Almost three years ago, I posted pictures of the Christmas lights at the Cheekwood mansion in Nashville. This year, we bought a season pass to Cheekwood for the first time. Their current exhibit is artist Dale Chihuly, an American glass sculptor. His work is displayed throughout the gardens, and we had a wonderful time looking at all the sculptures as we walked the grounds. Are you familiar with Chihuly’s work?
This morning, Mr. Handsome and I, along with Little Buddy (who was in a great mood and loved being out and about), went on a date in the 12 South area of Nashville. We took a walk through the nearby residential neighborhood to get a bit of exercise. Then we picked up two 100-layer donuts from Five Daughters Bakery (Mr. Handsome’s favorite treat–regular donuts just don’t compare) and iced coffee from Bongo Java.
While in line at Bongo Java, we saw a display case containing a cinnamon bun and were immediately curious. We were shocked to learn that this cinnamon bun (which was actually a replica of the real thing) is world-famous.
In 1996, an employee took a second look at a Bongo Java cinnamon bun and realized that it bore a striking resemblance to Mother Teresa. An article in Nashville’s newspaper, The Tennessean, went viral, and the bun was featured in publications across the world and received air time on multiple radio and TV programs. Visitors flocked into the coffee shop to see the bun in a display case where it had been preserved.
It wasn’t long before the owner of Bongo Java was contacted via phone by Mother Teresa’s attorney, and then in a letter from Mother Teresa herself, asking him not to use her likeness to sell merchandise. “I have always refused permission for the use of my likeness for commercial ventures,” she wrote in her letter. As one would expect of Mother Teresa, she was very kind in her request. “I do know that you have not done anything out of ill-will, and so trust that you will understand and respect my wish,” she continued.
It was decided that Bongo Java would call it the NunBun instead of the Immaculate Confection or the Mother Teresa Miracle Bun. The shop also negotiated a limit on the amount of NunBun merchandise it could sell. But despite her request, it sounds as if Mother Teresa was not upset about the bun but rather got a kick out of it. Apparently she joked about it shortly before her death in 1997, mentioning in the presence of her attorney and successor that they should have the people in Tennessee fun a bun that looks like her successor.
In 1997, a thief broke into the coffee shop and stole only the NunBun. It has not been recovered, but if it ever is, the person who finds it will receive a $5,000 reward. The photo above is of the replica that is displayed at Bongo Java.
Are you familiar with The Phantom of the Opera?
This year, I had no idea what to get Mr. Handsome for his birthday, but I wanted it to be special. I keep a list on my phone of gift ideas for him and other family members, and I had quite a few ideas for small presents in the $10-$15 range but nothing amazing.
For a while now, he has been wanting to see the live Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera. He saw it (both live and in theaters) as a teenager and loved the music, but it’s been a while. His two youngest sisters went this spring while they were in New York City for a choir trip, and they have been talking about it ever since.
At the suggestion of one of our readers, Mr. Handsome and I visited Window Cliffs State Natural Area, located near Cummins Falls (about an hour east of Nashville). We were amazed to learn that the window cliffs were first sketched by French explorer Charles LeSuere in the 1830s. Before that time, the park was home to Native Americans….
On our days off, Mr. Handsome and I enjoy spending time in the great outdoors. We love Tennessee because it is usually warm enough to be comfortable outside from March through November. When the hot weather hits, one of my favorite places to visit is Cummins Falls in Cookeville….
Have you heard of goat yoga? I know you’re probably thinking, ‘You’ve goat to be kidding me!’ As odd as it sounds, though, goat yoga is a real thing, and it’s growing in popularity. I hadn’t heard of it until a friend of mine recommended it a few weeks ago. It’s a yoga class…with baby goats.
Now if you’re picturing a bunch of goats doing yoga poses, you’re a little off, but not by much. You do the yoga poses, and the goats frolic around you. While you exercise, you can pet them, and if you’re lucky, one might even jump on your back.
For my birthday this year, I couldn’t come up with a gift idea, so Mr. Handsome accompanied me to a goat yoga class put on by Shenanigoats, a Nashville company that specializes in goat yoga and goatscaping. The baby goats do the goat yoga classes, while the older goats work in the goatscaping business helping property owners clear their land. You can also hire the goats for private parties and events.
Now back to the goat yoga. Two of the goats (wearing pink and green fuzzy pajamas…my heart melted when I saw them) were only five weeks old, while the others were a little older but still under six months. There were a few different breeds, but the pygmy goats were by far the cutest.
The class was one hour long, and the yoga routine was at a beginner level. The yoga was great, but the goats were even better. You don’t have to be an animal lover to enjoy the class. As someone who has a decent fear of dogs, I had no problem being around the goats. They were very gentle, and they didn’t try to eat anyone’s fingers or toes.
Mr. Handsome pulled off a bridge with a goat on his stomach. I was highly impressed. Not only can I not do a bridge, but if I could, I certainly couldn’t do it while balancing a goat.
At the end of the class, we had 10 minutes to take additional photos with the goats. We goat some really cute ones!
Goat yoga truly was a unique experience, filled with loads of laughter and entertainment. And if you’re having a baaaaaad day, the goats are sure to make you smile! (Okay, no more goat puns.)
