November 25, 2010


ahhh nashville. city of cowboy swagger. the grand ole opry. the neon signs of broadway. the ryman auditorium. the legendary letterpress shop, hatch show print. the loveless cafe. (OH THE LOVELESS CAFE!) what can we say – we loved our time here in early september! ( i know, it's november. we're playing catch-up on the blog and trying to post cities in order of visit.)

we had the good fortune to grab a last minute spot at a corps of engineers campground (and those places are always such treats) on lake percy priest. wow. did i mention we got lucky? not only was the campground pretty much full, but the spot we were able to snag was right across from the water. love those water sites. our drive into town was only about 10 minutes to the heart of broadway.

love us some percy priest!

sunset just across from our site.

we had so many great recommendations from friends about must-visit places that it was nearly impossible to fit everything in, but we definitely managed to have a full week. i think my absolute favorite stop was at the awesome hatch show print, the country's oldest letterpress print shop. kind of a mecca for me – and it did not disappoint. these folks are the real deal of letterpress and have been cranking out posters for everyone from johnny cash to modern day alternative rock giants. the studio is filled to the brim (literally, the ceiling) with old wooden type, plates and posters. i could have spent hours in there just shuffling through the magic.

all hail hatch show print.

a treasure in every corner.

a feast for the eyes!

floor to ceiling. i do not kid.

hatch show print security patrol.

old posters cover the walls.

wooden type.

classic circus type.

american trailer prints drying on the line.

a letterpress plate for the grand ole opry.

a vandercook printing press, ready for action.

i know. lots of pictures from hatch. i couldn't help myself. on to other things...

you can't visit nashville without taking in some of the neon from broadway, and let me tell you, there were some really fantastic signs. after having some tasty BBQ from jack's (another legendary BBQ joint) it's fun to walk up and down broadway and take in the honky tonk bars and tacky souvenir shops.

pigs fly at jack's.

magoo takes down some ribs at jack's.

love that neon.

betty boots! one of my faves.

ya dern tootin'.

when in rome...

hunka hunka hubs.

not only is elvis alive, but he lives in this
fortune-telling machine on broadway. who knew?

you can't come to nashville without taking in some good eats. having no shortage of places to choose from, we settled on a no-frills visit to rotier's, which has been in business since 1945. it ain't for fancy folks, and it's a classic. 

get the burger on french bread. trust us on this.

our absolute favorite place to eat was the loveless cafe. good gracious, where do i start? this gem is a little bit of a drive out from town, but it is well worth the drive AND the wait you will likely encounter once you get there. in fact, we ate two meals here and it is HANDS DOWN the best southern meal we've ever had. the loveless cafe is known for many culinary treats, but the most famous is probably their biscuits. praise the lard and pass those biscuits around, people. 

love the loveless.

stars lines the walls of the loveless.


little circles of heaven.

the cafe itself sits on a few acres of land which also houses a "hams and jam" shop where you can buy their famous country ham, bacon, jellies, jams, t-shirts, cookbooks...just about anything branded with their iconic loveless logo. there's also an old motel that used to house road-weary travelers, but nowadays, it houses some artist galleries and a bicycle shop. we absolutely loved this place. it's the real deal, y'all.

carol fay, the biscuit lady.

love the folk art at loveless.

we were fortunate to be around while the tennessee state fair was in town, and while it was a little disappointing, it's always fun to walk the fairgrounds and take in the sights. and sights there were. hot beef sundae booths (no, that is not a typo), a bluebell ice-cream eating contest, agriculture and livestock shows and the expected midway rides. 

sweet little cows.

the yoyo!

carousel horses.

lights on the carousel.

we had a full week and still didn't get to see every single sight...the opryland hotel was still under some renovation from the floods, but i have a feeling we'll be passing through again. thanks for a great week, nashville!

