Downtown Nashville. Hello Mr. Ed!
I've been away much too long and I probably should have posted, "Bloggy Break". Well anyway, most of you knew that The Husband and I put together a quickie vacation once all of the chaos most of us call summer had passed. I have to admit that I am in charge of doing the itinerary so if there were any mishaps I only have myself to blame. And you know...wherever Blondie goes, adventure follows.
We flew into Nashville early last Saturday morning. Who knew it was an hour flight from Chicago? I definitely failed geography. I thought Tennessee was somewhere above and west of Georgia. Imagine my surprise when I woke up disgruntled (after falling asleep before take off) that I
hadn't been served orange juice. I was told to buckle up for landing. Mmmmm...I thought we were still somewhere over Indiana.
Loved Nashville. We stayed at the Sheraton and had an evening out in the lively Music District. One bar after another, huge windows open so that the live music spilled out on to the streets. Everyone dancing and laughing and just enjoying the balmy night. The Husband and I stopped at a few bars for a beer and a listen---it was so great. I can't remember the last time I saw a live band and I love country music (and you, too, Blake and Luke).
Our cabin in Franklin, TN
We were off to Franklin, Tennessee early the next morning and this was my whole premise for going to Nashville. I had heard about so many of the girly trips to do the shopping, antiquing and junking in Franklin and Leiper's Fork. Now trust me, The Husband is all man but he's my BFF as well. And lest you think he sullenly follows along behind me holding my purchases...think again. He usually sits on benches outside the shops but also wanders into stores that carry either Indian artifacts or outfitter clothing and supplies. These shops are abundant in the South. Both of us happy. Check. Check.
We arrived in Franklin to a little cabin I had booked online. It was on an 11 acre horse farm and the price was right. Little did I know until we met the owner of the property that the little cabin you see above was actually physically moved from Kentucky by Wynonna Judd as a place for her little sister Ashley Judd to stay in. The main house is just a few yards away. We had a brief and limited tour of that house but it's inconsequential. So Wynonna had many a party on the property and I could bore your with the stories, rather take up a lot of time and space on the blog, but man, if these walls could talk.
I loved the little cabin. I have more pics on Instagram if you want a peek. The bedroom was the only room upstairs and yes, this is the original Wynonna/Ashley/Shania Twain/Sheryl Crow bed. I feel so cool! Downstairs was a sweet little living room with a fireplace, a cute country kitchen and a full bath. The owner, Caroline, loved to decorate in a sort of country/primitive way and it was perfect. I loved that porch and swing---it looked out over the pasture with the horses she owns and boards.
Across the road, more pasture, hay bales and critters. Just too gorgeous. Look at those blue skies! The Husband kept marveling over the wood fences...just not something we see so much in the country area around us in the Midwest. We were in heaven.
Leiper's Fork, TN
We loved Franklin and spent the better part of two days there. Another day we went to Leiper's Fork, a much smaller town in the opposite direction but one we were told not too miss. There is a Puckett's Grocery in both towns...they are part restaurant, grocery store and live music venue in the evenings. Here in Leiper's Fork, you'll find the very place you see above in my picture where a young Loretta Lynn got her start. And I got my very first start on Chicken Fried Steak and Green Beans with mashed potatoes. Seriously, I had it three times in Tennessee. I totally embrace local food in spite of what it does to my svelte figure. Hey--I'm on vacay!
After working off that lunch The Husband and I found this little area in back of Puckett's. We sat down and shared a root beer. What a view. I may copy and enlarge this. It sums up the peacefulness of our time in Tennessee.
We left Franklin and headed to our next destination, Gatlinburg. A stop in Knoxville was very cool. A university town, it was vibrant and happening. We had a dinner at this outdoor café and simply enjoyed watching people come and go along this little parkway. A music student serenaded us with his cello. I sort of wanted to stay longer!
Cabin in Gatlinburg, TN
I am to blame, um, be the one to have booked the cabin in Gatlinburg. Online it looked so rustic and romantic. Nestled in the woods, secluded and in the middle of nature and all it's beasts...er, flora and fauna. I'll cut to the chase. I'm terrified of bears. Have been and always will be. although I've never been in a place where I could even encounter a bear until this trip. And I honestly never thought that they were so 'out there' when I booked. To heighten my apprehension, one of the first places we visited,was an artisan shop up in the hills. The owner, a local elderly lady told us that black bears were an everyday sight in her parking lot as they crossed the roads from a river to the woods. Believe me, I had one eye on the door the whole time we were there. And we were told time after time, don't bother them and they won't bother you. Still...
