Welcome to the

Random words, pictures and thoughts of one who always wishes to be on the mind's road to discovery!

About Me

My photo
Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Friday, January 3, 2014

Finishing Up October in Tennessee

January 3, 2014 12:45 pm Kitchen at Home in Post Mills, Vermont Don't ask me why I neglected to finish my tales of the time in Nashville. I haven't a clue but I do want to get some of the memories on paper so that my personal diary will be complete. Unfortunately, when one writes several months after the event some of the excitement and animation of the story is lost. Nevertheless, it is important for me to have some narrative to go with pictures I may scrap many years down the line if ever. So, if you've tired of the trip, just skip the next few emails, otherwise, welcome back. Perhaps hearing of adventures in a time of sun, grass and foliage may help alleviate the cold and snow of the present. On October 23, I turned 71 years old! That fact just floors me, since I feel and in most cases act as though I am still in my 30's. I have moments of stiffness after sitting for very long and others of achy joints, though, not often, thank goodness, that hurl me back to reality in no uncertain terms but by and large, this 71 is not my Mother's 71 and, certainly, not my Grandmother's! I just couldn't decide what I wanted to do to celebrate--Bill offered to get me a gift certificate to the local massage parlor or take me out to dinner but neither really appealed. I had wanted to go out to Kix Brooke's vineyard for Music in the Vineyard one Sunday afternoon but the weather did not seem to cooperate--rain most of the Sundays on which we had nothing planned. I also wanted to taste the wines and the lady at the Grinder's Switch Winery had told us not to try to do that on a Music day since the crowds were too large and the tasting room too small. This being a Wednesday and absolutely gorgeous it seemed a perfect tasting day. Before heading out, however, I had two more things I wanted to set up--tickets for a river cruise on the Cumberland River and tickets for the Bruce Munro light show at Cheekwood. Not much for computers sometimes but then again being able to accomplish these reservations in ten minutes seemed like a grand idea. Off we went down the Nolensville Road for the first time. In Nashville everything seems to be either by way of the Nolensville Road or Old Hickory Boulevard. By the time we left for home in November we'd explored them both pretty thoroughly and followed them, along with the Franklin Pike to many surrounding sites. It is amazing that within a very few miles out the Nolensville Road one is in the country--rolling hills and green expanses of grass. In a very short while we made our turn off to the Arrington Vineyards in Arrington. It is a real country lane with lovely old homes set among very old trees. The Vineyard itself is beautiful. Vines cascading down a hill at the foot of the Chalet which houses the tasting room and very small gift shop. There are picnic tables scattered all over the fields and a lovely deep stone balcony on the Chalet. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic and wander the grounds and on the music days it must be very bucolic. The only request is that the only alcohol to be drunk be the wine from the vineyard--not unreasonable. No beer or other alcoholic beverages may be brought on the grounds. We pretty much had the tasting room to ourselves and were allowed to taste eight wines each, including from a $45 bottle of a red wine, that was very good but I just cannot justify that kind of money for something that is consumed in less time than it cost to earn the price. I did buy a wonderful selection of wines as well as a glass from which to drink them and a cheese cleaver. I still have all but the Merlot, which I drank around Thanksgiving. The Vineyard has a wine club and they said they can ship wine to us--I question that--but if I decide to join the club we will soon find out. It may be something I will do when our traveling days are curtailed and I won't be able to just stock up on the trip. As we left the Vineyard we followed the road in the direction we'd taken to get there and found ourselves making a large U-shaped loop through the hills back to the Nolensville Road in the town of Triune and thus back home. A simple excursion but one I thoroughly enjoyed as my birthday present. The next day we wandered over to Ulta where I purchased some OPI nailpolish for Betsy and had an early dinner at Logan's. I had read about a new brewery that opened the first week or so in September. I'd put them on my list of places I wanted to explore. Only open on Thursday and Friday evenings after 5 and on Sat from noon. It seemed to me the hours indicated that the owners had not yet given up their day jobs and could only man the place at those times. Thompson Lane, on which Logans is located, just happens to cross Sidco Drive--how convenient--and Sidco Drive just happens to lead to Harding Place which in turn leads to a shortcut to our Nashville abode. I mean, really, how could one pass up such serendipity? So off we went looking carefully amongst the commercial buildings to locate a brewery--many of which exist in New England--most