Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Line Dancing one afternoon
Remember to wear orthodics! (for colleen...remember to BRING orthodics)
Have breakfast again at Monell's and Pancake Pantry
Have another Pina colada at Joe Crab's (okay two)
The guys should go shooting more than once!
party until 4am ...oh sorry typo...that would be 4pm!
Go to trace's fan club party (and trisha's again)
marty stuart's late nite jam
Get tickets to Celebrity Series again
Get in early enough into Nashville so we can take a 2 hour nap so we can stay to the end of marty stuart's late nite jam. (I think jerry and I are going to get in the night before!!!)
Toes up time before each big show
Bring a white board!
Remember to "train" up the hill...zigzagging to save energy
Hall of Fame Museum
Bus tour of the stars homes.
have a drink at "The Stop" John Rich's bar on Broadway near the honky tonks.
Get down to the Riverfront Stage more (providing it isn't SO hot)
Monday, June 23, 2008
So this was our last day on the road for a bit. We drove north along State Route 13 over the Chesapeake Bay Tunnel and Bridge. We drove up to Salisbury Md where we hoped to visit the Delmarva Great Chicken Festival...but sadly it had been a friday/saturday festival...the chickens had gone home (along with the "world's largest chicken frying pan"...I kid you not!). So we ate at English's Chicken restaurant instead, bought watermelon, cantaloupes, and peaches from roadside stands and headed home up through maryland.
Got home to see happy cats, a MOUNTAIN of mail, a garden in a riot of colors, and my bed!!! Yeah...my bed...it was GREAT to sleep in my bed!
Saturday, June 21, 2008
This guy with humungous crotch is something like 87 feet high and is supposedly the highest free standing sign in the US.
When we reached a spot just south of Rocky Mount we ditched the 70 MPH highway and took off in a easterly direction towards the Great Dismal Swamp of North Carolina and Virginia. DRove through cotton and corn fields, pine forest, and swamp lands. Crossed the Roanoke River...very pretty with rocks and rapids at that point. We drove along the southern and eastern borders of the Great Dismal Swamp (no hikes today...no time..no bug spray). Turns out that one branch of the Intracoastal Waterway runs along the eastern border through of bridges and locks...really quite pretty. There was a large sailboat tied up to the dock at the visitor center from Rhode Island!!!
Found a Joe Crab's for dinner (a sister restaurant to the one in Nashville)...one pina colada and a basket of coconut shrimp later...I am ready for bed!!!
The 95 through Georgia streams north and south mainly through a series of pine forests, river crossing, and marsh grass lined sloughs and wetlands. if you keep your eyes straight ahead it sometimes seems boring...but take the time to look down the rivers and sloughs...well, it makes you wish for a flat bottom boat and some mosquito repellent and the time to explore a few of them.
Crossed into S. CAroline and soon took a eastward turn at offramp #8 and headed to Hilton Head for the evening. WE had a FABULOUS meal at Red Fish Restaurant...probably the best meal of the trip. It's a charming, sprawling, multi-roomed, wine filled walled, restaurant. We had the dominican slow cooked pork and some interesting and tasty salads. Very good service. And HUGE wine list. Spent the night at a Holiday Inn Express with HUGE rooms...we could have a southern debutante ball in this one. And now...we're off to the Great Dismal Swamp.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
In downtown St. Pete there is an historic Post Office building that was built in 1916 and is an "open air" post office...at least the post boxes and the mail slots are all snugged in under the arched loggia ...there is an indoor office to buy stamps etc. Here's a photo of it in the 20s.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Drove out to St. Pete Beach area on the weekend and had dinner at a "fish place" at St. John's Pass. An area that defines the word "touristy" but it has great views and is very festive.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
The second night we went down to Jacksonville Beach for a walk. There are a lot of bars (many with music). This part of "the beaches" must REALLY be hopping during spring break!!!. Also many restaurants...we saw another Joe Crab's (sister to the one in Nashville) right near the Red Cross LIfeguard Station and Tower. Jacksonville has a great municipal pier...quite long We walk to the end and watched the endless parade of people fishing off the pier...there had to be at least a hundred! Coming back to shore we looked over the side and saw a large group of rays gliding through the water...really graceful and beautiful. There were many, many of them.
The homes in Jacksonville Beach and ATlantic Beach were lovely...a much nicer area than expected. Not pretentious but also a cut above the barren beach cottages of many areas. There was lovely landscaping at most homes...
