Tuesday, 27 April
Well, almost halfway thru our jaunt in Nashville, and still the weather just quite cooperating yet. It's another cold, grey day, with sunshine and mist alternating between fits and starts. No matter, our wonderful hostess has (once again) graced our door with a loaf of freshly baked bread, so we enjoy a wonderful start.
Today’s adventures begin with a jaunt to The Hermitage. http://www.thehermitage.com/ This is the home of one our most controversial Presidents, Andrew Jackson. “Old Hickory” had a very fiery and contentious personality, much like the times in which he lived. As our 7th President, he came in to office when our nation was still very young, and indeed struggling with many issues that would later define our heritage. As a 13 year old boy, he served in the Revolutionary War, and was caught by the British. He suffered not only the usual deprivations of a POW in those less than civilized times, but was repeatedly cut with a sword as punishment for his independent spirit. Apparently young Jackson refused to polish an officer’s boots, and thus was reprimanded with corporal punishment. He carried those scars on his wrist, and forehead, and heart, for the rest of his life.
He later made good on his strong, intense hatred for the British by winning the Battle of New Orleans, in the War of 1812. This is also where he obtained his nickname.
His political career was much like his personality, forceful, fiery, and always of a firm conviction. He was an aristocrat, a General, a President, a husband, and a father and a slave owner. All this and much, much more.
So, Barb and I trundle off to see this resplendent example of life in the South, in the early 19th Century. As we approach the ticket window, an elderly couple in front of us was demanding to get their money back since the wait to see the inside of the mansion was one and a half hours! Yikes! Well, we asked the ticket gal about the wait time, and were politely told that the wait time really was only half an hour. Oh, ok, two tickets please.
As we stroll thru the Museum, another couple asks for a Raincheck, as they weren’t willing to wait for an hour and a half to see the Mansion. Hmmm… We decide to skip the Introductory movie (which we caught on our way out, and was quite good), and check out the line for the Mansion. So we walk thru some chilly, not quite sunny, almost misting, ok it really is cold conditions to get to the real line to see the Mansion. Happily, our wait was only about half an hour, but that’s because we befriended some Canadian tourists who included us in their group, which was allowed to jump the queue in front of the all the school field trips! Whew… thank goodness Barb and I know to speak like a Canuk, eh?
So after some brief introductory comments from a costumed worker, we, at last, could get out of the light rain and cold, and into the Mansion! The tour was conducted by another woman who dressed in a period costume. The house is a wonderful example of how the truly wealthy of that time lived. Almost everything is actually original! Unfortunately, the only places you can walk thru are the main hallways on the two levels of the house. All the real rooms were visible thru doorways that had been glassed off.
So the trip thru the Mansion was shorter, and quicker than we really would have liked, but still enjoyable. After exiting the house, we decide to take a turn thru the Gardens, and saw the General’s final resting place. It’s an impressive grave for an impressive man.
After the family burial plot, we decide to stretch out legs on the Quarter Trail, and see the Slave’s Quarters. Somehow we wind our way around a creek, and end up in a pasture, next a bunch of black cows with white belly bands! Apparently they have some meaning, but we are getting wetter, and colder by the step, so we decide that the car is our best friend. Back to the Museum, catch the movie, and find the car. A nice jaunt, but it could have been so much better. Ah well, we’re still on vacation, and having a great time.
Another brief trip thru Nashville, (I just love the way that a city of this size had the good sense to actually plan a highway system that allows you to flow thru so easily!) and back to the wonderful, cozy cabin for lunch and Peacock looking. Greeted by Tom the Turkey yet again... yes, Life is good!
Next on our plans for the day is the Grand Ole Opry, but I am going to let that bit become it's own post as well.