A visit to Murfreesboro, TN

It’s May, that means it’s time for the Renaissance Faire in Middle Tennessee. The Faire takes place in Arrington, TN on the grounds with an actual castle. It takes place each weekend in May. My friends, S and P, introduced me to this awesome event!

Arrington is located between Franklin and Murfreesboro, TN. It’s a 3 hour drive for us, so we spend the night in Murfreesboro, so we are nice and rested for the Faire.

The Green Dragon Pub and Brewery

We drove to Murfreesboro on Friday afternoon. We stopped at the Green Dragon for pints and snacks. The Green Dragon Pub and Brewery is an homage to Tolkien’s works. The owners are true Tolkien fans and it feels exactly like I image a pub in Bywater would be. We love it! They always have great beers and the food is perfect. It’s not bar food. It’s real food.

Our Airbnb

After drinks and snacks we went to our Airbnb called Childress House: The Gardner.  This was my first Airbnb and I’m pretty sure it was a perfect way to start a new trend for me. Our host was Sandi, a sweet lady who lives in the downstairs of the historic house. In addition to our full apartment, we were given access to the Parlor, a lovely outdoor garden area, and the large porches. Sandi also provided cream twists for snacking. Oh, and there was a Keurig in the apartment with coffee.

Around Town

The Gardner was located within walking distance of downtown, so off we went. Murfreesboro has a thriving downtown with bars, restaurants, shops, barbers, salons, and some friendly people. We had a pint at Liquid Smoke, located on the main square. The smoke was too much for me, so we sat outside and did some people watching.  Some great signs from downtown.

We had a reservation for dinner at Five Senses. It was too far to walk, so we got a Lyft to the restaurant. Where we ate some of the best mushroom soup I have ever eaten. There may have also been a stop for a pint at a nearby bar. We Lyfted back to the Gardner where we had those cream twists awaiting us.

Down to the garden we went for dessert. We were greeted by dear pup Abby and a couple other dogs which were a bit too timid to visit with us.  We also enjoyed our morning coffee in this quiet back yard.

After our first rounds of coffee and Abby pets, we were off! Renaissance Faire details in the next installment.  I’ll give you a hint, there might be some drinking and eating.

 

Where ever I go, there I am

The weekly photo challenge is Place in the World.  Where do you belong?  I belong everywhere. When I feel like I’m in a creative rut or need some inspiration, I don’t go to a safe place. I try to go somewhere that I’ve never been. I try to learn something new. Whether it’s a large city or a small town, it’s where I belong in that moment. The travel and newness wake me up!

Courthouses of Tennessee

I have traveled around the world and seen some amazing architecture. Courthouses in particular seem to get the special treatment, no matter where you are or how large the town or city. They tend to be the largest, most ornate structure in town, outside of churches or cathedrals. I have found this to be especially true in small American towns. In these small towns, the courthouse is often in the center of town, towering over all other buildings.

Knoxville Tennessee

Knoxville has the Knox County Courthouse, erected in 1885. The historic courthouse still houses several county departments. However, the majority of the city and county services are in the City-County building, erected in 1979.

Knoxville also has the Howard J. Baker Federal Courthouse.  While originally built for Whittle Communications in the early 1990s, it has all the makings of a proper courthouse. I guess that’s why they made it into one. It has a large central courtyard with a  beautiful clock tower and cupola. It is considered a postmodern version of neo-Georgian architecture.

Other Tennessee Courthouses

The historic Loudon County Courthouse is the standard brick with arched windows and doors. Although, it does not have a clock tower or a front porch with columns, as most courthouses do. Construction on this building began in the late nineteenth century.  The Jefferson County Courthouse is located in downtown Dandridge, TN. One of the oldest courthouses in the state of TN, it was erected in 1845. It is constructed in the Greek Revival Style with a tall cupola and large square columns on the front entry. The building is on a large hill, giving it a slightly uneven look.

A Weekend in the Bluegrass

My father recently gifted my sister and I a farm in Springfield, KY. So, the mister and I decided to go up and spend the weekend checking out the area and surrounding towns.

Freewheelin’ Friday

We started out early on Friday and headed north to Kentucky. We stopped in Stanford at the Bluebird Cafe where we ate a great lunch with excellent service. I had a pear salad, ask me about romaine lettuce and hep a. Walt had a ham and cheese with sliced pair (Parisian pear sandwich). From there we made our way to Danville where we stopped at Kroger for snacks and supplies. Then the Liquor Barn next door. I want one of these in my town. Really. It’s just too cool. They have liquor and beer and snacks and liquor and beer and this one even had a bar in the middle. Have a beer while you pick out beer. Does it get better?

We finally made it to the Farm. Holy shit, one lane windy roads, dogs, and deer everywhere. It’s a quiet, dead end road with no traffic and very few neighbors.

