Sarasota to Nashville: 758 mi. (1219 km) or 12 hours
We hit the road at 5AM and ate breakfast in Gainesville
Time for dinner at the Choo Choo – Track 29
We stopped in Chattanooga for dinner, the diner only serves on Friday and Saturday so “dinner in the diner” was out … but we enjoyed wandering the station (impressive) and the tracks and railcars. They have a great garden and platform around the train cars … it was not hard to allow the imagination to wonder back to 1850 when the line opened.
Welcome to Nashville
Old friends – together again
We arrived before bed time, so we enjoyed a little ‘catch-up’ time before sleep came. The next day was just for relaxing and playing … the kids are growing up so fast. Wow. Saturday we got out a little more … headed downtown to the bicentennial park, enjoyed a ‘worst shirt’ theme birthday party for some friends of Amy and Erik, and then got a tour of Nashville. The city is great … it is “gritty”, not dirty, not run-down, but not polished either … filled with character of over 200 years. “Hill billies” (apparently where the term was coined) brought music into the cities of Tennessee as they came looking for work. Several major Civil War battles were fought in and around the city as Tennessee was the last state to leave the Union. Homes are built mostly of brick (termites are apparently a problem) and come have very colonial roots. Melissa and I really enjoyed the city as we really felt at home … don’t know if it was the heritage, the neighbourhoods, the parks, or the rolling hills … maybe it was the fact that people were just really nice (and they really enjoy hockey).
The city of Nashville, clean and friendly
Lineage, Tennessee through the years – broken during the Civil War
Their bicentennial park was really neat. Well maintained grass fields, chiming bells, a giant wall marked with historical quotes, headlines, and notables. The wall broke into chunks during the years of the strife preceding and during the years of the Civil War (1861-1865) only to return to a single lineage in the post-war years. It was incredibly symbolic and informative. The park, built in 1996, also contained a refurbished farmers market where we enjoyed lunch to live entertainment before heading to their dancing water fountain for a little ‘wet time’. We also visited a large map of Tennessee carved in a concrete platform at the foot of the state capital lawn.
Their centennial park, built in 1896, featured a world expo where they built an exact replica of the Parthenon. At the time we drove by they were doing “shakespeare in the park” – which reminded me of Victoria. Again, you could really feel the history of the area.
Playing in the park
Expo 1896, a full-size replica
Inside lies an art museum
Thanks to everyone for a great weekend