Saturday, May 25, 2013

Serpent Mound

We left home around 8 am to pick up our friends, Tammy & Steve Minor, for a day outing to Serpent Mound near Peebles, Ohio. As we traveled west on US Rt. 60 near Cabell Midland High School, we saw a large grey fox crossing the highway with a young rabbit in its mouth.  We knew it would be an interesting day.
We always enjoy spending time with the Minors and when Tammy suggested the trip we jumped at the chance to hang out with them. We thought that making a day visit to Adams County, Ohio would be a great way to spend the Saturday of the three day Memorial Day weekend.
The trip along US Rt. 52 was uneventful taking us to the Ohio Historical Society's facility at Serpent Mound before 11 am. We walked through the small visitor center then ascended the viewing tower to see the earthworks from above. Afterward, we were able to walk around the snake-shaped mound from the gaping mouth to the spiral tail.
Mary, Steve & Tammy at Serpent Mound
Archaeologists believe that Serpent Mound was constructed by the Fort Ancient culture around 1000 years ago. At nearly 1400 foot long, Serpent Mound is the world's largest snake effigy. In the area surrounding Serpent Mound there are a number of conical burial mounds but Serpent Mound is not believed to contain any human remains. Rather than a burial mound as once thought, researchers believe that Serpent Mound was constructed as a calendar/observatory for the stone age people of the area. The snake-shaped mound appears to be swallowing an oval ring of mound that may symbolize the sun that might have been inspired by a solar eclipse. In the 1980's it was discovered that undulations in the body of the snake align to lunar events such as moonrise at solstices and equinoxes.
After walking around the mound and exploring the museum, we enjoyed a picnic lunch at the large shelter nearby. Steve & I examined the well designed picnic tables in which the benches can tilt up under the tables. As usual, we had packed way too much food but we enjoyed the break and conversation.
Rattlesnake Master
From Serpent Mound, we drove to Chaparral Prairie State Nature Preserve near West Union. This 70 acre area is believed to be one of many remnants of tallgrass prairie ecosystems that were left behind then the glaciers retreated from the area over 200,000 years ago. 
Most of the small prairies in the glacial fringe areas have since been accessed for agricultural purposes, a few areas like Chaparral Prairie have been preserved for hikers and nature lovers. The 0.75 mile trail around the area took us through stands of plants that are uncommon in most of the Eastern US. We walked through the area's largest population of rattlesnake-master, lots of prairie dock, blue false indigo, and laitris. It was a pleasant walk and a very unique area.
Steve & Tammy at Chaparral Prairie
From Chaparral Prairie, we drove to Miller's Furniture, Bakery & Bulk Foods in an Amish community at Wheat Ridge. We love the cheddar cheese curd there as well as the jellies and jams in the store. We were all impressed with the beauty and quality of the furniture in the furniture store. The kitchen cabinets with beautiful inlays were quite striking but at a price nearly $40,000 it was out of reach for all but the most high budget homes. We all liked the pieces made from quarter sawn oak that were beautifully finished and carefully crafted. The construction of the furniture was high quality and everything was built from solid native hardwoods like oak, cherry and maple. We had a snack of kettle popcorn and looked at the pigs in the pens nearby before driving the short distance to the town of West Union, Ohio.

The courthouse at West Union has a historical marker to native son, Cowboy Copas. Lloyd Estil Copas was born in Blue Creek, Ohio near West Union on Moon Hollow Road. Copas was born on July 15, 1913 and became a popular Grand Old Opry star with his “Honky Tonk” sound and hits like Filipino Baby, Signed, Sealed and Delivered and his biggest hit, Tennessee Waltz. He was known as the Oklahoma Cowboy and Cowboy Copas before perishing in a plane crash on March 3, 1963 in Camden, Tennessee along with Patsy Cline and Huntington's Hawkshaw Hawkins.   
Amish pigs at Miller's Farm near Peebles, Ohio
We left West Union and drove toward US Rt. 52 and stopped in Portsmouth, Ohio to view the beautiful murals on the floodwall in the historic Boneyfiddle district of the city. We were amazed by the quality and quantity of the murals stretching along the floodwall. Scenes depicted historical events in the area from prehistoric natives that populated the region through early settlements and growth of the city and industries. Disasters such as floods and fires are also shown in the detailed art. Panels are dedicated to well known residents of the area like baseball's Branch Rickey who broke the color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson in 1947. A panel of Roy Rogers and Trigger honors the star of B Westerns and the early days of television who was raised in the Portsmouth area and went on to become a cultural icon for children in the 1950s and 1960s. Anyone who grew up in that time can recall Roy and his wife, Dale Evans, signing Happy Trails at the end of their popular television show.
Car show at Wheelersburg, Ohio
We stopped for dinner at Bob Evans in East Portsmouth then drove the short distance to Wheelersburg, Ohio to walk around the car show sponsored by the Ohio River Street Rodders. Their car show on the last Saturday of each month attracts owners of vintage and modified cars as well as interested spectators from a wide area. Although we all had different automotive interests, there was something there that each of us enjoyed seeing. We stayed at the car show for about 90 minutes, leaving at 8 pm and headed for home. We dropped Minors off along the way and arrived home around 9:30 tired but pleased to have enjoyed such a nice day with great friends in interesting places.

