Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Historic Train Depot in Huntsville, Alabama

I'm ashamed to say that in all the time we've been in Alabama (with the exception of visiting a couple of Huntsville restaurants) we haven't done any sightseeing in Huntsville.  We decided to rectify that situation last Saturday.
Our first stop was the historic Train Depot Museum This depot was built in 1860 and was a major east west route for Confederate supplies and soldiers during the Civil War.
However, on April 11, 1862 the 500 Confederate soldiers stationed in Huntsville to protect the station awoke to see 5,000 Union troops headed their way.
The Southern soldiers wisely fled and Union troops captured the depot, effectively cutting off communication and supplies to the Confederates in this area.
Captured and injured Confederate soldiers were imprisoned on the 3rd floor of the depot.  Many of them whiled away the hours by writing or drawing on the walls of their prison.  If you look closely you can just make out the outline of the dove of peace.
Here's a copy of what it looks like.
There were lots of exhibits about the Civil War, life in Alabama and the history of the depot.
Finally, we headed outside to see what other treasures they had on display.
It was a little boy's dream!  All the train cars were open and you were encouraged to climb on, explore and otherwise imagine yourself in a train yard.
This "little" boy thoroughly enjoyed himself.
These train tracks are still used today but not the burned out freight depot across the tracks.
What fun Hubby could have had with the grandsons!
As an added bonus they even had a building filled with old cars.
Hubby was in hog heaven!
I think his imagination was working overtime.
Hubby wasn't the only one who could play!  All too soon it was time to head out to other adventures.  We made the most of our first visit to Huntsville!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Visiting the American Pickers' Store in Nashville

After we visited Ryman Auditorium, and ate a quick lunch, we headed on over to Antique Archeology, a store owned by the guys on the TV show American Pickers.
We were surprised to see a line of people waiting to get in to the store.
We almost left without going in but I convinced Hubby to park the car and wait in the hot sun with me.  What treasures might await inside?!
I tried to coax a smile from him as we waited.  Did I mention it was hot?
We finally got close to the door..............
............and, at last, we were inside!  There was a local country band playing while people shopped.
Actually, it was half store half museum.  Lots of items were displayed from various episodes that were in Mike or Frank's personal collections.
Some "antiques" (Hubby called it junk) were available for purchase - if you had a LOT of money.
In an area of the country where you can find antiques at a real bargain, the prices here were outrageous.
They had a few things the common person might afford though.
Six postcards, a guitar pick and a refrigerator magnet later we were lighter by $20.00.  It was a nice place to visit and I'm happy we went - and, no, Frank and Mike were not there.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Ryman Auditorium - Former Home of The Grand Ole Opry

We had planned to hit the Civil War trail over the weekend, but we got a phone call from some dear Arizona friends traveling through Nashville so we headed north to meet them.  Before they arrived we had some time to do a little sightseeing.
Our first stop was Ryman Auditorium, a national historic landmark and former home of The Grand Ole Opry.  The history of the Ryman dates back to the 1880's when Thomas G. Ryman,  a riverboat captain, attended a revival by traveling evangelist Sam Jones. 
Captain Ryman was converted on the spot and decided to raise money for a permanent place for Jones to preach.  Seven years, and $100,000 later, in 1892, the Union Gospel Tabernacle was completed.  It was renamed Ryman Auditorium upon Captain Ryman's death in 1904.
In the early years many a famous evangelist preached from the stage. 
Crowds poured through these doors for a wide variety of events:  religious revivals, jazz recitals, operas, ballets, political debates, and even boxing matches. 
In 1943 a contract was signed to rent Ryman out on Saturday nights for a popular live radio show - The Grand Ole Opry.
Today, visitors enter at the back of the auditorium where they are greeted by bronze statues of Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl.
During the Grand Ole Opry's residence from 1943 to 1974 the Ryman rarely had an empty seat for the Saturday night Opry.
Today, people line up to have their picture taken on the stage where so many famous people have walked.  (More on that later!)
One of the most famous, in those days, was Minnie Pearl.
I remember watching a wildly dressed Porter Wagner and a young Dolly Parton perform too.  Many of the Opry performers have their outfits on display.
The man in black, Johnny Cash, and his talented wife, June Carter Cash, are well represented.
The building gained nationwide recognition as the "Mother Church of Country Music."
These are the original pews salvaged during the 1993-1994 restoration.
Naturally, Hubby and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have our picture taken on such a famous stage!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Auction and Farmer's Market

After an exhausting 4th of July week, Hubby and I decided to take it easy last weekend and stay close to the 5th wheel.
We started out Saturday morning at an auction just a few miles away from our RV park.
We didn't find anything we couldn't live without, but decided to stick around to hear what the property would go for.
They always auction off the property first and this auction was no exception.  You can't tell much from the picture but it was a 2600 square feet brick home with 4 bedrooms and 3 1/2 bathrooms set on a large corner lot in a quiet country club type subdivision.  This house was move-in ready but could use a little updating.  We were shocked when it went for $127,500.
Then we headed to Farmer's Markets in Athens and Decatur.
It seems like just about everything is in season here in Alabama.
We came away with a lot of good things to eat!  The rest of the day was spent relaxing and eating some of our purchases.  Then it was time for church on Sunday and the weekend was gone!
This weekend we'll be back on the Civil War trail.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

De-cluttering Robards Mansion and Guess Who Dropped In For a Visit!

Hubby and I spent the first week of July de-cluttering my Mom and Dad's house, Robards Mansion Bed and Breakfast, in the hopes of selling it.  Anyone looking for a huge historic house to buy?  We'll give you a deal!
The house was built by attorney John Robards, boyhood friend of Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain).
Mark Twain actually visited the home on his last visit to Hannibal in 1902.  John Robards' granddaughter, Sara, was dying and asked to see her favorite author.  He wrote about the visit in his autobiography and about the sadness of her passing.
But we were here to work and we tackled the carriage house first.
This photo was taken after we had a pickup load of stuff hauled away.
A few days later you could actually see the floor!
Then we tackled the double parlors.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take "before" pictures.  I purchased the mirror over the fireplace at an auction here in Alabama.  It matches the chandelier perfectly, but you'll have to check out their website at www.robardsmansion.com  for a picture of that.
We even did a little "tweaking" in the foyer.
Here's the "after."
Then we moved to the basement.  A huge house has a huge basement!
It all had to go!
Maggie gave it her approval.
We even had to change the bedroom we were staying in.
Originally, this was John Robards office/library and has a built in desk and bookshelves.
However, the worst area to clean out was the 3rd floor.  If it wasn't for the hard work of 8 people from an auction company we would have died climbing these stairs.  I won't even show pictures of the 3rd floor.  It will give me nightmares.  My legs hurt just thinking about it!
In the midst of all the work, Mark Twain dropped by for another visit.  After 111 years he had returned!
We felt like we had accomplished a lot when we settled our aching muscles into the car for the drive back to our 5th wheel in Alabama.  We may try to take it easy this weekend!