Long-silent cannon look out upon the Cumberland River at Fort Donelson National Battlefield near Dover, Tennessee.
Long-silent cannon look out upon the Cumberland River at Fort Donelson National Battlefield near Dover, Tennessee.

The next morning, after my visit to Hopkinsville, Kentucky and the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area the day before, I left the hotel in Oak Grove, Kentucky, crossed the state line into Tennessee and gassed up at a nearby Kroger. I then headed west on US 79. For miles on the right-hand side was nothing but vegetation and fencing as I passed Fort Campbell.

After driving through the small town of Dover, I pulled into my first stop of the day, the Fort Donelson National Battlefield, only to find the visitor center closed for renovation.

I ended up going to the nearby Stewart County Visitor Center, which was serving as a temporary host to the Fort Donaldson Visitor Center. I watched a short video about the battle and perused a few exhibits.

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Buffalo at Land Between the Lakes.
Buffalo at Land Between the Lakes.

While doing some sight-seeing in southern Kentucky this past August, I decided to pay a visit to Buffalo while I was in the neighborhood.

Of course, anyone with a lick of geographical knowledge knows that Buffalo is in upstate New York, several hundred miles away from southern Kentucky.

Nevertheless, I promise you that I did indeed see Buffalo in southern Kentucky. Or maybe I should say, “buffalo,” as in the four-legged variety.

Upon leaving Hopkinsville, about which I wrote in the last installment, I drove a few miles to the nearby Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area, which is located on a peninsula between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. The area used to be known as Between the Rivers until the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers were dammed to form the lakes as part of the massive Tennessee Valley Authority power generation project.

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After touring the George Washington Carver National Monument, about which I wrote in the previous installment of this travel series and at which I had a chance encounter with someone who knew my uncle many years ago, I drove a few miles north to pay a quick visit to the Battle of Carthage State Historic Site.

The relatively small engagement took place on July 5, 1861, less than two months after the first shot of the War Between the States was fired at Fort Sumter. The battle was fought by the Confederate-sympathsizing Missouri State Guard, led by then-governor Claiborne F. Jackson and several Union regiments led by Union general Franz Sigel. The battle was pretty much a draw but it did serve the Confederacy in the sense that it inspired the recruitment of more soldiers for the Southern effort.
As I began to backtrack through Carthage, I made a brief stop at a church that I had seen on the way to the battlefield. By the sidewalk near the church was a sign that read, “Grace Church Bible Garden and Labyrinth.” Some liberal churches have adopted the pagan labyrinth to enhance their spiritual experience. I also passed a Vietnamese Roman Catholic monastery bearing the unbiblical name “Congregation of the Mother Coredemptrix.” Underneath that title were the words “Chi Dong Dong Cong.”
I soon connected with the interstate and drove into Joplin, where I had a hotel room waiting for me. The gentleman who checked me in gave me a list of locally-owned restaurants that he recommended.

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By Terry M. Thacker

As the old saying goes, there is a first time for everything. Admittedly, sight-seeing trips are best done in spring, summer or fall, when the temperatures are more favorable for being out and about. But who goes sight-seeing in the dead of winter? I do, t'would seem.

Back in December I was watching a program on North Carolina public television describing a one-of-a-kind, on-going art exhibition featuring the works of M. C. Escher that was being held at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh. A passing thought flitted through my brain that it would be nice to see that exhibition. The thought quickly passed but, several days later, it returned and hung around a little while longer.

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TerryTravel-1

After a rainy Sunday cut short my sightseeing, the next day was much nicer. My intention on that Monday this past August, during a sightseeing trip to the Charleston area, was to return to Boone Hall Plantation, which I had visited on the rainy Sunday, and take some photos of the famous Avenue of Oaks.

