Monday, May 13, 2019

Tennessee Road Trip...

Well, it's been a while! This blog had sort of become my digital travel log, but in recent years I've resorted to frequent Instagram uploads! But I miss all the details! So, in an effort to chronicle a fun recent trip to Tennessee, both for the fun memories and preserving details for future trips, here we go!

Jesse and I decided last week we needed to leave town -- nothing but rain in the forecast and my hardworking farmer needed a change. of. scenery. After checking out some of our Arkansas favorites (Mount Magazine, Petit Jean) and finding them booked, we started looking a little farther down the road. Two things grabbed our attention: Johnnyswim was going to be at The Ryman and this blog post with details of a one-day drive/hike to beautiful waterfalls in the Nashville area!

We struck out for Cookeville, Tenn., which seemed like the best jumping off spot for the waterfalls. The forecast called for rain that afternoon, so we got a fairly early start and headed for Cummins Falls State Park!

Cummins Falls is the eighth largest in Tennessee in terms of volume of water and it was beautiful! In the summer, the pool at the bottom is a popular swimming spot! We didn't hike to the bottom (very steep, very slippery!) and we were on a time schedule, but it'd be fun to return to some time! Sidenote: there was no charge to enter any of the state parks we visited!

Next stop: Burgess Falls. This park showcases several waterfalls along the Falling Waters River. We hiked about a mile down a fairly steep descent, passing four waterfalls on the right and beautiful rock formations and wildflowers. The waterfalls became progressively bigger along the route. As advised by others, we took the service road loop back out to the parking area. (Sidenote: on the day, my Fitbit said we took 12,461 steps, or 5.37 miles. But it gave us credit for 45 flights of stairs! Some trails were stair-steps, others were rocks we climbed over!

Next stop: Rock Island State Park where we saw Great Falls and Twin Falls. Great Falls was a horseshoe shaped waterfall and lovely. But Twin Falls was amazing! Multiple waterfalls (more than two) gushing from the rock formation. Beautiful! 

After all that hiking, we found the "Mustang Lucy's" of Rock Island where we got a "meat and three" that fortified our souls for the last state park! (We ate too fast to get a picture of the food!)

Last stop: Fall Creek Falls State Park where we saw Fall Creek Falls and Piney Creek Falls AND braved a suspension bridge just as the promised rain began to fall! At 256 feet tall, Fall Creek Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls east of the Mississippi!

View from the suspension bridge....gulp.

A sample of the kind of hiking we did!

Along the drive throughout the day, I couldn't resist taking pictures of a few of the barns we passed along the way...

Back in Cookeville we got coffee (me) and an ice cream (Jesse) at Cream City, a Cookeville institution...(which also kicked off the first of many "honey" sightings!)

 ((I tried a taste of "salty honey" -- it was good!

We took off the next morning for Nashville adventuring, which included touring The Ryman, meandering around Music Row, finding some yummy lunch (The Merchant), afternoon snacks (Milk & Honey) checking into our Airbnb, a little meandering around The Gulch (more Honey sightings!), then heading back to The Ryman for a fantastic show by Johnnyswim!

Such a great night! The next morning we got up early and beat the (normally hour-long) line for breakfast at Biscuit Love and, while we were at it, we also beat the line to take a picture with the angel wing mural (both were steps from our Airbnb). If you go to Nashville and aren't photographed with a mural, were you even there? Downside: we literally threw on our clothes to get to breakfast, so my "photoshoot" was sans makeup and cute hair, unlike the hundreds of other supermodels in line to take a pic! Oh well!

It was time to head back home, but we couldn't resist a quick stop-off at Arrington Vineyards, owned by our very favorite country superstar AND Princess Theatre's amazing supporter: Kix Brooks! We got there before they opened and just happened upon a strawberry patch nearby so we joined in with the other families doing some picking! Then we visited the lovely vineyard. Would you believe after touring and tasting, one of the "gifts" was a hatch print and one of the choices was a "Honey" themed print? Meant to be. 

Well, there you have it! A quick, really fun road trip to Tennessee -- it may be the cure for what ails you! (also, I've never been super-adept at making blog posts "look" pretty, but I just wanted to put all the pictures in one place! One of these days maybe I'll learn what I'm doing!)