DISCLAIMER

"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield"
- Alfred Lord Tennyson, 1833

"live deep and suck out all the marrow of life"
- Henry David Thoreau, 1845

"Some guys, they just give up living
And start dying little by little, piece by piece
Some guys come home from work and wash up,
And go racin' in the streets."
- Bruce Springsteen, 1977

"...to the heart, there's no time for you to waste.
You won't find your precious answers now
by staying in one place."
- Frank Turner, 2009

"The best things in life aren't things.
They're living and breathing."
- Michael Franti , 2011

"I owned every second that this world could give,
I saw so many places, the things that I did"
- Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, 2014

All written content and photos by Rob Fulfer unless otherwise indicated.





Monday, November 3, 2014

OCTOBERings

The Mac and Cheese Wayniac
Saturday, October 4th - We attended the first-ever Mac and Cheese Festival here in Nashville today with our friends, Wayne and Mike on the grounds of the Opryland Hotel and Resort.  We definitely got full on some tasty mac-and-cheese varieties, but were glad we got in with a BOGO deal on the expensive tickets since the lines were pretty long for the small samples at each of the participant booths, and they ran out of the booze that was included in the price.  It was also a little "cheesy" in terms of entertainment with a dated (albeit spot-on) heavy metal cover band.  Afterwards, we all attended a showing of the psychological thriller, "Gone Girl" at the Opry Mills Theaters next door which was pretty good.

Thursday, October 9 - Tonight we attended the season-opener for the Nashville Predators vs. the Ottawa Senators with our friends, Chris and Tarryn. It was an exciting come from behind 3-2 win and the first ever for new head coach, Pete Laviolette.

Saturday, October 11 - Today we attended and helped out with the wedding of our friends, Lisa and Toney. It was a small, intimate event and the rainy day was a bit of a hamper, but overall it was a fun and joyous day for these two great people.  We even goofed around in another photo booth at the reception (photo left).

Thursday, October 24 - We attended another Nashville Predators game vs. the Chicago Blackhawks tonight.  It was a thrilling 3-2 win over this strong opponent with a natural hat trick (the first we've ever seen live) by the newly-acquired James Neal. It was sweet watching all those Chicago fans in the crowd hit the road with a loss.  Here's a bit of the post-hat trick celebration in the photo below:
video

Saturday, October 25 - Monday, October 27 - We took a long weekend ride up to East Tennessee to do a couple of fun things as well as stay a couple nights at a neat little cabin outside Gatlinburg.
We started the trip with a helicopter ride in Sevierville, TN.  After our first great ride last year in North Georgia, I got Ashlee another ride (via a Living Social deal) as a Christmas present.  We picked this particular weekend hoping to get a look at some fall colors.  This chopper was bigger than the first one we rode in, but just as exciting.

Part of Bluff Mountain at the edge of The Smokies as seen from the helicopter.
Another great helicopter view.  We missed the peak color weekend, but the weather couldn't have been clearer.
Our little cabin rental bordering the national park near Cosby, TN was just about perfect: clean and roomy with huge picture windows,right beside a rushing stream and  a small waterfall, a hot tub out on the deck on a quiet dead-end road.
http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p3470629 - Rushing Waters (and Laurelwood Falls) Cabins for future reference
Lovely Indian Camp Creek rushed right along the side of the cabin and over Laurelwood Falls just downstream.
We got up in the dark on Saturday morning and drove south through the national park to Bryson City, NC, to catch a 9 AM train ride.  On the way we saw a bear (Ashlee's first ever) and several elk.  No good photos of the critters, unfortunately, but the foggy morning made for a pretty cool vista as we drove.
The big, black diesel engine of The Smoky Mountain Railway  emerged from the fog as we boarded the Carolina Shine Car for a great ride as well as a few spirits from Midnight Moon Moonshine....it's 5 o'clock somewhere, right? 
The spooky oldest house in Swain County, North Carolina, looms in the early-morning fog as viewed from the train.
Speeding along the Carolina countryside on our way to the Nantahala Gorge.  Is that a moonshine look?

Beautiful arms of Fontana Lake were a big part of our view during the trip.
Incredible views from comfortable chairs with a little moonshine, snacks and a meal of BBQ.  What a deal!

We had an hour layover at The Nantahala Outdoor Center with the fog burned off and the fall colors busting out.

We flipped to the back of the train as the green diesel engine took over and pulled us back to Bryson City along Fontana Lake with The Smokies in the distance.
The drive back through the national park on the way back to the cabin was a stunning added bonus.
We spent our last relaxing night in the cabin enjoying some wine and a rousing game of Monopoly which I won by bankrupting the greedy Ashlee.
On Monday Ashlee did some work in East Tennessee as I tagged along as her "somewhat-assistant" since I had the day off from work.  We had a delicious lunch in lovely Greeneville, TN  at Fatz Cafe.  We stopped for dinner on the way home in Cookeville at the always-good Crawdaddies.

