September Splendor!

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“By all these lovely tokens, September days are here.                                                            With Summer’s best of weather, and Autumns’s best of cheer.”                                            hh jackson

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Autumn is one of my most favorite times of the year and it is almost here. Autumnal Equinox is today, September 23, which is the first day of fall and the day where there are equal hours of daylight and darkness. Autumn in Tennessee is a photographer’s dream come true and I cannot wait for nature to paint the trees gold, orange, yellow and red!

September is the prelude to Autumn weather. It still has the summer feel with the temperatures in the low 80’s and the sun shining high above in the sky. But I have been able to feel a slightly cooler breeze and hear the crunching of the leaves beneath me as I walk in my backyard or take the dogs out for a stroll these past few days. Although fall weather is not here yet, it is right around the corner with today being the first day of Autumn.

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This is a splendid time to get out and enjoy this somewhat cooler and less humid weather while you are still able to wear shorts, short sleeves and not have to pull your jacket out of the closet yet! I took advantage of this weather recently and wanted to share my day with you as I enjoyed the splendor in September !

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One morning I headed to the Couchville Lake Loop which is part of Long Hunter State Park, close to Hermitage and just a few miles outside of Nashville. You can find directions at http://tnstateparks.com/parks/contact/long-hunter.

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I like this trail because it is shaded almost the whole way, it is flat and paved, and there is a beautiful view of the lake most of the 2 mile loop.

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Not only will you have a view of the serene lake as you make your way around it, but you will also see plenty of wildlife; turkey, deer, blue herons, turtles, squirrels and birds.

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On the day I was was at the Couchville Lake Loop there were a few walkers, a few having a picnic, but no one was fishing from the pier…yet.

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There are also several areas around the 110 acre lake where you can walk out a few feet and cast a line as well.

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The path is also very informative for adults and kids alike having 44 trees labeled.

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There are plenty of benches for resting and enjoying the scenery.

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This is the time of year where you see nature at its best, so there will be a lot of beauty to take in on this walk.

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Not only can you enjoy your walks, go fishing, sit and watch squirrels scamper or a blue heron eyeing their lunch as well as deer munching on grass, but Couchville Lake itself is to be enjoyed year round.

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“You can rent jon boats and canoes during the summer months. The boat dock is open seasonally. Children age five and younger are not allowed in rented vessels. Paddles and vests are provided. All boaters are required to wear life jackets while on Couchville Lake. Gas motors, and personal watercraft, with the exception of canoes and kayaks, are not permitted on Couchville Lake. There is no launch ramp on Couchville Lake for private boats. Park Visitors may bring their own electric trolling motors for use on park row boats.”

So, pick a day and plan an outing to the Couchville Lake Loop. Take the family, take friends, take your kids, (don’t take your pets, they are not allowed on this path) or just take a couple of hours for yourself. As William Shakespeare said, ” One touch of nature makes the whole world kin.”

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Although Autumn is officially here, there is still splendor in September!

For more information on the Couchville Lake Loop, check out this link at http://alltrails.com/trail/us/tennessee/couchville-lake-loop-trail

Until next time…

  • I hope you spend every day, living, learning, laughing and loving life…
    while focused on Nashville and the great state of Tennessee!
    My best to you,
    Terri

    *All photos in my blog, ‘Focused On Nashville’ are images I have taken. I hope you like them!

    Best,                                                                                                                                 Terri

When The Lights Come On In The City

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Can Nashville, Tennessee shine anymore than it already does? Why yes, yes it can!

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After many weeks of work, one of our bridges in downtown Nashville now has a new LED system. The Korean Veterans Memorial Bridge is now outfitted with more than 685 light fixtures that can change to a rainbow of 256 colors.

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“The innovative design and construction of this bridge has made it one of the most iconic structures in our city,” Mayor Karl Dean said. “This new lighting system beautifully illuminates the bridge’s arch and cables and does so in a way that is energy efficient.”

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The night I was downtown, not only did I get to see the bridge change several colors, but I got to see The General Jackson pass under the bridge while it was changing colors! Talking about a “wow” moment!

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By the way, these lights will not be changing colors every night, but will be showcased during holidays, festivals and events!

