First Road Trip Cross-Country, USA (Part 2)
Updated: Jan 18, 2022
Tennessee was a point of interest for us for a variety of reasons. There weren’t necessarily any expectations, but during this time of COVID, it seemed like a pretty safe area, as well as an affordable one to hunker down for a bit. By the way, if you haven’t checked out my first article leading up to this point, feel free to check out my preemptive article Road Trip Cross-Country (Part 1).
After leaving Florida, due to the vacation rental ban, we arrived in Nashville on April 1 at 9 am after driving overnight for 10 hours. We had an Airbnb booked and didn’t want to stop at a hotel. The kids were excited to get there after sleeping on the drive over.
We booked a super cute and comfortable retro-furnished Tudor for the month, in a cute 3 story duplex. Spoiler alert, we ended up booking it for a second month, after guests who had booked 1 night the following month canceled.
Before we could check-in to our place at 3 pm, we decided to start the day off with something to eat. Breakfast consisted of a stop at the Waffle House. After seeing them everywhere East of the Mississippi, we finally decided to try them. The waitress served us right at our car, bless her heart. Next stop, Stone National Battlefield.
Stones River National Battlefield, Murfreesboro, TN
At this point National and State parks hadn’t been shut down, so we were lucky to have visited before closures occurred.
There is a wealth of history about the civil war and President Abraham Lincoln’s role during that time.
It was relatively quiet there and the kids enjoyed reading and exploring the monuments and being out in nature. We, also, explored the Stone River Civil War Cemetary across the street.
Other Cool Points Of Interest
While driving out of the Stone River National Battlefield we passed the Wat Lao Buddhist Temple.
It was stood out amidst the trees and greenery. Of course, it was closed, but we drove around and admired it from the outside.
Afterward, we stopped for gas and had a funny conversation with the mini market clerk at the gas station. I went to pay for some drinks and this is how the conversation went:
Clerk: That’ll be $3.26
Me: I hand him a $10 bill
Clerk: “Your change is $7, I had an extra .26.
Me: “Thank you, I have 26 pennies, but…”
Clerk: “Well then, I just saved you and me both a whole lotta time, didn’t I!”
We had a chuckle and a “see ya’ll later.”
Richland Creek Greenway
Richland Creek Greenway (McCabe Golf Course Loop). It is a lovely 2.8-mile loop with creeks, small bridges, and surrounded by nature to enjoy on your walk. It can get busy, but it was nice to have something like this so close to our place.
Radnor Lake State Park
Another nice spot we got to enjoy before the state park closed was Radnor Lake State Park. Lots of great hiking and a huge lake filled with turtles, fish, herons, egrets, and other wildlife.
Historic Cemetery near Franklin, TN
As Dave Ramsey fans, we knew we had to visit Franklin. What a cute town! There are many historic homes, which are now used for businesses. Quaint little shops, cafes, restaurants, and antiques. Under different circumstances, it would have been fun to walk around. We drove around for a bit, then went to the cemetery just outside of town and looked at some very historic gravesites.
We did a drive-by through Hendersonville just to check out the town and see what it had to offer. It is very clean with lots of strip malls and shops. There is both beautiful land and homes. Apparently, it is home to many celebrities. I just love all the greenery, birds, foliage, and blooming flowers.
Smith Springs Park
We took a drive out to Smith Springs Park not sure of what to expect. We ended up at J. Percy Priest Lake. We hiked around the lake and let the kids play. The boat ramp area had a steady flow of people boat launching to go out fishing on the lake. The area seemed like a place people like to go for picnics and enjoy the outdoors. There are picnic shelters for rent and areas to BBQ.
Cummins Falls State Park
This is such a fun spot. It is an easy hike down to the river, where you can splash, make rock sculptures by stacking rocks, and hike down to the waterhole. We didn’t go to the low point waterhole area, as the state required a permit. This was due to COVID-19. They were requiring you to buy a permit ahead of time, which only allowed 100 visitors with permits per day. We had a great time without it. Kids were catching crabs and tiny fish. I recommend wearing water shoes if you have them. The rocks in the river are pretty slippery. And, you might want to look into the permit thing ahead of time, too.
Parthenon at Centennial Park
We strolled around the lake. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, no visitors were allowed inside the Parthenon Art Museum. It is a full-scale replica of the original in Athens. The park itself is very popular with people playing, relaxing on hammocks they put up between the trees, strolling, and sunbathing.
All the beautiful plants & flowers in our neighborhood, Cherokee Park.
Quarantining Family Style
Our time here is coming to an end, May 30, 2020. It has been an absolute pleasure to get to know Nashville and Middle Tennessee. We wish circumstances were different, as we didn’t get to experience everything Nashville has to offer, but we will return again.
By the way, see the photo above with the tree coming out of the ground? I’ll wait. I should probably mention we got caught during one of the worst storms in Tennessee and were without power and electricity for days. But it was just one of many unforgettable moments. During our stay, we worked, we homeschooled, we celebrated Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and Vallen’s birthday. Not to mention cooked and baked many meals. It was great making some new friends along the way.
For now, we are returning to Florida, since our trip had been cut short back in March. We have plans to visit Pop-Pop (grandpa) and enjoy the beaches. I will keep you posted on our next set of adventures. I look forward to seeing you soon, Travel Club! Stay safe.