All in all...two lovely evenings. Now we head south to Winter Park and then St. Pete.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Since it was mid-day when we got there and was about 96 degrees…we took just a short ½ mile walk on the boardwalk into the swamp…just long enough to a) get some pictures b) get really sweaty and c) get14 bug bites from some stupid little buzzy things that hopped on my bare legs (Okay…I know, just how dumb am I to walk through a swamp in mid-day without long pants and socks on!?!!! )
Despite the bugs, heat and sweat, it was really cool. The dragonflies (a myriad of different colors and sizes) and butterflies (also many different kinds) were flying around in great numbers…They were beautiful. The loblolly pines were in bloom (they have flowers that look just like small magnolias) and were dropping their pretty blossoms on the boardwalk. Didn’t see gators…but saw all the signs of what NOT to do (swim in the water, feed them, etc).
After grabbing a popsicle and hopping in the blessedly air conditioned car we were off for the last leg of the day…the drive to Jacksonville. Much of which was driven in a driving thunderstorm!!! Florida really knows how to do thunderstorms!!!!
From Chattanooga, we drove south on the 75 through Atlanta (Hotlanta indeed…it was almost 100) and Macon and stopped for the night in Warner Robins (about 30 minutes south of Macon). North of Macon it was hilly…the Chatahoochie River winds through Atlanta (the river of Alan Jackson song fame). Atlanta has some beautiful and interesting downtown buildings. Ted Turner’s broadcasting headquarters is located there. We are going to stop for the CNN Tour our next time through…I wonder if they give tours of the Weather Channel too?? Atlanta AND Macon are growing cities (if the amount of road construction on the interstates is any indication). Atlanta has 7 Costcos in the greater Atlanta area…we of course stopped at one…in Kennesaw (of Civil War battle fame).
The face of Atlanta is also changing if the waitstaff at the Sonny’s BBQ was any indication…2 southern women, a Hispanic woman, and 3 russian women provided service at Sonny’s…the new face of the south!!!
And Warner Robins was an odd (but pleasant) spot. We saw signs for hotels on the interstate and got off at the interchange expecting them to be right off the freeway. Nope…3 miles east we drove and then rising up out of red Georgia clay was the sea of new hotels, Hampton, Quality, Comfort, La Quinta, etc. etc. plus an assortment of new restaurants and suburban tracts. We had to ask at the hotel desk…what are all these hotels for? Answer, first..the Warner Robins airbase…must be doing a lot of business there!! Then agribusiness: Frito Lay, Planters, and ?. The essence of Georgia: corn, peanuts, and ? toss in pecans, tobacco, and peaches and you’ve got the agricultural history of Georgia…
Tuesday we headed down the 75 across much flatter land. It must have been the perfect weather to bring in the hay because fields were strewn with new round hay bales and trucks created to haul the big round bales were traveling off to the local farm supply store. We got off the interstate at Tifton and headed east and southeast to the Okeefanokee swamp. Gone was the deep red Georgia clay replaced by brown dirt. Pine forests mingled with fields of tobacco, corn, hay, and blueberries!!! Who knew blueberries in Georgia…there were a lot of fields at one point. Oh…and HUGE Pecan trees.
Jerry remembers driving across Georgia in the 40s and all he remembers is the heat and tar paper shacks. It is still hot, but the shacks are gone (mostly) replaced by mobile homes (mostly) and small tidy homes and fields.
Oh by the way, one of the many special license plates you can get in Georgia is apparently one that is the solid color of red Georgia clay
Monday, June 9, 2008
This is the stuff you do when you've eaten yourself stupid!
Friday, June 6, 2008
Trisha Yearwood at her Fan Club Party
Peg, Trisha Yearwood, Annette (with TJDuck)
Nashville's LP Field - home for 4 nights of the best Country music concerts
Thursday, June 5, 2008
The old and new of downtown Nashville
Jerry and I have joined good friends (Peg and Jeff cotter, Mo Cotter, and Colleen Noonan) in Nashville to do a little boot scootin' during the 4 day CMA Country Music Festival. We're staying at the gorgeous Hermitage hotel in downtown, which has great beds and really great air conditioning...both really important to Jerry since he is still battling a killer cold/bronchitis. It's an old historic hotel on 6th Ave and Union.
Last night we went to Marty Stuart's SEventh Annual Late Night Jam benefiting Nashville's MusicCares!. It was at least 3 1/2 hours long (that's when we left since it was 1:30...but it was still going). Marty Stuart and his fabulous superlatives were just that Superlative! We saw Charlie Daniels, John Rich, Gretchen Wilson, Mel Tillis (a surprise guest), new talent, bluegrass talent, old songwriters, and the guy who was the drummer for Johnny Cash for almost 40 years (I'll look up his name and post it later). It was in the Rynam Auditorium the former home of the grand ole opry...the church of country music. A great, great, evening...
