You know it’s Autumn when…

Other than mild days, cool nights and football, nothing says Autumn better than Starbucks’s Pumpkin Spice Latte. Hershey has jumped on the bandwagon and is now producing Pumpkin Spice Kisses. This delights me to no end.

Autumnal celebration can begin!

Enjoying the little bite-size pieces of fall becomes difficult when met with temperatures in the 90s and high humidity, a.k.a. Memphis in September. Those beauties were melting before I could get them unwrapped.

My car’s make-shift refrigerator.

 A minute or two in the air conditioning vent and *viola* no more melty kisses, just creamy pumpkiny goodness.

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Weekend in Knoxville

I started out Friday afternoon. The sky was cloud covered, which made me anticipate a rainy 7-hour drive.

Clouds to the east.

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Clouds to the west

I was behind the clock 2 hours when I left, so I couldn’t take back roads or stop to take in interesting views or historic markers and places.  There were people to see and things to do and fun to be had at the other end of the road, and time was ticking away. So I decided to do some sight-seeing on my way home.

After getting settled at the hotel, I decided to go downtown to Market Square (another link) and Gay Street, two of my most favorite places.

First Baptist Church near Market Square.

The Adventures of Tin Tin was showing in the open-air venue of Market Square. There were scads of people, yet the square didn’t feel crowded or too noisy. After gabbing some yummy Italian custard at Rita’s before visiting Bliss, I headed to Gay Street through Krutch Park. The park has a man-made brook that meanders through the stone and slate lining the walkways that connect the two historic streets.

The Tennessee Theatre, still in operation

The downtown area’s history is diverse and there are many placards describing what happened on certain spots.  Gay Street was founded in the late 1780s, but the Tennessee Theatre wasn’t built until the 1920s. My favorite place in Knoxville isn’t on Gay Street or Market Square at all, but on Hill Street.

Blount Mansion, once a mansion in its own time, by today’s standards is a respectable size house with beautiful landscape.

Backyard garden of Blount Mansion

I like this garden so much that I’m trying to talk my husband into replicating it in our own backyard.

And what is a trip to Knoxville without a visit to this shrine?

Neyland Stadium, home of the University of Tennessee Volunteers!

Since I didn’t have time to drive any back highways on the way to Knoxville, I took some on the way back to Memphis. I departed I-40 for Hwy 70 at Kingston, TN, and I was delighted with what I found. Not only is the drive the quintessential mountain drive with high climbs, steep dips and near hairpin turns, but Kingston is a wonderfully quaint town with a wonderfully quaint lake and family area, also.

Small trail that leads to opening along the lake.

There are tiny hidden trails all around the lake from the sidewalk that runs along side Hwy 70 through Kingston.

Another small foot trail along the lake

From the Northeastern shore of Watts Bar Lake looking Northwest.

Kingston is nestled on the northeastern shores of Watts Bar Lake, a long meandering lake that stretches approximately 73 miles southwest from Kingston to Chattanooga.  Travelers on Hwy 70 only experience a small sampling of Watts Bar Lake.

Kingston, TN lake

The Smokey Mountain foothills are a magnificent backdrop for this drive.

Smokey Mountain foot hills along Hwy 70.

I couldn’t help but notice the odd juxtaposition of the beautiful mountain covered in lush pre-autumn foliage and the graveyard of demolished rust-ridden cars.

I jumped on I-40 right after taking this picture and that was the end of my trip’s photo-journal. I do enjoy driving across Tennessee, especially through the mountains. There seems to be a new site around each turn, and it is usually beautiful.

Saturday Afternoon Project

Since the kids decided they wanted to sit out this soccer season, we find ourselves with more free time on Saturday mornings. So…

Needed supplies: colored paper, directions (I found both in a handy kit) and colored pencils.

After successfully making butterflies and puppy faces, they thought they were ready for a three-star project. That’s when I had to get involved.

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Almost finished

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Decorate with eyes and what not.

