Monday, January 25, 2010

Up and Down the Backroads of Middle Tennessee

Last week, we spent a few days in Middle Tennessee, exploring the backroads, and, at times, meandering off the beaten path of the backroads.

I've already shared a few of our adventures and some of the pictures I captured along the way. If you would like to read those stories, you can click on the links below:

On the Road
A Town Called Franklin
An English Church in Tennessee

When I was planning our trip, I used this map. You can click on it to enlarge it, if you'd like.
The dark red line shows the places we visited, which included Nashville, Franklin, Columbia, Mount Pleasant, Bell Buckle, Wartrace, Lynchburg, and points in between. As you can tell, that covers a good bit of territory and, since our time was limited, we didn't get to explore all of those places as fully as I would have liked.

I had originally hoped to extend our route to the east to include the Manchester-Tullahoma-Winchester and Belvidere areas, but we ran out of time (and energy). As it was, "we" (actually, my sweet husband) drove 1200 miles round trip, and I soon realized we'd have to save those places for another visit, hopefully, in the spring.

There were so many things I had read about that I wanted to see and capture with my camera, but I soon discovered that it wasn't going to be as easy as I thought. Even though we were traveling the "backroads," there was a good bit of traffic, and the narrow shoulders prohibited pulling off the road to take pictures.

After a while, I became very frustrated because, literally, everywhere I looked there were "pictures" begging to be taken. I don't mean to whine, because my husband was so sweet and patient and stopped whenever he could, but I had to leave hundreds of pictures along those beautiful roadsides of Middle Tennessee ... and that hurt!

I did manage to capture some pictures along the way, though, like this sweet Tennessee Longhorn ...

And picturesque farms like this one dotted the countryside ...

This is one of the roads we took that was "off the beaten path" ...

When we stopped to explore some of the little towns, I made up for not being able to stop along the roads to take pictures. Here are some I captured of a charming little village called Leipers Fork, which is just off the Natchez Trace near Franklin.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, picturesque Leipers Fork offers the "quaintness of the past and the convenience of the present." It is the home of Puckett's Grocery and Restaurant, the most unlikely-looking place one could imagine for great food and world-class entertainment. I love those old theater seats lined up out front.

The surrounding area is home to several recording artists and you just never know who might show up at the "Lawn Chair Theater" for an impromptu jam session.

There are also several antique shops, an art gallery, and a wonderful bookstore called Yeomans in the Fork, that houses one of the most magnificent collections of rare books and historical documents in the South.

Do you recognize that fellow relaxing on the bench? And check out those pink rockers on the porch in the background.

Across the street from the bookstore is the Leiper's Fork Church of Christ, which was established in 1831. The present building was built in 1877.

I love the scalloped louvers on the steeple (you may have to enlarge the picture to see them).

As we drove into Leipers Fork, I did a double take when I saw these three cars from the past. They are replicas of Barney's police car, the Beverly Hillbillies' old car, and the General Lee, of The Dukes of Hazzard fame.

And speaking of vehicles from the past, this old truck was parked beside Serenite' Maison, one of the antique shops in town.

Gotta love the fancy name for such a primitive-looking exterior. Unfortunately, I didn't go inside, so I guess we'll always have to wonder if the inside lives up to its name. [Scroll down to the bottom of this post to read more about Serenite' Maison, and one of its famous patrons].

I don't know how old the Coke sign is, but it looked authentic, and I thought it, along with the old truck, would make an interesting picture in black and white, reminiscent of the late 1940s or early 1950s.

In conclusion, I'd like to share a few miscellaneous pictures I took along our journey. As I said, the area in which we were traveling is home to several recording artists and country music stars, and during our travels we saw lots of homes like this one, set way back off the road.

Of course, the mailboxes didn't have any famous names on them, but the possibility that they could belong to some of the stars made it more fun.

