Nashville: All Aboard

We’re definitely not as bad as Sheldon, but we do like trains.  I plan to see all the great mountain ranges by train before I die.

So, naturally we had to veer off the interstate to visit The Historic Rail Park: Train Museum and L&N Depot in Bowling Green on our way home from Nashville.

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As luck would have it, the monthly meeting was happening that very Saturday morning and 1. the museum was open early, 2. a guest speaker was lecturing on how he lives on a caboose (a moving caboose, that gets towed behind trains, ya know – not a parked in the backyard, rusty caboose), and 3. they had o.j. and doughnuts.  Since we interrupted their monthly meeting we didn’t feel right about eating their breakfast and just walked as quietly as possible through the museum during his talking points.  Very awkward.

As far as museums go, though, this one was tidy, bright, and manageable.  The two-story building showcased model trains, period posters, informational exhibits and restored waiting areas and ticket windows (two of each, since it operated during segregation).

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The best part of this pit stop, however, was outside.

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Mail car (postal service + trains = awesome)

 

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Duncan Hines dining car

I took about 800 mediocre photos of the train tour but will only bore you with these few selections.   Our tour was private, since we were the only fools up that early and young enough to walk up the train stairs, and guided by a knowledgeable young man who was very excited about his upcoming trip to D.C. with his 4H Club.  He dutifully led us through the Railway Post Office Car, Dining Car, Sleeper Car and Office Car and answered any of the lame questions we mustered up.  I suspect he has never given a tour to folks who know less about trains.  We were an embarrassment to true train enthusiasts everywhere.  Regardless, everyone there treated us newbies with respect and I highly recommend you swing in to the museum next time you’re in the area – or need to stretch your legs on a four hour car ride.

Nashville Some More

More Nashville?  Don’t mind if I do.  Prepare for a long post…

The troops were all up reasonably early on Day 2 and loins were girded for a sightseeing stroll through Vanderbilt’s campus.  The previous evening’s storms left a crisp, sunny day for us and we strolled the heck out of it.

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grays peek

I know nothing about the campus and have no idea what this little building is, but I would like to transplant it and make it my house.  Does anyone have any connections? Hmm?

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grays peek

Our strolling led us to lunch at The Tavern.  A table for 24? They didn’t blink.  They served up strong drinks and a fabulous menu of buffalo cauliflower and kale salads (for me; others had more robust fare).  Check out their menu page if you can’t envision cauliflower hunks treated like buffalo wings.

But this was the moment on our trip that I realized I really loved Nashville: it appears Davidson County requires the posting of restaurants’ health inspections IN THE LOBBY for the whole world to see.  I’ve known the inspection records at home are available online, but who really wants to look up their favorite restaurant’s score?  The risk of finding out something so unsavory that you’d have to refuse to go back is too great, so you have to live in ignorance. But this, this public lobby posting is something I can get behind.

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Our afternoon took us on some more sightseeing.  Husband and I took in the sights on The Strip, from The Ryman in the daylight all the way up to the state capitol building.

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The fresh air fortified us for the evening ahead and we again found ourselves into some drinks and some music.  However, faced with the prospect of being deafened and bankrupted at Tootsies and the like, we chose to enjoy our night elsewhere…the only criterion was that “elsewhere” served wine.

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grays peek

On our way to salvation, we took the above photo (stolen – thanks, sis).  I’ve never seen a more photogenic bunch at a bar.

Then we found our salvation at Merchants and had a ball.  And look, even some of our menfolk made it into a photo at Merchants!  Contrary to the lack of other photographic evidence, they came with us, too.

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We got our wine (three bottles?) – even if it was the wrong wine, and enjoyed it immensely.  Wine and fried green tomatoes are going to be my new go-to.

And here, in another borrowed photo, we are in all of our red-eye and red wine glory.  There were so many good stories, so many tears, and so many pretty smiles at this dinner I can hardly stand it.

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I love this photo so much it probably deserved its own post.  Thanks for reading all the way to the end, though :)

 

Nashville

Our trip to Nashville had lots of promise: long lost family, warmer weather, great music.  Then, I came down with The Plague (Husband calls it “a cold”) and the warmer weather brought tornadoes.  Regardless, we persevered.

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We came out of the woodwork (if you were keeping count it was a shit ton, said all Southern-like) and Jennifer Nettles brought down The Ryman.  As she correctly noted, we were the Catholic cousins who could drink and got away with things when we were younger…and we’d all since recovered and can now drink together.  Cheers to that.

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grays peek

She is amazing.  Her 70’s radio/Gospel/country concert was perfect and made me cry more than once.

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There is so much goodness in this last photo.  I have on the famous, flammable, $100 jacket (Does she really approve this stuff?  Good question.) and my oldest cousin was still firmly in his cowboy persona in the background.

There is so much to love in Nashville.

Barlympics

I hadn’t been to Rhinegeist yet.  I’m the worst.  Luckily, my first trip this past weekend was for an excellent cause and benefited Tender Mercies.  Tender Mercies held a Barlympics fundraiser/Olympics viewing party/beer drinking event at the brewery to benefit their programs to house adults with mental illnesses.

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Vanilla Ink Porter, for those who want to know

We were happy to field a team (we were New Zealand, in case you’re wondering) and apparently came in fourth place – ping pong was our undoing.   The activities included Nerf gun target shoot, inflatable bowling, dizzy bat, bouncy ball race, cornhole, trivia, and ping pong.  I don’t have any action shots of the events because I was competing, and we looked silly.  Sorry.

That’s a lie.  I have these.

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grays peek

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The Great Melting

Today it rained, fogged, thunder-sleeted and, most importantly, it melted.  The whole world is melting.

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This means I’ll have to avoid Columbia Parkway for the next week out of fear of hill slides and of one of those giant ice towers finally coming loose and smashing my car with a fury.  On the brighter side, days are getting longer and we bought cookie dough flavored Oreos at the grocery store tonight…

Also, after lots of talk of how fun it would be to buy baseball mitts and play catch when it warms up, and alternately how much fun it would be to muster up enough whimsy to do a snow angel in our front yard before the snow melts, Husband and I settled on an agreeable alternative tonight: we threw snowballs at a dumpster.  Yes, that annoying dumpster across the street has finally found a purpose as a snowball target.  We compromised with our adult selves by not getting all wet making snow angels and instead lobbed snowballs into/at the dumpster to the effect of very satisfying thuds.

(Off topic and way out in the weeds: this is one of the better maps I’ve found to explain the Cincinnati subway)

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February 2014
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