A Beautiful Little Fool

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What do you do when you stay in a gorgeous historic hotel that makes any 1800s-lover’s dreams come true? Why you set up a photoshoot! There was no question about that when my husband and I recently stayed in the historic Linden Row Inn in Richmond, VA. This exquisite piece of history possessed all the Victorian beauty our hearts desired. We were pretty much convinced this could easily be our home. Below are a few photos taken during our stay. I wish we had time to take more of the room and around the hotel but we were always on the go while we were in Richmond. The majority were taken in the majestic window with me standing on the window seat. That window tugged at my heart strings 🙂

Check out the few photos of the boudoir. When I saw the final product of the photos, they stirred my affection for many lines from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. 🙂

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“And in the end, we were all just humans.. drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.” 

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“Why didn’t you tell me that if the girl had been worth having she’d have waited for you? No sir, the girl really worth having won’t wait for anybody” 

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“Life is much more successfully looked at from a single window.” 

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“You see I usually find myself among strangers because I drift here and there trying to forget the sad things that happened to me.” 

 

Bonus photo:
Here is a photo I snapped and posted on my Instagram. You can get an idea on why I was so drunk on love with this place. 🙂

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Preserving History: Tour of the Tennessee State Prison

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When you hear the word prison, your mind doesn’t necessarily imagine exquisite architecture. Prisons are places that automatically come with a dark or negative impression.

The Tennessee State Prison is a place that served it’s purpose in time for what it was designed for and also is a prime example of exquisite architecture. Built in 1898, the Tennessee State Prison (TSP) is an ambassador to 1890s architecture.

Recently, Historic Nashville, Inc. members had the distinguished honor to an exclusive tour of the beautiful prison. The tour was led by Tennessee Department of Corrections staff Torrey Grimes and Theresa Thomas. The prison is not open to the public and sits unoccupied and fighting the elements of decay.

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The prison opened in 1898 and operated until 1992. When it was built the prison was only supposed to house 800 prisoners. Upon the prison’s first arrivals when it opened, the prison had up to 1400. Almost double what it was suppose to hold. Before the newness of the prison could wear off, an escape from some of the inmates happened within the first couple of months. Prisoners took  TNT dynamite that was kept at the prison and blew a hole in the side of the prison.

IMG_5505 Side of the prison that was blown out from TNT.

Historic Nashville, Inc. members walked around the exterior of the building to see what remains of the historic prison today. Members were given pieces of historical information along each step of the way.

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When the prison closed in 1992, it was given up for free to the film community. Films such as The Green Mile, The Last Castle and Ernest Goes  to Jail were filmed on prison’s property. If you’ve watched The Green Mile, you may recall the little rat that was a companion to one of the inmates. We were told that the rat was not a current tenant of the prison but rather a trained one the film crew brought.

While walking around the exterior, the peeling of paint is all around. This is a result of a production company that painted the exterior for a film. The paint still shows today. The paint was not removed after filming and unfortunately it was not discovered until years later that “cheap” paint was used. This resulted in moisture getting trapped behind the paint and thus harming the bricks.

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The tour took us to the back side of the prison where the yard was and remains. The only interior portion of the prison members were able to go into were the cell blocks and the mess hall. My husband and I opted to view the inside of the cells first.

Standing in the entrance of the exterior exit of the cells was quite an experience. The cells climbed up three stories and each cell held two prisoners. The tour guides explained that even though the prison was built to house approximately 800 inmates, the population was over that. At one time, the prison had approximately 3,300 to 4,000 inmates. We were told to imagine how loud it would have been within the walls.

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Before we wandered into the mess hall, we peeked into other parts of the building. Below are a few pictures of what remained in an interior room. As you can see, a lonely ledger sits waiting on it’s owner to complete the tasks for the day.

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As we entered into the mess hall, the staff members continued giving us lots of history about the prison. Such as the mural that still  remains  proudly in the mess hall. It was painted by prisoners during their own time since the prison was a working farm and all prisoners had a job. They were supposed to defray the cost of their incarceration.

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IMG_5559 A jacket waiting on it’s owner to come back to claim it.

When the prison closed in 1992, there was a lot more entrance into the interior of the prison. However, asbestos has staked it’s claim and has caused it to be unsafe for anyone to enter without proper gear. Historic Nashville, Inc. members were very lucky to take the tour as this is normally reserved for senators and governors.

