I mentioned in my previous post about Mammoth Cave that the park’s web site did NOT do it justice. I had visited, planning on enjoying caves and little else, but this is what I found instead…
I’m working my way through these photos– slowly I know (but its Spring! who wants to be stuck at a computer all day?).
Processing these images, I’m reminded of how wonderful it is to go through life as an artist. Being an artist and a photographer has taught me to look at the world differently. Rainy days aren’t just dreary and dark anymore, but opportunities for atmosphere and mood.
Not having the chance to explore a place in nicer weather isn’t a disappointment, but a chance to see it in a way not originally planned and an excuse to revisit.
My destination after Mammoth Cave was Nashville. I had hoped that, like my journey from Charleston to Mammoth, I would be discovering interesting distractions along the way, detouring to investigate until I eventually reached Nashville. Maybe it was my mind set, already having enjoyed such a beautiful morning in Mammoth, or maybe it was excitement to finally see Nashville…either way, I reached Nashville without further ado.
I was staying with a friend, but wouldn’t be meeting up with her until the evening. She had recommended I visit Centennial Park and the Panthenon. I spent most of my afternoon there, people watching, walking and photographing. The people watching there is stellar and were I more of a people photographer, the afternoon could have been very productive. As it were, it was an entertaining visit and would have been for the Panthenon alone, which was built in 1937 and is a full size replica of the original Panthenon in Athens.
At one point I had driven round to find an iced coffee. As I was returning to my vehicle I heard someone call after me. I looked and there were two ladies that I’d toured the cave with earlier in the day at Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. We’d spoken then and had revealed that we were both heading for Nashville, but hadn’t expected to meet up. When they had spotted the Maryland plates on my car, they had decided to see if it was me. Happy coincidence! It was nice to say hello to a (newly) familiar face in the (big) city.
When I met up with my friend later in the day, she took me to The Wild Cow, one of seven vegetarian restaurants in Nashville. While my friend had never been, I have to assume she chose the best vegetarian restaurant in the area, because the food was outstanding. I chose a simple sounding dish- Beans & Greens, described as garlicky kale, pinto beans and garlic aoli (plus I chose to have mine over quinoa). It was incredibly rich and savory. It wasn’t a massive amount of food, but I savored each bite, continuously mentioning how flavorful and wonderful it was. Completely satisfying and very affordable (only $7.75!). The food alone would have been enough to recommend the place, but the atmosphere was happening and the staff was amazing. I loved the place so much that I bought the tshirt. No, seriously…I did.
To summarize, if you’re ever in Nashville- Centennial Park and The Wild Cow are must visits.
Having quite the successful trip and have lots to write about, but wifi and time to blog is scarce. Guaranteed that ill be an updating fool post trip.
in the meantime…
I don’t think Mammoth Cave’s web site does it the least bit of justice. My only reason for planning to go there is because I want to eventually visit all of the national parks, and this one is fairly close. My impression of the park had been that it had great caves and the rest would all be adequate.
The park is beautiful. Its lush and green with miles upon miles of hiking, biking and horse trails. Their camp sites are spacious, clean, green and plentiful. They have heated restroom made with cedar and tile that are all clean, bright and new looking. A decent camp store, laundry facilities, showers, a post office, multiple gift stores, a post office, their own hotel and a fantastic visitors center. The icing on the cake is the many cave tour options. You can go the fast and easy route, or you can spend 6 hours on a crawling cave tour where you can’t be any wider than 42 inches at the shoulders or hips if you want to fit in the tunnels.
What makes the park even more appealing, to me, is its endeavors to be as green as possible. Their entire fleet of vehicles uses alternative fuel sources, from electric cars to propane-powered buses. Recycling bins are everywhere, as are educational information and small implementations aimed at making as much of a difference as possible. It adds up to create a truly eco-friendly experience. (And I really wish places like the Smoky Mountains would take notice and provide at least recycling bins!)
After my restful night of camping, lulled to sleep by the guitar playing and enthusiastic (talented) singing of neighboring campers, I was eager to explore more of the park. Once I return home I hope to have a few interesting images from the caves and surrounding areas.
From early morning…
Kentucky is colored like spring, and I don’t think just because its spring. Vibrant green fields, crisp white fences, pink flowered trees and blue skies. Even though the skies were completely overcast on my first day in Kentucky, even the storm clouds were blue.
Its not often that I find myself enjoying a drive, despite constant bad weather, that I repeatedly wander off my path. I had planned to simply drive from Charleston, West Virginia to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, but I found myself on quite a few detours.
I stopped at a distillery, drove through a massive thoroughbred horse farm with stables rivaling most mansions, visited a bird sanctuary and wandered around Versailles. Even going through congested areas in Lexington was amusing- the large road signs with the changing text that usually tells one traffic or construction information back home, also directs you to the nearest free tailgating in KY it seems.
After a big day of exploring, I did find a campsite at Mammoth Cave National Park and fell asleep under the FINALLY blue skies seen through my moon roof…