Day Trip from Nashville to Port Royal State Historic Park, Dunbar Caverns, Clarksville

In early summer 2017, Aleksi and I took a great day trip from Nashville, TN, up to Clarksville, a cute little town an hour north of Nashville, right on the border with Kentucky. Our first stop was the nearby Port Royal State Historic Park. This is a really neat park. Not only was it lush and gorgeous and filled with wildflowers, it has some fascinating history. Settled in the 1780’s, it was one of the earliest colonial communities and trading posts in Middle Tennessee. In the 19th Century, the town of Port Royal became a trading hub, thanks to its strategic location at the head of the Red River. Eventually, bigger trading towns rose up in the region and the town slowly disappeared. Today, all that’s left is one historic general store building, but there’s some great signage around to let you know what was once there.

The area is also significant because it sits right on the infamous Trail of Tears, the horrific forced march of thousands of Native Americans westward by the US government so that white colonists could take their ancestral lands. It was moving to stand on the old road where they would have walked, and a sober reminder of the foundation of cruelty and theft so much of American society is built on. The town of Clarksville itself is really cute. The star of the little historic downtown is a stunning Victorian building from the late 19th Century that once served as a customs office and now holds the local history and art museum (which is worth a visit, especially when you need to get out of the Tennessee summer heat). I had to a do a double take when I first saw the building because it’s not the kind of thing you expect to see in a little Tennessee town.  After wandering around downtown Clarksville, we ate an incredible lunch at Silke’s Old World Breads, a killer German-style bakery and lunch spot run by a German woman and her family. It was so fun to be in the middle of a small town in Tennessee and hear people behind the counter and in line speaking German! And their bread basket definitely satisfied some of my cravings for German bakeries that had plagued me since coming back from Berlin a few months earlier.

After lunch we checked out another nearby TN State Park, Dunbar Cave. There’s not too much to see there except the opening to the cave and the old concession area built in the 60’s. However, it’s got a really interesting history as a community gathering space and summer recreation area, thanks to the cool air that comes out of the mouth of the cave, which is one of the largest in the county (Middle Tennessee has endless caves, so that’s saying something). Definitely worth a stop by if you are in the area.


35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more posts from Tennessee.

And don’t forget to check out my podcast about museums and travel, Museums in Strange Places, available on Apple Podcasts and wherever else you get your podcast fix.

Weekend Trip to Chattanooga and South Cumberland State Park

Back in April 2017, when I was still living in Nashville, Aleksi (who was visiting from London over Spring break) and I took a fantastic weekend camping/road trip down to South Cumberland State Park and Chattanooga. I’m sharing the Chattanooga photos first because they turned out so much nicer. (Fun fact about me, I am incapable of saying “Chattanooga” without humming the classic Glenn Miller tune. I probably watched The Glenn Miller Story with my grandma dozens of times growing up, so the tune is really nostalgic for me.)

South Cumberland is another fantastic Tennessee State Park. It’s known for a long hiking trail (with a great name), Fiery Gizzard Trail. But we decided to see the incredible waterfalls at each end of the trail the easy way, by driving between and enjoying the two shorter hikes instead of day/multi-day hike. We camped at the Foster Falls campground, which was a really lovely and peaceful spot in the woods.

After a day of camping, we popped down to Chattanooga. The downtown, touristy area in Chattanooga is really cute. They have a fantastic aquarium with interesting exhibits on fish around the world and in the local ecosystem as well as a really impressive art museum, the Hunter Museum of American Art, that’s held in three buildings: a historic 1850’s mansion, a brutalist structure from the 1970’s, and a stunning contemporary building cantilevered over the Tennessee River. The photo above is from outside the art museum and so are photos 5,6, and 7). 

35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more posts from Tennessee.

And don’t forget to check out my podcast about museums and travel, Museums in Strange Places, available on Apple Podcasts and wherever else you get your podcast fix.

Burgess Falls State Park, Tennessee

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A few photos from an early-Spring 2017 day trip to Burgess Falls State Park, about an hour from Nashville, Tennessee. One of my favorite thing about living in Nashville for two years was the state park system. Tennessee has 56 state parks filled with gorgeous nature, waterfalls, caves, cliffs, and other amazing natural and man made features (some ancient). I went to Burgess Falls a few time while living in Nashville. As you walk along the trail through the woods, you can stop at three waterfalls of increasing size. It’s a wonderful day trip from Nashville, and if you go I highly recommend stopping at the Cafe Between the Parks (8272 Burgess Falls Rd, Baxter, TN 38544), a cozy family-run shop and lunch place between Burgess Falls and Cummins Falls (the latter is an amazing place to go swimming in the summer, FYI). burgessfalls2burgessfalls7

35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more posts from Tennessee.

And don’t forget to check out my podcast about museums and travel, Museums in Strange Places, available on Apple Podcasts and wherever else you get your podcast fix.

North Carolina: Blue Ridge Parkway

Winter is certainly not the ideal time of year to explore the Blue Ridge Parkway, but we didn’t let that stop us. Even in the winter, it was one of the most spectacular drives I’ve ever taken. We drove about an hour north on the parkway from the Visitors Center near Asheville and hiked the Craggy Pinnacle Trail, which gave us a stunning (and extremely windy) 360 view of the seemingly endless layers of mountains. (Photos from our Christmas 2016 roadtrip from Nashville, TN, to Upper Marlboro, MD, and back.)

[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000.]

Asheville, North Carolina


On our way back to Nashville from Maryland this past Christmas, we stopped for three days in Asheville, North Carolina. This quirky mountain town is known for it’s live bluegrass and thriving arts scene. We had a blast walking around, popping into cool shops and bookstores, catching mid-day movies at the indie theater, and checking out a bluegrass jam at a local pub one evening.

[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000.]

Christmas 2017 in Upper Marlboro, MD

It’s always nice to go home. I’ve posted before about the lovely part of Maryland that I consider home. I always try to get out and take a long drive through the rural area around my mom’s house when I’m back. We had great weather this past Christmas, so Aleksi and I sneaked off to hang out on the landing for some alone time. We also took a walk around the graveyard at St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Croom, which was built between 1742-1745 and is one of the oldest Episcopal churches Southern Maryland. There a number of historically significant folks buried around the tiny church.

[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. For more pictures of Maryland, click here.]

Virginia: The Natural Bridge

A rainy stop at the magnificent Natural Bridge in Virginia. Photos really can’t capture how neat this geological masterpiece is in person. This was the second day in our road trip from Nashville to Maryland and back over Christmas.

 [35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. For more pictures of Virginia, click here.]