I’ve recently created a new Kentucky travel map.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
You may recall that we made a quick stop in Loudon on a previous Tuesday Trekkin’. I decided we should go back during the day and check out the town. We decided to try the back way into town and got a little lost. But it wouldn’t be a Tuesday without a little diversion.
Once we arrived, we had an excellent low key lunch at Annabell’s Emporium. We both had soup and quiche. He had the Italian Wedding Soup. I had the tomato bisque. Both were spot on.
After lunch, we made our way around town. We found some interesting empty buildings. It always breaks my heart when I go to these small towns and see so many empty shops and buildings. And these were some pretty cool places that are just begging for love and art.
After seeing these historic brick buildings, we rounded a corner and saw this place. It is the old Bacon Creamery / Hosiery and later Hutch Manufacturing. But now it is empty and falling apart. I appreciate beauty in decay. However, I wish it were full of people working and building and making.
Tuesday Trekkin’ is fun for us. We see so many new and different things. Places that I did not know existed and would never have found if we didn’t just start wondering around. We will be taking a little break. But hope to be back trekkin’ soon!
Prints are available from all of the Tuesday Trekkin’ blogs here.
The weekly photo challenge is sweet. I don’t eata lot of sweets on a regular basis. But I do tend to splurge a bit when I travel. When I was Richmond, VA, I went to a local Farmer’s Market where there was a donut truck. People were lined up for these donuts. Once I had one, I knew why. They were delicious! The donut makers were also nice enough to allow me to take some photos.
We finally got back on the road for Tuesday Trekkin’. My Tuesdays have turned into take the cat to the vet day. We have 6 cats and 4 of them are seniors, so vet visits are a way of life. Anyway, back to the real reason we’re here.
We had been planning to go to Jonesborough, the first town in Tennessee. However, plans are more like suggestions for us, so that didn’t happen. It was cold and I didn’t fancy walking around outside in the cold. We decided a car ride might be a better option. We could see things and still enjoy the heated seats. There was also the lure of possible snow in the mountains. Snow can make pretty pictures.
We planned to eat at a bbq place in Townsend, but we got there and it was closed for the season. We found a great little Italian place, Brianna’s Italian Restaurant and Cuisine, just down the road instead. It proved to be a happy accident. Walt had the stromboli and I had the eggplant parmesan. Both were excellent! We will definitely be going back.
Cades Cove was a bit of a disappointment as there was only a bit of snow here and there. Winter in the mountains is brown. Cades Cove is a valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The road is an 11 mile loop where you can see tons of wildlife, some old historic cabins, and a few old churches. We took the shortcut though and saw none of that. Onward we went.
Walt decided we might try Elkmont, but the sun was setting fast. We weren’t sure we’d make it in time. They close a lot of the roads after dark due to possible hazardous conditions in the winter. But we made it! I had not been there before and found it pretty cool. It’s a small resort community in the mountains where people could stay in the summer. Most of the leases were up in 2001. After that, it became a ghost town. The Wonderland Hotel was once in this area, but in 2005 it collapsed. Most of the historical items were removed and a small annex was left. The annex burned down in 2016.
I found an old hard drive with some photos and thought I might breath a new life into some of them. That led me to rework a couple more recent photos as well.
The Noshville sign was located in Nashville, TN. I took this photo in 2011 with an old, lo-res camera. The file is small so larger prints are not available. But smaller sizes are available.
The JFG sign is a recent pic. I wanted the final to have a vintage feel just like the signs themselves.
I took these photos back in 2014. I wanted to do a series on birds because we have so many blue birds and cardinals. But that proved to be easier said than done. So, I haven’t pursued that much since.
Main Street Station in the Shockoe Bottom community in the city of Richmond, VA. I wanted a vintage feel, like it was taken in the early 20th century. Instead, I got eerie, but that’s cool. I like that too. Here is the original.