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Home from Nashville

As with most of our family outings, our Nashville trip was a great time.  Mary did an outstanding job of planning the itinerary and scheduling our stops to allow us to see and do most of the things in Nashville that we really wanted to do.  Like most good trips, we left town wishing that we had more time to spend in Nashville and promising to come back again soon. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Jack Daniel's and George Dickel Distilleries

We woke early after a quiet night and packed for our visits to Lynchburg, Tullahoma and the return trip home.  Mr. Patel was not at the Knight’s Inn registration desk so after waiting for 20 minutes, we left the keys on the nightstand and cleared out of the room.
The drive to Lynchburg was beautiful.  There were spots of heavy traffic but since we were leaving Nashville at 7 am, we avoided most of the congestion.  Traffic coming into the city was unbelievable.  Traffic coming into Nashville from the southeast on I-24 was backed up for nearly 10 miles and at a standstill.  We were happy to be leaving that traffic.
We arrived at the Jack Daniel’s Distillery at 8:30 so we had some time to look around before they opened at 9 am.  We scheduled a tasting tour ($10 each) at 9:30 and were pleased that we were with a small group of pleasant people from all over the US.  Our guide, Wes, was very knowledgeable and gave us an excellent tour of the facility that is the largest distillery that we have ever visited.  This facility makes millions of gallons of Tennessee sour mash whiskey.
starting with the yard where ricks of maple are burned to produce the charcoal that filters and mellows the whiskey before being aged. 
He took us to grain milling and mixing areas, and where the mash is prepared and allowed to ferment for 5 days.  When he uncovered the mash tubs and allowed us to smell the fermenting grain we were quite shocked.  At visits to other distilleries on the Bourbon Trail we smelled mash from open tubs and found it to be pleasing.  These giant stainless steel tubs were covered and when we opened the access ports the odor made us weak at the knees.  We continued on to the distillation area where huge continuous stills make millions of gallons of raw whiskey that is sent to a filtration area where it is passed through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal before being put in a new white oak barrel for 4-7 years to become Jack Daniel’s Whiskey.  We went to the spring where pure water emerges from a cave in the limestone giving desirable characteristics to the resultant whiskey. 
We also went to the original office building where Jack Daniel and Lem Motlow ran the company since 1866.  We also saw the infamous safe that Jack Daniel kicked in anger that caused an infection leading to his death in 1911 at the age of 62.
The tour ended with a tasting and education on some of the primary products of Jack Daniel’s Distillery.  Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 is their signature product.  Like all Jack Daniel’s products, it is a sour mash whiskey meaning that a little of the mash from a previous batch is put into the new mash to assure continuity and consistency.  Old No. 7 is charcoal filtered prior to barrel aging and is a mixture of many barrels throughout the huge rickhouses.  It is 40% alcohol (80 proof) and has a nice color.  We found it to be very inoffensive.  The charcoal filtration removes many potential sources of unpleasant flavors.  However, many unique characteristics of flavor and aroma were removed as well.  For someone who mixes whiskey, Jack Daniel’s would be a great choice since it is affordable and is not unpleasant as a straight sipping whiskey.
Next we tasted the Gentleman Jack which is the same as Old No. 7 except it has been charcoal filtered a second time following barrel aging.  The color is very light and the flavor is very weak.  Like Old No. 7, Gentleman Jack is very smooth and has no bite whatsoever.  It is priced above Old No. 7 but we found it to be bland and not really interesting.