Grethcen Wilson and Marty Stuart.
Today we're off to Tricia Yearwood's fan club party, a taping of GAC's Celebrity Spotlight, and this evening, the first of the BIG concerts at LP field. Yahooo! Where is my cowboy hat???
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
In search of diet ginger ale (still have stomach issues) we landed in the local Food Fair which closes SHARPLY at 8pm...so fortunately we were there at 7:50. And it was here that we discovered where all the fudgecicles are sold...I don't know about where you live but I can hardly every find fudgecicles much less fudge bars. Well here in Somerset...they have both and they have them in several different brands! Right in the same aisles were the Moon Pies. And a huge stand of soft drinks called Faygo. And soft drinks are the only drinks available here...its a dry town. when we were told about places to have dinner, we were told we could drive 5 miles to the next town if we "would like a drink with dinner". How quaint.
Again the drive down the Ohio was a curious mix of pastoral beauty and well kept farms interspersed with tired sagging buildings and massive power plants including the Gavin Power Plants which is the largest Coal fired power plant in Ohio...you drive right through it (pictures to post later).
We crossed the Ohio into Ashland Kentucky (the home town of the Judds and Billy Ray Cyrus!!!) where we ate at J&J Family restaurant....a place that time has truly forgotten! Wow...breaded porkchops, corn bread, hot roast beef sandwiches with the mashed potato and gravy ON TOP of the sandwich. Complete with an autographed photo of Naomi Judd behind the front counter. Truly an experience (and I believe we are still experiencing the after effects of those porkchops and hot roast beef sandwich).
Then back out into the rain and through the extremely beautiful countryside of Kentucky (rain or not).
But tomorrow we have to push off to Kentucky. Nashville and the Country Music Festival is our Wednesday destination…Yahooooo!
Oh…there is a great deli on 3rd street: aptly name the Third Street Deli…great sandwiches and salads…eat in or take out.
View of Ohio from Marietta, Ohio
Part of downtown Marietta, Ohio
Headstone of Jeremish and Jerusha Bartlett
We left home on Sunday and the day was mostly the blur of the Interstates as we drove west across Pennsylvania to Wheeling, West Virginia and the Ohio River. I’ve made this drive many times over the past years and although some find it monotonous in its green rural nature, I’ve always found it a pleasant and at times interesting, if not even humorous.
Around Harrisburg we hit a long patch of highway that was rimmed in a riot of small wildflowers: white, yellow, with an occasional fuchsia pink. Round topped silos and red barns dot the landscape. Fields that are visible are barely woken from winter’s dormancy.
Just around Harrisburg, we were on the fringes of what has been historically the major coal producing areas of Pennsylvania (and where some mines still hang on). Large Billboards read slogans such as: Without Coal Most Cities Would Be Dark or Welcome to Coal Country or even better Coal: Clean Green Energy. And in fact the sight of ugly smelters and coal tinged air seem to be a thing of the past…but not the far distant past. As we came out of the Allegheny Tunnel (one of many tunnels that thread the “ridge and valley” topography of central Pennsylvania) we entered a wide valley with curiously stunted and sickly trees. At first I thought perhaps it was the work of a beetle or tree fungus. But soon I noticed on the map the telltale “dots” of mines throughout the region and out the window we could see the manmade hills of slag from mining operations. The coat mining/processing history of this area was marked in no small way by the ailing trees and vegetation. And yet it seems that at the base of all these sickly forests are new plants and trees that appear more robust, perhaps the new generation of plants to accompany the new generation of coat technology? We can only hope.
At Wheeling we turned south on Ohio highway 7 which hugs the western shore of the Ohio River. Our destination for the evening was Marietta Ohio…the first town established in Ohio (more on Marietta later). The drive down the Ohio is a curious mixture of the picturesque, the historic, and the grotesque. One curve brings us to a bucolic set of hills with plump green trees and views across a wide, placid green river. The next curve brings into view smokestacks from coat fired electrical plants along with curious hourglass shaped cooling towers. (that made us first think they were nuclear plants).
And yet, here I sit in the parlor of a home that was begun in 1800 (the part I’m in was built in the 1860s?). I’m looking out the window to the river, lovely and green. Oak trees provide shade and a perch for a whole gang of robins. An occasional barge moves up stream and an occasional motor boat whizzes by. Geese fly up the river and float down it. The view I’m looking at has hardly changed in the 200plus years since this house was built. We’re happy to enjoy the view for a few days.