Our last stop before we visit our daughter’s place in GA was Chattanooga, TN. We have been here a number of times and really enjoy this city and area. On this stop, our first outing was to see the fall colors along the Tennessee River onboard the Southern Belle. It offers a three hour tour including a lunch and onboard entertainment.
The lunch was fine and we could escape the entertainment by spending time out on the deck. The weather was good and we enjoyed the colors and river traffic. We did get an extra event during this trip. Two of the tour buses managed to miss the departure time and the company agreed that they would pick them up along the river. This was apparently a very special exception to the rules. The captain noted that we would get to see how the real paddlewheel steamers picked up passengers and cargo in days gone by, namely by lowering the bow boarding ramp.
The captain allowed visitors to the bridge and he provided some lively conversation as we moved along. I should mention that he was a retired Coast Guardsman, who was in charge of the navigation aids on this river just before he retired.
It was a pleasant afternoon on the water and another look at the fall colors.
We managed to extract ourselves from our campground in Salvisa, KY, only meeting two small vehicles in the process, without the complete road blockage we feared. We then headed the short distance south to check out The Renfro Valley Entertainment Center in Mount Vernon, KY. The music center has been in business since 1939 and is primarily into country, gospel and bluegrass music.
We pulled into the nearly empty Renfro Valley campground on Monday. There is an older 30 AMP section and a newer 50 AMP section. Both have level sites and full hookups. There is more room in the 50 AMP area with views of the open fields that I assume are for big outdoor events.
We walked over to the complex and found it nearly deserted, as well. There were not going to be any big concerts until the weekend. It appears that the place is winding down for the season with just a few big events left. There was a small restaurant open and the visitor center of a very small Appalachian village on the grounds. The village was not much and while the doors were open there was nothing going on. We talked to the lady in the center about her basket weaving and he history of the music center. It seems that an older couple bought the place in 2005 to try and get it back on its feet and make it better. Unfortunately, they both died shortly thereafter within a few weeks of each other. One of their children is continuing to try and run the place.
There was a gospel group in the small red barn on Monday, but we passed on that preferring to get settled in to our site. Tuesday night, it was a blue grass group , so we walked over to the barn and enjoyed a great concert from the All American Blue Grass Band from Indiana. They have been coming here for years, as often as three times a week. It was a great performance and the small crowd did not seem to bother them at all. We had a brief chat with one of them during intermission and he mentioned that this was the last Tuesday concert of the season, but that they would be back for a big Dance Barn event in Nov.
We just wanted to see what the place looked like, so a good concert was a bonus. If you enjoy this type of music, it could be a good place to enjoy it, with the campground in walking distance of all the buildings.
I had never heard of Fort Harrod and when I learned that the fort located in the state park in downtown Harrodsburg was a replica, we almost decided to give it a pass. But in the end, we visited the fort and were very glad we did.
The fort was the first permanent settlement in Kentucky and the original cemetery located adjacent has some great history. The cemetery was founded in 1775 and holds the grave of the first white child to be buried in Kentucky. Most of the graves before 1800 were marked with simple field stones without names. On the rugged frontier there were no stone masons. In this cemetery is a son of the preacher who married Abraham Lincoln’s parents’ right here in Harrodsburg. Also resting here is a soldier of the Revolutionary War.
The Fort itself saw a large number of battles with the Native Americans during the Revolutionary War. As the need for the fort waned, it was disassembled and the lumber and other materials were used to build homes on farms or buildings in the growing town. The docents at the park brought the history of the fort and pioneers of the then wild west to life.
We also discovered that on the grounds was a federal monument to these same pioneers.
Wandering around, we saw what appeared to be a small church, but it turned out to be a “temple” that was built to protect the log cabin where Thomas Lincoln married Nancy Hanks in 1806.
Lastly there is the home of a local prominent lawyer from the Civil War era. There were a number of Civil War memorabilia along with his family history. What I found most fascinating were the summaries of personnel histories of the people that lived in the house. Hopefully you will be able to read the account of a slave girl in the picture at the side bar. It should be quite clear if you click on it and enlarge.
It would have been a shame to blow off this historical site.
Oh,yes-Anneke scored some Osage apples from the cemetery. They were everywhere. These are supposed to make spiders crazy. Coming from a historical site should just make them more powerful.