Museum
One of the wonderful places that most tourists overlook is the FREE, yes I said FREE, Tennessee State Museum right in the center of town. This museum showcases Tennessee from every possible perspective. It follows the history of the state through artifacts and exhibits from ancient people to modern times. It also showcases art and culture of the area focusing on the unique people that have made Tennessee a rich place.
When I say the Tennessee state museum goes over the history of the are I mean IN DETAIL! almost every significant event to happen in Tennessee is displayed with artifacts, interactive displays, films and descriptive illustrations. The civil war exhibit alone covers almost an entire floor. We spent two hours here and was reading and walking very fast and still missed alot. You'll really need to soak this in and it will take some time.
A STEAM CAR - TENNESSEE STATE MUSEUM

RECORDER USED AT SUN STUDIOS TO PRODUCE ELVIS'S FIRST ALBUM


A few miles from downtown a small area not ruined by urban sprawl holds an agricultural center and an excellent little state museum that showcases th agricultural history of the the state. The admission to the Tennessee agricultural museum is free and although small this is a very interesting place to visit.I must warn you tough. Each museum we visited in Nashville we had to wait on giant classes of elementary students to pass. If you are going to visit these wonderful places keep in mind that Field trips may also be going on when you go.

A beautiful horse outside the Tennessee Agricultural Museum
See ya on our next adventure - With love, Jason and Gabi

Saturday, February 26, 2011

GEORGIA - FORT MOUNTAIN STATE PARK

GEORGIA - FORT MOUNTAIN STATE PARK
Mysterious Rock Wall

STONE TOWER AT FORT MOUNTAIN
  Some state parks have great hiking to mountain overlooks. Some state parks have pristine lakes where you can fish and boat in a beautiful setting and nature abounds. Some state parks feature great amenities such as camping, picnicking etc and others have wonder historic monuments and significance as well as folklore and myth surround them. Some state parks are known for their challenging mountain bike trails. Fort Mountain State Park in Georgia has all this and more. This is a one stop wonderland for anyone who loves the outdoors. We saw hawks, deer and bear in a one day trip we did last spring. I would suggest the first thing you should do is stop at the visitor center for snacks, souvenirs, and a map.
STEEP STAIRS ON TRAIL


Most of the trails here are fairly easy however thee are sections that have steep walkways and steps. the overlooks in this park are just amazing and they have nice benches and wooden decks over the cliff edges to allow you to see the entire valley below and te circling hawks above.

 
Along the left side of the fort wall trail as you go up you'll see an a small rock wall. This is an ancient mysterious wall that has many stories about how it came about. There are wonderful signage along the way describing the tales. The legend of the moon eyed people being my favourite, Suggesting there is a lost people living on Fort Mountain who eyes look like the moon and only come out at night. Are these the people responsible for this wall?
There are trails that go to waterfalls around the edges of a cliff and even strings mountain biking trails with elevation gains that look like vertical drops on the map we were using. There is also a wonderful easy hike around the entire lake that also works as an interpretive trail showing all the plants that were used by the local native americans who lived here for healing and cooking.


This is a great place for a day hike, a weekend camping or a couple of fishing days. The lake has paddle boat and row boat rentals and a nice sandy beach for families. This is a top notch State park and is a must visit.
See ya on our next adventure - With love, Jason and Gabi

Sunday, February 20, 2011

TENNESSEE - BICENTENNIAL CAPITOL MALL

Tennessee Bicentennial Capitol Mall
Entrance to the Lower section of the Capitol Mall

 Gabi and I visited the Tennessee Capitol Mall on a very cold winter day! The lower section is filled with monuments that tell the ongoing story of Tennessee. The upper section contains the Capitol and some smaller monuments. Next to the lower section is the State Farmers market. Gabi and I visited all of these places.
 First we went to he lower section and spent hours reading he monument and learning about the history of Tennessee. We we going at a faster pace so I could see someone spending and entire day just here! There's a giant map of Tennessee, many war memorials, a wall through history, and bell towers honoring musicians and other famous Nashville people.
 The Farmers Market Next to the lower section was just getting started when we walk through. One big part is more lie a food concession center in a mall or Airport. lots of food stalls and such. Don't let this throw you off, many of these places use food grown here in Tennessee. In fact we bought some homemade Chow CHOW here. I LOVE CHOW CHOW. out back are the market vendors selling produce and plants. There was a great selection here as well. After the market we decided ti was time to scale to giant hill where the capitol sits. trust me this s no easy task. HUNDREDS of stairs and steep too! I mean we hike mountains and this little hill knock my breath out of me.

Atop the hill behind the parking lot of the Capitol building are remnants from the original capitol building that sat atop the Hill prior to the one wee see today.It is neat seeing these pieces laying there in ruin. Reminded me of seeing temple ruins in Rome or something. Makes great pictures too!
 Next to the Capitol on the left side is the supposedly haunted tomb of James K. Polk. Trust me it is creepy even in the bright day of the morning it was dark there and after reading the plaque I was getting chills. I can see why some people think they see his ghost here in the middle of the night as they pass his tomb.
The Capitol Building is very intimidating. After standing there looking at for a while we decided we didn't want to go into it. I mean we just felt uncomfortable going in so we didn't. after walking to the front of the building we saw a large man in a tux holding a briefcase. I asked him where the entrance was and he said "I don't know sir" and walked away very fast and suspiciously. STRANGE. If you live in Tennessee or even visit you should see the Capitol.


See ya on our next adventure - With love, Jason and Gabi