Shiloh National Cemetery From Hot Springs we drove to Nashville. Shortly after we got in the car we made the decision to drive to Nashville by way of Shiloh National Military Park. This was the longer route but we thought it was well worth it to see first hand some of our nation's history. The route took us around Memphis and into northern Mississippi before crossing back into Tennessee near Corinth, MS. The drive was an eye opening experience which was amplified by the content of our audio book, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. We had started the book in August on our drive to Yosemite but still had several hours so we opted to finish it on our road trip through the south - not really having considered just how relevant it was for our location. Between seeing confederate flags flying in Mississippi and south eastern Tennessee, being informed about the injustices in the south by the book and getting pulled over without cause, our gratitude for living in a diverse, accepting and tolerant state ran deep. And unfortunately were made just too aware of the privileges associated with being white. This experience wasn't something we expected when we set out that Tuesday morning for Nashville but we are grateful for it.
Shiloh National Cemetery We arrived at the Shiloh Visitor Center only 90 minutes before it closed. We were able to speak with the ranger and learned a fair amount about the various confederate flags used during the Civil War and that the one that is flown by people today isn't actually the flag used by the Confederate Army in the Civil War. Instead it is the Naval Jack from that time. We thought that was very interesting. The national cemetery was beautiful, especially with the warmth of the setting sun and we were honored to have been there. We then drove the 13 mile road through the Shiloh Battlefield. There were 20 stops with at least twice as many signs to teach about the battle, the participating armies, divisions and strategy. We were sorry we weren't able to spend more time. When the park closed around 6 or 6:30pm we finished our drive to Nashville.
Martin's BBQ We stayed at the Best Western Plus off of Music Row which was a 25 minute or so walk to downtown or a very short Uber ride. Abbie's sister-in-law (Carrie) lives in Nashville and she recommended a fantastic BBQ joint for dinner that night. Martin's BBQ was awesome! We got the large sampler plate and tried the ribs, smoked turkey, pulled pork, beans mac-n-cheese and creamed something or other. It all was AH-MAZ-ING. We were smart to have skipped lunch! From there we walked down to the honky tonk bars and took in the scene for a bit before enjoying the pleasant temperatures for a late night walk back to the hotel.
Centennial Park Morning Run Wednesday morning I snuck out of bed and went for a beautiful run at Centennial Park. What a pretty place! The sun was rising, the temperatures were perfect and the park was just beautiful. It was just what I needed before Carrie picked us up for an old-fashioned southern breakfast at Biscuit Love. It was lovely to see Carrie again and she went out of our way to make us feel at home. After breakfast she spent over an hour driving us around Nashville and helping us get our bearings. She also gave us all sorts of recommendations for the day. The most important thing we may have learned from her that day was that there is a Jenni's scoop shop in Nashville!!!
Southern Lunch at Arnold's After our visit with Carrie we walked from our hotel to the Country Music Hall of Fame. The museum didn't do much for us, but we did really like the adjoining tour to RCA Studio B. We learned all about the history of the studio, the famous musicians who recorded there, a bit about Elvis and heard the actual recordings in the room where they took place. It was pretty cool. From the museum we walked to a restaurant Carrie recommended we hit for lunch, Arnold's. They are only open for lunch and we made it just before they closed for the day. All we had to do was mention Carrie's name and we were given royal treatment. The meal was delicious. I had some of the best roast beef I've ever eaten and Lee enjoyed their fried catfish. We are so glad we made it in time! After lunch we then walked all the way back across town to the capital building. Unfortunately we had JUST missed their last tour of the day and so were left to tour on our own with a brochure. What a pretty building. Cumberland River We then walked along the river and then out on the pedestrian bridge where we rested for a bit before going to Broadway to Robert's Western World for a little live music and bar food. We were pretty beat that day and so after walking back to the hotel decided to keep it fairly low-key. We wrapped up our day with dinner at Jenni's. Oh how we love her ice cream!
The following morning was Thursday and we got up bright and early to stop in at the Jackson Hermitage before leaving TN for Kentucky. The Jackson Hermitage is one of the best preserved homes of one of our nation's presidents. They recently have started speaking more candidly about life on the plantation - including that of the slaves. We opted for the "wagon tour" which took us around the hermitage to the slaves quarters and discussed what life was like for them. Jackson's Hermitage We then were able to walk the beautiful plantation grounds as long as we wanted. The hermitage plants and grows cotton for the visitors and there was even some that was ready to be picked while we were there. It didn't take long for me to gain an appreciation for the invention of the cotton gin.
In just 48 hours we really experienced and learned a great deal as we traveled from Arkansas to Kentucky. How fortunate we are to have had these days. Pictures of Nashville are here and pictures of Shiloh are here.