October 16, 2010


so, we've had a few really nice comments lately about how nice it must be to be doing this airstream adventure thing. professions of jealousy and the like. i know. we're pretty grateful that we can do this. i won't pretend to be naive, and admit openly what an incredible opportunity this has been and continues to be. but in the interest of fair and accurate reporting, i have to continues to march on. life can be mundane. life can be frustrating. it can be happy one moment, and sad the next. it's surprising. joyful. disappointing. thrilling. it's not a vacation every day.

i think this is the biggest misconception about what we're doing, this living-life-on-the-road thing. and i can see why. hey folks! we're headed to the cape! big plans for new orleans! send recos for austin! we don't, however, blog so much about the stupid trailer stairs that broke. again. or the fact that two adults are working full-time jobs monday through friday, and sometimes won't even get to step outside during that time except to let the dog out. nope. i don't write much about our tiny "contortionists-only, please" bathroom. nor do i write about how 150 square feet gets cluttered up really fast. other blog titles you aren't likely to see include:

"ohh, that gassy dog! we can't catch a breath in here!"

"laundromats! live like you're in college again!"

"mystery unsavory camping neighbor who actually lives at the campground year-round!"

not that we're trying to hide any of these details. it's all part of the experience. i guess it's just more fun to talk about powdered sugar of epic proportions at cafe du monde, bluegrass street jams at country stores and the honky tonk heaven of nashville, tennessee. but that's after hours and on the weekends. the other hours of the day, we're working chumps, just like you. (unless you live a life of fabulous retirement like my mom. sheesh. the nerve of that lady!)

nope. this isn't a year-long vacation. it is, however, a different way of living; living with less "stuff" and making do with more. it's a new front and backyard every week. it's stiff bones during long rides in the truck and hefty gas bills. it's the discovery of just how varied and truly special this country can be. it's stepping out of your comfort zones and trying something new, all the time. it can be tiresome. it can be rejuvenating. it's constant togetherness. it's missing your family and friends. it's the prescription for the life-is-passing-you-by blues. it's not having enough room for pretty-girl shoes and having one table, which is both a desk and a dinner table.

as you probably could have guessed, we wouldn't trade it for anything.

October 12, 2010


we're fans of bluegrass music. the banjos. the fiddles. it's an instant foot stomper and gets in your belly and makes you just wanna move and clap your hands. a couple of years ago hubs and i had the opportunity to visit floyd, virginia and what we found was a sweet little town not far from roanoke and the mountains of western virginia and north carolina. we knew we'd pass back through at some point and made a point to stop in on our airstream adventure. i'm glad we did.

needing to break up the drive from the cape to western virginia, we stopped for one night in front royal, va., which is the northern terminus for the breathtaking skyline drive. by sheer luck, we came across a campground called poe's southfork, and let me tell you what an absolute jewel this place was. right on the banks of the shenandoah river, nothing but open green spaces and sky. it's not fancy, but i'll take room to breathe and riverside camping any day over an overpriced jammed-in RV resort. the man that owns the land doesn't advertise, and they come around in the morning and collect money (cash and check only) for your stay. talk about an honor system. it was a great place to spend an evening and for pickles to stretch her legs off-leash. we could have stayed longer if we'd had more time.

blue skies and open space at poe's southfork. yes please!

much needed ball-time for miss pickles.

once near floyd (copper hill, VA, actually) there is a lovely little airstream only park (that's right! all aluminum, all the time!) nestled up in the mountains with spectacular views. this little gem is called highland haven and the hosts that run the place could not be friendlier. when i called to make the reservation, they said, "well, we'll see ya when you get here! y'all have safe travels!" – no credit card required to hold our spot and no pesky check in and check out. pretty refreshing since most campgrounds are pretty stuck on their rules and varied policies. we were invited to have some rhubarb pie down at the clubhouse and were always met with smiles and waves. ahhh, the hospitality of the south, God bless.

highland haven airstream park. love!

pretty flowers on every site.

on friday nights the place to be is the floyd country store bluegrass jamboree. standing room only, folks. music lovers and musicians alike come from miles and miles (states, even) to play at the floyd country store. it's legendary and is celebrating its 100th year in operation this year, and the friday night jamborees happen every week, rain or shine. the store itself is an old-time country store with 5 cent candy barrels, jams, books, lotions and even an ice cream parlor. it's a step back in time and i truly enjoy that magical place every time i walk through the doors.

clogging taps on old wood i love that sound!

i'll take a scoop of that, please.

old timer at floyd's. seriously impressive.

musicians gather and have impromptu jam sessions in the street.