The last offering we tried was the Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select.  For bourbon drinkers, this is the superior offering from jack Daniel’s by far.  This whiskey is made the same way as Old No. 7 but is stored on the top floor of the rickhouses where it ages to a dark color and robust flavor.  It is bottled at 94 proof and has a really nice warming feel in the mouth and throat.  There are pleasant vanilla and oak flavors that make this the best choice if you are considering a spirit from Jack Daniel’s.
We left Jack Daniel’s to walk into historic Lynchburg for lunch.  We ended up at the BBQ Caboose Café in town.  The walls were covered in photographs of celebrities who had dined there including a photo of the Sons of the San Joaquin over our booth.  We had met them at the California Mid-State Fair a number of years ago and loved the cowboy music so reminiscent of the Sons of the Pioneers.  Steve’s barbecue plate was excellent as was the barbecue pizza that Mary & Emily shared.  The café owner, Ken Fly came over to visit with us as he does with all visitors to his restaurant.  He told us that his mother was from Huntington, WV and that he always liked the city. The restaurant was doing a good business for a Wednesday in May.
From Lynchburg, we made the short drive to Tullahoma, TN, actually Cascade Hollow to the George Dickel Distillery.  The road to the Dickel facility is narrow and winding but isn’t far from the town of Tullahoma which has a surprising number of residents.  The compared to the massive facility and production at jack Daniel’s, George Dickel is tiny.  While Jack Daniel’s Distillery has nearly 400 employees at their Lynchburg operations, Dickel has a staff of only about 25.
Like Jack Daniel’s, the whisky from George Dickel is a sour mash type of whisky that is charcoal filtered before barrel again.  Unlike Daniel’s, Dickel chills the white whisky before filtering.  They believe that the undesirable elements are better removed from the liquid by the charcoal if they are cold.
Our tour group was very small but the guide, Cathy, gave us a walk around the facility and a lot of information about the whisky and how it is made.  They were not offering any tasting tours at the time we arrived so we were unable to make first had comparisons of the various Dickel products.  Their 80 proof George Dickel No. 8 and the 90 proof No. 12 get very favorable reviews and are often cited as good value bourbons at less than $15 for a fifth.  Their premium sour mash whiskey is the 86 proof George Dickel Barrel Select that compares well with drinks at three times the price.
By the time we finished our tour at George Dickel, we were ready to start home after a great time in Nashville.  The GPS took us north on US 231 which is a pretty two lane highways through Tennessee until we got to the Martha Lane Collins Bluegrass Parkway at Cave City, Kentucky.
After the large lunch in Lynchburg, we weren’t terribly hungry for dinner so we stopped at the world’s slowest McDonalds which is in Bardstown, Kentucky.  We have stopped there before and have had terrible service in the past but we don’t travel through the area often enough to remember to not stop here.  We had a simple order of four chicken snack wraps and a chicken salad that took over 25 minutes to fill.  When we got the order, they gave us only two chicken snack wraps so we waited another 10 minutes for the balance of the order.  Hopefully, we will remember to stop somewhere else in the future.  We really like Bardstown but we won’t return to the McDonalds.
We dropped Emily off at her apartment around 9 pm then continued on home arriving after 11:30 pm, tired but pleased to have had a great visit to Nashville and central Tennessee.
Photos will be added to this blog entry soon.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cheekwood & Belle Meade Plantation