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I wonder if the lights will change colors during concerts at the Ascend Amphitheater?

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“I often think that the night is more alive and more richly colored than the day”. ~Vincent Van Gogh…

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In this instance, I think Vincent Van Gogh was right!

Until next time-

  • I hope you spend every day, living, learning, laughing and loving life…
    while focused on Nashville and the great state of Tennessee!
    My best to you,
    Terri

    *All photos in my blog, ‘Focused On Nashville’ are images I have taken. I hope you like them!

Welcome To The Dog Days of May

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I know what you are thinking…Dog Days are associated with July and August– not May!    I will explain.

May is one of my favorite months when it comes to spending time outside.

  • The days are warm but not stinking hot
  • There are flowers blooming everywhere
  • We get to enjoy the sunshine longer each day because it sets later every night
  • The evenings are cool and refreshing
  • The birds are singing—- (Okay, I am getting a little carried away.)

During these glorious 31 days I am spending as much time outside as possible, and not wanting to think about the upcoming hot, humid, thick and sweltering days of July and August, aka the ‘dog days of summer.’  During the ‘dog days of summer’, it is tough getting me to go outside– let alone my dogs. So I decided I would take my 2 dogs outside at least 30 minutes every day in the month of May for exercise and fresh air because I know when July comes I will not want to venture out too much.

So, welcome to my dog days in May!

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On one of our May day adventures we headed to the largest dog park in Nashville. It has only been open since last June, so it is still a secret to many. Two Rivers Dog Park is located next door to the Two Rivers Mansion at 3150 McGavock Pike in Donelson. It is a 20 minute drive from my neighborhood in Nippers Corner. It is close to Briley Parkway, I-24 and I-40, so it is convenient for many in the Nashville area. Heading toward Opry Mills on Briley Parkway from I-40, I exited the Two Rivers Exit (by the Wave Pool) and turned left on McGavock Pike. It is a few yards past Two Rivers Mansion on the same side of the road.

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My first impression was that it is clean and a well kept area. Brody and Baxter knew the moment we turned in the parking lot that they were about to explore a new spot. How do dogs know?

This beautiful and spacious park sits on 7 acres and offers our furry friends ;

Shaded areas with large mature trees for resting and cooling offIMG_8927

Wide open spaces for frisbee play or running like the windIMG_8899

A watering area for quenching one’s thirst

A walking path all the way around the premises for humans (and dogs in our case)IMG_8905

A pavilion for the humans and pets to congregate and mingle

Benches scattered everywhere for humans to rest while watching their dogs at playIMG_8869

Mutt Mitt stations everywhere ( you have no excuse not to clean up after your furry child)IMG_8892

Large boulders for sitting in designated areas (or playing hide and seek)IMG_8904

Small wooded area in a remote corner to ‘get away’ and chillIMG_8894

and Plenty of Parking

We visited Two Rivers Dog Park during the week and it was not very crowded. I am sure it is a different story on weekends because it is one of the nicest and largest dog parks I have ever been to and I am sure others will agree.

Your dog has the space to run and play without literally running into other dogs. As a dog, there are adventures to be had, remote areas to scout out, numerous corners to sniff and wide open spaces to chase whatever happens to be in front of you. Fun will be had by all 4-legged guests and two-legged guests as well! IMG_8896

My only concern is that little dogs and big dogs are not separated in two different areas like at some other dog parks. We encountered several large dogs but they were friendly. I stayed close to my two when I saw other dogs heading our way to visit, but we had no trouble whatsoever. Their owners were close as well, so I never felt my two were threatened. I give Two Rivers Dog Park 4 out of 5 dog bones and would highly recommend it! I will definitely take the boys back soon.IMG_8882

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So, since I have declared these days are the Dog Days of May, I double dog dare you to head out for 30 minutes each day while the mornings are cool, the evenings are warm and Spring is still in the air. Oh, and don’t forget to take your dog! I have a feeling you will enjoy the dog days of May much more than the dogs days of summer.

