Native American Ruins at Old Stone Fort in Manchester, Tennessee

oldstonefort1

Old Stone Fort in Coffee County, Tennessee (about an hour and some change south of Nashville, also home of Bonnaroo) is not a fort. When it was discovered by white settlers, they mis-identified it as a fort, and the name has stuck. In fact, the stone walls covered in earth works were created by Native Americans in the Middle Woodland Period (1,500-2,000 years ago). The site has been studied by archeologists on and off since the 60’s, but we still don’t know for sure what it was used for. The low wall is build along the edge of a peninsula created by the confluence of two rivers. The placement of the entrance to the large clearing within the wall suggests the area was used for ceremonial purposes.

oldstonefort3

There are some interpretive panels around the site that can tell you more, but they are rather old. You can’t really see much of the wall, since it’s covered in earth and forest growth, but the site itself is a great place to walk around and explore for a few hours. There are a few little waterfalls and you plenty of paths to take you down by the rivers. There are also some ruins from civil-war era mills here and there. Aleksi and I drove down there last spring, and had a grand old time. I highly recommend it if you are looking for a nice half-day trip from Nashville.

oldstone11

oldstonefort10

oldstonefort9

oldstonefort8

oldstonefort7

oldstonefort6

oldstonefort5

oldstonefort4

oldstonefort2

[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more photos of Tennessee.]

St. Louis, Missouri

s-louis-3

My weekend trip to St. Louis last February turned out to be rather ill-fated. The drive was longer than I estimated, a bit too long to do by myself. On Saturday, as I was happily pulling up to the stunning Basilica (home of the 2nd largest church mosaic in the US), my camera battery died, and with no spares on hand, I was unable to take any pictures for the rest of the day.

However, before that, a friend living and St. Louis and I had gone to the City Museum, which is basically a multi-story building turned into a giant folk-art playground for kids and adults alike. I didn’t get many good pictures, but check out this video for a look inside. There are tunnels going between floors, a bus cantilevered off the ceiling, mysterious tunnels, a junk-metal slide going from the top of the building down, and all kinds of crazy art to climb in and on.  st-louis1

But Sunday morning, it started to snow while I was out in the city, and I got in an accident. My car just suffered a dent on it’s side, but it really shook me up, and I decided to head home early. Due to all the snow and ice on the roads all the way back, it took me a few extra hours to get back to Nashville, making it a 9-hour trip total. Ugh. Suffice to say, I have not taken a solo road trip above four hours since then. Before the accident, I made it to the Missouri History Museum, which was one of the best history museums I’ve ever visited (and free). I hope to get back to St. Louis soon. What I saw, I loved! But maybe I’ll go in the summer next time.

st-louis2

Here are a few photos I took on my phone of the Basilica, the interior of the City Museum, and the Arch.

Louisville, Kentucky (iPhone Shots)

My film shots of Louisville didn’t really turn out, but I wouldn’t want you to think I didn’t see anything beautiful, so here are a few Instagram shots from that weekend trip in early 2016. We saw some great Victorians in the historic Victorian district, learned and drank some bourbon history at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience, wandered through the eclectic Joe Ley Antiques and popped into a few museums and used bookstores. The Frazier History Museum had a fantastic exhibit on Prohibition. Highly recommend that museum if you get a chance to visit.

Historic Madison, Indiana

madison5

Just across the Ohio River from Kentucky, about an hour northeast of Louisville, is the precious historic town of Madison, Indiana. It’s a picture-book American small town, tucked in a narrow valley along the river. The National Park Service has documented 43 historic buildings in Madison’s National Landmark District, and during WWII it was so picturesque that the U.S. government used it as the filming location for a 10 minute propaganda piece.madison1

Aleksi and I spent the day in Madison at the tail end of a visit to Louisville in early 2016. While Louisville turned out not to be a great city to explore on a cold, dark winter day, Madison was charming even with most historic sites shut and intermittent snow fall. Thanks to connections through my job, we got a tour of the Shrewsbury-Windle House, which was closed to the public for restoration. That building and the house below were build by the same Baltimore architect in the mid-1800’s. They both feature gorgeous tall ceilings, stunning spiral staircases, and views of the river. On my Instagram you can see a shot of the the interior and staircase of the yellow house. madison20

We wandered around historic downtown Madison, enjoying the lovely little historic houses and main street and popping into a few cute stores. It was worth a visit in the winter, and I’m sure it’s delightful in the summer. For extra credit, check out my Instagram of the snow falling on the quiet main street.

madison18

madison16

madison15

madison14

madison12

madison10

madison9

madison8

madison7

madison4

madison3

madison2

[Photos taken with a Canon Rebel EOS 2000 SLR.]

Cherry Blossom Surprise

blossoms1

Back in March, I was surprised and delighted to find that the scrawny little tree in my front yard was in fact a cherry tree. It had some truly lovely blooms, which I captured on one of those strange-light afternoons where the sun peeks out from under the clouds in between bursts of rain. blossoms5

blossoms4

blossoms3

blossoms2

blossoms6 [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more photos of Tennessee.]

Nashville, TN: Our Parthenon Has a Roof, Can Greece Say the Same?

nashville27

FYI in case you didn’t know, Nashville has a full-size replica of the intact Parthenon complete with giant gold statue of Athena. Also there’s a nice art gallery in the basement. So, all-in-all, a lot more going on here than that pile of rubble in Greece. *winky face* This masterpiece of American kitsch was build in 1897, as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, which celebrated the 100th anniversary of Nashville statehood. In 1997, they created the Bicentennial Mall State Park, which is more classier but far less absurdly delightful. [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more photos of Tennessee.]