There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society, where none intrudes.
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more...

-Lord Byron

Definition of Walkabout :

a short period of wandering as an occasional interruption of regular work
Showing posts with label Cumberland Caverns. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cumberland Caverns. Show all posts

04 July 2017

Bluegrass Underground

The bands had finished their warm ups, and it was time to let us in to the stage area to get our seats. It was first come, first serve, and I was nervous about getting a rotten seat as there was quite a few people ahead of me in line. I thought about sitting on the rocks that were stage right, but then thought better of it and made my way down to the front...
One of many luxuries of solo traveling is you only need one seat for concerts. People have a natural tendency to give others space and not crowd perceived personal areas. This works to my advantage as two front row couples have left a single chair open between them, front row and center.

I excitedly grab it and get to know my neighbors before the show begins. The couple to my right drove down from Michigan. It was a birthday gift from the girlfriend.

The older couple on my left are from the South. She immediately questions me, wondering if I'm a "northerner?". We don't talk much after that comment.

Soon the lights go down in the cave, and Bluegrass Underground is about to begin. First up is Haas Kowert Tice
335 feet below the surface of the earth, the fiddles and banjos fly, the familiar plucking of strings and down home lyrics fill the cavern. Next up is Town Mountain, and they figuratively bring the house to it's knees, especially with their classic rendition of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on fire".
Without a doubt, if you love bluegrass music, seeing it a cave in the South is a must.

03 July 2017

the Cumberland Caverns

I haven't spent much time in the Southern part of the United States, in fact, I've never stepped foot in Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, or North Carolina.

Three main reasons why : racism from the Civil War, nasty swamp snakes, and scary hillbillies.

Yet I'm trying to internally change my attitudes about this area. Tennessee is helping me with this, and although I do still find many of the stereotypes of the South to be true, I'm also seeing the truth about "Southern charm" and how it's effects are slowly creeping into me and leaving a positive impact.
I hit the back highways outside of Nashville, and enjoy my two hour drive through the country. I'm on my way to the Cumberland Caverns just outside the town of McMinnville. It's the second longest cave in Tennessee and full of moonshine and mining history.
As we enter, you can see the remains of the bootleggers that worked in the cave during prohibition. The network of caves here cover over twenty six miles, and this allowed the men to transport liquor from one county to the other without detection. McMinnville to this day is a dry county.
The cave is wide enough that a road runs through most of it, allowing vehicles to drive inside. We come across running natural springs, and all manner of stalagmites and stalactites.

The cave is enormous. I'm always amazed being under the surface of our planet, as it truly is a completely different world.

We come to a giant ballroom, and get to listen to the bluegrass bands warming up before their Bluegrass Underground show later in the afternoon. It's the true reason for my visit, and I have tingles on my arms seeing the venue.
The mighty chandelier that is hanging above is estimated to be worth over $485,0000 dollars, and was brought to the USA from Austria in the 1800's. To learn more about how this happened and many other fascinating stories, you must visit Cumberland Caverns for yourself.