“A dog is still one of the remaining reasons why some people can be persuaded to go for a walk.” O.A. Battista

Until next time-
I hope you spend every day, living, learning, laughing and loving life…
while focused on Nashville!
My best to you,
Terri

http://www.yelp.com/biz/two-rivers-dog-park-nashville

I Get A Peaceful, Easy Feeling

A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. ~Henry David Thoreau

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I love water in nature! I like looking at it, listening to it, and observing wildlife in and around it. I think many of us do. What is it about water that draws us in and almost places us in a hypnotic state? I know for me, hearing the sounds of the ocean waves crashing on the shore, or the gentle lapping of the water on a lake shore, or the occasional ripples in a still, almost glass-like pond, or even the babbling of a brook is soothing, relaxing and just makes me calm and happy. It doesn’t get much better.

Nature + water = a peaceful, easy feeling for me

We don’t have a beach, but Tennesseans are fortunate to have an abundance of streams, lakes and rivers to enjoy all year. I discovered a lakeside oasis last week on my drive to Murfreesboro from Nashville and I wanted to share it with you.

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This little retreat is right off of Sam Ridley Blvd. on Jefferson Pike in Smyrna, TN.

As I drove into the entrance and headed down the winding lane, I saw my first glimpse of the lake! Happy happy, joy joy!! As we pulled into the parking lot, I couldn’t wait to leash up the boys and start exploring this cool area.

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Some of the features to point out about the park—

  • Plenty of Parking (large slips for boat trailers)
  • A large picnic pavilion
  • Numerous picnic tables and grills
  • Beautiful, abounding shade trees
  • Nice, clean restrooms
  • and a delightful view of Percy Priest Lake

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Although it wasn’t very crowded that day, activities were bountiful all around me. I saw

a fisherman casting from the shore

a young man leaned up against a tree strumming a guitar

a couple enjoying a picnic

a boater fishing off in the distance

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a mom and her two children lounging on a blanket

and a man snoozing in a hammock he had tied to two trees

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and at that moment I felt content and happy from head to toe, AKA ‘that peaceful, easy feeling”!

On our exploration we discovered a family of geese (or I believe a ‘gaggle’ is the correct term) puttering around the lake, several ducks waddling around the grounds close to the shore, and a blue heron perched on a buoy eyeing his lunch. We were continuously serenaded by numerous birds perched high in the trees. To Brody and Baxter’s delight, (or should I say dislike) there were squirrels scampering everywhere.IMG_6886

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I took the opportunity during our walk to inhale as deeply as I could to take in this perfect moment when all seemed right with the world. I pulled out my camera to capture the serene scene so I could share it with you.IMG_6970

Anne Frank wrote in ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’,

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.”

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So grab your family, a friend, a book, a fishing pole, a canoe, a picnic, a blanket, a dog or two, or whatever means a lot to you, and head out to Jefferson Springs Recreation Area. If you start humming the Eagles song, “Peaceful, Easy Feeling” once you arrive, you can blame it on me.

Until next time-
I hope you spend every day, living, learning, laughing and loving life…
while focused on Nashville!
My best to you,
Terri

Welcome To Your Weekend!

The song says ‘Everybody’s Working For the Weekend” and I remember those days well. I couldn’t wait until Friday at 5:00. I remember getting in my car, taking my high heels off to rest my feet for a few minutes and then starting the car and heading out to meet friends for whatever we had planned. It really didn’t matter, as long as it was the weekend.

Today I still look forward to the weekend and 5:00 P.M. still has a special place in my heart. But lately I enjoy spending many weekends at home with my husband, my son and 2 westies. We choose a night that is just for the 3 of us and we will watch a movie, (probably a Marvel movie because my son is into Marvel BIG TIME and can quote many lines from every movie)  and we will order pizza and just be together. I will cherish every moment because it won’t be long before my 14 year old makes plans with his friends every weekend. So, here’s to Iron Man and a large, cheese thin crusted pizza.

Whatever your plans are, whoever they are with and wherever you are spending them, enjoy your weekend! Remember, no matter what you are doing, “Spend time with those you love. Because one of these days you will either say I wish I had, or I’m glad I did.”

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A good life is a collection of happy moments.

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Until next time-
I hope you spend every day, living, learning, laughing and loving life…
while focused on Nashville!
My best to you,
Terri

Get Your Peddle On !

