Vicki and I didn't just hang out at The Factory this past week on our big adventure. We also visited a few area hot-spots and had some tourist time. Here are three things we did:
This wall (one mile long and 4-6 feet high) is the largest unmortared wall in the United States. Tom Hendrix (who died earlier this year) built the wall to honor his grandmother, Te-lah-nay, who walked for 5 years back to Alabama from Oklahoma, where she had been displaced by the Indian Removal Act of 1830 (Trail of Tears).
The wall is quite amazing. Powerful. Spiritual. It feels like holy ground. Visitors leave offerings along the way.
It's an amazing place -- and I'm so glad we took the time to drive out and wander the path.
2 -- The Swampette Tour
To set the tone, let's have a bit of a soundtrack (click here). (This is some 1974 Lynyrd Syknyrd realness here; kinda fun.)
Did you catch that third stanza there???
Now Muscle Shoals has got the Swampers
And they've been known to pick a song or two
Lord they get me off so much
They pick me up when I'm feeling blue
Now how about you?
I had always wondered what the heck they were talking about. Muscle Shoals? Swampers? Huh?
Well. Now we know!
There were two major recording studios in Muscle Shoals (Fame and Muscle Shoals Sound Studio), and the Swampers were the studio musicians with a unique and awesome sound. R&B, gospel, country, and rock stars from around the world came to Muscle Shoals to record with with Swampers.
We toured the studios (Fame is still in operation; Muscle Shoals Sound Studio is now a museum) where so many (SO, SO many) hit songs we all know and love were recorded. It was AWESOME.
(Want to learn more? There is a great documentary out there called Muscle Shoals that tells all about the studios and the Swampers. Fascinating. Tom and I watched it as soon as I got home.) (Here's a link to the trailer.)
When the workshop was finished, we drove to Nashville for a couple of days. We spent Sunday afternoon at Cheekwood Estate, visiting the gardens -- which are beautiful in any season.
The gardens were in the midst of their holiday transformation when we were there -- with staff installing amazing light displays on the grounds. So . . . half-price admission. Bonus!
It was a lovely afternoon -- so nice to get out in the fresh air and walk around for a bit. Time in a garden is always restorative. We also visited two special exhibits in the estate, and they were wonderful. (Unfortunately, the estate museum itself was closed for holiday decor, so we missed out on seeing that part of the grounds. From what we glimpsed from the upper levels, it looks wonderful.)
It's always fun to play tourist in a new place!
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