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Archive for tennessee

Tennessee’s Cherokee

By Linda Tancs

Tennessee’s only national forest, Cherokee National Forest is the largest tract of public land in the state, separated into two parts by Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Covering nearly 630,000 acres in ten East Tennessee counties, it has a whopping 30 developed campgrounds, 30 picnic areas, 700 miles of trail, hundreds of miles of cold water streams and seven whitewater rivers, among other things. Recreational opportunities are plentiful, a popular one being ginseng harvesting. Ginseng is a native plant of Tennessee that grows mostly in cool, moist mountain forests. Keep an eye out for the permitting process in the coming months. The collection process is limited.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Nashville’s Italianate Villa

By Linda Tancs

Belmont Mansion is Tennessee’s largest antebellum house, an Italianate villa in Nashville that once boasted an art gallery, a bowling alley and a zoo, among other things. Originally the summer home for Nashville socialite Adelicia Acklen and her family, the estate also served as temporary headquarters for the Union army during the Civil War and later as a women’s college. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1971, the mansion features 36 rooms over 19,000 square feet. A guided tour takes about one hour.

UPDATE: Since the scheduling of this post, the Nashville area has suffered one of the most devastating storms in its history. Please consider donating to a relief organization and keep those affected in your thoughts and prayers.

Good to the Last Drop in Nashville

By Linda Tancs

The Cheek family of Nashville, Tennessee, were successful entrepreneurs. One of their ventures gave rise to Maxwell House coffee, proclaimed to be “good to the last drop” by President Theodore Roosevelt. Thanks to their efforts, the public gets to enjoy the mansion and gardens of Cheekwood. Originally built as the home of Leslie and Mabel Cheek in 1929, the 55-acre estate is now the site of a botanical garden as well as an art museum in the mansion. The estate is also one of the finest examples of the Country Place Era, a period of American landscape architecture design reflecting the commissioning of extensive gardens intended to emulate those found among the grand manor estates in Europe. The site is less than nine miles southwest of downtown Nashville.

A Shrunken Head in Memphis

By Linda Tancs

One of the most enduring landmarks in Memphis, Tennessee, the Pink Palace Museum hosts an eclectic mix of artifacts bearing historical, educational and technological significance. For instance, you’ll find a life-size replica of the first Piggly Wiggly store, the forerunner to today’s self-service grocery store. That was the brainchild of grocery clerk Clarence Saunders, who later conceived of the palatial estate now hosting the museum. But perhaps the most memorable exhibit for visitors is the shrunken head sitting in the middle of the rotunda. Once owned by local businessman Abe Scharff, it was later donated to the museum and is believed to be a relic from his visits to South American tribal regions in modern-day Ecuador and Peru where head shrinking was a common practice. No one is quite sure whether the item is real, but you can read up on the process that headhunters used to get a shrunken head while you’re deciding for yourself.

Across the Cumberland Plateau

By Linda Tancs

Regarded as Tennessee’s largest and most visited state park, Fall Creek Falls State Park features 26,000 acres of woodlands, gorges, waterfalls and streams across the eastern portion of the Cumberland Plateau. As the name implies, falls are a signature feature of the park. Fall Creek Falls, at 256 feet, is one of the highest waterfalls in the eastern United States. Other waterfalls within the park include Piney Falls, Cane Creek Falls and Cane Creek Cascades. More than 34 miles of trails can be explored, including two long distance overnight trails. The park is located 11 miles east of Spencer and 18 miles west of Pikeville and can be entered from Highway 111 or Highway 30.

History, Horses and Hospitality

By Linda Tancs

Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville, Tennessee, is the land of history, horses and hospitality. Historically, native tribes used the woodlands and meadows as a place to hunt wild game, carving a trail over time that was eventually known as the old Natchez road by European settlers. John Harding, a skilled farmer and businessman, purchased some of those hunting grounds in 1806 for farming and thoroughbred breeding, calling the property Belle Meade (beautiful meadow). Harding expanded the family home in 1853, introducing the Greek Revival style mansion seen today. In its heyday, the old Southern plantation was a popular destination for luminaries like President and Mrs. Grover Cleveland, Robert Todd Lincoln, General U.S. Grant, General William T. Sherman and Adlai E. Stevenson. Belle Meade Plantation is open daily, with mansion tours starting every 30 to 45 minutes.

An Iconic Trail’s Highest Peak

By Linda Tancs

The Appalachian Trail stretches from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine, following the Appalachian mountain range through 14 states. The trail’s highest peak is Clingmans Dome in Tennessee (at 6,643 feet above sea level) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The observation tower on the summit offers spectacular panoramic views of the Smokies and beyond for visitors willing to climb the steep, half-mile walk. Better be quick about it, though. Although the tower is open year round, the road leading to it is closed from December 1 through March 31.

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