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The Tennessee State Prison’s future is currently unknown. Many ideas have been brought to the table but I believe we all can agree on one thing: to preserve it’s rich history. Just like Alcatraz in San Francisco, Calif., the Tennessee State Prison deserves to age with dignity and be on display for people to admire. If you’d like to learn more and perhaps learn how we can move into the direction of preserving this late 19th century landmark, go to the Tennessee State Prison Historical Society or the Save The Tennessee State Prison Facebook page. Grand landmarks like these deserve to thrive in preservation history.

For more information about becoming a Historic Nashville, Inc. member, please visit their membership page.

 

Wanted: Old West Enthusiasts

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Grab your saddle and trusty horse pod’ners and get ready to discover the Old West. I’m not talking about visiting a museum either. I’m talking about the fully-operational Pioneertown in Southern California.

Yes, you read correctly, Pioneertown. The place where all your Western dreams come true. If you’re a fan of the Old West films and television shows, this unincorporated community village is your slice of heaven. Nestled in the high desert in the Morongo Basin region of Southern California, Pioneertown came to fruition in 1946.

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The town’s purpose (other than being so totally cool) started in the 1940s and it was to serve as a live-in Old  West motion picture set to the Hollywood stars. Makes sense, considering Los Angeles is only a couple of hours away and the surrounding land is perfect for a western film set. The entire set was designed to look just like an 1800s western town but with live-in capabilities to accommodate the stars while they filmed. Many films were shot here during the 1940s and 1950s. Roy Rogers and Gene Autry are among the famous that were responsible for this Old West Town. Roy Rogers was one of the original investors of Pioneertown.

As you walk down the “main street,” you completely get the feel of a western town. Complete with saloon, bathhouse, undertaker business and livery, just a name a few of the buildings. You’ll be humming the Marty Robbins tune, “El Paso” as your spurs kick up the dirt underneath your feet.

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If you get the chance to visit this place, don’t feel like you’re too far off the beaten path if you need to rest your weary bones. On the property there is the Pioneertown Motel that will give you a place to rest your head. You won’t be sleeping in a tent either. This small yet charming western motel offers rooms with a bed, bathroom, kitchen sink, and microwave to travelers. However, I must heed a warning: be ready to live up to Pioneertown’s way of life. You’ve heard of no shirt, no shoes, no service. Well, be ready for no t.v., no radio, no service, as in internet service. My husband and I did have the pleasure of staying here and I must say, it was quite refreshing to unplug for a while. So if you’re okay to forgo the electronic entertainment we’re all use to, bunker down for a night’s stay in this unique place. Just make sure you bring a book or companion to keep you company. And just remember, you’ll be “sleeping” with the stars as this is where they lived and worked.

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Don’t be imagining you’ll be counting tumbleweeds blowing by as your only source of entertainment. On the property is a live music venue called Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace. And if you’re hungry, they’ve got you covered with their full menu. The venue has changed hands a few times since it’s inception in 1972. But the current owners have kept the 1982 owners’ names on the bill and have brought in musicians such as Robert Plant and Vampire Weekend.

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One cool fact among many about Pioneertown is the bowling alley on  the property. I mean, the famous stars had to have activities while they worked, right? Apparently, the bowling alley is one of the oldest in continuous use in California.

So if you’re passing through these parts, I highly recommend  you take a gander at this western wonder. Be sure to soak up the entertainment, stay for a spell and imagine you’ve been transported back into the historic American Western frontier.

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Oh, the Places You’ll Go

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Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. I’d say I caught the wanderlust fever at a very young age as I’ve always had a strong desire to travel and explore the world. I can start to feel the fever when I don’t go on any adventures or travel, whether locally or not, after a brief length of time. My bones ache for it and exploring is the only cure.

The idea of giving people the opportunity to travel within the United States began in the 1930s and came to fruition in the 1950s with the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 enacted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1938 proposed to the Bureau of Public Roads to begin a study of a toll-financed system of three east-to-west and three north-to-south superhighways. It was President Franklin D. Roosevelt that appointed a National Interregional Highway Committee in 1941 to evaluate the need for a national expressway system. Thank goodness they did because their study supported the need for these interregional highways and in 1944, Congress acted on the recommendations.