I have written about biking the Harpeth River Greenway already, but we have biked two more greenways as well, so I had to share my thoughts on all 3 greenways.
Here is the update to the first blog, ‘A Biker’s Delight’.

IMG_3633 I think I was just as excited for my son’s Spring Break to happen as he was this year. Besides getting to sleep in a little later, eat some food that is not necessarily good for us, and stay up late, I was also looking forward to getting our bikes out of hibernation and hitting the greenways around town. Biking is a a great family event that everyone can enjoy together.  It is great exercise, and for me, brings back memories of biking as a kid. Except now there are beautiful and safe greenways all over Nashville !

We decided to go a different direction each day and see what we would find. Monday we drove west to Percy Warner Park where the Harpeth River Greenway begins. The paved path winds around Ensworth School and the Harpeth River. The majority of the way we were in the shade. Even the times we were in full sunlight it was nice. Maybe because the flowing river tricked us into thinking there was a cool breeze blowing. Or maybe because it was only 66 degrees. Either way, we loved the greenway. We would have gone the whole way but ran out of time. It is about 5.75 miles. Check out the link below for more information.

IMG_3635IMG_3606IMG_3609IMG_3638 Tuesday we decided to head east to Murfreesboro to the Stones River Greenway. Again, the path ran along side the Stones River which made our trip even more enjoyable. There were several areas where you could park your bike and picnic or walk down to the river bank. One area where we spent some time was at the waterfalls. It was very scenic and not really crowded. We even saw people canoeing and fishing. There are several bridges you cross over, lots of beautiful scenes and just enough hills to keep you interested. Most of the greenway we traveled was shaded. It is about 6 miles. Check out the link below for more information.

Wednesday we decided to head to downtown and turn right which would land us at Shelby Bottoms Greenway and Nature Center. I will have to say I was a little skeptical because the park is not in the best area of town. You have to go through an industrial area. I kept thinking there was no way I would want to ride bikes where we were heading. But once we pulled in the entrance it felt totally different. There was a great nature center, tons of cars, people, activities going on, a play area for small children and clean restrooms! The greenway we were on ran alongside the Cumberland River. The view of the Cumberland River is not the best although there are certain areas where you can pull over and see the river through the trees. It might be a tad more difficult to see the river once the trees are full of leaves this summer but is still a nice view.  I will have to say we did not go all the way to Two Rivers Park, so there might be better views from that end of town. This greenway goes all the way to Two Rivers Park but we stopped about 3/4 of the way and came back. I enjoyed the experience all in all. I noticed the nature center has lots of activities for families and had a full calendar for Spring. One of my favorite moments was seeing a train come around the corner and above us on the trestle about 40 feet high. We waved and were as giddy as 8 year olds when he waved and blew the whistle! This trail is around 5 miles. (This does not count the complete greenway to Two Rivers.) Check out more information about this greenway on the link below.

I would highly recommend all 3 greenways because you will get 3 different experiences but will walk away (or should I say ‘bike’ away) with a smile on your face, a heart that is happy from the exercise, and a greater love for Nashville.

Until next time-
I hope you spend every day, living, learning, laughing and loving life…
while focused on Nashville!
My best to you,
Terri

A Biker’s Delight!

IMG_3633IMG_3616IMG_3638IMG_3611IMG_3606Spring Break is finally here for my son and we decided the first thing we wanted to do this week was head out to a local greenway with our bikes. The day was perfect- sunny, 70 degrees and a slight wind. We chose the Harpeth River Greenway and chose to start our journey at Percy Warner Park. The greenway was not too crowded, and paved the whole way. We saw rode along the Harpeth River much of the way and it was really pretty. “The Harpeth River Greenway is a series of four disconnected, multi-use trails that run along the Harpeth River in suburban Nashville. The trails total almost 6 miles. The various segments serve a variety of communities and parks throughout the city.” The  majority of the trail is shaded so it will be nice when the temperatures get up in the 90’s this summer.

This will definitely be in my top 5 favorite greenways in Nashville.

Grab your bike and go check it out!

http://www.traillink.com/trail/harpeth-river-greenway.aspx