Saturday, March 31, 2018

Shiloh National Military Park


  Corinth, Mississippi, as an important railroad hub of the Confederate Army, was heavy fortified. It was the focus of the  Union Army led by US Grant who set up camp in the countryside 22 miles north of the town near Shiloh Methodist Church in April 1862. Rather than wait for the Union Army to advance to Corinth General Johnson, the Confederate commander, marched 44,000 men north to ambush them. The surprise attack was foiled when a Union patrol discovered the Confederates early in the morning of April 6. Two days of fighting in the fields and woods resulted in heavy casualties with almost 24,000 Union and Confederate men killed, wounded, or missing. The Confederates retreated to Corinth which fell to the Union in late May 1862.  

  The park has small visitor center with a 32 minute award-winning interpretive film. A ten mile self-guided driving tour takes visitors through the battlefields and past memorials, cannons, and interpretive signs. The park brochure gives details of the action at each numbered stop. An interpretive trail loops through the mounds of a Native American village that was deserted around 1300 AD.  Artifacts found during archeological excavations are displayed at the Tennessee River Museum.




  The museum is accessible. The trail through the mounds is narrow and rough and is not accessible.


The parking lot has long RV spaces.  Park  35.15134, -88.3218


Friday, March 30, 2018

Tennessee River Museum

    Native Americans, the Civil War, the steamboat era, and the pearl button making industry are covered in this small but nicely done museum. The exhibits include many well preserved artifacts.
   The museum is accessible except for a replica of a steamboat pilot house where a short video can be viewed.

  The rear parking lot is large enough for any RV. An accessible entrance with a ramp and buzzer is located near this lot. Museum  35.2246, -88.25105

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Nashville Fairgrounds RV Park


   An overpriced ($35.00!) space on blacktop is never our first camping choice but it was the best option to dump our waste tanks, fill the fresh water, and give our batteries some extra charge. The nearest truck stop dumpsite is over 20 west west of Nashville, the Corp of Engineers campgrounds (which we always love) don’t open until April or May, and the private campgrounds average $80.00 a night so the fairgrounds won out.

  The sites are full hookup and located in two lots, one on Walsh Road and on Smith Ave. We stayed at the one on Walsh. No one comes around to collect the fee and there isn’t any information about the office location so you have to call for directions.

The spaces are all back in and are not very long so tow and towed vehicles must be unhooked and parked on the opposite side of the lot.  Fairgrounds  36.13168, -86.76413


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Parthenon


   From the late 1880s to the 1930s world fairs or expositions were a very popular way to showcase the latest inventions and technological advances and also provide entertainment and education about foreign cultures. The first one in the US was held in Philadelphia to celebrate the country’s centennial. The Tennessee Centennial Exposition of 1897 was a smaller, local exposition but it still had exhibits from 19 states and 16 foreign countries. The exposition covered 132 acres with buildings copying the classical Greek architectural style of the Chicago Fair of 1893. 

   After 6 months the exposition ended and all of the buildings, which were built of built of plaster, wood, and brick and not meant to last, were demolished except for the beloved Fine Arts Building, a full sized replica (in it’s original undamaged state) of the Parthenon in Athens. Twenty years later it was in such bad condition that it had to be completely rebuilt using poured concrete. It now houses a couple of art galleries, an exhibit about the exposition, and a giant gold leaf covered statue of Athena that was completed in 1990. The fairgrounds became a public park with a small lake and 1.5 miles of paved walking trails.





  The Parthenon is accessible but the narrowed ramped hallways where the exposition exhibit is located gets crowded making it hard to view the displays. The walking trails are fairly level and accessible.


  RVs will fit in the parking lot if backed over the grass or by parking lengthwise across the spaces. There are also parking spaces along 27th Ave. Parthenon  36.15008, -86.81424


Sunday, March 25, 2018

Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art


   It’s tulip time!  Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and redbud and cherry blossoms provide splashes of early spring color in an otherwise hibernating garden.  Cheekwood Mansion, which was built in 1929 by Leslie and Mable Cheek with profits from the family’s wholesale grocery and Maxwell Coffee House businesses, sits on a hill overlooking the garden. The mansion and garden were inherited by the Cheek’s daughter who deeded them over to be a privately funded public garden and art museum.





  Paved paths wind through themed gardens. A trail makes a loop the woods where 13 sculptures are located. The mansion has furnished rooms and a few small art galleries. There may be art galleries in the stables too but if so we missed them due to lack of signs or any other information.




   Visitors using wheelchairs will need assistance because the garden is very hilly. The garden map has the accessible route marked. The Japanese Garden is down a steep, narrow, and uneven path and is not accessible. The sculpture path is not accessible due to the terrain and unpaved, mulched surface. Most of the mansion is accessible however the road up is very steep. Look for the accessible entrance on the right side of the main entrance. The shuttle is a golf cart and is not wheelchair accessible.

  Oversized parking is in a gravel lot. The streets around the garden are narrow so use caution if driving an RV.  Garden  36.08688, -86.87386


Saturday, March 24, 2018

Adventure Science Center


  Like many science museums this one is geared toward children but we still found enough to keep us entertained for a couple of hours and we even learned a few things. :-)  One of the most popular attractions is the Adventure Tower, a 75’ tower in the center of the museum with hands- on exhibits, slides, and structures to climb.





   Most of the exhibits are accessible but a few require the ability to stand. I think that each level of the adventure tower includes a ramped entrance.

  Oversized vehicle parking is located in the lower lot. It’s a pretty long trip up to the museum so people with mobility issues may wish to be dropped off at the entrance door.  Museum   36.14742, -86.77576


Friday, March 23, 2018

Fort Negley


   Nashville surrendered to the Union Army on February 25, 1862, less than a year after the beginning of the Civil War, and it remained under Union control until 1867. With good river and rail access Nashville was an important supply depot for the Confederate Army so holding the city was a major goal for the Union Army. A labor force of 2,768 free and run away slaves built Fort Negley as part of the defense around the city which included a 7 mile fortified line and Union gunboats on the Cumberland River.

The fort didn’t see any action and fell into ruin when the war ended and the Federal troops left. A restoration was attempted in the 1930s but it wasn’t until 2004 that the area was opened to the public as an historic site. Stone foundations trace the outline of the fort and boardwalk trails with interpretive signs follow the inside walls. A small visitor center with a few displays and two videos about the fort is located at the base of the hill where the fort is located.


  The visitor center is accessible. A road which is closed to traffic circles the fort. It’s a steep hike along the road to the fort so wheelchair users will need a strong helper. We did not go to the top because even though it looks like a beautiful day in the photo it was actually windy and cold.

  The parking lot is large enough for small RV. Larger RVs can be parked along the roads.  Fort   36.14288, -86.77511


Thursday, March 22, 2018

Lane Motor Museum


   As far as car museums go this one is really unique. It specializes in mini European cars but also has amphibious vehicles, military vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles, prototypes, one-of-a-kind vehicles, and motorcycles. These are cars you won’t see anywhere else in the US. The lack of ropes or chains along with opened windows on most of the vehicles allows visitors to get close enough to peek inside without window glare – not a normal practice in auto museums. 






  The museum is accessible.

   RV parking is in the rear of the building but the walk back up the driveway to the museum entrance is long and steep. Visitors with mobility issues may wish to be dropped off at the entrance. Museum  36.13983, -86.73462