Getting to the tail end now! Check out this map:
We left Memphis for Nashville, where we took up temporary residence in a party hostel just a hop skip and a jump from Broadway:
Broadway, for those who don’t know, is:
On our first day we wandered up and down Broadway and to the area where all the new and old recording studios are. The most exciting was RCA, where Elvis, Roy Orbison and Dolly Parton all recorded hits.
Roy Orbison’s guitar was on one side:
And Elvis’ on the other:
That night we danced up a storm in bars along Broadway with excellent people from the hostel.
On our second day, after getting a decent sleep in, we drove out to a plantation called Andrew Jackson’s Hermitude. Because it belonged to the late General (and President Andrew Jackson), who apparently lived or touched everywhere in the South at some point. Remember his giant statue in Jackson Square in New Orleans?
Anyway, Hermitude was his fave and where he retired to after serving as seventh President of the United States way back in the 1800s.
Jacko, for all his esteemed work in the military and other ‘good points’, was a huge fan of having slaves and at one point had 150 living at Hermitude. Some worked on the cotton fields, others in the home etc. Some people think that it’s ok because Andrew Jackson was ‘a good slave owner’ but as the audio tour at Hermitage points out, there really is no such thing.
We took a tour through the house with excellent, informative and engaging guides. Andrew Jackson married his wife Rachel while she was technically still married to someone else, a tidbit that was unsuccessfully played down during Jackson’s campaign for the Whitehouse. Rachel was so nervous about the gossip and bitchiness of the Washington DC socialites that she declared she would never go there. Rachel got her wish. She died, probably from a heart attack, before Jackson’s inauguration. He was heartbroken and never remarried.
Rachel’s garden is one of the highlights of the grounds:
Andrew and Rachel are buried together in the corner.
Nearby is the grave of a slave called Alfred, known also as Uncle Alfred (although calling slaves ‘uncle’ and ‘aunty’ is a contentious issue). Alfred lived at Hermitude his entire life, continuing on when slavery ended to become the first tour guide. When Hermitude got into some financial strife and had an estate sale, Alfred bought some of the furniture from the house. There are excellent photos of him in his modest cabin with a huge, fancy four poster bed in the corner.
Rachel’s garden is still well maintained and there are bees and butterflies buzzing around.
That night a big group of us went out again, this time to east Nashville for less honky tonk more indie rock. We tried bush-wackers (Nashville’s signature drink) and met locals, including a couple called Rebecca and Andrew!
We drove out of Nashville and spent a couple of nights recuperating in the Great Smoky Mountains.
We took a short hike and on our way out of the park saw a mama black bear with her cub. So cute! Onwards to Charleston.
Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston is the epitome of southern charm. It’s clean and pretty and the people are impeccably dressed, very friendly and helpful.
We spent a day wandering around, admiring the candy coloured buildings.
We had a delicious and inexpensive lunch at the Brown Dog Deli. All the salads, sandwiches and wraps on their menu look amazing. I took a very long time choosing.
I had sweet iced tea. I wished it was being poured from a jug on a porch by a local, but whatever.
Andrew had a pulled pork sandwich:
And I had a Reuben sandwich, not very Southern.
We grabbed two choc chip cookies to go and decided to eat them by the water.
Thankfully the water wasn’t too far away.
It was definitely in the top 3 cookies I’ve ever had. Gooey and chocolatey and delicious.
It poured as we made our way out of Charleston. But we stopped by the Angel Oak tree anyway, as it came highly recommended.
I have to admit we didn’t really nail Savannah. I really enjoyed it, but we were kind of tired and trying to save money so we didn’t do all the things. It also rained most of the time.
But we did explore the streets from the main square up to Forsyth Park, which was lovely.
We strolled along and saw a couple get married, buskers, kids playing and dogs trotting happily along.
We drove out of Savannah to our final state, Florida!