No loud neighbors last night made sleeping very good and we awoke around 6 am.  The Loveless Café leftovers from last night made for a good breakfast this morning so we could get on the road by 9 am.
Our first stop for the day was Cheekwood Art and Gardens.  The volunteers in the grounds were very helpful in planning our walk around the grounds.  We learned that Cheekwood was the home of an early investor in Maxwell House Coffee that originated at the Maxwell House Hotel here in Nashville.  The estate was named for Mr. Leslie Cheek and his wife whose maiden name was Mabel Wood.  Cheek sold his interest in Maxwell House Coffee to Postum (General Foods) for stock holdings.  In the early 1930s, Cheek traded his Postum stock for stock in IBM.
The architecture of Cheekwood is such that the buildings blend with the landscape.  The mansion blends with the rolling topography of the area.  There are a variety of gardens from the Japanese gardens, to herb gardens, to perennials to wildflowers.  The area is large and has a lot of plant varieties but there was limited signage so we had difficulty identifying many of the plants.  There was a number of interesting sculptures along the many walking paths that cut through the property.  The mansion was being redecorated so we were unable to see many of the inside exhibits.  Since the day was heating up to the mid 80s, we were all ready for lunch and a cool drink so we found a nearby Subway and had a nice meal.
After lunch we visited Belle Meade Plantation nearby.  In the late 1800s the plantation was over 5400 acres and raised some of the world’s finest thoroughbred racehorses.  All horses entered in the Kentucky Derby in the recent past can trace their ancestry back to Belle Meade.  We learned that the championship bloodlines go back to a stud named Iroquois who was the pride of Belle Meade.  In the early 1900s, the plantation fell on hard times and the Jackson family (no relation to Andrew Jackson) had to sell off the plantation in sections to raise money.  The decline in the popularity of horseracing and the decline in the stock market both contributed to the demise of Belle Meade.  Today, the plantation is held by a nonprofit agency, The Association for the Preservation of Tennessee's Antiquities, who conducts tours and makes wine to provide for the upkeep the plantation’s remaining 30 acres.  Our guide was excellent and gave us an excellent tour of the mansion with the living quarters, servant areas and supporting structures.  We finished our tour by enjoying a sample of four wines made at Belle Meade Winery today; white, muscadine, red and blackberry.  All the wines were good but Emily and Steve liked the muscadine wine but Mary liked the blackberry best.  After the wine tasting, we walked through the slave and servant cabins and the dairy on the grounds before driving back to the Knight’s Inn to rest before going to dinner.
We drove to Mary’s Aunt Mary Anna’s home for dinner.  She prepared a delicious ham with scalloped potatoes, asparagus and mixed fresh fruit.  For dessert, we had homemade chocolate pudding with fresh raspberries which was excellent.  After dinner, we looked at photos and shared stories.  It was a very nice evening.
After leaving her house, we drove past the former home of the late Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash who were their neighbors.  We stopped for gas before we got on the highway and were pleased to get it for $3.13 per gallon in contrast to the $3.69 that is the going price back home in West Virginia.
We plan to rise early on Wednesday morning and drive to Lynchburg to tour Jack Daniels and George Dickel Distilleries before returning home on Wednesday afternoon.

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Monday, May 13, 2013

Old Hickory

We had a good night’s sleep.  The neighbors next door were quiet after 11 or so and we all slept well.
We woke around 6 am and watched the morning news and had breakfast before leaving around 8:30.  We arrived at Andrew Jackson’s Nashville home, The Hermitage.  We had an interesting and informative tour through the mansion and a walk across the grounds to the original log home that Jackson and his wife, Rachel built when they purchased the 1000 acre tract that they built to the magnificent plantation.  We also visited the slave quarters and the other buildings that supported life on the Hermitage.  We especially liked the beautiful gardens with a wide variety of flowers and herbs. 
Many of the plants were identified with signs and the volunteer gardeners were very helpful.  The garden privy was built like the proverbial brick outhouse.  A group of third graders from a local elementary school served as junior docents for the day.  We were impressed that the children were able to present information to visitors at their assigned stations throughout the grounds.  They were dressed in period clothes and were very much in character.
We stopped at a Penn Station for lunch which was good although it took forever to get our food. We drove to the Grand Old Opry House to take some snapshots outside then to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.  The display of tropical plants was as good as many conservatories.   There is even a canal that runs through much of the hotel public space where visitors can take a gondola ride.  It is quite a place and has nearly 2900 guest rooms making it one of the nation’s largest non-casino hotels.
We came back to the room to relax around 3:30 and make plans for dinner.  We met Mary’s Aunt May Anna, her cousin, Sandy and Sandy’s two daughters, Maria and Anna along with Maria’s friend, Tanner at the Loveless Café.  This restaurant is a Nashville landmark and from the quality or the food it is easy to see why.  The menu is Southern home-style cooking with fried chicken as a specialty.  The restaurant is located just west of Nashville on the Natchez Trace and has been in business since 1951.  Emily had excellent grilled catfish, Mary had pulled pork and Steve had smoked turkey.  Everything was excellent and the portions were huge.  Mary & Emily bought a slice of Goo Goo Clusters pie back as a snack for later.  We enjoyed the conversation and stories over the meal.  It was really great seeing them all.
We returned to the Knight’s Inn for the evening and will plan to our visit to Belle Meade Plantation and Cheekwood Art and Gardens for tomorrow.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

