Monday, July 9, 2012

Road Trip to TN

Ryman Auditorium - former home of the Grand Ole Opry

My husband and I decided to take a low-key road trip to Tennessee.  Like most of my friends, you are probably wondering, "Why Tennessee?"  For one thing I have only blown through the state on the way to other places and have spent very little time exploring the scenic state.  For another reason, I have a fabulously fun and inspirationally fit aunt who lives in the Baxter/Cookeville, TN area with whom, I got to spend some time relaxing and exploring her part of Tennessee.  If you ever find yourself wandering around the scenic byways of southern Virginia and eastern and middle Tennessee, here are a few off-the-beaten-path places you may want to explore:

Places to visit in Tennessee

Stratford Hall Plantation, Stratford, VA (about 1.5 hours south of DC) - is the birthplace of Robert E. Lee.  Guided house tours, plus self-guided tours of the gardens and property plus hiking trails to explore. (Discounts for seniors, AAA and National Trust for Historic Preservation members, and free admission during the summer for active duty military and their families)
Blount Mansion, Knoxville, TN - guided tours of the house and grounds
Cookeville Depot Museum, Cookeville, TN - (no admission fee) - historic train depot museum
Delmonico Winery and Vineyards, Baxter, TN - beautiful location, wine tastings and tours available
Lotz House, Franklin, TN - (Discounts for seniors, AAA members) - Civil War house museum with guided tours
McKay Used Books, Nashville, TN - there are multiple locations of this huge bookstore throughout Tennessee. There are lots of used books, cds, dvds and albums.  Be mindful of the pricing as some seemed higher than expected, but good overall.

Healthy eats in Nashville, TN
And if you are looking for some healthy, vegetarian friendly food in and on the way to these locations, you might try:

Cool Springs Organics, Lexington, VA - food co-op and restaurant
Clementine Cafe, Harrisonburg, VA - located in the historic district and offers food, art and music.
The Wild Cow, Nashville, TN - restaurant that offers vegetarian, vegan and gluten free meals

Three Rivers Market, Knoxville, TN - the only community food co-op currently in TN where there is a small food bar and cafe tables

After a week of travels and exploration, I am looking forward to spending some time tending my garden.  I've been assured by my garden sitter son that it is recovering from the storms of the past few weeks and doing well despite the oppressive heat.  It'll be time to unpack the suitcase and put on the garden gloves!
Sunset in TN on the road home

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