Prior to the 1930s, think about all the road trip pioneers that ventured across the United States before the idea of any superhighways. These T-model Ford adventurists threw caution to the wind and encountered many treacherous roads and bridges before any President laid a safe and permanent foundation for those with wanderlust. Motorists only had the Lincoln Highway as it was the first transcontinental highway for automobiles across the United States of America which debuted in 1913.

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Laying the groundwork and construction was slow for the highways during the 1940s. The decisions on funding was a cause for delay. President Eisenhower enacted the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 which solved the challenged funding encountered. Highway  enthusiasts could start revving their engines as this served as the catalyst for getting the highways on to the road to completion. President Eisenhower also envisioned these roads to serve the purpose for national defense as a way to transport troops quickly in the event of ground invasion of foreign enemies.

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So the leaders of our country envisioned Americans going many places long before Dr. Seuss published his famous book that speaks of travelling throughout life. I have to say, I may have been one of those early 20th century road trip pioneers as travelling is something that has always stirred my spirit.

And if you’re interested in taking a nostalgic road trip, I must suggest you check out Retro Roadmap before planning your next vintage destination. Happy travelling readers! 🙂

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Weekend Wine-Filled Getaway

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I’m a big believer you don’t have to travel too far for a good time. There are tons of fun things to do within a days drive. My husband and I are ambassadors to this way of living because we’re always interested in travelling and exploring the world, near or far.

Recently we indulged in our local “wine country” and visited a few wineries and stayed at the bed & breakfast that one winery owns. My husband found a groupon for the Natchez Hills Bed & Breakfast, which to our delight, included the opportunity to visit the winery, Natchez Hills Vineyard, too.

Our trip gave us the option of taking the scenic route or interstate to get to our destination. The scenic route took us on the Natchez Trace Parkway. We were running short on time so had to save the scenic route for our return home. We arrived at the bed and breakfast first but learned we had to check in at the winery. I took a little video of the drive up the bed & breakfast. It is tucked away off a two-lane country road. The long drive-way made it feel very secluded and the perfect get-away from city life. No one around but you and nature.

We drove to the winery to introduce our taste buds to some sophisticated wine. The winery is just a few miles from the bed & breakfast, right off the main road. It was quiet and serene when we pulled up. The grapes glistened with their plum color in the late afternoon sun.

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Our wine tasting host gave us a friendly and warm smile when we entered the room to taste the wine. We sipped on delicious and rich red and white wines, each time figuring out which one we’d like to purchase a bottle of. Our host entertained us while we went through the list. When we finished our wine tasting, we knew it was getting close to dinner time and inquired where we should dine. Our host suggested we go to Mt. Pleasant Grille in a nearby town. So we hopped in the car for our dinner destination.

By the time we arrived, it was dark but the quaint downtown the restaurant was located at was lit up. The restaurant had a modern but vintage diner look to it. Each booth had a little lamp and the floors were checked with black and white tile. There was a counter-top with the matching diner seats, which I’m always a sucker for sitting at for some reason.

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And what diner-inspired restaurant would be complete without milkshakes? 🙂

The bed and breakfast itself was such a treat. They have two individual cabins and one room in the main house. We stayed in the main room but will definitely be checking out one of the cabins in a future stay. In the house is a living room, dining room and kitchen area. Guests can watch t.v. or choose a book from their large library. They had plenty of ways for guests to peacefully entertain themselves. Whether it be curling up with an old book or sitting out on the deck and soaking up nature.

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We slept in an antique bed and sipped on the wine and chocolate we purchased. Enjoying every minute being away from the busy city and hectic work-life environment. When we woke up the next day, the wife of the husband and wife owner of the winery and bed & breakfast was preparing coffee and our breakfast. She was truly the most gracious and warm host I’ve ever met. Ironically, as a result of a morning chat, we found out she is originally from the same area my husband is from in Southern California. We had a great conversation getting to know her and her husband. There were two other couples that joined us for breakfast as the place can accommodate up to six it seems between the room in the main house and the two cabins nearby.

It was one of the nicest weekend getaways I’ve experienced. Between the peacefulness of the bed and breakfast, our kind hosts, the beautiful wineries and the scenic route we took on the Natchez Trace Parkway, it was a weekend not to forget. And a reminder that you really don’t have to travel far to soak in life and everything it has to offer. We’ll definitely be back to stay at the Natchez Hills Bed & Breakfast & visit the Natchez Hills Vineyard.