Friday, October 31 - Tonight we hosted the "Rob and Ashlee's No Damn Kids Halloween Party" which was basically just some beer and chili with our friends sans any kiddos other than some trick-or-treaters at the door.  We had a great time with some good company, some great food and a seven-card round of Cards Against Humanity that was hilarious.


Monday, October 6, 2014

From Live on the GREEN to Live at RED Rocks and a birthday in between.

Thursday, Sept. 4 - We enjoyed a little impromptu East Nashville Pub Crawl tonight with our friends, Tiff and Brenda, who were up from Chattanooga for a visit.  We started with dinner at the always-great Drifter's BBQ and then it was on for drinks at Bar 308, a cool little gin-joint we've been wanting to visit.  We ended the evening at the Holland House Bar and Refuge which we hadn't been to in a long while and had forgotten what a cool place it is. We've definitely got to come back here for dinner sometime.

Friday, Sept. 5 - We had VIP tickets for Live on the Green  tonight (their first time expanding into a weekend event) with Augustana with our friends, Wayne, Chris and Tarryn.
Good food and drinks, clean bathrooms and front row views of Augustana in action.  You gotta love VIP tickets at Live on the Green in downtown Nashville.  Always a good time.
Saturday, Sept. 6 - Today we had VIP tickets again this time to see Ingrid Michaelson and LP at Live on the Green.  The weather was little steamy, but the rain held off which was most important.

This was our first time "seeing" the lovely Ingrid play live.  We "heard" her live at Bonnaroo a few years back but the crowd was so big at the tent she was playing at that we couldn't even glimpse her on the stage.  She put on a terrific hour-long set today including a surprise duet with another of our favorite performers, Mat Kearney.  The  most amazing fact was that this was Ingrid's first show since losing her mother only a week before.  We feel privileged that she didn't cancel the show which she had every right to do, and her stirring cover of Coldplay's "Sky Full of Stars" that was dedicated to her mom to end the show was downright beautiful.  Thank you so much, Ingrid.

Yeah man !!... ;)...RT : Get this amazing singer on this fall!!

Note the date at the bottom of the Twitter post above.  Well, that tweet worked pretty well!  I tweeted in February and it became a reality in September!

The angelically-voiced LP wowed the crowd at Live on the Green with a full hour of songs from her debut album.  Lots of folks knew the words to her songs and lots more folks became instant fans after her incredible performance.
Thank u Nashville and and !! Had an amazing time!!

Sept. 12 - 13:  We celebrated Ashlee's birthday weekend in two different cities.  We had dinner at Alleia in Chattanooga on Friday with her family and some friends, and at Suzy Wong's House of Yum in Nashville on Saturday with a bunch of other friends.  And the Baskins Robbins ice cream cake I got her was the bomb, ya'll!

September 19-21:  We took a quick trip out to Denver, Colorado for a Grace Potter and the Nocturnals show at Red Rocks Amphitheater (BUCKET LIST - CHECK!)

We flew in after work on Friday night along with our friends, Wayne and Bridgette.  This was our first time in downtown Denver and we had a great time exploring a bit on Saturday morning before the show including some shopping at the huge REI flagship store.


Red Rocks is a natural park that just happens to have an awesome amphitheater in it as well.  We saw a beautiful heard of mule deer as we hiked up to the venue entrance from the parking lot.

It was an anxious crowd waiting for the gates to open.  

The place is simply breath-taking and the sound was out of this world.  Despite the fair skies at sunset, we did magically dodge some thunderstorms that swept across the area with only a few drops of rain hitting us and no stopping of the show that included two great openers, Lake Street Dive, and the tremendous Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue.  That's downtown Denver poking out of the horizon way off in the distance.
Ship Rock to the south (photo above), Creation Rock to the north and Stage Rock behind the performers make up the amazing set of "walls" to this natural amphitheater.
We are just out of this shot (courtesy of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals) behind the mixing boards.  There's not a bad seat in the place, but we were dead center for the whole amazing show, their first as headliners here.
Space-y!! RT : who knew my favorite shot from the show would be a goof.

It was honor to get my "garbage-to-gold" photo from the show retweeted by Grace herself as well as posted on the band's Facebook page.  I wish I could say this was anything but a beautiful accident.




Monday morning before heading home, we were able to take a guided hike at Eldorado Canyon State Park near Boulder, Colorado.  We did a +5-mile loop that swung beneath the Devil's Thumb which you can see jutting above the Flatiron Mountains in the photo above.  Thanks to the wetter-than-normal summer, the wildflowers were still brilliant despite the time of year.
The Maiden of the Mountain was another massive stone obelisk that we passed during our hike.
After the hike, it was time to cool off with some tasty micro-brews and chow down on some great grub at Southern Sun Pub & Brewery in  nearby downtown Boulder.   Those are my two different IPA half-pints in the foreground and Ashlee's raspberry wheat ale in the background.  All were excellent.
It was a quick trip, but a memorable one.  We got to cross Red Rocks off our Bucket List, see one of our favorite bands again for the umpteenth time and take in a little Rocky Mountain wilderness. We had a lot of laughs along the way (and learned some tough lessons about edibles).   Our friend, Wayne, snapped this amusing picture at the Denver Airport on our way home.  This happy family was actually sitting in a hallway waving at folks through this window as they came through security.  Why?  Who knows?  But they were having fun and it had to make you smile a bit.

