When I do get around, I write about it. If you want to read exclusively about my visits to United States presidential sites, you can do that over here.
Tennessee is another one of those place where I've seen LOTS of presidential stuff, and tons more that I didn't write about at the time. There's all kinds of fun stuff to see in Nashville, if you're trying to make a weekend of it. Go for it.
August 26, 2007
I'm a little late on this, but big thumbs up to the city of Chattanooga. I was at the excellent Comecy Catch two weekends ago, and I had a fine time kicking the tires of that city. If you're that way, here's some stuff to check out:
- The Dragon Dreams Museum. Eight rooms filled floor to ceiling with dragon stuff: ceramic figurines, pottery, children's toys, statues, teapots, rugs, etc. For every authentic Japanese or Chinese piece of dragon art, there are at least 30 figurines of baby dragons doing something along the lines of taking a bath or dressing up like a grandma. I don't think you need me to explain why you should see this.
- Hunter Museum of American Art. A cool little museum with an excellent location, 80 feet over the Tennessee River. It covers most periods of American art, and it really doesn't have more than one piece by any artist, so you're out in 90 minutes without having to do too much serious introspection on the true nature of beauty. By museum law, it has an Alexander Calder out front. Recommended.
- The Arts District. A short walk from the art museum over a foot bridge puts you in the arts district, which has ... uh, art galleries. It also has public fountains with many fat people standing in said fountains. That's probably seasonal, though, so don't plan a whole trip around seeing the fat people in fountains.
- Ruby Falls. I wasn't dying to see Ruby Falls, but if you're driving on I-24 or I-75 anywhere within a 200-mile radious of Chattanooga, you see a billboard every 500 feet. Therefore, I was powerless and had to visit, the same way I must stop at South of the Border even when I do not need Mexican stereotype figurines. Ruby Falls is a 145-foot underground waterfall smack in the center of Lookout Mountain. The caverns leading to the falls are lame, and admission is $15, but how often do you see a 15-story underground waterfall illuminated by multi-colored lights while new-age music cranks out of speakers disguised as rocks? Seriously, go.
- Rock City. A little farther up Lookout Mountain is Rock City, which was designed by the wife of the guy who invented minature golf. Really. It's a bunch of HUGE boulders, with a trail winding between and over them, that ends at a bluff where you can supposedly see seven states. This is a load of crap, but it's still a nice view. There are also many plants along the way, and to top it all, many caves featuring yard-gnome-esque figurines covered in fluorescent paint, under blacklights and posed in fairytale scenes. Rock City also has a huge ad campaign which stretches back to 1936, when the guy who invented miniature golf paid a dude to paint 900 barn roofs from Michigan to Texas with the words "See Rock City." I now consider myself a citizen of Rock City. Garbage pickup is on Tuesday.
- Longhorn Steakhouse. Don't go. You will order something off the lunch menu, but when the bill comes, they will tell you that there is no lunch menu on Sundays, and that's why you're paying the dinner menu prices. They won't even be nice about it. Boo.
Davy Crockett State Park
July 19, 2011
On my way home from the Johnson historic site, I actually drove straight past a sign for Davy Crockett state park. But then I remembered that I am a huge nerd, so I hit the brakes and made a detour of a few miles to enjoy the incredible site of Davy Crockett's birth:
The song says "Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee." That replica cabin is actually on the Nolichucky River, nowhere near a mountaintop. But good luck fitting "Nolichucky" in a set of family-friendly lyrics. The cabin is supposedly on the site where the original birth cabin stood, and they have it nicely decorated with some dead animals. According to some very informative signage, it was not a happy childhood for Davy, as his parents regularly hired him out as day labor to make ends meet. So he ran away for 3 years, all they way to Baltimore. When you run to Baltimore, you know you were in an awful spot.
Crockett was one of our first celebrities, because in his three terms in Congress he talked like a drunken backwoods hick on the House floor. He also decided to tangle with Andrew Jackson on some matter of principle, which was the career equivalent of sticking your face in a woodchipper. He was promptly gerrymandered out of office and decided to go to Texas, where he lived happily every after, until a Mexican horde blew his head off and burned his corpse.
Follow the road signs, people. They all show the way to enlightenment.
A little punctuation goes a long way
Seen on the side of the county courthouse in Greenville, Tenn.:
So if you happen to go out in broad daylight and stab someone 14 times in the face, just hang out with the body for a few hours. Smoke a few cigarettes; read a magazine. This too shall pass.