very quaintly presented as a rural or highly sophisticated pub. Ha, not in Nashville--the entrance looks like it leads into an office building. Once inside however, the little bar WAS designed to appear as though it were in the refectory of an Abbey. Nice, since the name is The Black Abbey Brewery. The bar is made of cement blocks but the top is a thick plank of beautiful light colored wood, but can't remember what the girl said it was. There are some nice reviews about the place and its beers at http://www.yelp.com/biz/black-abbey-brewing-company-nashville if you happen to like that sort of thing and think you may be in Nashville sometime. I see that it opened on Sept 26 so it was more recent then I thought. The fun thing is the seating--picnic tables in the warehouse where the kegs and vats are located. Easy to get to meet people since it is communal. Loved the sampler of little snifters and did buy one of them --it is cordial size--great for my Bailey's! Funny thing is, the people involved are from Rutland, Fair Haven, Clifton Park and Ballston Spa, New York. I'm liking Nashville more and more. I think I could live there! As we drove home just after dark I realized that we had taken the Interstate that runs along Sidco to Michael's the first time we ate at Logans. That was before we set Greta Garmin to ignore thruways---and in this case the route we were taking between the two points tonight was much shorter and more direct than that awful traffic filled route Greta chose for us back when we didn't know our way around. On October 25, we got up bright and early and headed for Ashland City, upriver from Nashville. For one of the first times the car had frost on it! Once more we followed Old Hickory Blvd to a turn which headed us out 100 and away from the Nashville limits. On a steep sweeping downgrade I noticed an entry gate that appeared to be very Asiatic in design. Craning my neck to see back through the gates as we passed I saw a beautifully carved building of the almost impossibly white stone. Marked it in my mental notes to find the time to check it out before we headed home. Soon we came to a deserted park on the banks of the Cumberland where we waited for our pontoon boat to arrive. Not knowing how far it was from home we had allowed an hour for travel and since it took only about 25 minutes we were quite early. Although not as cold as it might have been at home, it was quite chilly--in the 40's and I had on my fleece jacket and did not wish to get out of the car before it was necessary. Not able to sit still listening to Willie's Roadhouse, I got out of the car to take in my surroundings. There is something so peaceful in the early morning near the water. The high bridge over which we crossed sparkled in the sunlight and the heron beneath its span studiously ignored me as it scanned the rivers depths for its breakfast. A fisherman silently drifted in his boat, competing for the same aquatic morsel? Soon, others arrived in dribs and drabs and like us remained in their vehicles for a time before succumbing to the lure of the flowing river. By the time the Blue Heron made her appearance there were several of us ready to board. A couple with two young children and a set of grandparents. His parents? Hers? Two woman who appeared of an age all bundled up in pants and fleece jackets and hats and boots, soon to be revealed as mother and her college aged daughter home for the weekend. A mixed gaggle of older folks with whom I was destined to spend some delightful time while standing in the bow of the boat. Several others joined us once aboard but after getting underway I really didn't pay too much attention to anyone other than those in my immediate vicinity. Though I love people and interacting with them, I'm afraid once I'm on water most everything except the movement of the vessel and the passing scene fades from view. I've no idea if any of my Irish ancestors ever had anything to do with the sea but I do know my father and my brother and my sister all have shared this deeply ingrained connection to it. Water, that is--mostly the ocean but rivers, streams, lakes, ponds--they all have called to us. Mountains are magnificent and forests and fields but nothing pulls me like water. And this day was no different. We rode along the main river with the highway on which we'd arrived to our right and cliffs and trees to our left. Soon the river curved away from the road creating large fields between it and the water in which could be built lovely large homes one of which I fell in love with immediately. We continued farther north hoping to see some of the eagles the captain had spotted a few days earlier but not finding any we turned about and then took a quiet stream into the woods. Eventually we had entered a parkland with a nice clubhouse sort of building and picnic areas and a small beach. Being a tributary of the main river and little traveled at this time of year with the park deserted the heron were happy to fish and preen and fly and I was delighted to take pictures of them doing it all. Except for the lack of overhanging branches and Spanish moss the area was much like the bayous of Louisiana. Though chilly with the sun beating down on us it was very comfortable and I could have spent hours just drifting