Monday, August 25, 2014

August Happenings

Another busy month for us as we wind down a fun Summer of 2014

Saturday, August 2 - It was another luxurious overnight stay at The Inn of Fontanel for us as geared up for The Soulshine Tour making a final stop at The Woods Amphitheater at Fontanel starring some of our favorite musical performers including Trevor Hall, Brett Dennen, and Michael Franti and Spearhead.  We had the larger Guest House Lower Suite booked this time and it was awesome.
Did we mention it was luxurious?  Ashlee claims this is the greatest bathtub she's ever soaked in.
We were having such a great time hanging out at the inn with our friends Chris and Tarryn, who also came up for the show, that we missed Trevor Hall's quick opening set, but he made several appearances throughout the rest of the show at least.  Brett Dennen was up next and we caught most of his set.  He seemed a little "spirited" in his always-enjoyable performance, some of which is captured in the video below from our great vantage point near the stage.  Soja was the third band to play and we enjoyed their unique reggae sound for the first time live.

video


Michael Franti and his band, Spearhead, put on another dynamite show to close out the evening with appearances from all the previous performers as well.  Tarryn even got a big hug from him after the show.  He's the best about hanging out after a performance.
Saturday, August 9 - Monday, August 11: We continued the "staycation of luxury" theme the following weekend with our third visit to Evins Mill Resort over in nearby Smithville, TN.  We got to enjoy a buy-one, get-one night deal in their newest addition, the Solstice building.  Our room was large and lovely and the entire unit is nestled in among the trees.  Totally peaceful.  We even had the whole building to ourselves on Sunday night since no other guests were staying there.
Our choice of revisiting Evins Mill  this particular weekend was two-fold since Calfkiller Brewing Company in nearby Sparta was having a tasting and pairing with the Evins Mill dinner on Saturday night.  We tried all four of their offerings and were impressed by each.  Dinner was delicious and abundant, as usual, as was the fare on Sunday night.  The breakfasts that are included with the room rate are awesome too as was the box lunches they provided us on Sunday.  Worth every penny and I bet we come back again if given the chance.
OK, make the reason we came back to Evins Mill this weekend three-fold.  We also wanted a chance to swim beneath Carmac Falls which is located on the resort's property.  We hadn't had an opportunity to do so during over previous two visits, but we got our chance on Sunday afternoon with warm, sunny weather and, amazingly, in complete privacy also.  Can't beat that!  The short video below shows Ashlee daring to take a dip even after the fact she spied a snake in the water a bit earlier.  Fear...conquered...for the most part.  
video

Friday, August 22 - We had dinner at Watermark Restaurant tonight to take advantage of some good pricing for Nashville Restaurant Week. Our friends, Danny and Brenda, joined us and we had a fancy and delicious three-course dinner for 30 buck each. We decided to go see Guardians of the Galaxy in IMAX after dinner.  All of us but Ashlee had seen it before.  In fact, it was the 3rd time for me and Brenda.  It's not exactly Ashlee's preferred type of flick, but she was a good sport and wound up enjoying it actually.
Saturday, August 23- We got up this morning and headed over to LP Field to have our picture taken and turned into a banner for this season's "Hall of Fans."  We got this honor by actually winning four Tennessee Titans season tickets.  Plus, they gave us a nice bag of Titans' swag as well.  Big thanks to the Tennessee Titans organization for this generous prize!  We even took the elevator to the wrong floor going out of the stadium and wound up getting a couple goofy pictures in the team's on-field vehicles. What a hoot!  

     We spent the afternoon cooling off from the high temps at  Nashville Shores Water Park.  This was my first time there, but Ashlee's been a few times this summer and even got a season pass because she likes it so much.  We had a ball riding all the big water slides and lazing about in their Lazy River.  What a great place right in our own backyard.

Sunday, August 24 - We stole the term "Sunday, Funday" from a hilarious new TV sit-com called "You're the Worst" and applied it to a full day out and about doing pretty much nothing of any real value other than...you guessed it...having fun.    We started with brunch at M.L, Rose's in downtown Nashville.   We then moseyed south to where we had a bottle of wine on the covered porch with a nice breeze at Arrington Vineyards.  Next, it was a drink at the now-TV-(in)famous dive bar over in Murfreesboro, MT Bottles and Cans.  We had an early dinner at O'Possums Irish Pub in Murfreesboro with our friend, Emily.  The food was excellent. We finished up with a drink at the rather underwhelming Brew U also in Murfreesboro. Overall, a very good Sunday, Funday!