We slept fine at the Nashville Knight's Inn last night. We feared that the noisy group in the next room would keep us awake but they quieted down before midnight. 
The Knight's Inn is certainly no frills but it is clean, comfortable and quiet. In addition, it is very convent to most of the places we will be visiting and was the most affordable place in the area. Since we are in the motel only from about 11 pm until 7 am there is little logic in paying for a pricier motel when we are in the room so little. 
We grabbed a quick breakfast from what was available at the motel (pretty much the standard Belgian waffles, Fruit Loops and small apples) supplemented by some items brought from home. 
We left the motel for the Country Music Hall of Fame around 8:30 and arrived quickly since our motel is close.  Parking is a premium in Nashville.  The first place we attempted to park had a fee of $32 for us to park for the day.  We went to the public library where weekend parking has a flat rate of $7 which suited us much better.
We were at the County Music Hall of Fame when the doors opened at 9 am and enjoyed our walk around the museum.  Like the night before at the Grand Old Opry, photography is not only allowed but is encouraged.  That is so unlike other museums.  The exhibits were excellent and well displayed.  We had audio devices that narrate the self-guided tour but the signage was very descriptive and there were many videos throughout the exhibits.  We enjoyed seeing the guitars, clothes and memorabilia from many Nashville stars such as Hank Williams, Kitty Wells and George Jones
One of the special exhibits was on the Bakersfield Sound, a movement that came from singers and songwriters that came from the San Joaquin Valley.  Many of these performers or their families migrated to California during the dust bowl era from the South when times were hard.  Featured in the Bakersfield exhibit were Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.
Our appointment to tour the famous Studio B was at 10:30 so we boarded a bus to the facility on Music Row.  Our guide was excellent and gave us a lot of information on the acts who have performed there that included some of the biggest names in country, bluegrass and rock music in history as well as today.  We were able to sit at and play the piano in the studio where Elvis most liked to play and record.  The studio is still in operation and was recording music as recently as yesterday.
After returning to the County Music Hall of Fame, we went to Patsy Cline exhibit that we didn’t have time to see earlier.  We were surprised to learn that she had her first performance in Martinsburg, WV.  There was information on Huntington’s own, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas from West Union, Ohio.
By then it was nearing lunchtime so we left in search of barbecue but passed Ernest Tubb’s Record Shop along the way.  There was a huge variety of music on CD as well as vinyl there along with sheet music and biographies.  The store isn’t large but has a lot of music.  The staff was extremely helpful and knowledgeable.
Jack’s Barbecue was calling our names.  We stood in line briefly to order (Mary=brisket, Emily=smoked turkey, Steve=pork shoulder) then took our meals upstairs to eat.  We shared each other’s meat couldn’t make a decision as to who had the better choice.  Everything was very tasty.  The meat was fully cooked but very moist and tender.  The side dishes were quite good with the baked beans being a little smoky with bits of pork, the cole slaw had a nice vinegar dressing with no mayo and the apples were sweet but not overly so with a lot of apple taste.  This was an excellent choice for lunch.
After lunch, we walked a short distance to the famous Ryman Auditorium where the Grand Old Opry was housed from 1943-1974.  The acoustics in the auditorium were outstanding.  It is said that only the Mormon Tabernacle has better acoustics than the Ryman.  There was a lot of memorabilia on display and a number of video and audio stations.  Our backstage tour left at 2:20 taking us through dressing rooms and backstage areas of the auditorium that still hosts many concerts and shows.  We were impressed that the seats allowed everyone an excellent view of the stage.  It was clear that the new home of the Grand Old Opry borrowed design elements from the old Ryman.
On leaving the Ryman, we visited the Music City Walk of Fame and saw where many influences of Nashville’s music are honored.  We drove back to the Knight’s Inn to rest before going out to dinner at La Hacienda Taqueria.  Emily had a chile relleno burrito, Mary had huevos con chorizo and Steve had a barbacoa platter.  All of us enjoyed the meal.