Springfield, KY

After a nap and a very short hike, we decided it was dinner time. We debated on whether we should go to Danville or Springfield for dinner. We chose Springfield because it’s closer to our current location. We went to a place called Mordecai’s in downtown Springfield. On Friday they have seafood buffet with shrimp and crab legs and other seafood type stuff. But we aren’t really buffet people, so we ordered off the menu. We started with the Wisconsin cheese curds, fried cheese with a spicy breading. I got the blackened, grilled salmon and the mister got the Kentucky Hot Brown. What in the hell is that? I can hear you asking that right now. Well, it’s white bread (usually toasted), turkey, cheese, mornay sauce (this varies depending on location), more cheese, bacon, and tomato. There are variations with ham added. This version did not have the Mornay sauce which disappointed the mister greatly. He said it was still excellent. The beverage was Country Boy Cougar Bait, brewed in Georgetown, KY. I generally prefer darker beers, but I liked this pretty well. In fact, we bought a six pack to back to Tennessee with us.

 

Sightseeing Saturday

The next morning, we took a much longer hike. We saw a few deer in the distance, but not much else. After cleaning up, we headed to Bardstown, KY for lunch. I loved Bardstown. It reminded me of a European town or maybe something in England. It very much had the feel of a quaint historic village. We had lunch at the Old Talbott Tavern. The historic tavern contains a bed and breakfast, a restaurant, and a bourbon bar. The food was fantastic. I had the brisket sandwich. The mister had the Kentucky Hot Brown. This hot brown had the Mornay sauce, making him a happy man. We did try the Kentucky Ale beer cheese. It was good, but I have had better. I washed mine down with Guinness and the mister had the Tavern Mule – bourbon, ginger beer, and fresh ginger. It was perfect. Did I mention they have a bourbon bar? See the pics!

After lunch we went to the Bourbon Heritage Center, located at the Heavenhill Distillery. If you go to a distillery, note the trees in the area. All of the bark will be black. This is from where the liquid evaporates and coats everything in the area. The museum had a great exhibition, detailing the history of Kentucky bourbon. We did not tour the distillery or do a tasting. We were tired and had enough drink already.

Homeward Bound

Sunday morning, we headed home. On the way home we stopped in Stanford, so I could take some more photos of the courthouse. We finally made it to the interstate and a Waffle House. I got my old standard, the Cheese and Eggs plate and the mister got a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich.

 

If you have seen my Tuesday Trekkin’ blogs, you’ll know that I love to visit small town America. Many of the small towns I visit are virtually empty. It was great to see active small towns worth visiting again. Americana at its best!

 

Arches and Lines

The Weekly Photo Challenge is Lines. 

The Central Market in Budapest, Hungary is a marvel of lines and curves, iron and glass combine to create a large, well lit space.

Different Is Not Wrong

I recently had the chance to enter a local photography competition. The theme was the human element in black and white. The only two rules were that it had to be black and white and have only one person in it. If you have seen my portfolio, you know that quite a bit of my work is dedicated to street photography. I was torn between entering a photo representing what I do best or trying to do something different. I decided to leave my comfort zone.

Embarrassment

I do try to hide my legs because of the fact that I no longer shave them. I get angry with myself for not just owning it. I mean,  I shouldn’t be doing it, if I’m going to be ashamed of it, right? And it’s not that I worry about people making fun of me. I don’t really care about that. But I know that it does gross some people out. I don’t blame them for that. It’s outside of their scope. We’ve been told that smooth women are sexy and clean. If they aren’t smooth everywhere, then they are dirty.  The hair on my legs is course and thick. I had to use that horrible hair removal stuff that stinks and itches. Shaving too me ages and I would go through razor blades like cookies. So, I decided I just was not going to do it anymore. It’s been two years.

Something Different

I entered “De Feet” into the Human Element competition. When I got there to drop off my image, I felt weird. I knew that people would ask who the model is. Most people thought it was a man’s legs in a skirt. Then the other photos were mostly portraits or street photography and they were amazing. I got a little angry with myself. The part that hates myself was berating, “why do you always get it wrong?!” But the part that loves myself, the one that’s been fighting to get out for years, said, “different isn’t wrong, dammit.”

Different isn’t wrong

And that is true. I won 5th place out of 28 entries, not bad for an image so different from the others. I had several people tell they love it. Although, one person said she loves it, but still “wants to shave them legs.”

How would it look?

A new gallery with some of my images in living spaces. Ever wonder what it would look like on the wall? I used an extension for Photoshop created by Giovanni Allievi. Visit his page and check out his work and if you can purchase the extension there as well.

A gallery of travel maps in place

They look great in these spaces. The soft, muted tones look great on dark walls or light. Did you know that you can purchase my prints already framed? It makes  decorating so much easier.

Some more of my favorites

Food art for the kitchen. Or travel photography from central Europe.  Check out my Americana gallery for images of American cities and towns.

 

 

What have I been doing?

I haven’t written a blog in awhile. I don’t know why. I guess I haven’t had much to say. I don’t have much to say today either. Enjoy this gallery of new photos. I’ve been running around Kentucky and Knoxville taking photos. Comments and feedback are always welcome. Feel free to also share your own gallery.

Downtown Knoxville, TN

Downtown Williamsburg, KY

Downtown Richmond, KY

 

Fine Art Photography by Sharon Popek