Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘TN’

CCampsite on Nolichucky RiverWe spend the night at a campsite overlooking the Nolichucky River right downstream (as in walking distance) from where Davy Crockett grew up.

In the morning we visit his birthplace site, and the small museum next to it.  And it can’t be helped, I’m singing or humming Disney’s,”Davy, Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier” the rest of the day, and picturing Fess Parker, although I know better. Davy Crockett’s still one of those larger than life American folk heroes to me.  We’ve visited where he died on previous trips (Remember the Alamo!)  so it feels kind of comforting to see where he was born and hopefully spent simpler, happy boyhood days.

Davy Crockett's Birthplace Cabin

Davy Crockett’s Birthplace Cabin

Read Full Post »

Unknown-1It’s pouring rain when we visit this site – so torrential that when we cross streets our shoes are submerged in running water and our feet and all the rest of us are soaked.   But it’s a very interesting and worthwhile stop.

images-1We didn’t know a lot about President Andrew Johnson before we came here. We talk to an amazing Ranger, manning the museum, who engages us in a lot of political and philosophical discussions about the issues surrounding Johnson.  Reconstruction, states’ rights, strict Constitutional interpretation, impeachment, etc.  How this man, who was raised as a tailor, with little education, rose to be Abraham Lincoln’s chosen successor.  His tailor’s shop is enclosed in the musem.  We also tour his house, with another park ranger – the family held onto so many belongings.  We see rooms as they were when he retired  here after his presidency.

Read Full Post »

Terry Evanswood Wonders of Magic Show

Terry Evanswood Wonders of Magic Show

After the afternoon at the Titanic Museum, we have dinner at Tony Roma’s Steakhouse and then go to the Terry Evanswood Wonders of Magic show, a fun (and very inexpensive) magic show, paying tribute to many great magicians. His sleight of hand is amazing, complete with close-up cameras.  He’s a great showman with a message.  It’s also a great trifecta for RV parking for us, one parking space in back, which serves all three attractions.

Things have gone pretty well here so far, so now we’re wondering if we shouldn’t extend our stay and hit Dollywood.  We weren’t planning on going – it’s spring break, the crowds/lines will be enormous and we’re not all that interested in the rides.  But to be in Pigeon Forge, without going to Dollywood just might be sacrilegious.  So we do one better.  We don’t buy admission tickets online  for one day – we buy annual passes, one of them gold, so that we have free parking.

The fact that I took no pictures may say something about our experience.  Crowded.  CROWDED.  CROWDED!!!  We saw two major shows, the acrobatic Cirque Shanghai and Mystic India, a dance journey through India with stunning consumes. We also caught the Mariachi Divas at a small, outdoor stage – and they were great.  The grounds and setting are beautiful, but the hordes of people and lines don’t make for a really pleasant experience and we cut out after seeing the second big show.

Another slightly unpleasant experience awaits us at Riveredge campground.  Someone has stolen the custom leveling blocks Dick made – and trustingly left at the site this morning, figuring nobody would take them given our obvious campsite occupied sign. It’s not the management’s problem, but they don’t excel in the public relations/goodwill department when we report it.  They also won’t refund our pre-paid money for the next night. I don’t ever get huffy with people, and I understand their policy – but not their attitude, so I do say, “Well, this will make for a sad trip advisor review” as we leave.  Ha – lo and behold, a couple days later a manager calls us and offers us a free night if we ever return.  Don’t plan to be in that neck of the woods again – but we feel better about their customer relations and I don’t have to write a negative review!

Read Full Post »

First glimpse of King Kong

First glimpse of King Kong

We were never sure this area was going to be our cup of tea.  And the traffic is pretty horrific, backed up on the Interstate for about a mile, even before the exit, so we’re filled with a kind of dread that turns to astonishment when we finally catch sight of Pigeon Falls attractions. I snap a few pics from our moving vehicle.   Inner kid stars to yell,  whoo-hoo!

We're gaining on him, or he's gaining on us...

We’re gaining on him, or he’s gaining on us…

We find our Riveredge Campground at the far end of town, closest to the mountains. It’s better than expected, in this kind of super-energized honky-tonk environment, and we find a site with nobody next to us, relatively peaceful.  It’s 6:30, so we decide to head right out to catch the 8 PM performance of The Soul of Motown at the Majestic Theatre.  We get our tickets printed out at the office, find a level spot so that our refrigerator’s happy and enjoy some champagne, cheese and crackers before it’s time to take our seats.  The show is DYNAMITE.  The energy and talent of these five men and one incredible woman is right up there with some of the best professional productions we’ve seen in big theatre cities, and certainly so much more amazing because of the smaller and more intimate venue.  The performers give it their absolute all and have generations dancing in the aisles.

Titanic Museum

Titanic Museum

The next morning we can walk from the campground (yay!) to breakfast at the Log Cabin Restaurant, before heading to the Titanic Museum.  This is the attraction I’m most looking forward to here (along with Motown) and it doesn’t disappoint, despite the pressing crowds of spring break families.

We’re greeted by costumed, polite, in-character ship stewards.  The guide we have in the queue is a great storyteller. When you buy your ticket, you’re assigned the name of a real passenger on board the ship – she starts weaving a web of these stories while we wait (they only allow a couple dozen people into the museum at a time – it’s at your own pace from then on).   I’m a 3rd class passenger and Dick is a rich industrialist in first class. Later, we’ll find out our fate in the Memorial Room.   As soon as we board, and meet Captain Smith, there’s hours of great exhibits and artifacts ahead of us,  re-creations of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd class passengers accommodations, the Grand Staircase built exactly to scale, that we walk up and down, and the ship’s bridge, where it’s pretty scary to contemplate our fate.