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Saturday, May 11, 2013

To Music City

We left home around 7 am and headed to Nashville via Lexington for a short spring vacation.  We picked Emily up around 9:30 at her apartment and got on the Bluegrass Parkway south toward Nashville.  We stopped in Bowling Green, Kentucky for a quick lunch at Bob Evans then on to Nashville. 
The black locust trees were in full bloom all along our drive along I-64 to Lexington then on the Martha Lane Collins Bluegrass Parkway to Elizabethtown, Kentucky where we picked up I-65 that took us all the way to Nashville.  We always love to drive when the trees are in bloom.  There is nothing like having the highway lined with red bud in April or black locust in May.  Of course in the fall a completely different show of color brightens our drive.
We arrived at our motel, the Knight’s Inn then realized that it was only noon due to the change to Central Time.  Since we figured it was too early to check in, we drove around Music Row and passed by some famous recording studios then went to the Parthenon.  Although Centennial Park was busy, we had no trouble parking within an easy walk of the Parthenon.  Lake Watauga and Parthenon are all that remain in Nashville from the 1897 Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition.  The original Parthenon was intended to be only temporary, lasting only a few months for the Tennessee Centennial.  However, due to public demand, it was rebuilt as a more permanent structure only to suffer major damage from a tornado shortly thereafter.  It was rebuilt as it is today and is the only full scale replica of the Parthenon in existence. 
There were a lot of reproductions of statuary and artifacts from the Parthenon in Greece and plenty of signage to explain the significance of the items.  The42 foot tall stature of Athena has also been recreated, not from ivory and gold like the original but from plaster, gypsum and fiberglass.  It is made to replicate how the original would have looked in 438 BC.
After leaving the park, we check in at the Knight’s Inn and rested before the evening out at the Grand Old Opry.  We left the motel at 5 pm and went to the Opry Mills Mall and ate at the food court there.  There were a lot of options and we all enjoyed our dinner.  We had a short drive around to the Grand Old Opry and walked around the grounds a bit before going in.  A Minnie Pearl look-alike was posing for photos and chatting with visitors outside.  We found our seats in the auditorium and was pleased to have a good view of the stage.  We learned later that as Minnie Pearl was aging she wanted her character to continue.  To assure the continuity and quality of the character, she interviewed and approved the actors portraying her character today.  Around 6:30 the Minnie Pearl impersonator came out and warmed up the audience before the first host, Jeannie Seely took the stage.  She did a couple of her songs and introduced a young singer-songwriter, Sara Haze who performed two of her songs.  Bobby Osborne was next, the surviving member of the Osborne Brothers.  They did three songs including Ruby and, of course, Rocky Top, their most famous hit.  We were surprised when Bobby announced that they will be coming to Hamlin to perform on June 1.
The next hosts were the Whites.  We have always liked the Whites with Buck on piano, Cheryl and Sharon on guitar and vocals and Rosie doing vocals.  They played Keep on the Sunny Side from their part in O Brother, Where Art Thou and introduced a new singer-songwriter, Joel Crouse, from Massachusetts.  One of the main acts introduced by the Whites was Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys.  At 86, Stanley didn’t do any vocal solos but accompanied his grandson, Nathan Stanley and others in performing some bluegrass favorites.
After a brief intermission, George Hamilton IV performed his popular song, Abilene, along with his son, George Hamilton V.  He introduced Old Crow Medicine Show who played two of their more popular songs as well as performing Tennessee Whiskey as a tribute to the late George Jones who recently died.  The Opry Square Dancers finished out the George Hamilton IV set.
The last host was “Whispering” Bill Anderson who sang a couple of his songs and introduced Charlie Daniels who came out with his characteristic gusto.  He went through two fiddle bows in his first song, The South is Gonna Do It Again.  Of course, he played The Devil Went Down to Georgia as well much to everyone’s delight.  We were impressed with the helpful staff at the Grand Old Opry and that people were encouraged to take photos or even to approach the stage to get better snapshots.  Bill Anderson and other hosts chatted with visitors during breaks and seemed to genuinely welcome guests to the Grand Old Opry.
We left the Grand Old Opry around 9:45 and fought traffic for the short drive back to the Knight’s Inn and to bed.

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