What do you think of the idea of goat yoga? Would you be up for trying it? For my readers in the Nashville area, be sure to check out the class schedule on the Shenanigoats website.
Am I the only one who feels like the holiday season flew by? It hardly felt like there was any time at all between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and now we’re about to celebrate New Year’s. Can we really be coming up on 2018? I vividly remember ringing in the new millennium–and all the apprehension that went along with it–but that was 18 years ago! Yikes.
Well, now that I’m done reminiscing, I have some photos to share. Some of my in-laws are here for the weekend, so we have enjoyed showing them the city. We have 11 of the 15 family members, but it still feels like a small group. (Did I tell you that one of Mr. Handsome’s little sisters is expecting? He is the oldest, and she is number five, so there are several years between the two of them. She is the one who married in May.)
This morning, we headed over to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel to enjoy the many Christmas festivities and decorations.
In addition to walking through the indoor gardens, as Mr. Handsome and I did a couple weeks ago, we spent 30 minutes inside the ICE winter wonderland.
Located in a conference center that is being kept at 9 degrees Fahrenheit, this holiday attraction is an annual tradition at Opryland. The display features two million pounds of ice sculptures, hand-carved by talented artisans from Harbin, China. This year’s theme is A Charlie Brown Christmas.
Pretty much everything you see in these photos is made of ice, even the Christmas tree and giant strands of popcorn.
There was also a huge ice slide (about two stories high). My three-year-old niece and one-year-old nephew were too short to ride it, but all the adults gave it a try. It was short but fast.
In general, the adults definitely appreciated the ice display more than the kiddos.
At the very end was a massive Nativity scene. Although my niece was cold and ready to leave, she enjoyed identifying all the characters–baby Jesus, the Wise Men, Joseph and Mary, the shepherds, the angel, and the livestock.
This holiday season, we visited two iconic Nashville attractions to see Christmas lights. Do you enjoy viewing Christmas lights?The first place we visited was Cheekwood, a historic estate that has both a botanical garden and a small art museum. We enjoyed walking the one-mile loop through the outdoor lights, touring the mansion, and browsing the art museum.
As we have for the past few years, we also walked through the three beautiful atrium at the famous Gaylord Opryland Hotel. Opryland is magical at any time of year, and Christmastime is no exception! This year, a portion of the parking lot was blocked off because they are building an indoor-outdoor water park called Sounds Waves, a very appropriate name for a Music City attraction.
In the largest atrium is a huge fountain that shoots water to the beat of Christmas carols.
Outside, they had their usual manger scene and giant tree made of white lights.
One of the reasons I enjoy working from home is the flexibility that it provides. Two weeks ago, while a teacher friend of mine was on fall break, we spent a weekday morning hiking at Machine Falls, a trail southeast of Nashville.The trail is in the middle of nowhere, and when we arrived at 8am, we were the only people there. (We were both glad that we hadn’t gone alone.) The Machine Falls Loop is only 1.6 miles, although we ventured onto a few offshoot trails.
We came across a few smaller waterfalls before arriving at the main attraction.
Machine Falls, the largest waterfall along the trail, is what everyone comes to see. When we arrived, we sat down to enjoy a snack while taking in the beauty of the falls.
On our way back to the parking lot, we came across an old foundation, probably from a cabin of some sort.
On the same day, we also stopped in Murfreesboro at the Stones River National Battlefield. Now a beautiful park, it was the location of the Battle of Stones River, one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Civil War.
With Major General William S. Rosecrans commanding the Union forces and General Braxton Bragg in charge of the Confederate forces, the battle began on New Year’s Eve 1862 and lasted until January 2nd, 1863. Although just a three-day battle, there were more than 23,000 casualties.
Mr. Handsome and I had visited the battlefield once before, and my favorite part was walking through the trenches that were used by the soldiers. Although they are not nearly as deep as they were 150 years ago, they are still very visible.
These photos aren’t great, but I’ll share them anyways. In the first picture, I am standing in the trenches. The yellow lines in the second snapshot show where the trenches are.
Two weeks ago, we spent an incredible afternoon at the Nashville Shores Treetop Adventure Park. Have you ever been to an aerial park? This facility has a children’s course for ages 7-9, two easy courses for ages 9-adult, and two challenge courses for ages 12-adult.
It took us nearly four hours to complete all four courses, but it was a blast. Growing up, I did several aerial courses (including one in the hills of Quebec, Canada) so I was thrilled to share this experience with Mr. Handsome.
The resort has approximately 100 aerial challenges (bridges, tightropes, Tarzan jumps, swings, cargo nets, and more) as well as a handful of zip lines.
As we made our way through the park, the challenges became increasingly difficult.
The Tarzan jump was Mr. Handsome’s favorite. You clip yourself onto a hanging rope and then launch yourself off a platform toward a cargo net.
Then you have to climb up the cargo net to reach the next platform.
My favorite challenge was a long tightrope with large metal rings that you have to climb through.
My least favorite challenge was the row of small hanging rings. I thought it would be a breeze, but it ended up being very difficult. In order to move my feet from ring to ring, I had to push myself harder than I ever had before. My abs were crying by the end of it.