Saturday, February 11, 2012

Asheville to Memphis - never a dull moment

We just can't seem to catch a break on these drives our west. Once again we had snow and ice problems crossing over the Blue Ridge Mountains from NC into TN.

We saw one rolled over van with a couple standing next to the lone police car. We assumed they were the occupants of the van and they were OK. Then a big semi began fishtailing from side to side in front of us that caused a bit of concern. But we made it through the mountains OK and headed west towards Nashville.

We thought we would do a bit of tourism so we stopped at the Andrew Jackson homestead, The Hermitage. We had stopped here a couple of years ago but got there too late to tour the estate. This time we were there early enough to walk the grounds in the freezing cold and take the guided tour in the main house.

We were welcomed by a jolly, fat man in period costume who talked about the floors, furnishings, souvenirs, wallpaper, etc. He said that, "during the Great War of Northern Aggression, not much damage was done to the estate." He looked around for a reaction and then said, "what, no Yankees? Can I get away with saying that?" I just raised my hand and he smiled at me. "Save your Confederate money boys, ....."

Jackson was quite a character in our history, responsible for some noble and ignoble ideas and deeds. The American Lion is a pretty good book about his life.

One of the most interesting things was the wallpaper on the second floor hallway. It had been painted over at one time and during the restoration, an effort was made to find the original paper. The factory in Paris where it was made was destroyed by the Nazis during WWII along with all the plates to make new prints. So, they put out a call to museums to try to find replacements. The Louvre contacted The Hermitage to say they had found someone in France who had that exact paper on the walls of his summer home. The estate sent a team to France to carefully remove the paper from the wall and then apply it to the walls in the Hermitage. And, interestingly enough, it was 20 years older than the original wallpaper. It looks brand new.

From there it was only another 3 hours to Memphis. We have another long day tomorrow to Oklahoma City but I've got a few side trips in mind, so stayed tuned.

1 comment:

  1. T&J--you need to come out west earlier to avoid the February storms! Can't wait to see you! It's been mid 60s and sunny all week, although it's raining this evening. Should be sunny again by your arrival! Bill and Sarah