The biggest plus of our cabin was the large hot tub on the balcony. No way up or down, just off the studio. But of course, I hear bears can climb trees. Not too long after we arrived we were leaning over this balcony and I thought I was looking at turkeys on the ground below...turkeys without those big feathers. And then three of them flew into the trees above us about 40 feet away. Can turkeys fly? No, vultures can and do. I thought I was going to be identifying all sorts of pretty songbirds native of the south. No. Not Blondie. Where Blondie goes, disaster follows.
In my defense, the second night there The Husband fell asleep about 7 or 9 o'clock and I paced our entire 500 square feet of cabin. Finally I grabbed a towel, stripped off my clothes (no bathing suit, its all in storage somewhere in Michigan) and hopped into the hot tub. A glass of wine in hand, I simply floated and watched the bubbles and lights. A half hour of relaxation and liberation. I know I sound lame. but it was a little victory.
You might remember that The Husband took a huge hiking trip through Colorado with our sons and a few other guys back in May. They really roughed it and he is so keen on hiking again. He so wanted to do a hike in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and I really pushed myself to go along with it. I couldn't pinpoint my apprehension and anxiety. Having only a limited variety and amount of shoes with me running the gamut of flip flops to ridiculously high heels, we went to an outfitter and I bought these sort of comfy trail/everyday walking type of shoes. Aren't they cute? I'll get a lot of use out of them. But I didn't do the hike...I simply confessed to The Husband while literally feeling sick to my stomach that I had too many fears...fear of lions and tigers and bears, fear of not being in enough shape to do the long hike, fearing my asthma would hamper me, fear that anxiety would feed on anxiety and I would simply hyperventilate. And I finally stood up straight and said, "This is your thing, not mine. I can't be your companion in this anymore than I could be with you golfing 30 years ago. Do it alone if you want but don't bring me down." He went and I huddled on the bed feeling like crap. And then I thought of something I read recently and it will sound strange at first. Don't blame others for the judgment you think they are passing on you. You control your thoughts and you shouldn't buy into that. It's all how you perceive it and YOU make that choice as to what you believe. So...if I felt The Husband was thinking badly of me for not loving 'nature' as he did, how was I going to accept that? I had to simply admit it wasn't for me. I didn't want to so much as take a walk outside that cabin because of my fear, imagined or not. Ultimately I accepted that and I know that's just me. No more apologies. Can you face your fears and get past them? Well that's a subject for another post. End of story. And oh, I was SO up and ready to leave this morning. Ha!
We thought this kitty was part of the birdbath. It was real and just getting little drink!
Sorry to have gotten so philosophical when I already have so many pics. I wanted to write a post in midstream but was so exhausted in the evenings. I actually made dinner in many of the places we stayed. We would be up early in the morning, grab something quick, i.e. unhealthy, have lunch in town and then need something for dinner at night when we just didn't want to go back out.
Gatlinburg is a mecca of artisans. As we drove in from the west I was startled and very much disappointed to see family types of resorts and venues filled with dinner shows, museums and parks that were parodies...to me at least it seemed, of country "hillbilly" life. I imagine it boosts the economy here but I simply didn't appreciate it. As we got closer to the Smokies and our cabin we came upon the true art of these talented country folk. We bought beautiful pieces of pottery, hand crafted carved wood treasures and so many mementos of our trip.
I loved a bustling part of Gatlinburg that was a variety restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, and everything under the sun. The crowds were mostly adults (with most children back in school) and we fit right in with tourists from every place conceivable. I love to talk to shop owners...The Husband usually has to drag me out. He loves to chit chat with people around us in lines, restaurants and bars though. This is a fun picture of us at a little Mexican rooftop bar. I really loved this town. :)
We arrived at our condo in Asheville this morning. It's in the 60's and it has been pouring buckets since we arrived with not much let up in sight. I simply don't care. I'm home.
I'll try to visit all of you soon. I appreciate your comments and try to get around a bit everyday. I truly believe blogging is a two way street. :) And it may sound contradictory but you can see more pics and snippets of the past 2 weeks on my Instagram...look for the button above.
Until next time...