The kids had fun making them jump; although, they spent more time folding them than actually playing with them. 😉

We will be trying this project again

Sunday Lunch

Pig N Whistle on Kerrville-Rosemark

One of my favorite places to eat in north Shelby county.

The building as a gas station in the 1970’s.

The restaurant was originally a general store providing mercantile to Kerrville area farmers. As time went by, a gas station was added, and when the mercantile closed, it became a feed store. After years of non-use, sometime in the 1970’s the building was purchased, restored and turned into The Pig N Whistle.

One third of the inside.

Besides having great bar-b-q and fried catfish, kids eat free all day on Sundays and Mondays. Can’t beat that with a stick!

Graceland

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I finally caved.

I’ve lived in the Memphis area for four years and  have managed to dodge the Graceland bullet, until this past weekend.  My brother was in town for his job. He wanted to tour it, so I took him. Being an Elvis fan (and a total motorhead), Dave had a great time, and I got to spend some quality time with my big brother.

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Dave, my brother

I made Dave stand in front of Graceland Mansion so I could snap evidence that he was actually here.  He hates getting his picture taken and was counting down the 5 seconds he gave me to snap the shot before he walked off.  What a funny old grump he is!

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Peacock stained glass windows in Graceland’s living room.

The matching peacock stained glass windows in the living room of the mansion are by far the prettiest architectural feature in the entire house. I wanted to get a close shot of one of the peacocks to show the details, but sadly, I snapped the picture before my phone had time to focus properly.

Photo credit: ElvisBlog.net

Looking through the living room into the piano room, this picture shows the stained glass in all it’s brilliance.

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The navy and yellow room

The navy and yellow room is one of several gathering spaces in the mansion. It’s pillowy couch and matching arm chairs are friendly and inviting.  The white monkey on the glass table provides a touch of the creepy.

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The Billiard Room

I wanted to give readers a upclose look at the pleated paisley fabric that covers the Billiard Room from ceiling to floor.  The fabric is gathered to the center of the ceiling and affixed with a huge button of the same fabric.

The inscription, written by his father, is very touching.

The Trophy Room

Pictured above are trophies of Elvis’s first records recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis.  Down the long corridor lined with awards extolling his virtues as a musical giant and caring humanitarian, the exhibits past the bend to the left were, in my opinion, the most important because it showed the great influence Elvis had on every genre of music. In class cases that line the walls hung memorabilia that other artists sent to Graceland with written testimonies of how Elvis and his music influenced them. It made me wonder if I too will one day have good things said about me. Am I having even a small impact on my part of the world?

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My big bro, Dave. He doesn’t like to have his picture taken, so I have to be fast!

The whole reason I’m at Graceland: to see Dave smile. Yes, that is his smile. He is explaining what type of motorcycles are on the bottom left of the “Paramount” picture on the wall. He was head-over-heels happy once we made it to Elvis’s car museum.

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Elvis’s turquoise Cadillac that sits outside his car museum across from Graceland Mansion.

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Elvis’s 1961 Rolls Royce Phantom

According to the self-guided tour, Elvis bought the Rolls Royce after signing a major record deal.  He brought it home and gave it to his mother.  The paint was continually damaged because his mother’s chickens would peck at their reflections.  Apparently, he had to repaint it four or five times.

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1961 Rolls Royce Phantom

I asked Dave what was the big deal about white wall tires back in the day.  Dave’s answer was very simple: “Because with all black tires that car would look like shit.”

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Elvis’s plane

We both felt a little creepy walking through Elvis’s plane.  It seemed such a personal space, especially the bedroom located at the rear of the plane.  I didn’t like the idea that he had slept there.  It gave me the heebie jeebies.

Although I drug my feet about going to Graceland, and even made fun of people for traveling the world to visit it, I did enjoy it.  I was surprised at how small it is given todays standards of living.  I was glad that I went, and Dave went home with a smile on his face, which made me even happier.