Ernest Tubb Record Shop

This black and white image of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop was taken from Nashville’s busy Broadway Street. The store (and it’s fabulous sign) is a landmark and something I love to look for when I’m in town.

Founded by Grand Ole Opry star Ernest Tubb in 1947, it feels a bit like a country music time capsule.

They sell music, books and memorabilia. Plus, the service is good and they’re always happy to chat. Go support them if you’re in town.

Scout and the Christmas Tree

Having a rambunctious little cat has changed my life in ways I cannot begin to describe. But one thing I can describe is how it has changed Christmas. Years past saw a tree in nearly every room but that won’t be happening with an eight month old kitten.

He’s a good little cat and doesn’t get into a lot. Yet he’s still a kitten and all those fun things hanging off it would be tempting.

I plotted for weeks to design a tree situation he couldn’t knock down while climbing and swinging. Just when I thought I was ready for anything, he threw a curveball.

Turns out, he’s not interested in climbing so much as chewing on the pine.

He loves to chew on artificial pine. While it seems that he’s just chewing and not eating it, I don’t trust that he won’t try. And this is a chance I’m not prepared to take.

So there’s just one tree in my house this year (behind a closed door) and it’s devoted to my adventures. It’s my travel tree. I wrote all about it last year but, in a nut shell, I collect ornaments from my adventures. Each ornament is hung with a postcard that relates a trip memory.

Most of my ornaments aren’t real Christmas ornaments and I like it that way. There’s a stuffed jackalope bank from Douglas, Wyoming and a small metal airplane to mark my first biplane ride this year.

There’s a vintage snowman found at an Indiana antique store during last year’s antiquing adventures across the National Road. I even have a pennant from the Ernest Tubb Record Store in Nashville and a small handmade quilted piece from Ocracoke Island.

The list goes on and on and each ornament evokes countless memories – both happy and bittersweet. One new ornament represents the daily adventure of having Scout in my life.

The tree is now up and Scout gets supervised playtime in that room. So far he has only tried to chew and has batted at a couple of low hanging ornaments. I’m hoping he will outgrow that chewing thing and that next Christmas will be back to normal.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested, Click here to read last year’s description of the travel tree. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to start a new tradition of your own!

Patsy Cline Historic House

FB7.JPG

The point of making the five hour trek to Winchester, Virginia was to pay my respects to Patsy Cline. She is buried there and you can visit her home for a modest $8 admission.

People today know her as Patsy Cline, that woman with the smooth voice who is most famous for singing “Crazy.” But she was actually born Virginia “Ginny” Patterson Hensley in Winchester in 1932. Her family moved around a lot throughout her childhood but they lived in this home the longest – for about five years when she was an adolescent and young adult.

They have some items that belonged to Patsy and her family but most things here are simply period appropriate furnishings. They’ve done a fine job creating an atmosphere that feels authentic. In some ways, it feels like you’ve really walked into someone’s home.

I was there for the first tour of the day and that tour consisted of me and two other people so it was an intimate experience. The house was originally a two story log cabin that has been added onto over time. The downstairs tour guide was a delightful British retiree who came to the States as a nanny years ago. She gives off a hippy Mary Poppins vibe and is such a fan of Patsy’s that her enthusiasm is contagious.

The upstairs tour guide is equally delightful and previously ran the local Civil War museum. She is informative, not just about Patsy but about the area as well.

There’s something timeless and sophisticated about Patsy Cline but there’s also something innately vintage and simplistic about her. I think this may be part of the reason she appeals to me so much. That and her silky smooth singing voice that just makes me want to close my eyes and absorb the music.

What I didn’t know was that Patsy really wanted to sing honky tonk music and to yodel. It was Owen Bradley, an architect of the mid-century Nashville sound, who convinced her to embrace the style we know today.

I was also surprised to learn that she played piano by ear. The family owned a piano while they lived in this house and she took some lessons. Her instructor refused to teach her to read music because she didn’t want to ruin the gift that young Ginny so clearly had.

Patsy’s mother was a skilled seamstress who made all of her daughter’s stage costumes. You can see replicas of some costumes and one original on display in the house. Since the house doesn’t have space for proper UV protected display cases, much of the collection is kept in storage while other pieces are displayed at the museum in Nashville.

Truth be told, if you’re interested in the artifacts – the clothes, the handbags, boots and home furnishings – the Nashville museum is the place to be.  If you want to go back to the beginning and to see where her story started to become interesting – in a modest home, square in a middle class neighborhood of a historic town – this place is pretty special.