there are some other cute places in floyd – it's not all country store. we enjoyed a tasty lunch of brick oven fired pizza and locally brewed all natural root beer at dogtown pizza. the town has grown in the past few years and we noticed new shops and restaurants had popped up, although there are some local legends, too. we had supper at the historic pine tavern restaurant and it was classic southern family style fare. meats and threes to the max.

all natural, no preservatives and 100% delish.
5 penny root beer from dogtown pizza.

i love mason jars for drinks like they serve at dogtown pizza.
 they're simple, big and beautiful when the light shines through.

people watch you while you eat at the pine tavern.

old school.

one of the most interesting stops was the hillsville flea market, which is touted as being one of the largest flea markets in the southeast. being flea market junkies, we didn't mind the hour plus drive to get over there. WOW. the streets were filled with booth after booth of junk, junk, junk. crappy t-shirts, knock-off purses, confederate flags and the like. eek. and let's not forget the miles of food stalls...funnel cakes, corndogs, polish sausage, frozen lemonade, etc. it wasn't until after we got there and walked around for a bit did we learn that the real goodies were inside a gated area sponsored by the local VFW post. by the time we made it inside most vendors were packing up their wares, but we did manage to see a few interesting tents and i was able to ooh and ahh over some old tin packaging, which i'm kind of a nut for. i know. weird. but i love it.

street food at its not-so-finest.

love all the decorative type and color of these bygone relics.

one of my favorite tins, dixie queen.

more dusty treasures.

a week was plenty of time to relax and take in some local sights. by the end of the week we were ready to move on and get on down the road towards our next destination, although we enjoyed the slower pace of floyd and copper hill. nights were filled with the sound of crickets and clear starry skies and metal taps on old wood floors. what's not to love?

next up...honky tonk and southern soul: nashville, TN!

October 11, 2010

BOSTON and THE CAPE. (and hurricanes, too!)

greetings dear friends!

due to some technical difficulties (meaning, technically, life on the road has been busy, and technically, i just learned how to auto-batch photo exporting thus making my blogging life much more enjoyable) we've had a teeny lapse in posting. no more, i say! we're back in action and ready to roll out some airstream adventures.

i'll admit, our time in bar harbor, maine was a tough act to follow. the sights were beyond beautiful and memorable places were around every corner, but there's still much satisfaction in visiting places we've been before, and our time in the boston/cape area was no exception. we decided on a RV resort – normandy farms – that we have stayed at before even though it's a bit on the pricey side. our site was fantastic. then the rains came. and came and came. four days of rain with no end in sight. so much rain, in fact, that our front window seal sprang a leak and soaked our mattress. now that's a fun time.

the best thing about normandy farms is the proximity to handsome hub's family in warren, RI and my old stompin' grounds of boston, MA. after the monsoon subsided we enjoyed a cookout on a cool (and dry!) late summer night with the mageau clan and caught up with richard's best friend, too.

burgers, dogs and string lights. good times, good times.

cozying around the fire.

we wanted to spend some time on the cape since we were in the area. we decided on a campground in bourne, MA called bayview campground, of which, interestingly enough, we had no bay and no view. (their mascot, in case you are wondering, is "clammy the clam"...really? clammy the clam? OY.) we found the campground to be cramped and the security gatekeepers to be a bit overzealous. you'd think the campground options would be better in such a popular and scenic area, but we didn't find a ton of great offerings. the sites weren't great and there were a good many seasonals (translation: lots of assorted lawn decor in varying colors, shapes and sizes. think plastic woodland creatures).

in our usual fashion, we did seek out the little moms-and-pops and enjoyed some good seafood and summer treats. i'd been excited about these few days on the cape – although my visions of the ferry to martha's vineyard, ice cream at mad martha's and sun-filled days on scooters were not meant to be. hurricane earl (dangit, earl!) tracked his way up the eastern seaboard until it came time for us to make a tough, stressful decision: stay or go? weather forecasters were predicting a direct hit on the cape, and without knowing for sure which way the storm would turn, we opted to head inland to circle CG campground in bellingham, MA. better safe than sorry when we're talking about our home on the road for the next year. ehh. bummer. you win some, you lose some.

the bourne bridge, gateway to the cape.

fried clam sammie. delish!

magoo bringing the goods.
betty ann's dairy freeze, buzzard's bay.

sweet summertime treats.

next stop: western virginia, land of bluegrass and friday night jamborees. now we're talkin'.