Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Good-bye Alabama

The government ran out of money so Hubby ran out of a job.  What to do?  Go home of course!  His last day at Brown's Ferry Nuclear Power Plant was a Monday so we took advantage of the weekend and re-visited one of my favorite Alabama towns.
The little town of Hartselle is an antique haven.
Main street is lined with antique shops.
I didn't have much room to bring more things home in our 5th wheel, but we did manage to make room for this treasure.
After a delightful morning shopping, we headed over to the Freight House for a delicious lunch.
Trains figured prominently in the history of many Alabama towns and Hartselle is no exception.
We spent the next few days getting packed up and ready to hit the road.  Our first night was spent in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Here's some pics of the very interesting "RV" that was parked next to us.
They had all the comforts of home.  I just wish I could have seen inside!
A few more uneventful days and nights on the road and we were soon greeted by this sign.
There's nothing like a warm Arizona rest area.  That's our rig in the photo.
We took extra time getting home because I had to follow behind Hubby in the car.  The cool pines of Flagstaff was our last overnight stop before heading down into the Valley of the Sun.  
We're unloaded (how did we get so much stuff in one trailer?!) and everything is put away (more or less).  Now we're catching up on visiting with the grandsons and doing things around the house.  It's nice to be home again!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

President James K. Polk House in Columbia, Tennessee

When my friend Ceekay was visiting me, earlier this year, we stopped in for a visit at the only surviving residence (besides the White House) of President James K. Polk.  In case you've forgotten your history, he was our 11th President.
The house was built in 1816 by Polk's father, Samuel, a successful farmer, slaveholder, and surveyor.
Today, the home contains over 1000 objects owned by the President and his wife, Sarah.
Sarah Polk was a strict Presbyterian and drastically curbed drinking in the White House.
Polk was, at that time, the youngest President we had ever had.  This portrait was painted when he first took office.
Four years later, his portrait was painted again showing how the stress of office had taken it's toll.
Polk was close friends with Andrew Jackson, another former President.
Polk also served as Speaker of the House and Governor of Tennessee.
The couple made their home at a mansion in Nashville, but it was torn down in 1901.
Sarah looked forward to their "retirement years" together, but James died just three months after leaving Washington.
Sarah was a 45 year old widow with no children, although she later adopted a niece.
An unusually educated woman for the day, Sarah retired to Nashville and all that society had to offer there.
Sarah never married again and wore widow's weeds the rest of her life, passing away just short of her 88th birthday.
Before donning her widow's clothing, Sarah was famous for her sense of style and we happened to be visiting when the museum had a special display of her gowns. 
First ladies sure knew how to dress in those days!
Well, that concludes today's history lesson.  We're packing up the 5th wheel today and plan to head back to Arizona tomorrow.  Brown's Ferry Nuclear Power Plant realized they were completely out of money (thank you President Obama) and had to lay off all the contractors, so Hubby is now unemployed. 
Oh well.  We look at it as a chance to get back home and see the grandsons!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Elm Springs - A Tennessee Antebellum Home

I thought I'd show one of the homes where I was allowed to take pictures inside.  I actually visited this home back in April, when my friend Ceekay came for a visit, but I've had so many other things to blog about I neglected to blog about this beautiful home.
Built in 1837, Elm Springs was never a plantation home.  It was built for Sarah Todd as a gift from her two brothers.  People sure knew how to give gifts back in those days!
Sarah's daughter inherited the house and lived here with her family during the Civil War.
Sarah's son-in-law was an outspoken supporter of the Confederacy and served in the army for the south.
The first lady of the house was a tiny tiny woman.  This is her settee.  It looks like it was made for a child.
The two parlors are connected by huge pocket doors.
Not all the furniture was diminutive.
The house was set on fire by Union troops but Confederate troops came to the rescue, putting out the fire and chasing off the northern soldiers.
Much of the furniture is original, including this desk pulling double duty in the dining room.  According to family records the desk was definitely located in this room.
Next, we headed upstairs to see the bedrooms.  I love this bedroom set.
This armoire holds children's clothing dating to the Civil War.
This sampler was made by one of the young family members as she practiced her alphabet.
The house is now the national headquarters for the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  They are working to fully restore the home.
When the Union troops were about to burn the house down, they told the lady of the house she could take her bed.  They had to help her carry it out.  It was very heavy.  Unbeknownst to the soldiers, she had hidden the family silver inside the hollow posts.
I might have one more house to show you where I was allowed to take pictures inside too!


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Constitution Village in Huntsville, Alabama

While we were in Huntsville, we stopped in at Constitution Village, a living history museum focusing on Alabama's early history.  The Village consists of federal style buildings reconstructed on their original sites to commemorate the birth of a state.  Alabama was the 22nd state admitted to the Union on December 14, 1819.
The Alabama Constitutional Convention met in Huntsville to draft a constitution that prepared the way for Alabama's statehood.  The only building large enough to accommodate the forty-four delegates was a vacant cabinetmaker's shop.
Today, it's known as Constitution Hall and houses a working cabinetmaker's shop with period tools and equipment.
The Clay Building housed several businesses:
a law office,
Huntsville's post office,
and the Federal survey team.
Madison County's first sheriff lived in this house.
They may not have been rich, but I think the Sheriff and his family led a pretty comfortable life.
After touring Constitution Village, and a much-needed lunch, we dropped in at Alabama's Oldest Hardware Store.
Harrison Brothers is filled with a little bit of everything.
However, due to higher than average prices, and the fact that I was tired, I didn't bring anything home with me. 
The next couple of weekends our dog sitter is on vacation in Florida so we have to find adventures closer to home.  Maggie needs her potty breaks!