Belle Meade Plantation is beautiful. I'm happy the Tennessee Historical Society decided that tourists don't need to have an immersive experience and put AC in the big house. 99 degrees would have meant spending a lot less time staring at portraits of dead horse breeders.
The plantation did reveal that Julia has a better bocce ball game than I expected.
They wouldn't let us take pictures in the house but if they would have allowed it I would have taken a shot of the fake squab and beef tongue they had on the dining room table. The tongue was grey and garnished with a single mushroom. It wasn't appetizing and I wouldn't be into eating anything that could taste me back.
Fake beef tongue aside, dining in Nashville was a treat. Monell's serves soul food family style. Each table seats about twelve people and you pass each bowl of food to the left. That's not the only rule. No cell phones (they'll take them away from you) and you eat what you take. I'm not sure what the consequences of that last one would be but considering how good the food is I'm sure it's never a problem.
They brought twenty dishes to our table (we counted). Sweet corn pudding and collard green casserole were my favorite. I pointed to the collard greens and told our server that it was incredible. She giggled back at me, "You know, you're about the 55th person to tell me that this weekend."
There was pulled pork, beef in gravy, fried chicken, BBQ chicken, mac and cheese, cheese grits - I know there was much more, but I can't remember.
The family who shared our table with was from Oklahoma on their way to Washington D.C. The dad had an undisclosed project in the area. His little boy whispered in his mom's ear and she told me, "He wants me to tell you that he's six years-old and he likes computers." I asked him, "Do you code?" He got a puzzled look on his face so I asked, "Do you play Minecraft?" His mom smiled and said, "He plays two games on the computer." Then the kid yelled, "SKYLANDERS!"
After lunch we wanted to walk off a portion of the huge amount of food we ate so we headed to the Tennessee State Museum. Cool place. Really - it's air conditioned. The exhibits were incredibly interesting, but not having a collar of dark sweat stain my orange T-Shirt was a big treat.
After the museum, Deb wanted to surprised the girls with a trip to a candy store on Broadway St. in Nashville. We turned on the GPS in the parking garage and discovered it was just three blocks away so we walked. The dark collar around my shirt I mentioned appeared. We found the store on Broadway among tons of other interesting, touristy places to duck into. At the store we loaded a bag full of candy and discovered at the register that it was $15 a pound. The result was the most expensive Zotz I've ever eaten.
Speaking of money, that's an issue that has kind of bowled us over so far. Okay, when I say "us" I mean "me". Our accountant, Allie, let us know our total spend so far on this trip. We've ventured into four figures in just two days. Meals are the expenses that are "eating" the majority of our budget. The plan was to avoid eating anywhere we could eat at home. Now that we've examined our budget we've decided a few trips to Subway this trip wouldn't be an unforgivable offense.
This evening we're in Lenoir City, Tennessee. The pool was refreshing in the 90 degree heat. We horsed around, giggled, splashed and Marco Polo'd under the moon and the few stars we could see. Deb and I were soaking in the warm water and looked at each other when we listened to the girls cackle at the other end of the pool. It was clear that by the second day we had accomplished what the entire trip was about.
Tomorrow we buy some knives.