The exploration of Tennessee has begun! My Mom, sister and I took the leap and moved from Southern California to Nashville, about 3 1/2 weeks ago, and now that everything is unpacked and put in it’s place we can finally get out and explore!
Our first adventure was driving along, most of, the Tennessee Natchez Trace Parkway. The parkway spans from Tennessee, Alabama to Mississippi. The Old Trace was used by Native Americans, settlers, future presidents and soldiers off to war. While on the trail, you can go through around 10,000 years of history and there are even 2 original buildings, from the 1800’s, you can see. One being the Gordon House, that was built around 1812. Not only is it a beautiful drive, the Trace is filled with early American History. I can’t wait to go in the Fall, when all of the leaves are turning.
Today the Trace can be driven, it is a designated bicycle path, it can be hiked, and explored on horseback. We drove around 50 miles of the Trace, and stopped at Historic Markers, waterfalls, bridges, creeks, a Tobacco Farm, and the Gordon House. There are restrooms and picnic tables all along the Trace, so bring a picnic lunch. Also, this 50 miles, with stopping, can take all day or just a few hours, depending on how long you want to be at each location. Hiking shoes, are probably a good idea, especially if you want to hike further into each location. I wore a pair of Vans and they were perfect for the walking and little bit of hiking we did. If you are ever in the Nashville area, this is a wonderful free activity to consider.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This day has me dreaming of returning to that magical isle of Ireland, one day. While there the trip to Newgrange was probably one of my favorite. We didn’t book any of our day outings in advance, mainly because the weather is so unpredictable. On, I believe it was our 2nd day there, we stopped at the Dublin Visitors Centre and booked our day trips for the week. For our trip to Newgrange we chose to do a day trip, that included Hill of Tara, with Mary Gibbons. Mary is filled with so much wonderful information, about both sites, and she talks quite a bit on the ride to each of the locations. I thought that all the information she spoke about was pure gold, but if you don’t want a chatty ride then you may not like this specific tour guide. We were so unbelievably fortunate that her archaeologist brother, Michael Gibbons, was on the trip with us. He was able to give us even more information on the different landforms and carvings that we saw.
If you have never heard of Newgrange before, it is an UNSECO World Heritage Site and is dated to 3,200 BC. Yes, 3,200 BC! That predates the Egyptian pyramids, by 1,000 years! This Neolithic monument was a passage tomb, and was used as a temple of sort, that is linked to the nearby Knowth and Dowth; combined they are known at Brú na Bóinne. The people of the area were farmers and used the light of the Winter Solstice to illuminate the inside of tomb. It was used to honor the dead, that were placed inside, and it was also used as a calendar of sorts. On the tour, with Mary, you are able to go in and witness how the sun would have entered in. A little tip, make sure you bag is not large. When entering you are not allowed to touch the walls, because they are filled with carvings and reliefs; and remember they are 5,200 years old. It is also a very narrow passageway.
This site is so amazing, and the surrounding landscape is picture perfect. If you ever find yourself in Ireland, this day trip would be in my top 3. And if you go around this time of year, all the Daffodils are in full bloom!