But first I wanted to pay a return visit to a site that I had toured once before, back in 1999 - Fort Moultrie, which is a sub unit of Fort Sumter National Monument. Sumter sits just a mile from Moultrie. The two are strategically situated so as to provide enfilading fire to enemy ships that might attempt to enter Charleston Harbor. Moultrie lies near the end of a peninsula on a piece of land known as Sullivan's Island while Sumter sits upon a man-made island in the harbor.

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John-Adams---1

“They're crazy and they're kooky. . .”

No, no, not the Addams Family, but rather, the Adams Family, as in John and John Quincy Adams. One 'd,' not two. Few families in American have had such an impact on our history as the Adams family of Quincy, Massachusetts.

In addition to being the second president of these United States, the patriarch of the family, John Adams, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence as well. He also served as ambassador to the court of Saint James in London after relations were restored with Great Britain after the American Revolution.

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“Lizzie Borden took an axe

And gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done

She gave her father forty-one.”

As a kid I remember watching a made-for-TV movie about suspected axe-murderer Lizzie Borden that starred Elizabeth Montgomery. Uncounted murders have taken place throughout the span of American history but few have reached such mythic, folkloric status as the murders of Andrew Jackson Borden and his wife, Abby, supposedly at the hands of his daughter.

This famous (or infamous) crime took place on August 4, 1892 in Fall River, Massachusetts. I decided to pay a visit to the Borden house one Sunday morning while on a trip that I have been telling you about, a trip I took to New England this past fall.

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Terry---Guitar“If you are caught taking pictures inside the factory you will be removed from the tour and your pictures will be deleted.” This was the general gist of a statement that I and a group of more than a dozen other tourists heard before we embarked on a guided tour of the Gibson guitar plant in Memphis.

I was three days into a sight-seeing trip to northern Alabama, northern Mississippi and southwestern Tennessee this past August when I found myself on the receiving end of this stern warning. After visiting several other sites in the Memphis area, I left my car at the Tennessee Welcome Center, located near the Mud Island tourist attraction, and rode the trolley to Main Street, where I disembarked.

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Terry---Roger-Taney-House

Well, let's wrap this up, shall we? It's time for me to get back to Greenville so I can go back to work and make a living. I left you last week in Gettysburg and now I have to get back on the road and head south for about 500 miles. Yes, I am 500 miles away from home. Hey, that sounds like a good title for a song. I wonder if it's already taken.

Anyway, I left Gettysburg on that unseasonably chilly April morning, heading south on US 15 as it crosses the field over which General George Pickett's men charged almost 150 years ago. I crossed into Maryland and made my way to Frederick, a city I lived in for a while way back in the 80's.

My first top was the Roger B. Taney house, a brick structure located in the older part of town. Taney's place in history rests on writing the majority opinion in the famous Dred Scott case, asserting that Negro slaves were not citizens and were not entitled to the same rights as white men.

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Mt-Mitchell---grave

In the house in which I grew up there was a door frame that had accumulated a lot of pencil marks over the years. It was where our dad would measure our height from time to time so that we could see how much we had grown since the last time we had been measured. It was always a thrill for me to see that I had gotten taller, even if it was only by a sixteenth of an inch or so.

A road trip that I took this past Thursday made me hearken back to those days because, for just a few minutes, I stood taller than anyone else east of the Rocky Mountains. More on that in a minute.

I recently joined James Spurck, the managing editor of The Times Examiner, and his family for a day trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Our main destination for the day was Mount Mitchell, the tallest peak in the eastern United States.

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Terry---Farm_1667

Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and the surrounding region has plenty for the tourist to see and do. In addition to the three attractions I told you about last week, the Guinness World Records Museum, Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium and Ripley's Aquarium, there is Cades Cove, which I wrote about two weeks ago.

There is also a plethora of other attractions designed to grab the tourist dollar, including the Dollywood Amusement Park in nearby Pigeon Forge. And, of course, Gatlinburg is nestled at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which has a wealth of activities in store for the outdoor enthusiast.

However, on the second full day of my trip last August to Gatlinburg, I was able to break free from the allure of the town and took a side trip several miles north to see some other sites.

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