here enjoying the quiet and the wildlife. Too soon, however, the time had come to return to Ashland City's park. I had spent much of the time on the front deck and chatting with a lady who was part of the Church group from Dixon, Tn. Later, while on the way to Centerville, I would find that the town's name is spelt Dickson. We talked tornados, old South, snakes--they have them and poisonous, bugs--I know they have them, religion amazingly and travel. The group was going to lunch at the restaurant on the other side of the bridge, the specialty of which is catfish! The couple who own the Blue Heron had written on their website that reservations were suggested. NOPE--the water may call to me but in no way do catfish, thank you very much. I thanked my friend for suggesting we join them and waved to all the other sailors as we pulled out of the park and passed the condos that she had told us were built four years ago and sat empty since then--the bottom falling out of the economy left them sitting sad and forlorn. Much to my amazement the Sunday Tennessean--only two days later--would have an article on the housing situation and these condos would be featured as a development that finally was getting sold. One of the new tenants being a female pediatrician with a practice in Nashville. Hmmm, right on the river--how beautiful. Anyway, we returned to Nashville and decided to try Sylvan Park, a meat and two which Leecia had recommended. I guess there are restaurants that specialize in a meat and two sides--there are also meat and threes. Haven't a clue why they have these names--don't most restaurants serve a main meat etc with two sides? Anyway, this being Friday I ordered the fried pork chops ( forgetting that all fried food is breaded in the South--chicken fried as they call it ), cole slaw and fried apples--okay, THEY weren't breaded. Everything was delicious. Bill had baked ham, turnip greens and white beans. Both of us had sweet tea to drink. And so, another wonderful day came to a close with two tired folks happy to settle down with Judge Judy or a book. Saturday found us on our way to Centerville for the Grinder's Switch Radio Hour but since that had become such a regular event in our Nashville stay, I am going to dedicate an entire blog to it and our various treks down there and the people with whom we became regulars. From Sunday to Wednesday our week was more mundane--staying home or just taking short trips into the countryside. But on Wednesday night, October 30 we headed out to Cheekwood Gardens. As with so many of these places, Cheekwood was once a private home. I have forgotten the details of the background given us by the man who greeted us at the ticket office, but I do know that the Cheek money came from the development of a coffee blend that was sold at the Maxwell House in Nashville. Eventually, Postum, now General Foods bought the rights for $40 million and this money was used to buy and develop the property that evolved into the present day Botanical Gardens. Apparently, some of the money was also invested into the National Cash Register Company, adding to an already sizeable 1928 fortune. I had purchased our tickets online, as you may recall and though the gardens are all outside and self guided we needed to check in and receive our ID bracelets. We arrived shortly before dusk and were able to see the installations that Bruce Munro had set about the grounds before the darkness transformed them into even more beautiful and striking figures. Not knowing the lay of the land, we started at a high point and walked downward to the Japanese gardens and back up the other side, wandering among the lights until we came to the foot of a rather steep hill topped by the mansion. By the time we reached there I was quite tired and we had to retrace our steps to the entrance. I opted not to go to the mansion and in so doing missed the beautiful main hall with a chandelier that appeared to be raining diamonds to the floor and the floating lights on the stream behind the house. I had noticed people taking a tram like ride to the home when we arrived but didn't realize that would eliminate the steepest part of the tour and that all would be pretty much downhill from there. Fortunately, though I don't have pictures of these two installations, a waitress and the manager at Applebee's did have pictures and they showed them to me later in the week. Nevertheless, what I did see was beautiful and I loved every minute of the show.It was a highlight of our visit to Nashville. If you are not familiar with Bill Munro and his light installations, there was a PBS special on him not long ago. His glass and light shows at Botanical Gardens around the world are stunning and I'm so happy I was able to see one of them. In this instance, the pictures do more to tell the story than any of my words could possibly do. The next night --Halloween--not one trick or treater! So I enjoyed the candy corn pretty much by myself. With that, October and my birthday celebrations came to an end. Now we were on the downward slope of our Nashville sojourn and there was still much to do--like get downtown and honky-tonk among other things. For now, I'm going to close and leave that story for another day. Later, KandB

No comments:

Post a Comment