It’s a very respectful homage to the people who perished on this boat, and the survivors.

As a footnote, Dick and I (Catherine Murphy from County Longord, Ireland) both survived.

Titanic

Titanic

Read Full Post »

Lost Sea

Unknown

We felt that Lost Sea was kind of a lost opportunity. It might have been a more interesting experience if our tour guide had talked more about things related to the cave and the underground lake on our descent, instead of chit-chatting about totally unrelated matters (drinking, cruises, etc.) with members of our group.  At one point, I heard a little boy’s voice in back of us say, “When is he going to tell us something about this?”

This is a beautiful picture of the lake that I didn’t take, so I thank the person who posted it on the internet. We never saw colors or lighting like this on our 5 minute or so boat ride.  They do feed dog food to some large, white (because they’re raised in the dark) rainbow trout that they stock the lake with, and that was interesting to watch.  Lost Sea might be worth a stop if you haven’t seen many caves or an underground lake, but for us it really wasn’t.  We were somewhat mollified afterwards though, by a great little lunch at Bradley’s Pit Barbecue nearby.

 

Read Full Post »

Sheriff Buford Pusser's Home and Museum

Sheriff Buford Pusser’s Home and Museum

I’ve tried to talk Dick into visiting this site on several previous trips, but this time we’re staying close by, at Pickwick Landing State Park- so it’s now or never.  I have to admit being silly about it.  I say the name, Buford Pusser, and I usually wind up giggling hysterically.  I feel guilty about that – I know he was one tough, stick-wielding sheriff who took on the Dixie Mafia and the state-line mob,  that there’s a movie, Walking Tall, based on his life (and many not-so-accurate sequels). I know he’s someone to take seriously.

The brochure we’d picked up tells us he was Sheriff of McNairy County, that he was shot eight times, knifed seven times, killed two people, that his wife was shot and killed in an assassination ambush when she went with him on a disturbance call,  and so much more.  But, frankly, we have no idea of what to expect when we pull up here.

What we get, after sitting on a couch for a video presentation on the TV in the living room,  is a personal tour, with a nice older woman who went to school with Buford.  We’re alone with her in the house, which is filled with original furnishings, photographs, newspaper articles and mementos, so we can ask any questions we can come up with, and she tells us all about what happened here from her local vantage point.   She shows us where Elvis came in through a side door and sat in a bedroom, not wanting to cause a commotion at Buford’s funeral, which was attended by many big country music stars.  She shows us the funeral guest book and Tami Wynette’s guitar flower arrangement.  She tells us that when Buford’s jaw was shot off in the incident that killed his wife,  he had to have 16 reconstructive surgeries and couldn’t eat solid food for three years – this for a man who stood 6’6″, and weighed 250 pounds.  She’s suspicious about the circumstances surrounding his death in a fiery car crash the day he announced, at a press conference in Memphis, that he had agreed to play himself in a new movie, “Buford” for $2 million.  We see the burned out wreck of his modified Corvette in the downstairs garage.

Later that evening, we want to stage a little Buford Pusser scene of our own.  We had a really beautiful, private campsite in Pickwick Landing State Park and we’re planning on having a big fire, champagne and anniversary gift exchange after a nice dinner at the park’s  restaurant overlooking the water.  The campsite is paid for, our Campsite Occupied sign is by our post, but we return to find somebody’s set up a pop-up camper and taken over our site. The campground host knocks on their door, but no one’s there.  So we have to find another site in the dark, which isn’t so easy because many of them aren’t level and we don’t want to have to put out blocks.  Plus, we’ve lost our lovely setting and our firewood.  Stick-wielding is out, but we do think about leaving them a note.  The next morning as we leave, we decide to just leave justice in the hands of the campground “sheriff”.

Read Full Post »

Shiloh Battlefield

Shiloh Battlefield

We visit Shiloh National Military Park, while staying at nearby Pickwick Landing State Park.  I don’t want to blog about Civil War Sites anymore.  They’re too painful to contemplate, and I can’t do any of it justice.  There’s been enough written about each of them, eloquently, by historians and others.  I think I’ve written posts in years past, somewhere in the jumble of this blog, where the heartache was fresh and I felt like I was learning something new at each battlefield.  Now, it just feels so old and so sad.

So I’m happy to see a new story at the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center, a branch of the Shiloh National Military Park in Mississippi. Along with the wartime suffering and death endured here, an amazing community was born, the Corinth Contraband Camp.  When the Federal forces occupied Corinth after May of 1862, many enslaved African Americans (first called, incredibly, “contraband of war”)  fled plantations and farms and came to Corinth for protection behind Union lines.  Here, over 1000 African American children and adults  learned how to read!  They built homes, a church, school and hospital.   Freedmen started a progressive cooperative farm program and sold cotton and vegetables at a healthy profit. What started as a tent city grew into a thriving community.  It’s exciting to think about the new lives and identities that were started here.

One more happy note about the Shiloh battlefields. A few years back a pair of American Eagles, named Hiram and Julia after General Grant and his wife (I have to google it –  U.S. Grant’s first name was Hiram, but he evidently didn’t want to go to West Point with the initials H.U.G) started nesting in a tree in a very visible part of the park.  Since then, they’ve returned each year to raise a pair of young eaglets.  We saw the huge nest and lots of photographers.  I thank them for the posted pictures.

Dinner's on the way

Dinner’s on the way

Photographers at the Shiloh Battlefield Nest

Photographers at the Shiloh Battlefield Nest

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »