Wright Brothers National Memorial

Kitty hawk is one of those places you always want to visit and I believe it has always been on my bucket list.  We went a considerable distance out of our way to visit the Wright Brothers National Memorial near Kill Devil Hills on the Outer banks of North Carolina.

Photo of the First Flight at Kitty Hawk
Photo of the First Flight at Kitty Hawk, December 17th, 1903

This is a fairly minimal historic site with a small museum that includes replicas of both the Wright Glider and the Wright Flyer.   Outside are markers showing the flights made by the Wright Brothers and a replica of their hanger and living quarters.

The site also has the Wright Brothers Monument atop Kill Devil Hill and a spectacular bronze sculpture called First Flight.

We were in the outer banks during off-season, but it was a wonderful drive through the North Carolina countryside and worth this long detour.

Cataloochee Valley: Great Smoky Mountains

Cataloochee Valley is one of those places I could picture myself sitting in a rocking chair on the porch of a log cabin.  It is part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is located in the north east corner of the park in North Carolina.  The area and valley is reminiscent of Cades Cove at the other end of the park with it’s many historic buildings and fantastic scenery.

It is however not as easy to access.  The closest town is Maggie Valley and it takes about an hour to get there.  It is not far distance wise but the majority of the road is very steep, winding and narrow.  There is about 5 miles of a one lane gravel winding road with steep drop offs and no guard rails.  This part of the drive is a little nerve racking and exhausting.

Because it is a challenge getting there the number of tourists is minimized.  It is well worth the trip just to see the Elk!!

The Parthenon in Nashville

One of the things that always stood out to me as impressive in Nashville was the exact replica of the Parthenon at Centennial Park across from Vanderbilt University.  I studied architecture in Nashville and History of Architecture was one of my favorite courses.

Ruins of the Parthenon on the Acropylis
Ruins of the Parthenon on the Acropolis
The Parthenon Replica in Nashville
The Parthenon Replica in Nashville

When we started on Greek Architecture, we had to learn many terms associated with the different parts and pieces such as tympanum, acroterium, sima, cornice, mutules, frieze, triglyph, metope, regula , gutta, taenia, architrave, capital, abacus, echinus, column, fluting, stylobate, entablature and pediment.  I remember sitting on the steps of this magnificent building and learning each part.

Exaggerated Sketch of How the Parthenon is Built
Exaggerated Sketch of How the Parthenon is Built

As with the original Parthenon, this replica is built so that it appears straight and square from a distance.  It is not built this way.  Their are actually very few straight lines in the actual construction and the Greeks were way ahead mathematically in how to properly design this optical illusion using entasis.

This was in the middle eighties and  the interior of the Parthenon was empty and I had only been inside once.  Since then, they have added the reproduction of the Athena Parthenos statue, that is the best guess (through research) of what the original statue looked like.  It was…….interesting.

Downtown Nashville

Going back home after 20 years was quite the experience.  I was very disappointed in the commercialization of Brentwood and Franklin.  Gone were the 2 lane country roads and farmland replaced by malls, hotels and restaurants.

Downtown Nashville has changed drastically also but, in my opinion, for the better.  The downtown area used to be an unwelcoming place full of peep shows and dives.  Nashville has gotten smart and embraced the Country Music and transformed the downtown area into a beautiful thriving tourist attraction.

From Tootsies to “Crazy Arms”

Thirty years ago I spent a lot of time on Broadway (Lower Broad) in Nashville fostering my love for live music and country music. Especially at a very famous old Honky Tonk called Tootsies. Lower Broad is much different today from when I was there in the mid-eighties. I would bravely and cautiously venture into Nashville… Continue reading From Tootsies to “Crazy Arms”

Annie Pfeiffer Chapel (Frank Lloyd Wright – Florida Southern College)

In 1938, work started on Annie Pfeiffer Chapel at Florida Southern College.  This was the first and the foremost Wright building on campus. Wright personally supervised the work which was done at least in part by students.

We discovered and actually played a Wooden Pipe Organ that was there, however, the organ did not have anything to do with Frank Lloyd Wright

I have several posts from our recent visit.

Wooden Pipe Organ at the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel

Walking through all the Wright designed buildings at Florida Southern College, we cam across this beauty from the past.  A wooden compact pipe organ.  Even the keys were wooden.

We were on a private tour and it was just my wife and I and the guide.  The guide reached down and flipped a switch and this magnificent creature came to life.  No words to express, even Chopsticks sounded incredible…….

I wish I had more forethought and took a longer video but the sound was amazing…….