Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Promise of Spring

This is the time of year, it seems, when most of us get "Spring Fever." We can't wait to get out in our yards and gardens and clean up all the leaves and plants turned brown by winter frost.

Even on the "bright-blue-sky-and-sunshiny-days" we are sometimes blessed with in January, we know in our hearts that it's too early. Winter's not over yet ... we still have February and March to feel its presence.

I recently came across this poem written by poet Albert Laighton, and it kind of puts things into perspective, I think:

Where man sees but withered leaves,
God sees sweet flowers growing.

~Albert Laighton

So, next time you look out your window at all those leaves in your flower beds, try to be patient ... it won't be long before we, too, can "see the sweet flowers growing."

Friday, January 29, 2010

A Treasure from a Tennessee Antique Mall

In a post last week about our recent trip to Franklin, Tennessee, I mentioned visiting the Franklin Antique Mall.

The mall is huge and has a variety of everything ... from fine antique furniture and paintings to flea market items. I enjoyed browsing and saw several things I liked, but it was love at first sight when I saw this little primitive clay vase.

I loved its simplicity and thought it would be pretty on the Welsh dresser in our breakfast room. But when I turned it upside down and saw the signature on the bottom, I knew I had to have it.

I assume that the "Sr." stands for Sister Eustelle, and I love the fact that it was made by a nun almost 70 years ago, if that date is authentic.

Here it is in its new home ...

Don't you just love finding something that makes you happy every time you look at it, even though it doesn't have any real value to anyone but you? I wish I could tell Sister Eustelle how much I like her little vase.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Natural Wonder on the Natchez Trace

The Natchez Trace Parkway runs from Natchez, Mississippi, to just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, a distance of 444 miles. It is a beautiful and relaxing drive and, living in Mississippi, we take advantage of its beauty any time we can.

On our trip home from Tennessee last week, we entered the Trace from Tennessee Highway 64, between Lawrenceburg and Waynesboro, Tennessee. A few miles down the Trace, we stopped at a rest area (Glenrock Branch at Mile Marker 364.5), and were delighted to see a little creek meandering its way between high limestone bluffs. I was absolutely thrilled, and couldn't wait to capture it all with my camera (you can click on the pictures to enlarge them, if you'd like).

There were several picnic tables at water's edge, and I can just picture it in the spring and summertime, with children wading in the creek while their parents enjoy the tranquility and beautiful scenery.

I loved this natural rock formation which looked, to me, like a picnic table made by God, with its tablecloth of bright green moss. Isn't it awesome!

This is another place I'm going to add to my "Go-Back-in-the-Spring-to-Photograph" List. I can just imagine redbuds and dogwoods in full bloom along the creek.

There are scenes like this all along the Natchez Trace, some of them visible from the road and some you have to look for ... but, believe me, they are well worth taking the time to see. If you live near the Trace or are planning a trip somewhere along its route, I hope you will take some time to explore it for yourself. It is such a beautiful and relaxing way to travel.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Journey's End

They say that all good things must come to an end, and our trip to Tennessee last week ended with visits to the towns of Wartrace and Lynchburg.

I've discovered that no matter how small a town is, you can usually find something interesting or unique about it. And the town of Wartrace, is a perfect example. Another railroad town, Wartrace is located about five miles south of Bell Buckle on Tennessee Highway 269 (you can click on the link to read my post about Bell Buckle).

Wartrace is known as the "Cradle of the Tennessee Walking Horse," a breed known for its gentle temperament and smooth ride. In the early 1930s, horse trainer Floyd Carothers and his wife Olive, bought the 1917 hotel that faces the railroad.

In meetings at the hotel, the idea for a walking horse show was conceived. The first one was in 1939, and Strolling Jim, trained by Carothers behind the hotel, was named the first grand champion. Strolling Jim is buried on the hotel grounds.

After leaving Wartrace, our next stop was Lynchburg, which is home to the Jack Daniel's Distillery. Our time for exploration was running short, so I didn't get pictures of the distillery, but its presence was obvious throughout the downtown area (notice the whiskey barrels scattered around the square).

The 1885 courthouse is an imposing landmark on the Square, currently being used to house businesses catering to tourists.

I love its quaint cupola ...

There are several restaurants on the square, and we chose the Iron Kettle for a quick hamburger. The place was filled by the time we left, and their "blue plate special" looked delicious.

I hope you enjoyed my photo tour of our trip. If you missed the first posts, you can read them by clicking on the links below.

On the Road
A Town called Franklin
An English Church in Tennessee
Up and Down the Backroads of Middle Tennessee
A Place Called Bell Buckle

I hope we can go back again in the spring and visit some of the places we didn't have time for this trip. If Tennessee is beautiful in the middle of winter, just imagine what it will look like in the spring.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Place called Bell Buckle

Bell Buckle, Tennessee is a quaint little railroad town located approximately 50 miles south of Nashville, at the intersection of Tennessee Highways 269 and 82.

We have visited Bell Buckle a couple of times, so I knew what to expect, but if it's your first visit, you will be delighted by the colorful country charm of its row of shops along "Main Street."

The shops include a crafts shop, antique shop, and a country cafe that hosts a live radio show on Saturday afternoons. There are also a couple of antique malls around the corner.

I love the painted quilt parking lot in front of the crafts store.

As I took pictures of the shops, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this shop window.

It was filled with a collection of adorable little sock monkeys and I immediately thought of our sweet blogger friend, Quintessential Magpie. These are for you, Sheila!

(I took these from outside looking through the glass, so they're not as good as I would have liked)

This lady in red looks like she could use a bigger dress size.

And last, but not least, this little guy is my favorite. He looked so sad peeping around the corner, and I could almost imagine a tear running down his sweet little face.

If you're planning a trip to the Nashville area, I hope you will take the time to visit Bell Buckle. You might want to time your visit for early spring when you'll be greeted by clusters of daffodils growing along the road, or you might want to wait until October to visit when Bell Buckle hosts an annual juried arts and crafts show and the fall foliage is at its peak. I've heard it rivals New England's.