Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Day Three - Nashville Sightseeing

History at Andrew Jackson's home, The Hermitage, and commerce at the Opryland Hotel were the themes of our Monday sightseeing in Nashville. One semi-outdoor activity was all we could take on a day when the temperature just kept on climbing 'til it reached 93, ten degrees above normal for the date. Kallie drove halfway into town while the traffic was still light. There were just enough big trucks coming in the opposite direction to both scare and settle her. We came within $0.001 of paying $4/gallon for a fill-up. The market price here runs between $3.90 and $3.95. I drove the rest of the way to The Hermitage, negotiating conflicting instructions part of the way coming from sister-in-law Mary Nelle and from Sac. Mary Nelle was sitting next to me in the CRV, so I followed her lead. Eventually, Sac bowed to our will.

The house was semi-interesting, though we weren't allowed to take photographs inside. Probably the best artifacts were the slippers and robe that Jackson wore on the day in 1845 when he died in his bedroom. Other than being dusted, they hadn't been moved in the intervening 163 years. To their credit, the historians at The Hermitage continue to work to understand the lives of Jackson's slaves. Between ten and twenty worked the site during Jackson's slaveholding years, and at a couple stayed behind to serve the Jackson family after emancipation. Alfred, a family slave and servant for most if not all of his 98 years, is buried in the Jackson family cemetery on The Hermitage grounds. Kay remembered an "oval room" from a childhood visit. Either the room has been squared off, or Kay has The Hermitage confused with another historical building (we're thinking Monticello), which does have a rotunda.

After touring the house and part of the grounds we were ready for lunch, which we ate at the restaurant cafe. Dinner Bell-style food (chicken and dumplings, corn, green beans, cornbread, baked ham, etc.) was served cafeteria style. Kay and I were able to get a locally brewed pale ale that was pretty good. We fed five people for about $50--not bad for museum food.

Mary Nelle and Sac were in good agreement on the path from The Hermitage to Opryland Hotel. You wouldn't think that a hotel would be much of a tourist destination, but then you wouldn't be thinking like Gaylord Entertainment, operators of the site, who believe enough to charge $16 plus tax just to park in an outdoor lot. The hotel consists of three areas - Cascades, Delta and Magnolia, connected by long walkways that double as botanical gardens, some of which are quite spectacular. Various retail establishments provide food, drinks and souvenirs. For another $8 or so you can take a boat ride around the indoor lagoon. Having done this before, Kay and I let the girls do that while we searched for a margarita and big screen TV. This turned out to be harder than it seemed, but eventually we were directed to Rusty's Sports Pub, home of the $12 margarita (I chose iced tea). We were looking for the LSU-Irvine baseball game, which didn't start for another three hours--plenty of time for us to get back to White House and our own HD television. Oh yeah, the Tigers won 21-7 to advance to the College World Series in Omaha!

For more pictures of this day, check out my Photoblog www.photoblog.com/dadlak

Today we head southwest into the country to Santa Fe, TN, Kay's girlhood home and where her mother lived until 2001, when she died at age 91. The weather is supposed to be a little cooler, with the temperature topping out at 88. We could feel a little difference in the air this morning, which comes early in northern Tennessee. Dawn arrives at about 5:15, and by 6 a.m. it's daytime. I have been sleeping until about 7.

On To Day Four

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