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History and Hiking in Nashville, Tennessee

February 2, 2006

Considering the mild winter, we've moved on up to Tennessee. We selected Countryside Resort Campground in Lebanon, just east of Nashville. Jake's going crazy with all the horses and cows around.

After homeschooling on Monday morning, we were supposed to go into Nashville to visit the capital. However, the morning began with rain and Cricket also received a phone call requiring some work. So she spent the day on the laptop putting a refinance loan together.

Well the rain stopped and it didn't take long for me to get cabin fever. I wanted to go take some photos of the area. After a while the weather started clearing up and I got some good pictures. After taking some pictures locally, I wanted to find some places I visited back almost 20 years earlier. I drove west on I-40 through Nashville and made my way over to US 100. I didn't make it to where I was before, but I did come across the Natchez Trace Parkway and just had to drive down. It wasn't long before I came across the Double Arch Bridge over Highway 96. What a sight and it made for some great pictures.

After taking lots of pics, it was getting late and I needed to get back. Plus I wanted to stop in Nashville to get some night photos. Taking I-40 into the city, I wasn't exactly sure where to get off. From the highway, I saw what looked like a parking lot high enough to get a good view of the city. So I took the next exit tried to find my way over there.

It took a while but I finally made it. Just as a police officer pulled into the parking lot also. A quick look toward the city and there were too many trees in the way to get a photo. So who would know the city better than the officer? I walked over to his car and asked what would be the best view to take some photos. His first thought was the view from I-40. But we quickly ruled that out. Then he suggested the Bicentennial Mall in front of the capital. It turned out to be a good suggestion, although not as good a view as from the highway!

On Tuesday after school, we all drove into Nashville. But before we reached the city, we detoured up to The Hermitage. The Hermitage is the home of President Andrew Jackson. One of the nice things about the home was that all of the furnishings were the originals from when President Jackson lived there in the early 1800's. After touring the home, we walked the trail to the out buildings and slave quarters on the property. We also visited the tomb where President Jackson and his wife Rachel are buried.

After the Hermitage, we drove into the city. We parked down the hill in front of the capital building and walked up the many steps to get there. Built in 1859, the Tennessee state capital building is one of the oldest original state capitals still in active use today. We were also in luck, the Tennessee State House of Representatives were in session and debating a bill. We sat in the visitors gallery and watched the debate. The debate was about taking contributions from lobbyists. After a few minutes we continued touring the capital. On the east side of the grounds is the tomb of President James K. Polk. It was getting late and time to go back to the campground.

Yesterday and today we went hiking. Wednesdays trip was to Fall Creek Falls State Park. It was about 90 miles away, but worth the trip. At 256 feet, Fall Creek Falls is the location of the tallest waterfall east of the Rocky Mountains. It was a moderate hike for most of the trail and the overlooks. It had spectacular views and made for plenty of photos. There were several waterfalls along the way. We made our way around the rim of the gorge and finally came to the Fall Creek Falls overlook. WOW! After enjoying the views from the top for a while, we saw another trail that led to the base of the falls. It was easy going down. Going back up was the tough part! But again it was worth it. If you're ever in central Tennessee, it is a must visit site to see.

Today we didn't drive very far. The weather called for rain around noon so we didn't want to risk getting caught in it. We decided the boys could do school in the afternoon so we could hike in the morning. We drove just around the corner to the Trees of Lebanon State Park. All the trails there are in the easy category so we choose the longest one. It was a five mile loop trail called the Hidden Springs Trail. The reason its called Hidden Springs is because they're all underground. We saw a lot of deep holes and dry creek beds. After the hike, I stopped by the rangers office and asked about that. He said the creeks are typically running for only within an hour after a rain. They then drain into the caverns under ground through the deep holes and dry up.

Well we returned home just in time for it to start raining. Now the boys did their schoolwork and we hung out in the RV all day.

Tomorrow we're going over to Memphis. The Travel Channel rated the Memphis dry BBQ as the best in the country. We'll see. And we plan to visit Elvis' Graceland. More on that in our next update.

Until next time...