Richard and I spent Christmas in Tennessee with Richard's sister's (Beverly) husband's (Paul) mother (Ann). Clear? Oh, well, never mind; just call them nice folks.
It was a pretty quick trip. We went to Richard's mother's house on the 23rd and spent the night there, and then the three of us drove up to Tennessee on Christmas Eve. The traffic was not bad at all and we passed through some very attractive countryside. We left Tennessee on the 26th, and although we were expecting some heavy traffic on that day, it never materialized and we had another quite pleasant drive.
We spent most of Christmas Day at Ann's house (after a pretty danged satisfying breakfast at the Waffle House near our hotel). During the afternoon, Paul's brother Mark took us on a tour of the surrounding mountains. This was an area I had never visited before and I enjoyed it thoroughly.
First we drove up Tracy Mountain, ears popping all the way. Mark didn't waste any time getting up to the top of the mountain. Once up there, we visited Foster Falls, named for an ancestor of Ann's.
It is a lovely waterfall, and I could tell that Richard was just itching to go camping and hiking in the area.
After seeing the waterfall, we went to Suwanee Mountain (these mountains are in the Appalachian range), and to Suwanee, Tennessee, home of The University of the South, an Episcopal institute of higher learning. The campus is not huge (but then, neither is the school), and it's lovely. It was overcast that day and I'd love to see the area when the sun is shining.
This is the DuPont Library on campus, and the architecture is typical of the whole campus. Yes, it's named after The DuPonts. I wish I could have gone inside but it was Christmas Day.
We did get to go inside the All Saints Chapel. The word "chapel" is a bit misleading. This building is like a cathedral. And beautiful.
Mark's young son passed away several years ago from leukemia, and they held his funeral service at this Chapel, so it has more than a little family connection.
The acoustics in the Chapel are just amazing. You don't have to speak loudly to be heard from one end of the Chapel to the other.
This is the rose window you see on the front of the building. I imagine if the sun had been shining, it would have been a better picture, but I have a bare-bones, idiot-proof camera.
The stained-glass windows were impressive.
Here's another shot of some buildings on campus.
Our final campus tour stop was at this overlook into Pelham Valley. It seems to stretch forever. Too bad the mist was covering the area.
This is the dinner turkey after Richard finished slicing it up and before we all fell upon it and consumed it with the gusto of a hound dog. Dinner was good (I've never had a bad Christmas dinner). I made a Spiced Eggnog Pound Cake for dessert, and it was good as well. I tend to use my extended family as guinea pigs when it comes to baking. They take it well.
I hope everybody had a good Christmas and New Year's holiday. Except for this head cold (which mercifully waited to attack me until after Christmas), I've had a good one. My mother-in-law thinks that Richard and I should host Christmas in 2012. We'll have to cogitate on that.