Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kentucky/Tennessee Barns

You probably know that I love barns. When we travel, I always see neat barns that I want to take pictures of and I probably drive Bob crazy, telling him "Look at that barn over there!"
So, being the good husband he is, one morning while we were waiting for Andy to get done with his daily de-briefing, he took me out driving to look for barns.
It can be hard because you can't always stop and you can't get real close but I had fun trying to get pictures of the ones we found.

We noticed lots of black barns in Kentucky

This barn was on the way to Andy's base so we saw it every day. I like the vines growing on it and the two shades of red.

This one is in such bad shape that I don't think the plastic will help much!

I like the shape and the peak on this one.

Another one that's barely standing.

And this is another one we passed every day. Such a beautiful, well kept place!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What a moment!

I told you yesterday I was going to share one of the highlights of our trip and here it is!

As we made our way through Fort Donelson we came upon this sign:

Across the field from the sign we could see this tree. The dark spot, near the top of it is an eagle nest. It was neat to see the nest, but I remarked that it would be so much better to actually see a bald eagle.

We went on to the next stop, where we were looking out over the Cumberland River. Andy had climbed a hill where there was a lookout, when he yelled "Look up!"
This is what we saw:
What a majestic sight!

Another eagle then landed in a tree near us.

I had never seen a bald eagle other than those in captivity. It was a wonderful moment, and we thought it was especially meaningful to see our national symbol flying over a civil war battlefield.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Fort Donelson

As I've told you before, our family loves history and we are really interested in Civil War history.
Andy had mentioned that Fort Donelson was about 45 minutes from Fort Campbell and that it was a really interesting place to visit, so we made sure we had some time to stop there.
There was lots to see and we happened to show up on the 150th anniversary of the Confederate surrender there, so there were some special things going on.

This is a monument commemorating the battle that occurred there.

Lots of cannons dot the landscape

This is a replica of the soldiers housing

The powder keg - ammunition was stored here.

A view from a hill looking down the Cumberland river. There were larger weapons than the usual cannons set up facing the river.

And more cannons!

Near this battlefield was the Fort Donelson National Cemetery.

We found stones from the Civil War, WWI, WWII, Korean war and the Vietnam war. As I walked around looking at all those stones, I was reminded that each of these stones represented someone who was loved by their family. This was someones husband, brother or son. The fact that I was able to walk around there and have my son with me was another reason to give thanks!

The building where this battle officially ended is still standing.

This is the Dover Hotel and it was here, that General Ulysses S Grant demanded "unconditional surrender" from General Buckner of the Confederacy.

There were several re-enactments going on to commemorate the 250th anniversary, and this man allowed me to take his picture in front of the hotel.
What an interesting day! We really enjoyed the whole day, but tomorrow I'll share something that happened during the day that was one of the highlights of the week!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Belle Meade Plantation

After we left the Grand Ole Opry, we toured a Plantation.
I love to do these sorts of tours, where you feel almost like you've stepped back in time!

We went to the Belle Meade Plantation (which means beautiful meadow) in Nashville. It was very interesting to drive through the city and then suddenly come upon this view!
This is the entry to the plantation. You probably can't see it but there was a woman in period dress, hoop skirts and all standing in the front doorway.

This was the original home of the owner, built in1807 on 250 acres of land. He did very well and built the larger house on 1820. It reached a peak of 5000 acres and became one of the finest thoroughbred breeding operations in the country. Every horse that has raced in the Kentucky Derby since 2003 can trace it's bloodline to this plantation!
This property remained a private residence until 1953, when it was acquired by the Association of Tennessee Antiquities.

Our first stop was the carriage house. It was a beautiful building, with a herringbone patterned, brick paving floor. There were lots of old wagons and buggies to look at.

Here are a few buildings on the property, clockwise from top left:
Carriage house, gardeners building, play house and dairy. In the same picture as the dairy you can see some slave quarters to the left.

A huge magnolia tree in the back yard.

Part of the back yard.

The back porch

Heather, Andy and Bob sitting in the front before our tour.

This is Tom, who toured us through the house and told us it's history. One of the interesting things he shared was that President Grover Cleveland spent his honeymoon here!

The damage on this front pillar is from gunshots during the civil war.

We weren't allowed to take pictures inside the house, but our guide let me take this picture looking out the second floor window.

Here's a few pictures of the beautiful property.

We all really enjoyed our day in Nashville!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm going to Nashville!

I hope you aren't sick of vacation pictures because I have a few days worth yet! :)
While we were seeing Andy, we knew we wanted to take one day and go to Nashville, since it's about an hour from Andy's base. We decided that Wednesday was the day to go because he was having a short day of in-processing and would be able to go with us.

Here's a view as we approached the city.


There is a show on the History Channel that we enjoy watching called American Pickers. It's about a couple of guys who travel around the countryside, stopping at barns, garages, basements... to see peoples stuff, hear their stories and buy old things. They restore them and then sell them.
One of the guys has opened a store in Nashville, called Antique Archeology, where he sells some of the things from the show.
We decided that if we were going to Nashville, we wanted to stop there.

The store is located in an old factory called Marathon Automobiles. I love seeing old buildings and this was a pretty neat one.

How do you like this sign painted on the brick?

This old sign was outside the front door.

Nice old windows too...

When you go in the front door you are greeted with all kinds of old things. This building has beautiful wood floors and brick walls.

This old bike is a beauty!

And so is this one!
We had fun wandering around, but didn't find anything to buy in our price range. :)

We aren't big country music fans, but we knew that when in Nashville, you have to stop at the Grand Ole Opry.
And here it is!

The front entry is beautiful! We didn't do the tour because we had other plans but at least we could say we were there.

Here's Andy near the Opry building. I'm not sure what he was doing!
We left the Opry for another spot that we really enjoyed, and I'll show you that on Monday.