72687221_1168504636684593_3378591759465447424_n

One of my favorite moments of this tour took place in the living room. They played a recording of Patsy singing “Walking After Midnight” on Arthur Godfrey’s tv show. You get to hear Patsy’s speaking voice as well as a chilling version of this song that I hadn’t heard before.

Patsy’s family sat in this very room and watched her performance on television.  This isn’t an experience you’ll find in a museum.

Following the plane crash that cut short her young life, Patsy was brought home to Winchester for burial in a local cemetery. You can visit her grave if you wish. Sadly, her children were quite young when she passed away. Her son, just two at the time of her death, doesn’t remember her at all and the staff at the house said that he doesn’t understand what the fuss is about. Her daughter, though, has maintained an active role in the telling of her mother’s story, making sure the gifted singer and the music she made are not forgotten.

I’m so glad there are places like this home and the museum in Nashville to keep the music going.

FB6The Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau operates a visitors’ center where they offer a small display about Patsy. The most outstanding piece in this collection is a piano, once owned by the local radio station. Patsy played this piano and posed with it for publicity shots. Someone acquired the piano and donated it to the visitors’ center where you are invited to sit and even play a tune. Had I known, I might have brushed up on a little Patsy tune to play there!

Want to visit the Patsy Cline Historic House? Click here for info!

Check back tomorrow as we continue our road trip through Virginia and Maryland!

 

Athena And The Parthenon

Centennial Park 2 (23).JPG

Just a couple of miles from the hubbub of downtown Nashville you’ll find Centennial Park. Originally farmland, it was developed as the site of the Tennessee Centennial and International Exhibition in 1897. When the Centennial celebration ended, many of the temporary expo buildings were dismantled but a life size replica of the Parthenon was left.

A few years later, the grounds were transformed into a city park and that temporary replica of the Parthenon was eventually rebuilt using permanent materials.

Today, the Parthenon remains a major attraction and the park is used by both tourists and locals alike, It’s well over a hundred acres with a rec center, walking paths, beautiful landscaping, outdoor recreational activities, a band shell and a beautiful pond.

Centennial Park 2 (30).JPG

A quick stroll around the park revealed all sorts of interesting things – people playing Pokemon, high school kids having prom pictures taken, little kids learning to ride their bikes – I even witnessed a wedding. That’s without mentioning the hordes gathered to take selfies in front of the Parthenon.

Venture inside and you’ll find a very nice art museum as well as something quite unexpected – an enormous statue of the goddess Athena. When I say enormous, I really mean ginormous. It took years to fund and to create and was originally plain white clay. In 2002, part of the statue was gilded while details were also added in paint,

Friends, the word gaudy was created to describe this statue but I had an absolute ball studying and photographing it.

Centennial Park 3 (105).JPG

Centennial Park 3 (50)

Centennial Park 3 (64)

Centennial Park 3 (88)

Want to visit the Parthenon? You can walk around the outside and explore the park for free. If you wish to go inside to tour the gallery or to see the Athena, it’ll cost you $6. Learn more at their website.

Patsy Cline Museum

Patsy Cline Museum (12).JPG

Let’s go back to Nashville, shall we?

One of the best decisions I made during my last visit to Nashville was to check out the Patsy Cline Museum. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing to go there. My original plan to tour the Ryman was impeded by a matinee interfering with afternoon tours. There areĀ  many museums in town but I couldn’t get out of my head the idea that I needed to see the Patsy Cline Museum.

It’s on the second floor of the Johnny Cash Museum. By the way, that one was a madhouse – noisy and with people standing everywhere. In comparison, the Patsy museum was a bastion of quiet, sophistication and the smooth sounds of Patsy’s voice.

Patsy Cline Museum (35).JPG

This isn’t a large museum but it’s extremely well done and there appears to be room for growth as they acquire more pieces for the collection. They have some stage costumes (made by her mother and beautifully done), furnishings from her her home and even a booth from the soda fountain where she worked as a young woman. Costume jewelry, the watch she was wearing when she died and lots of music can be found here.

A jukebox plays “Crazy” on a loop and a video tells her life story.

It’s all very well done and tells her story, which is quite old now, in a way that feels timeless – much like her music.

I was torn because the experience was so pleasant with only a handful of other visitors in the museum during my visit while other attractions like the Cash museum downstairs, had lines out the door. I hope their attendance picks up and that they’re able to survive. The thought of a Patsy Cline museum not surviving in Nasvhille is shameful.

Want to go? Get more details here.