Sunday, August 7, 2016

Wacky 'RV Short Stops' for kids, grownups

RVers Jimmy Smith  & Julianne G. Crane at wacky Carhenge, Alliance, NE

It is not always just the national parks that are remembered at the end of a long family RV trip. Often it is the weird, whimsical or wacky.

Geared toward younger travelers, National Geographic Books has recently published the fun, take-along paperback that is perfect for a cross-country RV trip:  '125 Wacky Roadside Attractions: See All the Weird, Wonderful, and Downright Bizarre Landmarks From Around the World.'

While, I've traveled overseas and find the 'around the world' attractions fun to read about, the vast majority of our exploring is by recreation vehicle within the vast United States, with an occasional journey into Canada. Therefore, I skipped to the USA-based wacky destinations such as the corn palace in South Dakota and Carhenge, the car sculpture tribute to Stonehenge set in northwest Nebraska. (Read more about  our RV Short Stop: 'Carhenge still a creative delight after almost 30 years on Nebraska's high plains.')

One attraction on my bucket list in the 'Wacky Roadside Attractions' is the simply jaw-droppingly amazing 'House on the Rock' in Spring Green, Wisconsin.

House on Deer Shelter Rock, Wisconsin.

The House on the Rock has three Sections ... way more than any one can see in a single RV Short Stop. It is "a walking experience that encompasses many ramps, varied surfaces and outdoor areas. Please wear appropriate shoes and clothing for these conditions."

"No matter how long or widely you have traveled, you have never — anywhere or at any time — seen anything remotely like The House on the Rock. Architectural marvel, stupendous panoply of amazing collections, tribute to the power and beauty of nature, an explosion of one man's creative energy, it continues to defy simple explanation — just as it continues to astound and delight hundreds of thousands of visitors a year."

More information on the book:
'125 Wacky Roadside Attractions'
(National Geographic Kids)
Age Range: 8-12 years; grade level: 3-7
Paperback, 112 pages
May 2016, $8.90

-- Julianne G. Crane
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash's Hideaway Farm, open to public in Tennessee

The Man in Black's Hideaway Farm in Bon Aqua, Tenn. (Storytellers Museum)

 Country legend Johnny Cash once called his 107-acre farm in Bon Aqua, Tenn., "the center of my universe." The old 'dog trot' house and property were acquired by Cash and June Carter Cash in 1972, five years after they married.

"It was love at first sight," Cash wrote in his 1997 autobiography. (The farm was) "a place that moved into my heart immediately, a place I knew I could belong."

Johnny Cash & June Carter (Look 1969)
His daughter Cindy Cash was quoted as saying: "As soon as he'd come off the road he'd say, 'I'm going to the farm,' and he'd go spend three or four days there. ... It had a lot to do with his spirituality, his love of nature, and the solitude he found here. This is where he found his serenity."

Built before the Civil War, Johnny and June retained the farm until their deaths: June Carter Cash in May 2003, complications from heart surgery; Johnny Cash in September 2003, complications from diabetes.

In 2015, Brian and Sally Oxley bought the farm and then renovated a general store down the road for the Storytellers Museum.

The restored Storytellers Museum in Bon Aqua, Tenn. (Storytellers Museum)

On July 12, 2016, both the Cash farm and the Storytellers Museum were opened to the public.  "Johnny Cash used (the old general store) as a place for local concerts. Visitors can see the historic 'Little Stage' where the 'Saturday Night in Hickman County' guitar pulls once took place," according to the museum's web site.

If you go:
The Storytellers Museum
9676 Old Highway 46
Bon Aqua, Tenn.

Museum: Tuesday-Friday. 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday: 9:30 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Farm: Tuesday-Saturday. 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
Museum: $16; museum/tour of farm: $22.
Senior citizens, students 10 and older, and residents of Hickman and Dickson counties: $6 for museum; $7 for the museum/farm tour.
Free for active duty military and children 9 and younger.
All tickets are available at the Storytellers Museum only.
Directions: Take I-40 to TN-46 S (Exit 172), turn south at light, proceed 5 miles to Church St. (Dollar General on left), turn right. Continue about 1.5 miles. Museum on the left.

- Julianne G. Crane

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