When I heard of the Solar Eclipse crossing the United States early last year, I booked my hotel room as soon as I was able to. Seeing a total solar eclipse was one of my bucket list items and I was excited that it was happening in my country! But I was able to use this vacation to visit Tennessee as a two for one deal and also meet family members from my dad’s mom’s side of the family that I had never met. I couldn’t wait!
So, on August 19th, my son, his girlfriend and I loaded up the car and hit the road for the 11-hour road trip to Tennessee. We left at five in the morning and got to TN around five that evening. They are an hour behind us, so it was a 13-hour trip with stops.
Love the views we were able to experience on this trip!
We stayed at the Days Inn at Nashville Airport East for our time there. It was a great visit. The staff very friendly and the room was clean. Always a plus in my book!
The first day we were there, a cousin drove us around for the day. She took us to see where our ancestors lived. Part of their property was on what is now Cedars of Lebanon State Park. We didn’t get the chance to go see the grave because the grass hadn’t been cut in awhile and this is prime season for rattlers to be out and about. But, my family was buried back in the forest where their land was.
This is one thing I found interesting with Tennessee. When you drive down the road, you may randomly see tombstones in someone’s front yard. Those are the “cemetery” for the original family that owned that land. So, if you buy the property, you buy the cemetery. Another cemetery we went to see, we weren’t able to, unfortunately. The family that owned the land, the last resident died and no one had kept up with it since. So, even though I didn’t get to see the actual stones, it was nice being where my ancestors lived, worked, and socialized! Here are a couple pictures of where the family had lived. Unfortunately a little run down though!
After we went around to where my ancestors lived, we went to the county fair. Had lunch and my son and his girlfriend rode some rides. But, let me tell you. When they say Tennessee Heat? They aren’t playing. It was HOT HOT HOT! And the humidity? Oh my! So, if you visit Tennessee in the summer, make sure to keep that in mind! We went back to my cousins home after the fair. They live on 33 acres of land and we all fell in love with it! They had a gator that my son and his girlfriend were able to ride around the land on. Later that evening other cousins took them around on their horses. They had a donkey as well that was just as cute as can be! The dogs loved to run around and play in the pond on the land as well.
We went back to the hotel late that night, tired but happy! Loved having that opportunity to hang out with family while we were there. The next day we headed to Lebanon Cedars State Park for the Solar Eclipse. Oh my gosh! There were SOOO many people. Reports indicated that there would be millions of people traveling to the path of totality. Some of the people around us were surprised we came from so far away though lol!
The next day we headed to Lebanon Cedars State Park for the Solar Eclipse. Oh my gosh! There were SOOO many people. Reports indicated that there would be millions of people traveling to locations within the path of totality. Some of the people around us were surprised we came from so far away though lol!
Seeing the solar eclipse happening was amazing. It took a couple of hours from start to finish. We were staying in Nashville, but we went back to Lebanon so we could see the total eclipse for an extra 40 seconds. Seems like such a small amount of time, but let me tell you, it was well worth it. As it got darker, the temperatures cooled, we heard the crickets start and then the birds start. During the total eclipse, it was a 360 degree sunset/sunrise. People started cheering and laughing. I would definitely drive another 13 hours to see another total eclipse!
After the eclipse, we just hung out for a little bit before meeting up with friends for Dinner. We ate at Batter’d & Fried. I loved the inside and the food was pretty good! Service was amazing :).
Our final full day there, we went to the Pancake Pantry for brunch and drove around the city. I will admit one thing. Sticker shock at the price for parking was $15 per hour. I’m no stranger to city travels, but I had never paid that much for parking before! So, we didn’t really stay long in the city. I did stop at Hard Rock Cafe to pick up a hat for my brother and my son and his girlfriend went to a gift shop across the street for some souvenirs.
As we drove through the city, we were treated to live music coming from most of the open restaurants. A lot of them had their store fronts fully open to let the little breeze in that was there. The city was beautiful. I loved it! And everyone was so friendly. And the architecture, as you can see in the pictures, was amazing! I love love love old buildings like this. However, like, New York, I’m tempted to try living above the stores for the experience, but I’m not sure how I’d handle it! lol.
After we were done shopping, I was looking for how to get to the pedestrian bridge. Well, I put the wrong name in and we ended up at the Cumberland River Pedestrian Bridge. At first, we couldn’t figure out how to get to it, but we figured it out! Waze kept telling me we were at the destination but we were actually ABOVE it, lol. Got to the water park parking lot and we ended up renting bikes to get to the bridge. It was SO pretty when we got there!
Once we got to the bridge, we saw the path and it looked beautiful :). I told my son and his girlfriend to head on down the path. I’d chosen not to go because let me be honest, there was NO way I was going to make it back up the hill. I know my limits and my stamina completely stinks. Something I need to work on!
However, found that letting them go off wasn’t the best thing! I rented the bikes for an hour. So, with 1/2 hour left, I sent a text saying to think about heading back. Figured there was plenty of time! Well, they accidentally took a wrong turn! I was looking on the find your friend app and saw that they were getting further and further away. So I sent another text after five minutes asking where they were going. They turned right instead of left lol. Ended up biking over nine miles! In the heat… With no water… I lost my mother of the year award that day! Granted, I wasn’t quite expecting that to happen! When they got back, they had to keep stopping because of the heat and getting out of breath.
Had I thought about it, I would have told them to jump in the river to cool down! He kept apologizing because they were going to be late. I told him to stop apologizing and to take their time! I wasn’t going to worry about paying additional money because they were late being returned. As soon as I saw how close they were, I jumped out of my car and ran to them. I had to have help getting the bikes up some of the ways, but then I took them both and told his girlfriend, who had the other bike to get in the car where the ac was running. So, I wanted to do something fun for them and it turned out not so fun towards the end. But, overall, they did enjoy it :).
After they cooled down, off we drove to Franklin TN to meet up with friends again for a little bit. Franklin, by the way? CUTE LITTLE TOWN! I fell in love with its charm and the cute shops. They have a small movie theater in town. There was free parking for up to four hours on the street.
We drove home the next day, which was the day of the big Powerball drawing. I made sure to stop in EVERY state to get tickets lol. We didn’t win, but, hey! You have to try, right?
That was our trip to Tennessee! We had a wonderful time and I look forward to going back again! Preferably in the fall when it’s a little cooler though. And the grass is cut so I can see my ancestors tombstones :). And to meet other family as well.