Here's another antebellum church we visited, which was not too far from St. John's Episcopal Church near Columbia. It is the Zion Presbyterian Church, which was completed in 1849.

One of the many distinctive features of this still-active church is the location of the doors.

They're on either side of the pulpit so late arrivals must face the stares of the congregation. I'm sure that discourages latecomers.

For tomorrow: the quaint little railroad town of Bell Buckle, Tennessee. I loved it, and I think you will, too.


As a follow-up, I'd like to share this comment I received from a resident of Leipers Fork. I'd like to thank her for her note, but I don't have an e-mail address for her. Here is what she said:

What a great article about our little town of Leipers Fork. I'm so glad you got to come through. No, a celeb doesn't live in THAT home you saw (in fact, for a mere $3.4M, you could live there! *grin*). There are, however, quite a few celebs in our small population including The Judds (Naomi, Wynonna & Ashley), Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Keith Urban & Nicole Kidman, Michael McDonald, and a few more. Vogue(?) magazine quoted Faith Hill as saying "Serenite Maison" is one of her favorite stores (so I'm sure it would have lived up to its reputation. *grin*) Next time you're in town, make sure to check out some of the restaurants and other shops. If you can make it in spring, there are outdoor movies and concerts, and lots of community events going on. You'd be surprised how much such a little town has to offer.

Thanks, Tori! I hope we can come back in the spring.

8 comments:

Karen said...

You passed within walking distance to where I live in Murfreesboro, TN! Isn't Middle TN gorgeous?! I moved here in 1978 with my Mom and step-father in the middle of the 9th grade and hated it!! I swore I'd move back to Indiana, where I was born and raised. Well, now it is 2010 and I am STILL here with a family of my own and I cannot imagine living anywhere else in the world! (well, except in a retirement property on the beach!) ha!

http://ranchdressing-dbstyle.blogspot.com said...

I am so glad you enjoyed your stay and especially glad you made it to Leiper's Fork and Bell Buckle! You really have to come back in the Spring but if you really want some amazing shots, visit in the Fall - USUALLY the 3rd week in October is the height of our Fall color.

Looking forward to the Bell Buckle shots - I really admire your work.

racheld said...

Roadtrip!! Aren't they FUN?

This was a great little brochure for the interesting sights, and I hope there are many more to come. We LOVE traveling through Tennessee.

And is it Lye-per's or Lea-pers? We see it on roadsigns all the time, and I've never heard anyone actually say it.

Loui said...

Janie..
what a delightful, wonderful, and fun filled tour!!!
..thanks for letting me tag along..
looking forward to OUR spring tour!!!
warm hugs..laughing smiles..
Loui♥

Deb said...

you got great photos...I know what you mean when you have leaving photos behind...as we are driving on our road trips...I see so many things that would just make a great photo...but there is no easy way to get there...or we are in a hurry....the trestle on my blog today is one I've been talking about photographing for a while and finally got to do it...

D said...

Hi, Janie,

Wonderful pictures and interesting tour. Thanks for sharing.

D

Tori Stamps said...

What a great article about our little town of Leipers Fork. I'm so glad you got to come through. No, a celeb doesn't live in THAT home you saw (in fact, for a mere $3.4M, you could live there! *grin*). There are, however, quite a few celebs in our small population including The Judds (Naomi, Wynonna & Ashley), Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Keith Urban & Nicole Kidman, Michael McDonald, and a few more. Vogue(?) magazine quoted Faith Hill as saying "Serenite Maison" is one of her favorite stores (so I'm sure it would have lived up to its reputation. *grin*) Next time you're in town, make sure to check out some of the restaurants and other shops. If you can make it in spring, there are outdoor movies and concerts, and lots of community events going on. You'd be surprised how much such a little town has to offer.

Marjorie (Molly) Smith said...

Not only are your picture so great, but your articles are also informative. I know the frustration of not being able to stop and get picture on the little back roads, I have been there too. Not in this area but in other places around the south.
Molly