Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Hermitage

On Sunday afternoon, The Hermitage, Home of Andrew Jackson, was invaded by the D. family. Set on over 1100 acres just north of Nashville, The Hermitage includes Andrew and Rachel Jackson's mansion and garden, their original log cabin, a museum, and numerous outbuildings and slave cabins.

After a short introductory movie about Andrew Jackson's life, we walked through the museum, then headed over to the mansion. Guides dressed in period costumes took us through the main house, pointing out the early 1800's wallpaper that Rachel had imported from France (with a theme of Homer's Odyssey), the 174 year-old walnut banister, and of particular interest to my girls...a combination writing and sewing table that belonged to their daughter-in-law, complete with lace she had tatted.

Outside, as Jaela, Macey, and Isaak danced through the garden chasing the million or so butterflies, we dragged Anya with us on our way to visit Andrew's and Rachel's tomb (the pillars of which are visible behind Anya).

They had a horse-drawn wagon tour of some of the outbuildings, fields, and Andrew and Rachel's original log home.

Yeah, we didn't take it.

Instead, we explored the creek behind the springhouse, followed a path through the woods to the site of the former slave quarters, stopped for a photo op, and dodged horse apples along the wagon path.

We stopped to listen to a costumed historian talk about Andrew Jackson's part in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812, and he demonstrated the loading and firing of a musket. When the rain that had been threatening all day finally came, we all huddled under a tree (next to a couple from Eugene, OR!), and kept on listening.

That wrapped up our visit, and after a brief stop at the gift shop, we loaded up and headed home. In Andrew's day, it was a four hour carriage ride from The Hermitage to Nashville. The drive back to Clarksville didn't take nearly that long. Even so, some of us might have fallen asleep on the drive home, but I'm not naming any names.

Jaela, Macey, and Anya are holding on to their brochure/maps as souvenirs, and when I walked into the kitchen at 6:30 this morning:

Mike: Ask Isaak what he learned this morning.
Me: Isaak, what did you learn this morning?
Anya: I'll tell Mom! I taught him that Andrew Jackson was the first president to have a nickname!
Mike: Isaak, what was Andrew Jackson's nickname?
Isaak: (with a grin) Old Hickory!