Saturday, October 13, 2007

Kentucky and Tennessee Vacation

Last week I was on vacation in Kentucky at Little Brush Creek Farm, the home of my sister Linda and her husband Ray. I had a fabulous time, I spent time in nature, went stargazing, listened to live music, experienced history, and most of all spent time with my family.

Here's the recap of the week:

Saturday October 6
We went to the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln in Hodgenville, Kentucky. The Great Emancipator was born February 12, 1809 in a one room log cabin. To preserve the building, it was placed inside a beautiful Memorial Building. There has been some speculation about the true history of this cabin, so finally in 2004 some scientific analysis was performed on the material, and verified that it dated to the mid 1840s. Er.. um.... can't quite be the birthplace then. Now it is seen as a symbolic representation of what the birthplace must have been like. (Another one of those historical incidents which amuses me....)

Memorial Building which contains the "symbolic" birthplace

Man's best friend. This is Bug (or Boo). There are also two other dogs in the family, Becky and Bertie. Bug always warms up to the new kid in town (that would be me). She mostly slept in my bedroom, sometimes I was joined by another dog and sometimes a cat.

A boy named Flower.

Sunday October 7
Today we went to Karen Weaver's Puppy Farm and also Hinton's Orchards. At night, I went outside to do some stargazing. Kentucky is a dark sky area, and I had a beautiful clear view of the Milky Way. I saw the Summer Triangle high overhead with a view of dozens, if not hundreds, of stars inside it. From home I can only see the Triangle. Also clearly saw the Little Dipper, which is only faintly visible from home in Pennsylvania. Arcturus was shimmering so much I thought it was a plane! Definitely a view to remember.

Monday October 8
This morning Ray gave me the farm tour and showed me some of the morning chores on Little Brush Creek Farm.

Who has a cracker?

Did someone say cracker?

I'm just a baby....

Sure, these dogs look cute and cuddly, but they're real working dogs. Don't mess with 'em. They are the Maremma Sheepdogs, and they guard the goats. There are four guard dogs on the farm, and they mean business.

That is one serious goat! His name is Challenger, and you can see why.

Billy doing his best to charm the ladies.

Roosters and chickens provide the morning musical selections....

A Gambrel Barn. The flag was painted by Ray.

In the afternoon we went to Mammoth Cave National Park,the longest cave system in the world, which extends 367 miles underground. (The photograph is from a brochure, I couldn't get enough light for a picture)

Tuesday October 9
Linda and I went to Nashville for a couple of days. In the morning we went to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and the Opry Museum.

In front of the Grand Ole Opry House.

Indoor waterfalls at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.

In front of the Grand Ole Opry House again. Note the souvenir shirt.

A view from inside the Grand Ole Opry. We saw a fantastic show. The performers were Ricky Skaggs, Trent Tomlinson, Emerson Drive, Jason Aldean, Jimmy Dickens, and Carrie Underwood.

Carrie Underwood belting it out....

After the show, we headed to John A's for some more live music, Dan Schafer and a new band, ELA.

Wednesday October 10
In the morning we spent some time at the Opry Mills Shops. Then we went to The Hermitage, the home of President Andrew Jackson. It was a beautiful property, and we learned a lot about the history of his presidency, the culture of the times, and his family life.

Front view of The Hermitage (this picture was altered from a postcard).

Final resting place of Andrew and Rachel Jackson. She died two months before he took the oath of office.
Final resting place of Alfred Jackson, a slave on the family plantation. He requested to be buried on the property.
This was the original home of the Andrew Jackson family before the mansion was built. At that time, it was a two story building. It was converted to a one story building in order to be a shelter for some of the slaves. There were 150 slaves on the property. The tour contained a lot of information on slavery during that time period. For example, there were several root cellars found on these properties, and they were thought to be built in order to hide some personal possessions, in an attempt to maintain some individuality.

After the tour, in the evening, we went to downtown Nashville. At the suggestion of my brother-in-law Kirby, we went to see some live music at Robert's Western World and Tootsies Orchid Lounge, a spot previously frequented by Willy Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Hank Williams.

Ryman Auditorium, the original site of the Grand Ole Opry.

Thursday October 11
We went to Glendale Kentucky to the Whistle Stop Cafe and some antique shops. On the way home we visited the boyhood home of Abraham Lincoln at Knob Creek. The young Lincoln lived there from 1811 to 1816.

The boyhood home.
Friday October 12
Today Ray and I took a trip to Dinosaur World, where there are over 100 dinosaur reproductions. They had a lot of information, and plenty to see and do for children and adults. Children could participate in a simulated fossil dig.

Strange inhabitants from prehistoric times...

Like a scene from Jurassic Park
Be careful going around that corner...


At 4:48 AM, Anonymous Tess said...

Wow, gorgeous photos. I especially love the farm ones. I've never heard of dogs herding goats before!


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